The original plan included Tyler and Kate coming to see how life went down on Malden Station, but as always things change, plans evolve and after some thought and discussion we decided it would be better to meet them somewhere a bit further south. Four years ago we had gone to Fraser Island with Matt’s parents and brother, the weather was less than desirable but we loved it all the same. We decided we would go back with the Nelsons and looked forward to some better weather to enjoy the stunning world heritage area that is Fraser.
Across on the barge we went, driving along the beach around Hook Point and then heading inland to the Lake Wabby lookout. We did the walk down to the lake and sandblow below, and in hindsight probably should have gone for a swim. The sandblows are amazing on Fraser Island, so. much. SAND! All of it encroaching on bushland and in this case the lake itself, which is becoming filled in by the ever moving sands. The walk back up to the lookout proved just how unfit I am – must work on that before we hit harder walks up north and west!
First night’s camp we planned on being at Ungower, on the west coast of the island overlooking the mainland. We got there on sunset and discovered a beautiful old jetty, we drove further south to Bluff Creek in search of a more secluded spot and pulled up on the edge of a sandy cliff just as the sun dipped over the horizon. Perfection. That first night however was freeeeezing cold. The still air and no cloud cover meant for two woollen blankets and hot milo’s all round! So much for the Queensland heat.
In the morning it was beautiful sunshine though and we had a leisurely long breakfast overlooking the sea, everyone except me saw a sea turtle, I was busy making yummy stovetop coffee and frothed milk (obviously)! Also whilst I was busy doing that a dingo came up to our campsite quite close, we were surprised as on our previous Fraser Island trip four years earlier we had only seen a dingo once at a distance. This one kept coming back and circling the camp, curious if nothing else but a bit unsettling as well as we weren’t sure how to react! The boys wanted to ‘shoo it away’ but apparently this isn’t advised as it can be seen as aggressive behaviour.
The next three days we spent exploring the island, both on the open ocean beach of the east coast and the ever-changing inland tracks. It amazed us how quickly and immensely the landscape would change as we explored the rainforest, scrub, dense bush and open plains of Fraser. You would figure it would all be fairly similar – all on sand, all within the same rainfall, at relatively the same altitude, but the diversity is astounding.
On the second night we camped just off the open ocean beach, making camp just on dusk and watching the giant orange full moon rise over the pacific with champagne and beer in hand - a moment to remember for sure. That night as Matt and I were reading in bed in the camper we felt the whole camper/ute move slightly, and then again, we asked Tyler and Kate if they felt it but no they hadn’t. Matt shined a torch out the camper window but no sight of dingo. In the morning we found dingo tracks though up to the back of the ute where we keep our rubbish in a (very secure) bag which hangs off the spare tyre. The dingo had jumped up on the table at the back of the camper, then sniffed around the edge of the canvas right near Tyler and Kate’s heads in the swag just inside the camper walls. They are so inquisitive! But from then on Kate and I took our husbands with us for toilet stops in the bush, as advised by numerous signs and pamphlets everywhere. Kate became a dingo behaviour expert she was so worried of being ambushed!
We visited the perched inland lakes characteristic of Fraser, all beautifully clear and very, very full. At most lakes the walking tracks just head into the water! Not at all like it was four years ago, and the beaches we remember are now much smaller as half the sand is now under water. A sign of the wet times indeed.
The last night on the island we stayed down at Cooloolai Creek, a spot we stayed on our previous visit and remembered as a good spot. On the beach again overlooking the mainland, Tyler and Kate went for a walk on the beach and were followed by a dingo for awhile – poor Kate unnerved again, but I think Tyler was more scared! The last night of playing Monopoly Deal (I finally won a game!) and Matt drinking far too much port (what an old man). Tyler and Kate headed off the next morning, back down south to their crops in the southern Mallee and us headed to the nearest mechanic…
Yep Luxie had his first (and hopefully last!) ‘hiccup’ – Tyler and Matt noticed some fluid leaking from Luxie, turned out he was leaking power steering fluid like a sieve. After buying two uber-expensive bottles on the island and a bit of investigating by the boys we figured it was a steering box problem. A few phone calls to Toyota and a mechanic in Maryborough had a new steering box ordered and we would have to hang around for a few days to get it fitted. So much for the leisurely time between Fraser Island and Cairns! No matter, we spent three days in Maryborough, took in a free tour of the historic township (Mary Poppins madness – I was in heaven!!!) and we were lucky enough to be welcomed into the home of fellow blogger Zoey, her husband Pete and beautiful children Mayana and sweet baby Reuben. Thank-you for feeding the hungry travellers! A home cooked meal and real roof over our heads was so much appreciated.
We’re now headed north to Cairns, the weather has been less than kind – rain almost the entire way which wouldn’t be so bad except the camper is being packed up wet every day (not ideal) and we’re a tad worried that it actually won’t dry out in time for our departure to Papua New Guinea on Monday morning. Dilemma! We simply can’t leave the camper packed up for two and a half weeks wet – not an option. So basically praying and hoping for some sunshine tomorrow night as we head into Cairns…maybe?
I’ve been a bit slack on the blogging sorry, but often we don’t have reception at night when I can get out my laptop. Remember though if you would like to follow our adventures in more ‘real time’ I am positively addicted to instagram – you can find me @emma_happycamper where I post photos of our daily travels and camping shenanigans.