We took a trip over to Fraser Island with the Fraser Explorer Tours. Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and a National Park as well as on the world heritage list. We left from Rainbow Beach about 8am and returned at nearly 6pm. The tour bus was a 4 wheel drive vehicle and part of the time we traveled on the beach on the eastern side of Fraser Island.
To see the sights in the interior of the island we traveled over sandy tracks which had been logging tracks many years ago. There hasn't been rain on Fraser Island for about 6 weeks and so everything was extra dry and the sand on the roads/tracks was dry, very soft, and piled in deep wheel ruts. We certainly needed the 4 wheel drive ability on these tracks.
We went first to Lake Mackenzie. The water is clear and cool and feels great on your skin.
From Lake Mackenzie we traveled on to Central Station which used to be the center for the logging. It is surrounded by rainforest and is very beautiful. Platycerium ferns were growing all up the trunks of some of the trees. The common name for these ferns is Stag Horn Ferns. (I hope I have this right! There are also Elk Horn Ferns and I find them very easy to confuse!)
The water in the creek in this valley is crystal clear. The sand underneath is very white. It is only where the water is obstructed by something in the stream that it becomes visible because of the ripples.
As we traveled up the beach there were notices about watching out for planes landing. Finally we came to where one was sitting on the beach. The pilot came and climbed into the passenger side of the bus and asked if anyone would like to go up for a short joy-ride. He said that the plane would then meet the bus at the next stopping place along the beach. He quickly had a plane-load of six people - and when he met us at the next stop another six people took a similar flight to the where the bus next stopped.
We stopped on the beach to see the wreck of the SS Maheno. This steel hulled ship was in service from 1905 to 1934. This included service in WWI carrying wounded soldiers from the various battlefields back to hospital. The ship wrecked on the island while it was partly disabled and under tow.
This White-faced Heron flew down the beach and then perched high on a piece of the steel superstructure.
I was watching some Crested Terns beside the sea...
...when suddenly they all disturbed! When I looked over my shoulder I saw this White-breasted Sea-Eagle flying off with a large fish which it must have just picked up and a Pied Oystercatcher quickly taking off in the opposite direction.
Of course, no post about Fraser Island would be complete without some photos of the dingoes which are often seen on the island. There are notices everywhere warning people that those these may look harmless they are definitely wild creatures. They seldom bother large adults but a few years ago one attacked and killed a small child who was walking through the bush by himself. Another one recently attacked a woman who was sitting down at the edge of the surf by herself. We saw these first two dingoes in the morning. They were resting close to fishermen apparently hoping for a hand-out. It is forbidden to feed the dingoes!
Then we saw this one in the afternoon close to another fisherman.
We had a great day! It is a good way to see part of Fraser Island but I think one of the longer tours (2-3days) would have let us see more in a more leisurely way.