I had the unenviable job of having to spend five days last week on Fraser Island. I got asked a few weeks ago by one of my mates Joe if I wanted to come as they had a last-minute cancelation and there was no way known that I was missing out – again – on going up the beach.
The original plan was to meet up at the Caboolture twin servos at 0230 so that we could make the 0600 barge, however with a gentle reminder from Lucy that idea was quickly nixed and a room at the Rainbow Sands motel was quickly sorted and we were set.
Eventually Wednesday arrived and I had still not packed / shopped / sorted the cruiser – typical me – and my plans to leave around lunchtime were shattered because we had finally sold our camper trailer to a guy in WA so I had to get it near Ipswich to the transport company via the company that had just finished servicing the trailer for me because “someone” had left the keys behind when he picked it up earlier in the week…
So I finally got packed, filled the fridge, hooked up the camper, kissed the wife, patted the dogs, got ignored by the cats, picked up the camper keys, dropped off the camper to the transport company and spent a TON of $$$ on tolls getting through Legacy way to the ICB so I could finally get on the motorway and head north via Costco for fuel and a few last minute supplies.
Naturally it was dark by the time I got to the hotel and after checking in, I ducked over the club for dinner. I had the Lamb Shanks and I have to admit that they were not as good as what I was hoping for. So after a second can of Bundy, I headed back to my room to wait for Joe and Dan to rock up.
The boys got in around 2230 and we sat around for a few hours having a gas bag and finally rolled into bed around 0030. The 0530 alarm was not happily greeted however after only a few minor groans we got ourselves on the road, via the servo / bakery – Joe drives a petrol 100 series and I’m fat so I wanted a pie…
We stopped just before the beach and aired down. I decided that 20 psi all round would do me for this week. Once we were all deflated, we hit the beach and hung around for about 10 minutes until the barge made its way to us.
This week we set up at Dundaburra – it was my first time there – and I have to admit that I really like the location of the camp. It is one of the dingo proof camping areas and has flushing toilets coin operated showers ($2) and normally you can have campfires in the rings provided at the campsites.
Not this time however as there was a total fire ban on the entire island – and considering what has been happening in both NSW and QLD both during and after our time away I have zero issues with having that ban in place, the island was so dry.
It didn’t take long to set up camp – love my oz-tent – and we pretty much just chillaxed for the rest of the day.
Day 2 saw us up at the crack of 0900 for a nice leisurely breakfast and then after procrastinating for a while we decided to head to Eli creek and have a soak. We eventually got back to camp just in time for dinner and after cooking up a feast on the webber we had a few ales and then headed for bed.
Day 3 we decided to head to the west coast as Dan really wanted to check out Awinya Creek so we headed in via Woralie Creek. Both spots were brilliant. We hit the beach at Woralie creek and found the freshwater creek behind the dunes to take a few pictures in. After that, we headed up the west coast and arrived at Awinya creek and quickly had the fox wings set up and our bums settled in our chairs. Before lunch we decided to walk up the creek, it’s about the same width as Eli Creek is where everyone parks.
We hiked for about 500m and found what we reckoned would be a perfect camp spot – provided there were no midgies and the persistent westerly buggered off…
A bit further up the creek we found pretty much “the spot” to chillax for the rest of the day. It was a waste deep hole so that once you sat on your knees, the water came just up to your chin. The only thing missing was the esky with the drinks…
Eventually we realised that we needed to head back towards Happy Valley to fill up Joe’s thirsty beast and to grab an ice cream so we tracked back through the middle of the island, hit Main Beach, turned left and headed for the servo.
Day 4 after a little bit of a lie in we decided to head to the cape. All was going well until we hit Ngkala and the usual idiots trying to get through with way to high tyre pressure and / or their traction control still on.
Joe and Dan made it through, however just as I was about to hit the coffee rock this muppet in Hilux dual cab cuts in front of me and then proceeds to bounce his way through the soft stuff until he buries himself about 50m up the track.
He stuffs around and gets himself out with his maxtrax however the damage has been done. By this stage the sand was blisteringly hot and because of the holes that he dug on the exit of the coffee rock the 200 pretty much bounced herself up the sills. I managed to reverse back about 2 meters before she went down again so before I was totally buried, I got off the power and the guy behind me in a 76 wagon came to the rescue and snatched me backwards.
I wasn’t even going to try and get through the bypass again so I headed onto the beach and timing the waves and with some careful guidance from Joe, I made it down the coffee rock slope and back onto the beach.
We set up the foxwings again and this time we also bought the Webber so we had butterflied lamb wraps for lunch while we relaxed and tried to solve all the worlds problems.
We eventually managed to drag ourselves back into the vehicles for the run down the beach and this time with a VERY healthy right boot and Low 4 the 200 bounced her way through the bypass track and back onto orchid beach.
It was about this time that I realised that this morning I was in low 2 and with the sand as soft as it was maybe I had too much low-down power for the conditions. The afternoon run in low 4 was a totally different feel. The car stayed “on top” of the sand and didn’t even feel like it was about to go down.
Hmmm something to remember. I also caught up with Mr and Mrs Townie who were up for a few days with Marks’ work.
Day 5 and our last full day on the Island we decided to head back to Eli Creek for the day to do some “site seeing” so we got ourselves a prime spot, circled the wagons, set up the fox wings and settled down to do as little as possible.
Just as we were about to crank out the BBQ for lunch the rangers made an appearance to tell everyone that with the fire danger getting as bad as it was, that from tomorrow they were considering not even letting us use our gas cookers unless we had an extinguisher and or 10 litres of water close to hand.
As we had been pretty much cut off from the news for the last few days, it did come as a bit of a shock when the Ranger told us that some of Noosa North Shore had been evacuated.
Day 6 and we finally had to head for home. We were on the beach just after 0730 and smashing our way through the soft sand. We really did not have a good run this week. The tide was almost always either on the way up, or just on the way down every time we went to do something. As a result, Dan just before we got to happy valley and decided to put a squirt of fuel into the TD80 – by this stage I was just on half a tank – and we continued down the beach.
Some of the washouts were HUGE this time and we had to be extra careful not to literally run off the edge of the world. There were also some pretty big creek crossing / holes that we had to drive through. Luckily though, they were all fresh water so we took the opportunity to get a bit of the sand and salt off the cars.
Eventually / unfortunately we made it back to the barge and the car wash at rainbow. After giving the vehicles some TLC and reinflating the tyres, I said see ya to the boys and headed for the motorway and home.
Via Costco for another top up…