Getting about on Fraser Island

This is the blog of a 25-year-old bookmark. I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC) .

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC have been on Fraser Island for a week. I told you about it in my last post: Fraser Island – prehistoric beauty. One of the fun things about a holiday on an island is getting there, and getting about once you’re there.

Fraser Island is a bit rough and ready. To get there, you must first find your way to Hervey Bay on the mainland, in Queensland, Australia. There’s a small airport, so we flew in by Virgin Blue Airlines from Sydney.

Next you need to hire a 4wd vehicle and put it on a barge for the short crossing to the island’s west coast. Then you start driving.

My impressions? 4wd travel is fun and gets you to places you’d not see otherwise.

Travel tip

Take your comfort zone with you, be it chocolate, coffee or a friend.

Recommended 4wd rental

Aussie Trax in Hervey Bay on the mainland.

The TC hired a Land Rover Defender. A good, sturdy, feel-the-ground, low-comfort but no-nonsense vehicle. Just what the TC ordered.

Aussie Trax also supplied useful information about driving on Fraser Island, maps and a suggested itinerary. The vehicle gave no trouble whatsoever, which indicates that it is well maintained. A great 4wd experience.

The book I’m in

Creation in Death, by J.D. Robb aka Nora Roberts.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas, New York cop, investigates a series of murders. A good read.

The photos

Me at the Maheno shipwreck, on the east coast of Fraser Island:

Getting about on Fraser Island

Getting about on Fraser Island

The Maheno got into trouble during a cyclone in 1935 and was beached a couple of days later. Luckily there were very few people on board, since the ship was on its way to being scrapped:

Getting about on Fraser Island

Getting about on Fraser Island

This is the Land Rover Defender we hired, on the barge crossing from River Heads to the island:

Getting about on Fraser Island

Getting about on Fraser Island

Here’s a rare shot of the TC, not too steady on her pins in this one. This is just because the ferry ride is a bit bumpy, she’d hasten to assure me:

Getting about on Fraser Island

Getting about on Fraser Island

Driving on a sand road through the forest on Fraser Island. I have to take my hat off to the TC. She got right into the four-by-four driving thing. But I also have to add that it takes more guts to be a passenger than the driver:

Getting about on Fraser Island

Getting about on Fraser Island

We did get stuck a few times. But getting unstuck was quite easy, with some reversing and putting the vehicle into low range for the very soft sand.

On the east coast of the island is Seventy-Five Mile Beach, also called the 4wd highway:

Getting about on Fraser Island

Getting about on Fraser Island

You’re apt to be chased by a small aeroplane, landing on or taking off from the same stretch of hard sand you’re driving on. Take a closer look at the shot above. Can’t see it? Here’s a zoomed-in section of the same photo:

Getting about on Fraser Island

Getting about on Fraser Island

Bus, plane and another 4×4 all comin’ at ya. That’s a mighty narrow strip of hard sand. Take a look through our windscreen:

Getting about on Fraser Island

Getting about on Fraser Island

Yup, sometimes I was glad I was cosily tucked into my book in the TC’s travel bag, along with Peg and the Trail Bars. But it all turned out well in the end:

Getting about on Fraser Island

Getting about on Fraser Island

Here’s a movie so that you can have a full-on virtual experience of driving a Land Rover Defender on Fraser Island. We’re heading east along Cornwells Break Road and driving onto the soft sand of Seventy-Five Mile Beach. You can hear the revs rise when the vehicle starts driving through the soft sand at the top of the beach:

The TC says that driving along Seventy Five Mile Beach is fun, beautiful and just a bit scary. The soft white sand squeals as you drive over it. The darker sand looks hard, but it may just be wet and slushy. The normal rules of the road apply, but not everyone follows them. You have to be aware of the tide and cannot drive on the beach at high tide or for two hours either side of it. There’s a movie of driving along the beach itself on my YouTube playlist.

Here’s a short movie of us driving over a washout on the beach. A washout is where a creek runs down over the beach into the sea:

Driving through the forest is different and even more fun. It really is all sand:

When the TC got back home and drove her little Holden Barina again, she described it as “freaky. I can’t feel the engine rumbling. Is it even running? The clutch is too smooth. And where’s the ground? I can’t feel it at all. It’s just wrong.” That’s the TC for you. Effusive at times, but at least you know where she’s at.

Want to know more about Fraser Island? Try my YouTube playlist for more videos. And stay tuned to this blog for more posts about the island’s lakes and creeks, its creatures and the deadly dangers you are sure to encounter. And, of course, it’s all about the sand.

That’s all for today dudes.

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