Sunday, July 24, 2005

Fraser Island and Byron Bay

Hi All,

We crossed into New South Wales today and are currently in the beautiful town of Byron Bay(BB). This town is very much a hippy, artsy town..kinda like Santa Cruz, CA. We are here Sun and Mon, and then we head on to wine country near Sydney.

We just came from Hervey Bay, our Fraser Island base camp. We took a tour to Fraser Island on Friday and Saturday. What a trip and what an Island! It was amazing. For those that don't know, Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. Knowing that, we expected a big desert. How wrong we were! It turned out that the island is so diverse: desert landscapes, rainforests, freshwater pools, natural creeks, hundreds of birds and beasts!

We caught the Ferry to the island on Friday at about 9AM. Our tour picked us up at our campsite by bus and then we drove to River Heads ferry, about 15 minutes away. The ferry was of course, packed but the 35 minute trip was fun because it was open-air sea-viewing all the way.

When we got to the Island, we headed immediatly to our first destination, Central station, a 40 minute walk through the rainforest. The walk lead us to Pile Valley, a designated "beauty spot" flush with huge pine trees that were estimated to be thousands of years old. Many of the trees in this valley were logged for use in the building of the Suez canal.

From Pile Valley we went to Eli Creek, a natural freshwater creek. At lunch we were acquainted with our resort, the Eurong resort. After lunch we went to see the historic Maheno shipwreck on the beach (used for military target practice and never actually hit), the colored sands formation, the very picturesque Champaigne pools and the famous Indian head landscape.

During our travels on the island, our bus driver often took the beach as our route. Fraser Island beach is known as the Great Sandy highway. It is also the largest landing strip in the world! So our bus driver was commonly sharing the road with airplanes. What a site, to see a plane come for you! In the midst of all this mayhem, we spotted a dingo (wild dog) on the side of the road, or beach, lazing in the sun. We all got out to look at him. He was quite the celebrity and even posed for many photos.

After all the sightseeing, we headed back to the resort for some dinner. After dinner we went down for a stroll to the beach with Edit and Louise, two fellow travellers that we met at dinner. Of course, being a Saturday night, we headed to the resort bar for a beverage and a chat with some of the other people on our tour.

The next day we got up for an early breakfast(7AM) and headed immediately for Lake Wabby. This entailed a bus ride, an amazing 1.8KM walk over sand dunes and through rainforest. We did an additional 1KM walk to the lake lookout first and then took in the beauty of the lake.

We headed back to the resort after Lake Wabby. After lunch we took in the beautiful Lake McKenzie. This lake is the most famous of the island's lakes and comprised a rainwater lake completely sealed by a natural substance called coffee rock. What a smashing lake it was too. Apparently the lake's low PH level provides natural conditioner and the surrounding sands provide natural exfoliating material, so we're both feeling beautiful after swimming in it. After McKenzie, we took in Basin lake, another natural rainwater lake inhabited with very shy turtles.

Unfortunately after Basin lake, it was time to catch the ferry. The tide was at its lowest level and we were actually quite luck to leave the island at all. That night after getting back to the mainland we headed to the Black Dog Cafe for Sushi. After all the yummy food and sightseeing, we were wrecked, so we headed back to Hervey Bay caravan park to plan our last few days campervan travels.

That's all that I can remember right now. Hope you've enjoyed it. We will be in touch soon for more updates on our travels!



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