Off-roading Australia - Fraser Island Tag Along Tour
June 29, 2016
If you are looking for adventure with a bunch of like minded backpackers, the Fraser's on Rainbow Tag Along Tour on Fraser Island is the ultimate experience. The three day 4WD tour across the island gives you the chance to cruise along some beautiful, wide beaches as well as in among the dense forest behind the wheel of a fully equipped 4WD in order to get to some of the islands natural beauties. After each day of adventure, there is then also the entire evening to enjoy plenty of goon (alcohol).
A compulsory tour briefing on the afternoon prior to our departure the following day introduces the group to the adventure before assigning us our new best friends who we will share one of the 4WDs with. The afternoons talks were primarily given to ensure our safety whilst on the island, addressing the potential dangers and the manner in which we should conduct ourselves. With all the rules and regulations addressed, food and goon was next on the agenda giving no limits as long as no one caused any issues and it could fit in the land cruiser. Dismissed late afternoon, most headed off to the liquor store to stock up on supply’s before ensuring a small bag with the essentials was ready for the early morning start.
Unlimited pancakes for breakfast was not a bad start to the day despite the miserable weather. With no roads on the islands, a concise crash course on driving a 4WD gave all drivers the basics needed for the island which left nothing else to do than take the short drive to catch the ferry off the beach.
Having never previously driven along the depths of a beach, it was pretty awesome being able to cruise in a four car convoy for miles along beautiful, wide beaches reaching speeds of 80kph. Despite having to keep clear from the salty waters as the waves rolled up the beach, running in amongst the winter sea sprays under a gloomy overcast sky all came together for the perfect off-road adventure.
With very little civilisation on the island, we only came across locals or other adventurers on the rare occasion, allowing us to really enjoy and appreciate the unspoiled nature of this spectacular island. With Eurong being the largest of the three ‘main’ developed areas on the island, as well as being on route to our campsite, short stops gave us a chance to stretch our legs on solid ground and use the luxury of a toilet. For those also wanting to stay in a little more luxury than just a tent, Eurong is one of the few options with three resorts within arms reach of each other.
When considering the size of the island, the number of individual attractions and just it’s overall natural beauty, you could easily spend over a week exploring but being on a tour, only a selection of sites were going to be possible. With years of experience the itinerary organised by the guides is based on their experiences and those of the very many backpackers from the hundreds of tours throughout the years.
Wabby Lake, both a window lake and a barrage lake, is a perched, freshwater emerald green lake found on the eastern side of the island just a short trek through the forest. Home to a number of species of fish you may be pleasantly or not so pleasantly surprised when given an unexpected foot massage whilst enjoying a swim as these fish nibble on your skin. Despite being the deepest lake on the island at just under 12m deep, being a barrage lake, this popular unique body of water will unfortunately be lost within the next hundred years. As a barrage lake, adjacent to the Hammerstone sand blow, the giant sand dune will eventually swallow the lake, leaving just the memory of one of Frazer Island’s Jewels.
From one perched lake to another and from one of the island’s gems to another, Lake Mckenzie is approximately 150 hectares in size and is located close to the centre of the the island with there being a fair distance from both the east and west shores. Due to a combination of both the rainwater being its only water supply along with the purity of the pure white silica sands which act as a filter, the water within the lake is unbelievably pure making it unsuitable for any forms of life. The purity of the sand does not only give the lake its beauty but may also assist in improving its visitors beauty by providing the perfect polish to shine up any jewellery or believe it or not their teeth!
The endlessly fascinating colours of the lake, its blinding white sands and the dense forest backdrop gives this spot of paradise it’s awe-inspiring beauty which continues even below the waters where the clarity is mesmerising.
The Maheno, another of the iconic landmarks on Fraser Island, is the most famous of the twenty three shipwrecks which were recorded in the waters around the island between 1856 and 1935.The ship was initially built in 1904 and entered service in 1905 operating in the Tasman sea completing crossings between Sydney and Auckland before being commissioned as a Hospital Ship during World War I. After being sold to a Japanese company in 1935 and having the huge brass propellers sold off to fund the towing to Japan, it was on this journey that the Maheno was hit by a cyclone causing it to be washed up onto the shores of Fraser Island. Despite the unsuccessful efforts to re-float the 400 foot vessel, the majority of the interior was salvaged by the locals leaving little more than the exterior. The picturesque rusted shipwreck now sits well submerged in the sand with only its shell remaining and will eventually one day disappear as the constant battering from the sea takes its toll.
Indian Head, the most easterly point of the island at the northern end of seventy five mile beach is a raised vantage point over the rough coastal waters and is theoretically one of the causes of the islands existence having allowed the island to develop into what it is today. The headland, made from volcanic rock is one of only three sections of rock on the island and was originally named by Captain Cook in 1770 as he saw a gathering of Aboriginals who at that time were considered ‘Indians’ (native people). The outcrop allows for stunning 360 degree views as well as scenic sights of the beach for as far as the eyes could see, but as an animal lover, the sighting of 3 sharks, a fair number of large rays and a pod of humpback whales in the distance was undoubtedly the most exciting part of the trip.
Are you a lover for a large jacuzzi minus the unpleasant steamy waters on warm days? The Champagne Pools would be the perfect spot if you are. A collection of shallow, sandy recreational pools formed by volcanic rocks is constantly filled by the waves crashing over them, creating a fizz of foam giving it their name. These beautiful natural pools provide an area of both excitement and tranquility as you are able to get right into the splash zone or float around on the fizzing champagne. Not that you would choose another location but these magnificent waters are also the only waters off the east coast which are safe enough to step into due to the shark infested waters, strong currents and powerful waves.
Aside from Lake McKenzie, Lake Wabby and the Champagne pools, the enchanting Eli Creek also provides for a relaxing swim. As the largest freshwater creek on the eastern coast, a grand volume of approximately 80 million litres of water flows into the ocean. The pure waters which flow from this natural spring are considered as one of the purest in the world as it supposedly takes over 100 years to filter through the sands into the creek. These pristine, clear waters are exceptionally clear and enhance the beauty of the creek as it meanders in amongst the dense green overgrowth. Due to the swiftly flowing creek and access to the lower reaches of the creek via boardwalks, floating along in these fresh waters down to the beach is an invigorating experience and is most certainly a must.