Fraser Island - the biggest Sand Island of the World
Fraser Island is considered to be the biggest sand island of the world. It has a length of approximately 122 km, a width of approximately 15 km and a surface of 1600 square kilometres. The highest sand dune of the island is approximately 240 m high and is also called "sandblows". This should remind that the island contains more sand than the Sahara. This sounds unimaginably, but this island should be seen and experienced in any case.
Except a few rock shapes of volcanic origin, the island merely consists on sand. The island was originated from the surge current over thousands of years. The Australians say that somewhen, the whole sand of the Australian east coast would land on Fraser Island.
Dingos (wild dogs) in Fraser Island
In Fraser Island, a lot of birds, mammals, and approximately more than 200 dingos live. Dingos are Asutralian wild dogs and people have to be careful with them. Most of the times, human misconduct repeatedely leads to dingo attacks that result in serious injures or in dead. Until now, the case of death of a nine-year-old boy of the year 2001 is known, who was injured to death by a dingo.
Dingos are wild animals and no petting dogs, this is a thing people should never forget. The best is to maintain enough distance from the dingos, but one should not escape in any case, because then one is attacked. If a dingo runs towards one, one should cross the hands over the chest and slowly walk backwards.
Important Tips for a Stay in Fraser Island
Those who want to do a trip to Fraser Island should urgently consider some basic things. One needs in any case a vehicle with four wheel drive, otherwise it is not possible to handle the sand roads. For those who want to bath, I recommend the lakes already mentioned above that are very suitable for getting a cooling in the summer heat; the sea is, as above also already mentioned, deadly for the humans, thus it is urgently to abstain from it, but the many warning signs at the beaches repeatedely remind on that.
It is forbidden to drive on the island at night. Moreover, there are many dangers at night as the dingos that are nocturnal, or the many snakes that also live on the island. This is why at nights, one should even go to the toilet in the company of someone, so that one can illuminate the surroundings.
There are some toilets only in the resort, so that, as it is usual in an adventure trip, one has to do his toilet in the free nature. In this concern, the tour guides urgently point out that one should dig a whole of a depth of 50 cm and fill it up afterwards. The utensils therefore are put at the disposal by the tour organizations that are further described in the follwing text.
Lake Mac Kenzie
If one has a look to the island from the ferry, then it looks much too green to be called the biggest sand island of the world. On the island, there are 200 sweetwater lakes and rainforests spread all over.
The lakes are extremely clean and crystal clear, specially the famous Lake MacKenzie that even appears three-coloured. Near to the bank, the water is transparent, then turquoise and by swimming more out to the sea, it gets increasingly dark. This is simply unbelievable. This play of colours has to be seen. The adjacent picture can only approximately represent the colourfulness. The water is very cold, but with temperatures exceeding 35 degrees it is cold enough for a cooling.
75 Mile Beach
The famous 75 Mile Beach is located at the eastern coast of the island and is considered to be the official highway. This highway is drivable with all-wheel drive vehicles and also serves as airport for small planes.
Most of the visitors have never seen such a multi-functional beach before; Normally, a beach is for bathing and/or sunbathing. Here, it is not possible to bath, therefore, cars drive there and planes land on it... Several times a day, some small planes land on the island. In any tourism office of Hervey Bay there is information available about sightseeing flights over the island.
Bathing at this beach is perilous, as here are mainly malicious currents and the water gets rapidly deep and dominated by sharks. The sand is generaly very fine and clean on Fraser Island, a dream for all beach lovers.
During the drive alongside the 75 Mile Beach, one gets to the river Elli Creek. Elli Creek is the biggest fresh water river of Fraser Islands. It disembogues right in the sea. Those who are brave can walk in the river into a piece of the rainforest and I have to say, it was really nice; What was pleasant of this small hiking tour was that one mainly walks in the shade and has a pleasant cooling in the feet.
Supposedly, the river is free of hazard animals, I am indeed not very sure about that, but at least I could not see or feel any. A few small fishes can be seen in the water, but they do not do anything to one.
In the Elli Creek one can walk approximately 400 metres into the rainforest, it is not possible to get further, because the bushes are too dense. The water is indeed cold as ice, but it is very well doing in the Australian sumer heat for a cooling. It is crystal clear, partly even transparent. Those who do not want to walk back through the river can be drifted by the current in the ice cold water.
A further sightseeing of the island is the wreck Maheno. It is about a ship that sank in the year 1935 to the ground and that is now stucked in the sand of Fraser Island and that continues sinking in the course of the years.
Today, only the upper decks of the ship are recognizable. It is explicitly forbidden to access the wreck; thus, a viewing can be only done from the exterior. Maheno is a former luxury liner that sank due to a cyclone that was atypical for the season.
