Nicoles Diary - 2 weeks on Fraser Island
Day 1 (Mon) – up before dawn, pack the kids into the car and away we go! Easy drive up the highway through to Rainbow Beach and onto the Barge. The tide is low, the sand is white and the beach blue! Hello Fraser Island!
Setting up camp is always a fun time especially with the kids! This time around it seemed to go quite smoothly, everyone was allocated a job and away they went. Camper trailer set, swags up, party coleman up and beers in hand. Kids had time to look around the camp sites and find some new friends to play with. Easy dinner tonight and a few beers.
Day 2 (Tues) – we decided to try and get to the cape today. But before we leave camp there’s a few things to do: Brekky, bacon & eggs cooked up by one of the batchelors staying with us for a few days on this trip (they even did the dishes)! We stress to the kids that it’s important to eat brekky when we’re away as you never know when you’re next meal will be. We make them realize that when food is on offer, take it!
I made up some ham & cheese wraps for lunch (tip wraps don’t go off as quickly as bread! They store easier, there’s 8 in a pack and they’re easy to make and pack). I packed some museli bars and a box of shapes for snacks and plenty of water along with some poppas for the kids to drink! Everything goes into the fridge that we have in the car.
Beach towels for everyone on their seats. Sunscreen is in the car, everyone has a hat and thongs and we’re good to go.
Kids keep themselves amused in the car by either listening to their headphones, colouring in, reading a magazine or enjoying the scenery on the drive!
Unfortunately there was a huge line up at Ngarla rocks so we weren’t getting through there today to get up to the Cape. Looks like we’ll need to give it a go tomorrow. Off to find a nice water hole for a swim and some relaxing time for the day.
Day 3 (Wed) – up at 5am and on the beach at 6am we are going to beat the traffic to the Cape today. Brekky is in the fridge along with wraps for lunch, dip and bikiies for a nibble later. Also the water, poppas, beers and ciders! We all got through Ngarla rocks no problem and the boys cooked bacon and egg burgers off the back of the landcruiser while we fished up at the Sandy Cape! Awesome Day! Big night tonight – it’s New Years Eve!
Day 4 (Thurs) – we said goodbye to our 2 batchelors this morning. We decided to head to the Western side of the island for lunch and a swim and Kingfisher. No lunch packing today. Just making sure we had enough museli bars and shapes for a snack if we need it along with the mandatory drinks to have along the trip. Lovely day out and finished with a swim at Eli Creek on the way home. After being on the island for 4 days now and not seeing a dingo we thought it odd considering they were everywhere when we were last here. As we were getting settled at Eli Creek and the kids are running to the top of the creek to ride the freezing cold current, the ranger appeared for a chat. There was a pack of dingoes that had gone through the creek this morning , attacking a lady up by the toilets, a man who headed to the ocean to escape and a child was plucked from a floating device from the water. We were warned that the pack then headed north and would be coming back south just before sunset so to be vigilent with the kids. Needless to say the kids were not allowed to walk the track to the top of the creek, they just had to play out the front of where we had pulled up camp. They weren’t happy to start with but once we told them what happened they understood. Sure enough the ranger was right – the pack came through just as we were packing up to leave, right before sunset.
Day 5 (Fri) – Some of our travel companions who hadn’t been able to come to the cape with us on day 3 (as they were moving camp) really, really, really wanted to go to the cape, so we decided to take them today. We made it all the way through Ngarla rocks and as we were on the other side radioing to see how they were progressing through the track, they were fine one minute and bogged the next! Now this really isn’t a spot to get bogged in. It’s a one way track, it’s long, it’s hot and it’s a hard track. If you get bogged you not only ruin your own day but you potentionally ruin many other peoples day, as they either have to get hot and sweating helping you out, or they get caught in all the traffic that can’t get through the track while you’re on it bogged! After 30 minutes of other people trying to get our friends out, we made the call to go back through the track and find them and pull them out ourselves and not go to the Cape. The recovery wasn’t an easy one, we did get bogged ourselves, twice! But after putting all the lockers on the car, low range 2nd gear the landcruiser was like a tractor and we ploughed through the hot sand, snatching our friends out backwards and towing them all the way back to the entrance of Ngarla rocks. There dream of seeing the Sandy Cape was over. But it’s better to have been safe than sorry, getting stuck here on the way back would put everyone in danger of not getting through and therefore not being able to drive on the beach due to the tides. It would become night time, high tide driving with kids in the car, not an option any of us really wanted to take so far away from our campsite. So we settled for a day at Marloo Bay and Waddy Point. It was lovely! Then we headed over to some other friends campsite (they’re beach camping), they’re heading off tomorrow too so we’ve stopped in to their campsite to have an afternoon bevvy and say goodbye.
