Our self drive tour to Fraser island was our next point of call and we headed up the coast to Hervey Bay for a night where you get organized into your groups and go shopping for eveything you need. We stayed at beaches as they organize most of the trip for you.
To be able to drive the truck you have to be over 21 and it turned out in our group that there were 3 people able to drive, me, Rach and another girl, Louise, being the man and hating women drivers I voted myself in to be the main driver and we were soon on our way driving.
There were 9 of us in our truck, 3 guys, me, Jonny and Harry, then Louise and Rach and 4 Swiss girls. The guys were so funny and we all had a right laugh.
The cars we were in were Toyota Land Cruisers all kitted out for off roading with a big roof rack, huge wheels and some fat suspension. There were 2 bench seats in the back for the others to clamber on to. We drove to the 4x4 hire place from our hostel where we packed up everyones bags and our food, tents etc on the roof, we had to watch some safety videos and have some mean looking guy scare us with all the stories of people dieing recently from flipping their trucks on the sand. After being thoroughly scared the 2 groups got our itineraries for the next 3 days and set off for the ferry.
We arrived on the island about 10am and it was pissing it down. Fraser island is the largest sand island in the world and the wet tracks leading over the island were an interesting first experience of off roading, I'm pleased to say that in all 3 days I didn't manage to get us stuck once (the other group did) there was one point where everyone had to get out while I floored it at a sand bank and bounced up over some rocks, it was so much fun and I can see why people do it as a hobby.
The truck was so top heavy that it's really unstable going along the beach in the soft sand at 60km/h and we had a few fun tail slides as we went along. It was really the inland tracks that were the hardest with huge holes and some big grooves in the road to negotiate, but like I said it was good fun and nobody came back with any bump induced injuries.
The first day on the island was pretty miserable and our first stop was a lake 40 minute walk from the beach, we got out and started walking in the rain and half way Rachel decided she wanted to turn back and I was not impressed. The others carried on so we got to see the pictures at least.
We carried on up the beach and stopped for lunch on the way, 9 people in the back of a truck trying to make sandwiches is well funny.
Further up the beach was the rusting shipwrek of an old army ship that crashed in the 30s, it's a pretty impressive sight to see and we took some cool photos, check them out on Flickr.
By the time we made it up to camp the rain had stopped and we were able to put our tents up, there was a bit of a divide forming as the 4 Swiss vegetarian girls did the shopping, went massively over budget and bought stupid food. Some people made a bigger deal of it but it really wasn't that much of a problem and we all got along fine really.
The 2nd day we had an early start and were up by 6am, we had a long drive up the beach to our first stop Indian head, a decent spot on the coast to walk up and check out some pretty amazing views of the island and a big drop off a cliff. From there we walked along the beach to Champagne Pools, a series of rock pools that waves crash on and create a giant natural jacuzzi effect, the sun was out and it was a gorgeous place to sun it up a bit and chillax for a while.
We drove back to base camp and took a few beers and the frisbee down to the beach to watch the sun go down. You could look in both directions as far as you could see and there was nothing but beach, sea and you, it's a pretty amazing sight.
The next day was our last and we were up early again and heading back inland along some extremely bumpy tracks to get to central station, an old logging camp with some nice walks through the forest. We then continued on to lake Mackenzie, now this lake is amazing, totally enclosed by hills with a gorgeous white beach with the softest whitest sand and crystal clear water that was just amazing, I swear this water was clearer than tap water, colder too! We stayed here for a few hours sunning it up before we had to head back and get some lunch, I think we all wanted to stay longer but we had to get back for the ferry, boo!
On returning back to the hostel we were all in a big dorm room together and cooked up the leftover food, drank beer and played cards, the 3 days had been amazing but we were all going our seperate ways the next day.
So now i'm typing this up as we wait for our bus up to 1770, we're staying up there for 3 nights before we do our sailing tour around the Whitsundays, hopefully the weathe will hold out as some peoplebwe spoke to said there's was ruined by nonstop rain for 3 days.