Australasia | Australia | Queensland | South East | Fraser Island – The Whitsundays and Fraser Island
Have been moving on down the coast for the past few weeks, and have stopped off for some amazing tours on the way.
Mission Beach was a nice place; a quiet seaside resort. Stayed in a nice campsite there, and went on a rainforst walk – saw a cassowary, and some turtles in the creek.
Next stop, Townsville. Not much to say about the city itself, apart from very hot and stuffy, but we went out to Magnetic Island on the ferry for the day. The island was lovely – nice beaches and walks. We got a bus ticket as we didn’t take the car across (too expensive!). You can hire a mini moke to travel around, which looked like fun.
After that we stopped at Bowen, another small seaside resort with lots of lovely little bays. It was so hot, it was difficult to sleep at night. Lots of biting insects too. We’d had just about enough of camping for a bit after Bowen. You can only do it for so many nights before you get fed up and feel grubby! Also everything seems to take three times as long to do – like cooking, showering, etc.
So we went on to Airlie Beach and stopped at a luxury resort for a couple of nights for a treat. For only $100 (about 40 pounds) a night we got a modern apartment with kitchen, bedroom, washing machine and (best of all) air conditioning! It was great. We did all our washing, cooked in our own kitchen, watched TV, and had a bath – luxury!
From Airlie Beach we went on a sailing trip for 3 days around the Whitsunday Islands. Weather was gorgeous, got a lovely tan sunbathing on the deck, and the islands were beautiful, especially Whitehaven beach where the silica sand was white and so fine, and the water so clear. The boat was a maxi yacht called ‘Anaconda II’, which has sailed around the world. There were about 20 people on the boat; some English, Swedish, French and Australian, and we all got on well and had loads to talk about.
After a drive down one of the most uneventful bits of highway on the east coast of Australia, we spent a couple of nights in Rockhampton, a former port and in Australian terms quite a historic city.
We then made our way down to Rainbow Beach to prepare for our tour of Fraser Island. Fraser is the largest sand island in the world, about 120km long. You can only travel around it by 4-wheel drive. The beach forms the main highway, and the inland tracks are bumpy, heavily rutted sand. We took a self drive tour, and were divided up into groups before departing. Our multinational group consisted of three English, one Scot, one French-Canadian, one Bangladeshi and two Germans (one slightly insane behind the wheel of a 4-litre Toyota Landcruiser). Driving on the island is certainly an interesting experience, although not quite as interesting as being a passenger in the back.
We camped on the island for two nights, and saw quite a few dingoes in that time, prowling along the beach or around the campsites. They hardly ever harm people, but you have to lock all your food away at night. We also saw Lake Mackenzie, a beautiful freshwater lake, with white sand all around it and water so clear and pure you could drink it while you swam through it.
As sand was a fairly major feature of everything we saw, did and ate on the island, it was a relief to get back to the mainland for a good shower, but we had a great time on the island, and made some good friends.
Now we’re going back to Bridgeman Downs, the winery we stayed on a few months ago, for a couple of days. They seem to be looking forward to having us back. Must have a wine surplus that needs using up….