Day 6 (Sat) – we said goodbye to our friends that travelled here on day 1 with us. They’re off back to the Gold Coast today. We are having a bit of a lazy day today. We’ll just head down to the beach and see where we end up – that’s the beauty about this place. You drive until you see the spot and then stop!
Day 7 (Sun) – a quiet day in the camp this morning. A chance for me to use some of the facilities here. 2 loads of washing done and dried. Lunch is packed and we’re off to the beach again. Today we found a gorgeous little inlet near Indian Head where the tide had gone out and formed a little gutter for swimming safely in – away from the sharks and the stingers. It was like having our own little lagoon all to ourselves. Then we stopped off at Wyunia creek (we named it Eli 2) another natural fresh water creek for a quick swim and wash!
Day 8 (Mon) – Back to our little piece of lagoon paradise for the day. It was a slow morning getting up, everyone is now very relaxed. Kids are having an absolute ball and have made friends with so many others in the camp ground. I don’t think there’s been a night that they’ve been back to our camp site before 10pm!
Day 9 (Tues) – my best friend and her family arrive today, so exited! We always camp here together and this time it’s been a long wait for them to arrive. But as their barge doesn’t arrive until 4.30pm we’ll head off to Lake McKenzie first on our way to the western side of the island. This is normally the spot for dingo spotting - but there were no dingos at all in the car park today! Absolutely unbelievable. The sand is back on the shore of the lake. It’s pure white! The water is crystal blue. The lake is fresh water. It’s gorgeous. It’s a great cleanse for the skin as well – a good rub of the pure wet sand onto your skin, totally cleansing. Lazing on the shore of Lake McKenzie is something that you’ll never get sick of. It’s a great swimming hole. After leaving lake McKenzie we travelled along some tracks that we’ve never been on and headed over to Wangoolba to the barge landing to great Team Peak! It was great to discover some new tracks and go and see another part of the island that we haven’t seen before. This was where we came across our first dingo sighting of the trip. A lone dingo in the bush! On the back along this track we spotted the “lone” dingo now in it’s pack. There would have been at least 5 of them travelling the road together. This is something that I’ve never seen before. We also have some old school mates and their family arrive and staying in the same camp ground as us for the next week too. They’re now keen to tag in with our adventures. Drinks were flowing after everyone had set up their campsites tonight.
Day 10 (Wed) – packed up another lunch of wraps and muesli bars today. We headed off to Marloo Bay and around to waddy point. What an awesome day. There was a lagoon by the sand dunes and another gutter near the ocean. We parked right up on the gutter with the awnings out again. Kids could swim all they like in there. The water was crystal clear, we even saw a stingray swimming through. We went for a walk to the top of the dunes – the kids ran down into the water from the top. Then we walked to the rocks at waddy point. Great views, some little water creatures living among the rocks. Stress free fun day. The kids went snorkeling and had a great day.
Day 11 (Thurs) – We drove down to Eurong today for a swim at their pub and to meet up with some more friends of ours that will be staying with us for the weekend. Not many people know but tucked in behind the shop at Eurong is the Beach Bar Pub which has a swimming pool that the public can use. This is all part of the old Eurong resort, the one I used to stay and camp at when I was a kid growing up. The only downfall here is that the pub doesn’t open until 3pm. My recommendation here is to grab a bite at the bakery, as well as pickup any fresh bread supplies you need and then head down to the pool for a swim. Once our friends arrived and joined the party we headed back up to Eli Creek for a swim . Just before the sun went down we decided to have some fun at the creek mouth with the cars – great photo opportunity! Then we headed over to the Meheno wreck for some more photos of all of our rigs and the families.
