Off the coast of Hervey Bay
The worlds largest sand island was created thousands of years ago by longshore drift and sand washing off Australia’s east coast. Its hard to imagine as looking at this from the shore, it has an interior of rainforests, gorges, streams and swimming lakes. All of these are on a landscape that is 120km by 15km surface area and due to the enormous depth, contains more sand than the Sahara desert – apparently.
We had a choice of two ways of getting over onto the island, either getting the passenger ferry and getting on an organised tour, or doing the fly drive. Taking off from Hervey Bay on a single-engine 7 seater Cessna and landing on the beach on Fraser, then renting a 4WD and doing the island ourselves. Its fair to say that after a dodgy experience at the Grand Canyon in America, my parents we quite happy to get on the tour but we managed to convince them otherwise.
Theres a strange feel about Fraser Island, as 4WDs and buses with towering wheel bases and fat, chunky tyres all pull in to refuel against an idyllic beach backdrop of white sand and waving palm trees. The abundance of sand and the lack of paved roads mean that only these vehicles can negotiate the island.
Well worth it though, the sights from the air were just awesome, a bit daunting at times, especially when the pilot was not much older than Servane or me but we got on and off the island without dramas (although my mum had her eyes shut the entire time). We took the 4WD on the highway of the island (the beach) and visited places like Lake McKenzie with clear blue waters formed by water accumulating on top of a thin layer of twigs and leaves, the Maheno, a passenger liner that was blown ashore by a cyclone in 1935 and Central Station which apart from anything else the experience of driving through a thick jungle on top of pure white sand hills is pretty bizarre. We also managed to scale the sand dunes that make up a significant part of the island and are getting bigger every year.
We never stayed on the island but there was enough to keep us amused for at least a few more days, but due to timescales we had to leave.