Deadly pine cones and other dangers 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. Faithful followers of my blog will have already read my two earlier posts: Fraser Island – prehistoric beauty and Getting about on Fraser Island.

But what about the dangers of travelling to a prehistoric, unwired and 4×4-infested island made entirely of sand?

My impressions? Fraser Island is a softy, provided that you go prepared.

We were warned about snakes and sharks —- didn’t see any. We expected big spiders — saw only one, and dead at that. We did encounter dingoes, a dubious jellyfish, bugs that bite, and ninja pine cones.

Curiouser and curiouser

We also encountered confused people in car parks. Have you ever seen any of the episodes of Lost? If you have, alas poor you, but you’d recognise the feeling of tropical muggy not-quite-reality that pervades the island. Luckily, serendipity reigns there too, so it all works out in the end.

So you should expect strangers making weird requests. Here are some of the things people asked us:

  • In the car park at Lake McKenzie, in the middle of the forest in the middle of the island in the middle of nowhere: “Do you have a recharger I can borrow?” (She didn’t say what type of recharger she wanted, or where she would plug it in, or how long we would need to wait until whatever it was was recharged. The TC shook her head regretfully and backed away.)
  • On the beach at Eli Creek: “Can we borrow your car keys to start our car? We’ve lost our keys.” (Without much hope of success, the TC lent them the keys from our Land Rover Defender to start their Toyota. Guess what – it worked. What’s more, they then removed the keys and gave them back to the TC, and their Toyota kept on going. Everything keeps going right… Oops, nearly got trapped in a jingle there.)
  • In the car park at Lake McKenzie: “Can we have a lift to Kingfisher Bay?” The TC said that alas, we were going to Eurong, which is in exactly the opposite direction and on the east coast rather than the west coast. “OK. We go to Eurong.” (They were Swiss backpackers and had walked 40km the preceding day and night. They wound up at Central Station, expecting food and comfort, and found just a logging museum. So we took them to Eurong. They sat in the back of the Land Rover, everyone had a fun journey misunderstanding each other’s English, and they seemed quite happy to arrive in Eurong rather than Kingfisher Bay.)

Travel tip

Bug repellent is a wonderful thing. Roll-on works best.

The book I’m in

Et si c’était vrai…, by Marc Levy.

The photos

Me, Peg, a book and some sand (yes, it’s all sand) on Fraser Island:

Deadly pine cones and other dangers on Fraser Island

Deadly pine cones and other dangers on Fraser Island

The TC and this dingo met up on Seventy-Five Mile Beach early one morning. They eyed each other and kept their distance as each went their own way. Typically, the TC is over the moon about this experience of wild life in the wild:

Deadly pine cones and other dangers on Fraser Island

Deadly pine cones and other dangers on Fraser Island

The TC had to hop around a bit on the beach near Indian Head, to avoid standing on this jelly fish. Is it the deadly Irukandji jellyfish? Who knows. It was about the right size:

Deadly pine cones and other dangers on Fraser Island

Deadly pine cones and other dangers on Fraser Island

The tide is a hazard for the unwary. The only feasible way to travel up and down the length of the island is on Seventy-Five Mile Beach. But parts of the beach are impassable for two hours either side of high tide. The TC had booked a ferry for 9 a.m. on the day of our departure, not realising that high tide was at 7:15 a.m. that day. Oops. So we were up at 4 a.m. and driving by 4:30.

Oh and, btw and fyi, you can’t drive in the dark either, for fear of running over sleeping campers or diving off a sand dune. It’s light at 4:30 a.m. I didn’t want ever to know that.

By 5 a.m. the TC knew we’d make it off the beach in time, so she stopped the car to take this photo. :

Deadly pine cones and other dangers on Fraser Island

Deadly pine cones and other dangers on Fraser Island

Beware the tiny biting insects. They’re so small you hardly see them. They can sting you through your clothing, and the mark they leave is many times the size of the biter.

Deadly pine cones and other dangers on Fraser Island

Deadly pine cones and other dangers on Fraser Island

Most deadly of all , beware the ninja pine cones:

Deadly pine cones and other dangers on Fraser Island

Deadly pine cones and other dangers on Fraser Island

All good island stories have a ninja or two. While we were there, I heard four or five of the cones hit the ground with a resounding THUD. Don’t walk under a kauri pine, or a falling pine cone might render you a modern-day Rip Van Winkle. See the cones littering the ground:

Deadly pine cones and other dangers on Fraser Island

Deadly pine cones and other dangers on Fraser Island

Here’s the culprit, fearsome indeed:

Deadly pine cones and other dangers on Fraser Island

Deadly pine cones and other dangers on Fraser Island

You have been warned!

Want to know more about Fraser Island? Try my YouTube playlist. Stay tuned to this blog for more about the island’s lakes and creeks and creatures. And don’t forget, it’s all about the sand.

That’s all for today dudes.

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