Day 12 (Fri) – We were up early today ready for another big day at the Sandy Cape. We’re having hamburgers for lunch today (we picked up some fresh bread rolls from the bakery yesterday) – cooking at the Cape! So packing is light today, just the regular snacks of muesli bars, biscuits and dip along with the mandatory water supplies and a few adult bevies! Driving was a lot harder today as we were on the soft sand most of the way due to the tide. We did well to make it to Orchard Beach in an hour. There was no traffic at Ngarla rocks. Team Redley and Team Peak straight through no problems. No such luck for Team Rankine! We had to use the shovel and max tracks to get them out, he had to reverse out of the bog (there was more than one) right back to the beginning of the track. Then he drove it like he stole it and got through. It took a little over half an hour to get him out of the bogs and through! We hit the cape as the tide was still up and couldn’t get right through. So we parked up for a few hours and went for a fish! Team Peak bringing in a few! This kids flew kites and swam while us old girls and boys had a little rest under the shade! After a few hours the tide had turned and we were good to get around. We drove right down to the Lighthouse and set up camp there for the day. It was magical! The sun was shining, the dunes were white and the ocean was bright blue! The boys fished again, this time Team Rankine reeling them in! Fish was on the dinner menu tonight. The boys cooked up hamburgers for lunch, the kids swam and rode their boogy boards. It was such a lovely day. We took the kids for a walk right up to the lighthouse – not the easiest of walks for little people – or older people either but well worth it once you’re there. The track is wide, some of the boards are very broken and worn, it’s quite steep too, footwear is a definite. Once at the lighthouse the views are spectacular. Unfortunately for us the lighthouse was closed for maintenance at the time so we couldn’t go in. Make sure you stop off at the little display shed on the way up/down and see all of the old relics that have been found washed up on the beach. They do recommend that you’re not on the walking track after 4pm so if you’re planning a trip here make sure you leave yourself time for this walk. Do it early or as late as you can to avoid the middle of the day heat. After a huge day at the Cape, we headed back to camp, making it back through Ngarla rocks without any issues and safely home just on dark.
Day 13 (Sat) – today we headed to one of my favourite spots on the island the champagne pools. These pools are rock pools and they are at their best when it’s high tide or the tide is coming in. There’s nothing better than sitting in the pools watching the waves crash onto the rocks and the white wash trickle into the pools. There’s no shade down at the pools in the middle of the day. The best shade is when the sun is starting to go down on the western side and the rock walls. You can not drive down to the pools you need to park and walk. So pack lightly as you have to carry everything down the stairs and back up again. The boys decided to drop us off at the pools with the kids today and then head over to the Orchard Beach pub Team Peaks captain was extremely sunburnt after his fishing hall at the cape yesterday. It’s not a long drive to Orchard Beach from the pools but it is along a track and anything can happen along there if someone else gets bogged. Fortunately for the boys, there weren’t any problems, they got to the pub, watched some of the cricket while having a few cold ones and returned to pick us all up in an hour or two. After the Champagne pools we headed over to Wyuna Creek for the afternoon. Parking the cars right on the edge of the water and opening the awnings into the water, where we could sit in the water under the shade. Was another lovely day and afternoon. It was awesome to come back to camp and clean and fillet the fish, then batter and cook them up for a pre dinner snack.
Day 14 (Sun) – This morning Team Rankine were up early and headed out to Lake Wobby, which they really enjoyed the walk. We all had a little sleep in before we headed off to Eurong for a quick breakfast at the bakery then onto Lake McKenzie. Once again at Lake McKenzie not a dingo in sight. After an hours swim we headed over to Kingfisher bay for lunch and a swim at the sandbar. This is where we said goodbye to Team Van Deudekom who were heading home on the barge from Kingfisher. Another relaxing chilled out day.
Day 15 (Mon) – Packing up is always fun said no one ever! Team Peak had to be gone by 8am as there barge was booked for 10am. We are lucky as we catch the barge at hook point which runs all day and you don’t need to book – last barge leaves at 5.15pm each day. So we could assist Team Peak with their packing and then have brekky before we started. We were doing really well – everything down and packed then tent was all done up now to start packing everything into the trailer and down came the rain! After all this time, our first major downpour and right when we were packing everything away. So now everything is wet and muddy and everyone was wet and muddy! One good thing, we could all shower before leaving! The trip home is always long! This time it seemed extra long! It rained most of the way as well. Finally pulling into our driveway after 6 hours on the road. Thank you Fraser Island for another awesome magical holiday! We can’t wait to come back again.
The easiest way to unpack is to repack at the same time! All bedding for the camper trailer gets washed and goes straight back onto the beds in the trailer. While the washing is being done the trailer gets a wash (tent and all) and the tent gets a good clean out. Then the bedding goes back in along with the bath towels. I pull apart the entire box of pots, pans, plates, cups etc. I was the lot and repack again. I go through the dry food box, take out anything that may have an expiry date coming up, replenish all stocks of breadcrumbs, flour, salt & pepper etc. Once all of this is done they go back into the trailer – these will get checked and repacked when the next trip comes up.