Fraser Island was a place I really wanted to visit, but felt a bit overwhelmed by the whole process of getting there. First, I wasn’t sure if it was in my budget. Australia itself is expensive and the big tourist attractions are even more so… Second, how should I do it? There are so many options! Guided tours, drive along tours, self drive tours, staying at a resort, camping in tents… etc.
I’d read so many conflicting opinions about “the best” way to see Fraser Island that I was beginning to feel a bit paralyzed. In the end, Mike and I talked to the friendly guy at our hostel and basically just did what he recommended: Cool Dingo’s 2 Day – 1 Night Fraser Island tour. It was a bit pricey, but I just took a deep breath and handed over my debit card. Sometimes you just have to go for it!
As Mike and I waited in the grass to be picked up the next morning, I suddenly remembered one of the tour’s selling points. Apparently, young people prefer Cool Dingo tours because the nightlife is better planned and more action packed. I couldn’t help but wonder if we had just paid big money for a party tour + drinking games.
Thankfully, as we boarded the bus and took a look around, there were enough people from an older generation that my concerns dissipated.
The bus dropped us at the ferry terminal and we hopped aboard the 50 minute ferry. An educational recording was playing during the journey but I really couldn’t tell you what was said. I can tell you that there were massive amounts of jellyfish in the water!
When the ferry arrived we were separated into different groups. Turns out the “older crowd” wouldn’t be joining us… Uh oh. Then we saw our next mode of transport… a bright pink 4WD bus featuring a dingo with attitude. Oh dear. What did we get ourselves into?
We all hopped in the bus with our friendly guide and hit the… sand. Something you need to know about Fraser Island: It is entirely made up of sand. The paved roads stop after the resort. There is no soil. Just sand. Which makes for a fairly bumpy and very fun ride.
We bumped our way all the way to Lake McKenzie, one of the island’s highlights and biggest draws. The lake has crystal clear water and white silica sand. I spent a good amount of time giving my arms and legs a good sandy scrub down and emerged from the lake feeling quite soft and smooth.
After Lake McKenzie we made our way over to Basin Lake. Basin Lake is a window lake which means it is basically a hole in the sand over an aquifer. Visitors aren’t allowed to swim in it, but it was a pretty hike and a beautiful sight.
Next we had lunch and did a bit more traipsing about in the bush near Central Station and Wangoolba Creek. Our guide was so knowledgable and informative that there’s no way I could ever repeat what he taught us. I really should have been taking notes.
After all the exploration we were taken to our comfortable accommodation for the night. We paid for a quad share but I suspect that booking last minute was the reason we got the room to ourselves. We cleaned up for dinner and enjoyed a delicious vaguely Mexican buffet style meal. I kept one eye on the disco that would surely be the site of future activities and drinking games… But, not really. Despite the blasting music and flashing lights, most people opted to turn in fairly early. After all, we had to be up and ready for Day 2 of our Fraser Island adventure!
PS Let me just sneak in a few more facts about Fraser Island:
– It is the largest sand island in the world.
– 865 species thrive on the island.
– It is the only place on earth where tall rainforest grows in sand.