The Maheno was pulled by a smaller ship and should actually be scrapped in Japan. The screws and rudders were dismantled for the transport in order to reduce the flow resistance. But in the storm, the ship could not be maneuvered. Any trials to loosen the ship failed. During the first years, the Maheno was used by the island inhabitants for festivities, years later it served the Royal Air Force (RAAF) as target.
Now we come to a further highlight of the island Fraser Island: a dream view to the island, the long beach and the sea is available in the Indian Heads. From there, one can see, provided the water is calmed, numerous sharks, dolphins and ocean turtles in the water. The bay is also called shark bay.
A march of maximum 10 minutes and one is already above on the Indian Head, well it depends how fast one walks, but one should not wear flip flops in any case, as one has to walk on some small rocks and stony paths, thus quite stable footwear is to use, then the ascend is not a problem.
The Lake Wabby is a small lake that is surrounded by big dunes. In order to get to the Lake Wabby, first, one has to accomplish a walking track of 13 kilometres trough the sand. It is allowed to bath in the Lake Wabby and it is as suitable for a cooling as also the Lake MacKenzie or the river Elli Creek. Here, one can nicely relax from the long walk before having to walk up the steep dune.
The Australians say that in some years (maybe some decades), the Lake Wabby will not exist anymore, as the huge sand masses continuously push ahead and will bury the Lake Wabby under them.
3-Day Cheep Safari in Fraser Island
By arriving with the ferry to the island, right at the beginning, there is a small hotel and additionally a resort where one can also camp in a fenced area. Moreover, there are numerous signedposted areas right at the beach where one can camp freely.
There is also the possibility of a sightseeing flight over the island and to land on the 75 Mile Beach in order to view the worthwhile seeing wreck Maheno and to fly afterwards in direction to the mainland.
But there are also a lot of day trips offered to Fraser Island for the people who do not have much time. For those who love adventures I recomend to do a three-days self-driver trip; they are mostly offered by hotels. We were in Global Palace Hostel in Hervey Bay and booked there the three-days tour. Of course it is a risk, as the people who join this tour are strangers and one is exposed to this group. But we were lucky and went very well together.
The groups consist on 9 people that get together a 4WD Jeep. Then one gets a training as also a map of the island; After that one goes with the group of 9 persons to a shopping centre, as food is needed for the next three days. The complete camping equipment as also the crockery is put at one's disposal, so that one does only need a sleeping bag and something to wear. When all preparings are done, one starts to the island and I can only say it was a big fun that will remain unforgettable. During the day, we drove to the above mentioned and important places, and when the dawn began, we looked for a suitable place in order to build the tents.
Most of the times, one meets some other backpackers, so that we were a group of six tents. And the day was ended with a cozy get-together with barbecue under the enchating starry sky, where most of the times, the milky way is clearly visible.
But also during this trip we experienced something unpleasant. Up to date, it is not clear whether it was caused by some conservationists that have a problem with the tourists on the island or if it was another group of backpackers who did a cheap trick. Our tents consisted only on a pole and quasi a canvas cover around it, and the tent is only fixed to the ground by the so-called tent pegs.
One night I woke up because I suddenly saw a shape in front of the window of our tent that tried to run quietly around the tents. Thereupon I woke up my travel companion and informed him that something is wrong. As soon as we switched on the torch, the person ran away. I tried to continue sleeping, but I cound't as I woke up again by a bright light that was at a distance of approximately 50m from our tents and straight illuminated our area.
Again, I woke up my companion, but except that we became increasingly friable we could not do much. We tried to concentrate on sleeping. At first, I could sleep again but I woke up by a jerky movement of my companion who was wildly lashing about with something at the entrance of the tent. It was like a nightmare, suddenly a dingo with a size of an adult wolf put his head into our tent and breathed excitedly into out tent...
I only screamed "Help" and my pulse raced, but my companion could manage to chase the animal away. The night was of course over for us, what was strange is that nobody in the other tents woke up, at least we did not notice anything of it. In the next morning, we heard the other swearing and there was also the explanation for the disconcertment of the night. The unknown person had really removed all tent pegs of the tents and spread them out in the area of the proximity.
Moreover, a piece of bloody meat of approximately 20 cm length was put in front of every tent with the intention to attract the dingos, a thing that partly worked. Apparently, the intention of the unknown person was to get the animals to jump on the tents in order to get the meat, a thing that fortunately did not work, as according to my opinion, this would have had a bad ending, as the tents would have collapsed immediately and some of us could get propably injured. Today I can only laugh about it and say that it had been very adventurous and exciting , but also only due to the reason that it had a good end. Thus, be careful with savages dogs and unpleasant people in the island!!!
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Author: Simone Palm; Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz