Fraser Island is hard to explain. It’s the largest island formed completely from sand in the world, is accessible only by a car ferry, has no proper roads and can only be driven on in a 4×4, usually along the so-called 75 Mile Beach which is the equivalent to Fraser’s M1.
But despite sounding like a far flung wilderness, Fraser has become a popular backpacker curiosity, and one we couldn’t ignore.
It’s massive; more than 100km long by 15km wide. Huge rainforests have grown in the sand, the largest of its kind in the world.
Freshwater lakes and creeks have formed from rainwater with enough water to fill 30 Sydney Harbours lurking in the water table under the sand.
Giant sandbanks pepper the landscape. It’s unlike anywhere you’ll ever go, but you’ll have to share it with hundreds of backpackers and day trippers.
There are small 4×4 trips where you can drive yourself around, but we opted for a more organised overnight tour via Fraser Explorer Tours, staying on one of the only resorts on the island, Eurong. Resort is a loose description though; it’s more Hi De Hi than Sandals.
Our transport for the 2 day tour was a 4×4 bus, which made for some interesting negotiations of the sand banks and tracks.
Our guide was the unintentionally hilarious sitcom character in waiting, David.
He was a cross between Chris Lilley’s hilariously camp Summer Heights High creation Mr G and Catherine Tate’s gay-man-in-denial Derek.
He marauded around in his khaki uniform, lips pursed and hand on hip as he rounded up the group like your least favourite school teacher. He ruled his timetable with an iron fist, and made all of his timing requests in army-style…
‘You need to be back at the bus at 2.15. That’s Two One Five’. Even 4pm became ‘Four Zero Zero’.
His descriptions of each stop off on the island routinely warned of its perils, and how many people had been killed or maimed having too much fun. ‘How many people do you think have died running down this sand dune?’ He asked. The answer was three. No roly polies for us.
A few of us quickly found his officious style hilarious, which he didn’t take kindly to. He promptly asked us to keep our voices down during his endless, repetitive announcements via a headmic straight from a Britney Spears concert.
It allowed us to bond with our fellow rebels though – Jade, Ciara, Tom and Adam!
But despite David and the gloomy weather, Fraser didn’t disappoint.
Lake McKenzie was the highlight, a crystal clear freshwater lake flanked by a pure white silica sand beach so smooth you can exfoliate your skin with it.
The water was unfeasibly turquoise; we could easily have spent a day there; sadly David only afforded us sixty minutes (six zero).
The elaborately titled Champagne Pools are a series of rock pools sheltered from the ferocious waves which occasionally fizz over in to the pools, giving them their name. Despite the heavy swell that day (something David warned us about repeatedly) we bobbed around for six zero minutes, with the tide created a mini wave pool.
Other highlights were swimming along Eli Creek, which is like a real-life lazy river at a water park.
We also spotted a few of the islands 250 indigenous dingoes. We probably got a bit too close to one of them, as she was definitely curious about us but more to see whether we could be eaten!
The trip culminated with an amazing flight in a tiny light aircraft which wouldn’t have been out of place in Indiana Jones.
It took off and landed on the beach and showed off the vast, beautiful wilderness of the island. Our pilot looked about 12, perhaps that’s why it cost just $80 AUS.
Tour guide David may have sucked some of the fun out of the trip, but we made some good friends out of it, armed us with new dinner party material and ensured we won’t forget our Fraser foray any time soon.