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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Qld Holiday Day 4 - Fraser Island

We headed off for  a big day touring Fraser Island, though I must admit I didn't realise just how long it would end up being. We were to gather at the marina at 7.30am, but then had to board buses to take us down to River Heads to board the barge to take us to the island. There were many differences from the last time Helen and I trevailed this path some 14 years ago. The number of 4WD vehicles accompanying us across was vast. Crazy even. However, we enjoyed the trip across to the island in perfect weather.

Once all the 4WD's had left, we disembarked and climbed aboard our own 4WD bus. Given the time of year, there were in fact four bus loads being taken around today, quite amazing. Good money for the tour operators.
Our driver informed us of possible problems with rookie 4WD drivers on the island, and that given the narrow paths to get to the other side of the island, it was possible we would face delays with bogged vehicles. Well, yes, that was to occur, and to cost us a great deal of time.
Our first stop was at Lake MacKenzie, where Helen and the kids chose to have a swim, while I went against it (I really couldn't be bothered changing and getting wet and changing again).

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From here we were to continue on, but we soon came across three vehicles bogged, and no way of getting past. So we sat for 40 minutes before they were able to be freed and then another 30 minutes in the bus got us to lunch at the resort, about 45 minutes late and with disorganisation at a premium. Josh and I had snoozed during the wait and the trip (well, there was nothing else to do), and once we were last in to eating area there was no room at our designated tables. Terrific. And little help around that were willing to help. Anyway, we grabbed our own table (bugger the lot of them) and lined up at the buffet, which to be fair was pretty good.

However, once lunch was over, we walked out to find that the bus had gotten a flat, and had to be repaired. Just our bus, of course. Awesome. So while we waited we decided to have an ice cream.
By the time the bus was repaired, we were about an hour and a half behind what we should have been, and our driver was really trying to play catch up. He motored along up the east coast beach, where Helen and I really discovered the difference in the island. It was now almost like a highway, such was the number of vehicles driving along it. Crazy stuff.

We stopped at the wreck of the S.S. Maheno which is always interesting, and deteriorating quickly. I actually had to hold the kids' hands though, just like on a main road, because vehicles kept whizzing past with no real concern of the people around.

Then we headed up to the coloured sands, where at each stop we were now being hurried along in an effort to try and fit in everything in the time left in the day.

We moved back to Eli Creek where we all paddled around in the fast flowing water.

On our way back to the resorts on the eastern side of the island, we saw a dingo coming out to check for food. The kids were vey excited to see their first dingo in the wild.

We managed to get back to Central Station in the centre of the island, but with time running out, we really only managed ten minutes there, and couldn't go on the rainforest walk, both of which was a shame. However, by this stage I was just about over the day. It had been long with too many stoppages and hold ups, and I think I was well in need of a beer.
When we arrived back at the dock, we then had to wait for all the vehicles to be onloaded again, and then there was also the tide, as it was very low, and there was some chance of being caught out. The photo below shows how narrow (but not how shallow) the departure window was.

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Sun going down. Good camera work Bill

Excited kids at the front of the boat

It was dark, and beyond 7.30pm when we arrived back at the marina, and when we arrived back at our apartment we were exhausted. It was a great day, but as with the Big Pineapple yesterday, not one I'll ever make again. It was great to show the kids, but the expense and the sheer overwhelming number of people there will proclude me from making the journey again.

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