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Alex’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 30 Nov 2014

Location: Australia

MapHello!

Hopefully everyone is dying to hear about Fraser Island.
Firstly, just in case anyone is curious, my foot is pretty much better. The wound still will not really close, but I am keeping an eye on it so itís all good!
Fraser Island
Thursday 27th we were picked up by a coach from just outside our campsite and taken on a short drive to the Marina where the barge departs for Fraser Island. We got ourselves comfy on the barge with a cup of tea and started the 30-35 minute journey to Fraser Island.
History
We had a great driver called John, who had been visiting the island since he was 8 years old so all of this information I am about to give you came from his mouth.
Before Fraser Island it was called The Great Sandy Peninsular, named by James Cook. I canít remember how he came about to name it.
Fraser Island got its name from English origin. James Fraser was well respected as Captain of quite a number of ships. In the Ö.. Cpt James Fraser travelled on a routine trip to Sydney Harbour to trade/sell goods. However this time, he asked his wife Elisa to accompany him on the voyage to see the world. Unfortunately his ship began to sink off the East Coast of Australia. He ordered his crew members to evacuate the ship, and left himself the slower lifeboat (I canít remember why he took the slower one).
Soon after making for Sydney in the lifeboat, that began to leak a little bit. He saw a big sandy island and decided to bring the lifeboat to shore to fix. However with the strong waves the boat smashed into an unrepairable state. Captain James Fraser, his wife and several crew members were left stranded on the island.
Fraser Island was populated by Aborigines people. An average population was 2000 people. Fraser and his crew had no means to catch food, provide shelter etc, so James Fraser had no choice but to seek out the Aborigines people and try to trade with them. The Aborigines were smart though. They only gave little bits of food, water, material for shelter at a time, but demanded a lot. Eventually Fraser and his crew had nothing left to trade. The Aborigines made a deal with them that Fraser and his crew could live amongst them if they agreed to help out with everyday tasks such as cleaning, hunting etc.
After a while, Fraser began to argue with the Aborigines people as he didnít like to be bossed around. After all he was a Captain! So the Aborigines speared him in the back. One by one the crew members had the same fate as Fraser until it was only Elisa left.
Eventually a search party for Fraser found Elisa and they evacuated her from the Island. Local people believe that after she left the island she began to tell all of these lies about how the Aborigines people raped and tortured her. She returned to England and her lies began to grow. So much so that people would pay money to hear these stories. The more people that came to see her and the more money she made, the bigger the lies grew. She often returned to Sydney and was well known by the locals. People felt sorry for her, and her late husband, so they re-named The Great Sandy Peninsular, ĎFraser Islandí.
Recent discussions have taken place with Elder Aboriginals and the Australian Government to re-name the island as they feel that Elisaís lies have given them a bad name. The new name is an Aboriginal word that translates to ĎParadiseí. I canít remember the actual word.
So there you go. Thatís how Fraser Island became Fraser Island.

Our Trip
When we arrived on Fraser island we got on a modified 4WD Coach. There are no tarmac roads there; itís all made of sand. As Fraser Island is the largest Sand Island in the world, itís sort of what we expected.
We began our tour of the Island at a place called Lake McKenzie. Now, you know those movies of beaches, or those pictures you see in a holiday magazine, and how when you arrive it doesnít seem as good? It was the other way around. The pictures did not do the place justice. The lake was beautiful. White Sand (and I really mean white) and white water. No blue, just white. It almost didnít look like it was there. As it got deeper the shade of water did get darker, but it was just incredible. Itís all natural formation too.
We learnt from John (The tour guide) that it is just sand on the island. So how are there trees everywhere? Over thousands of years, the trees drop leaves, bugs die, moss grows on the floor which acts as a fertiliser for the plants and trees. Itís a great circle of life. The trees are on average 20cm higher than the amazon rainforest. Wood from Fraser Island was used to make London Docks and the Sues Canal. Now itís protected as World Heritage land so no logging can take place anymore.
But this lake, Lake McKenzie collects all of the compost etc, and forms a plug over the sand to allow the lake to form. And itís not salt water, its drinkable. Itís spent thousands of years filtering through Sand to make it unbelievably pure. Also the sand works as an exfoliation therapy. It has so many pure minerals that it is better at cleaning all dead skin cells off your skin and leaving your skin smooth than the best stuff on the market that you can buy. Incredible.
We stayed at Lake McKenzie for about an hour, and then moved onto a place called Central Station. We walked along a path that was pretty much a tropical rainforest. It was sticky, humid, hot, and full of insects. There was a stream that ran through the path, again clear water. Completely drinkable. I got involved and had a good few mouthfuls. It was even chilled! It really amazed me. Towards the end of the path we reach a huge tree that its 1000 years old. I have uploaded a picture of it. Itís the big one Florence and I are cuddling.
After Central Station we took a drive to our hotel for the night, to get some lunch. Nice hotel, nice food, no complaints. After lunch we visited Lake Wabby.
This, by far, was my favourite place to be. It was a 2.4km walk, uphill, to reach it. We passed a few Orb Spiders on the way (google them) and came out of the bush to a huge sand dune. It was massive. Easily 100 football pitches in size. As you start walking down the sand dune you see a sparkle of water. It was another naturally formed lake like Lake McKenzie. But this, for me, was out of this world, staggeringly beautiful. The way the sunlight hit the water, the back drop of rainforest, the steep hill of sand in front of it, and the colour of the lake. SO AMAZING. It was probably only 50 metres in length but was about 25-30 metres deep! We spent quite a few hours there and then headed back to the hotel.
Throughout the day we met a really nice couple called Kat and Dave. Dave is from Essex but has been in Australia for a year with his girlfriend Kat who is Australian. We chilled out with them for a big part of the evening and most of the day after. The next day we went to a number of places, one I need to mention is Eli Creek. Again the same water as Lake McKenzie, but had a stream flowing down through the valley that you could float down. So much fun and you can drink the water as you are floating.
We saw so much more, Champagne Pools, Indian Head, 75 Mile beach but I canít possibly write it all down in detail as I would be here forever typing.

I will tell you about the scenic flight we took of the Island. On day 2, our coach pulled over on the beach next to two small aircrafts. A young pilot jumped on the bus and sold his 15-20 minute flight around Fraser Island very well. It would fly at around 2000 feet for 15 minutes and pass over the ocean (to see the sharks, dolphins, turtles etc) and fly South and North to finally land where the bus dropped us off. It was only $75 each, which might sound pricey but its about $150 cheaper than every other aircraft tour. Its voted the 2nd best air tour in the world (losing the no.1 spot to a helicopter, so it doesn't really count) and its 1 of 2 places in the world that can commercially land on sand. The other place is Scotland...

We took off and the scale of the Island is ridiculous. Its huge, and its all made of Sand. Incredible. We flew over a few of the places we visited by foot the day before which was cool. We saw sharks, turtles and thousands of Jellyfish in the ocean flight. It was really worth the money.

After a few busy days we headed back for our campsite, spent a night there and travelled up to the town of 1770 to meet Kat and Dave. We had a fun day and evening with them, and this morning Dave and I went for a run along the beach, swam over to a mini sand island, and then Florence and I made our way north to Rockhampton which is where I am typing this post from now. We may go to a Koala Sanctuary tomorrow. After that we are heading north to Cairns (Port Douglas to be exact) to see the Great Barrier Reef and do a day or two day tour on that, hopefully with Kat and Dave!

Sorry I have rushed the end a bit, this is about 1500 words and I am getting sleepy.

Night all x