We are in the town of Noosa, Australia and just finished an excusion to the largest sand island in the world – Fraser Island.
The day started bright and early when we were picked up from our hostel by the “Zena Warrior.” Zena was a beast of a bus, or maybe ‘truck’ is a better word. From the inside, you might think that you are in a small limo bus, with nice seating for 12 and plenty of space, but from the outside, you might believe that she was a navy transport vehicle because of her massive tires, wide base, and general character. Zena was so beefed up that we were led to having the conversation of what it would take to flip the thing – a bomb, a t-bone collision with a semi truck, or a tsunami.
After picking up the other riders for the day, our guide told us that we would be driving down Rainbow beach then take a barge onto Fraser Island. At first I thought that “driving down Rainbow beach” meant that we would be driving down a road next to the beach similar to that of PCH in Los Angeles. This assumption was misguided as we soon left the pavement and broke through the trees to the “road.” The road that the driver had mentioned was actually the sandy beach during low tide and we were cruzing along at 50kmph, doing our best to follow the road signs positioned in the sand. We were cruzing through waves, dodging driftwood and hauling ass down this beach – we were loving every second. Eventually we stopped and took a break for tea and biscuts at Rainbow Cliffs, which were absolutely fascinating.
These cliffs are named “Rainbow” because there are over 70 different colors of sand in different layers up and down beach. There are many different aboriginal legends as to how the cliffs were formed with such colors, but the best was that of a beautiful woman who would sing every day by the ocean. Every day a rainbow would show up to hear her sing, but one day an evil man with giant boomerang stole the beautiful, singing woman. He kept her as a slave for some time and never let her sing. Finally she decided to escape and made her way back to the
beach where she started to sing with happiness because of her freedom. Soon the evil man found out and threw the giant boomerang to kill the woman. Just before the boomerang got to the woman, the rainbow arrived at the beach to hear her sing again. At that moment the boomerang collided with the rainbow, who protected the woman from certain death, and the collision created the great sand cliffs with the different colors of sand. Regardless of the story, the sight was pretty impressive.
Soon enough we were back on the “road” and made our way to the ferry crossing area, where we were told not to explore the sand because of a wandering crocodile and his taste for humans. After a short ferry we were cruzing down the road on Fraser Island, which of course was again the beach at low tide. We observed sea eagles, hawks
and little pipers all looking for their daily food. We eventually made our way into the middle of the island to Lake McKenzie, which is a freshwater lake in the middle of the sandy island. This lake is truly an anomoly in a region marked by dark, murky, dangerous lakes and rivers. Lake McKenzie is so clear that it is hard to tell where the beach ends and the water begins. Immediately we were in our baithing suits and diving into the water to explore the secluded shoreline. Soon enough we were lounging in the shallow water, using the finest sand we have ever encountered to polish any jewelry we had and rub into our skin, which was in the peak of peeling from the sunburns.
After a nice lunch, during which we took full advantage of the buffett and observed wild dingos making attempts at the leftover food, we got back in the Zena Warrior and made our way to the jungle portion of the island. This would be an appropriate time to mention our experience within Zena was not as nice as we would have liked. We were nice enough to let some older folks sit in the front seats and before we knew what was going on, we were sitting in the last row behind the rear wheels. For those of you who haven’t been on a raised bus in some time, let me refresh your memory as to what the back seat is like. It is similar to sitting on a pogo stick, on a trampoline. Add 3ft. grooves in the sand and loose sand bumps in the trail and it becomes similar “to riding a bull, except you are strapped in and you are not only moving forward and back, but up and down and side to side” – Ryan. By the end of the excusion we felt like we were in one of James Bond’s martinis: shaken, not stirred.
Finally we made our way to the jungle portion of the island and explored the many trees which inhabit the area. I can say that I have seen a lot of trees in my day, but these were the biggest and strangest I have ever encountered. Some were about as wide as a small car and others shed their bark every 8 months, exposing a milky white inner layer which made it look a lot like we were walking by massive cathedral pillars rather than trees. After exploring the trees as well as cautiously observing the webs of the poisonous, Australian funnel web spider, we made our way back onto the Zena for the return journey. Overall we had a great time, but next time, we will be sitting in front and not in the back, on-top of the bouncing bull.
Current Location: Noosa, Australia