Going feral for three days on Fraser Island quickly became a strong competitor for funniest three days of my life. If you only have a few months, or even a few weeks to explore Australia then it would probably be my number one recommendation. Working out the logistics of the trip however, was not my favourite. It involved trawling a lot of different travel agents who seemed intent on getting us to pay an extortionate amount of money to get drunk on a tour bus. This might have been our thing back in 2011 but for this trip were looking forward to getting up early, shocking I know, and cramming as much into each day as physically possible. Knowing from experience that heavy drinking and early mornings do not a happy couple make, we took the plunge and booked our trip independently. After a swift Google search we decided to go with Fraser Dingo, who will not only allow you to rent the car, but will also provide you with camping equipment (tent, stove, sleeping bags etc), and a detailed plan explaining the best times to visit different locations around the Island. As a most of the driving will be on the beach, a lot of your schedule will be subject to how far in the tide is. If you do decide to go independently like we did, I suggest you make sure you are where you’re supposed to be at exactly the right time to avoid losing the hefty damage deposit you will have to put down for your car! If you are young, free and a lover of goon (google it) then the best tour company we consulted was Drop Bear as they allow you to drive the cars yourself, rather than sitting on a bus (i.e.: minimum fun)
When we were all booked and ready to go, our first task was food shopping. There are very, very few places to purchase food on Fraser, and if you do find anywhere it will be very overpriced. You will also have to bring your own water, as you will inevitably stay at a campsite that is basically just a bit of grass at the side of the beach. If you do your supply shop with a frugal friend (Louie Jacombs, I’m looking at you) then I suggest you gently encourage them to stretch their budget a little further than they may initially want to. I say this because, after a very long and tiring day, setting up a tent and then sitting down to eat a pack of $1 chicken noodles is just not appealing in the slightest. Seriously, none of the meals I ate on Fraser were nice (see picture evidence below) so make sure you have a few tasty snacks up your sleeve!
Top recommended unhealthy Australian snacks: Salted caramel TimTams, Rocky Road Dairy Milk and Starburst jelly babies!
If you’ve read blogs or stared enviously at friends’ pictures before making your own trip to Fraser Island, you’ll know there are three main attractions – Eli Creek, Champagne Pools and Lake McKenzie. Our itinerary gave us suggestions on which of these to visit at which times, and we followed it because we definitely didn’t know better than the nice man who’d been doing it for thirty years. Our first stop was Eli Creek and it was so much fun! The creek is freezing and perfectly clear so just jump in and enjoy. Some tours provide rubber rings for guests at Eli Creek so if you can get one cheaply from K mart or similar before you go then this would be great fun as the creek has a lazy river effect.
Our campsite for day one was one of the more sophisticated campsites on Fraser. It had a toilet and coin operated shower block and one of those possum infested communal stoves that are common all over Oz (think Shelly Beach or the Noosa River.) Here we managed to pitch our tent before sunset and cook a fairly decent meal of pasta and pesto ( I even managed to sneak in some circuit training before bed!) However, tent life is always hard and getting up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet can be absolutely terrifying, especially on Fraser where there are posters about Dingo danger slapped on every available wall and surface. For these instances, a large camping torch is a must. Take one, we didn’t and we very much regretted it.
Day two consisted of getting up early and finding Champagne Pools and then remaining there for a lot of the day. You’’ll want to pack your sun cream for this one boys and girls or you’ll end up looking a little like this:
No-one wants that, do they? There is little to no shade at the pools so keep your sun cream handy. The water itself is beautifully warm and clear, perfect for lazing around in for as long as you can afford to. Our second night of camping was even more feral that the first. The tent was pitched right on the beach, and after the sun went down it was completely pitch black. Once we had set our tent up our evening consisted largely of babysitting a sunburned Chelsea who remained, hot and shivering, in the back of the Jeep. When I eventually settled down to sleep I was so tired I had no trouble drifiting off almost straight away, however, I was cruely awoken by none other than a Dingo sniffing at my head through the tent wall. This experience terrified me so much that I was unable to sleep properly for the rest of the night, but resulted in me getting out of the tent super early and catching the sunrise on the beach, magical!
On our last day, we were faced with a dilemma. There is only one petrol station on Fraser Island in the Kingfisher Bay Resort, and we were running low. We had two objectives left on our list, Lake Wabby and Lake Mckenzie. We reached Lake Wabby in good time, but we were very low on petrol by this point. The drive from Wabby to Mckenzie would have left us stranded, with little to no petrol, and who knows how fun pushing a 4wd up a very sandy beach would have been! Faced with the thought of having to give up on Lake McKenzie, the main reason I wanted to go to Fraser in the first place, I threw the mother of all strops and basically demanded we go back for more petrol while the tide was low! Apologies all round, but I REALLY wanted to go.
See? Beautiful! Lake McKenzie was a gorgeous place to chill out for the afternoon and a brilliant place to swim as the water is so clean and fresh. We also spent a great deal of time trying to exfoliate various parts of our bodies and clean our teeth with the white sand as we were promised we would be able to do. Not entirely sure that this worked but it was definitely a lot of fun trying!
Despite the trials and tribulations of camping, rare chances for a nice shower and absolutely no Wi-Fi or mobile signal, the benefits of Fraser outweigh the negatives by millions, and I really would recommend it to anyone as one of the top ten “must do’s” in Australia!
Have you been to Fraser? Did you enjoy yourself, or were the crazy conditions and Dingoes too much for you?
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