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Lake McKenzie

Fraser Island – One visit is never enough!

Guaranteed, if you’ve met someone who has travelled to Fraser Island you’ve heard a lot about the destination. You’ve probably seen endless photos of them four-wheel driving and fishing, heard how stunning Lake McKenzie is and been told that Eli Creek is ‘great for the family’. And I bet you’ve been warned the dingos are everywhere! Am I right? Over the years, I’d heard a lot of stories and must admit that I questioned the ‘hype’ that surrounded the ‘worlds largest sand island’. Could it be as amazing as everyone says? Is Lake McKenzie that picturesque? Is a dingo going to open the esky and knock off our sirloin steaks?

Fraser Island is kinda like that cool kid at school that everyone wants to be buddies with and hang with over the weekends. When you’re in the clique and know him very well, you constantly drop stories, reminisce on those times and look back at old photos trying to relive it all. For those of us on the outta circle, who didn’t know Fraser intimately, you knew you were missing out! After our recent eight-day trip, I’m thrilled to be in the inner circle and can join the gang to brag about our adventures on Fraser and yes, it certainly lived up to all the hype!

For us, Fraser has everything we love in a travel location. 4WD adventures, photography opportunities, hiking trails, beautiful beaches, fishing spots, fresh water creeks and isolated camp areas. Thankfully my personal tour guide (John) started coming to Fraser Island with his family back in 1989 and has made regular trips since. He had an ‘unplanned’ eight days of activities for us to tick off and we had an absolute blast doing so. *Make sure you check out our Trip video below. We’ve posted our photo album to our Facebook page ‘Winch and Unwind.

Famous for its sandy tracks!

Over those eight days, we drove 400kms zig zagging our way off the barge at Hook Point, up into the inland forest tracks to Central Station and Lake McKenzie. Across to the Sand blows on the East and North to Indian Head, Orchid Beach and back over to the West to Platypus Bay – one of our favourite spots. Onwards North to Sandy Cape, back down to Orchid Beach, over to the West again (our second favourite spot) and then finally made our way South via more inland lakes. It was a lot of driving but worth every inch of sand collected on our tyres. At 123km long and 23km wide, it’s not until you put the K’s on the truck that you appreciate the enormity and diversity of Fraser Island.

Driving on the beach has to be one of the most exhilarating and nerve-racking experiences for me! Although I’ve been a passenger to Johns many 4WD escapades I always ‘white-knuckle’ when sand replaces dirt or mud. He is a very skilled driver, but damn there are times I can’t help but think what if the truck catches an edge and we roll over. Is this even possible? ‘Quit worrying Tammy’ is what John would say. White knuckles aside, driving along the beach is so unique, and it goes against the grain of what most of us know and are used to with our daily driving life and routine.

Don’t forget to take your tracks from the beach and spend time along one of the many inland scenic drives. The lush forests and woodlands are magnificent on the island, and plant life is abundant plus you pass many of the lakes that are worth stopping at. It is impressive to see the forest thriving in the sand and the nutrients of the rugged terrain! My favourite inland track for scenery was along the Moon Point road section from the West coast toward Happy Valley. It reminded me of the Daintree Rainforest in Tropical North Queensland. So luscious and dense.

TIP ONE
 
If you don’t have a high clearance 4WD, or not experienced when it comes to driving on sand and don’t understand ocean tides or the importance of tyre pressure, please do yourself and other visitors a favour and DO NOT attempt to self-drive! Book a tour! Some options are listed below.

The early bird………enjoys the peace!

On Morning One we were up with the Kookaburras and got cracking on our day. John was adamant that we had to be at Lake McKenzie before the hoards of “tourists” arrived, so I set off on the 6.7km bushwalk from Central Station to Lake McKenzie along the Fraser Island Great Walk track while he drove and used the time to fly his drone. When I arrived at 8 am, it was only us and one other couple which was awesome to have this incredible location to ourselves. Has Lake McKenzie won a ‘Most Stunning Lake in Australia’ award? If not, let’s start voting! It is a magical spot. In the morning sunlight, the crystal clear water glistened against the iridescent blue and the pure white sand screamed HOLIDAYS!!

TIP TWO
 
If you are overnighting on the island, get yourselves out of bed first thing in the morning and arrive at the lake before 8.30/9am. You’ll thank us when you have it to yourself, and hundreds of others aren’t photobombing your selfie.

The best things in life are FREE!

As soon as you drive off the barge, Fraser Island is full of free activities to participate in which is helpful if you’re on a budget. For us campers, once you’ve packed your groceries, beverages, fill up with fuel and paid your camp fees it’s good to know you can still enjoy an action packed trip without breaking the bank. Over our eight days we went bushwalking, spent time checking out many of the sand blows, sandboarded over the dunes into Lake Wabby, spent time at the Maheno wreck, John went fishing (word on the island right now is that nothing is biting!) took lots of photos with the Nikon and Drone and best of all we chilled out and swam in the ocean, creeks and lakes.

TIP THREE
If you’re into SUPing and surfing, don’t forget to pack your boards.

The disappearing dingos.

As for the famous Fraser Island dingos, we only saw two on our whole trip which was disappointing. I had read all the signs and was well prepared to be ‘Dingo Safe’ but was baffled by the minimal numbers. We spoke to a few people on the island, and they admitted that the dingo population have certainly minimised over the years.

Come on baby DON’T light my fire!
My only grip with the trip is that campfires aren’t permitted on the island outside of a couple of communal fire rings. Although I 100% understand the fire ban and why National Parks have put this rule in place, camping is just not the same without a fire.

One visit is not enough!
Due to the weather and a recent influx of seaweed that took over the East Coast beaches, Champagne Pools looked more like a Chocolate Milkshake, so we need to go back to experience it in full glory. Those isolated camp spots on the West Coast we drove past looked perfect for a group trip, and since the fish weren’t biting, we’ll try to hook one next time. Fraser has so much to offer ALL types of travellers so if you’ve read this blog and feel like you’re on the outta circle, add it to your Travel Bucket List and plan a trip.

Everyone loves Fraser!
– Tammy

Helpful Reminders

  1. Don’t leave home without insect repellant!
  2. The flies were bad in many spots so pack a fly net and/or a hand fan if buzzing flies send you crazy!
  3. Pack enough food! The shops on the island are very expensive if you have to restock.
  4. Pack warm clothes even in the warmer months. It is windy on the East Coast and can get chilly.
  5. Make sure you have plenty of fuel if you self-drive! Don’t get caught out! It happens often.

Fraser Island Tour Options

Fraser Explorer Tours – www.fraserexploretours.com.au
Drop Bear Adventures – www.dropbearadventures.com.au
Cool Dingo – www.cooldingotour.com
Fraser Island Adventure Tours – www.fraserislandadventuretours.com.au

 

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