Australia is home to the world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island, and I was lucky enough to be able to tag along with one of my American friends and an Australian couple who are family friends of hers when they headed up there for the weekend. A friend who studied in Gold Coast a year before me told me that I absolutely must visit Fraser Island, so I was delighted at the prospect of seeing what beautiful scenery it had to offer! It’s tough to plan a trip to Fraser Island because no one can get on or around the island without a four wheel drive vehicle. There aren’t any paved roads on the island… just one-lane sand clearings between trees. If you’re a tourist, you must go with a tour group or brave the driving by renting a 4WD on your own. (And we’re talking bare-bones 4WD… no A/C, seatbelts or upholstery, just seats!) The driving is pretty treacherous and dangerous, so I was relieved that we would be traveling with a couple who not only had a comfortable SUV but had driven on the island plenty of times.
We spent the Friday night of the weekend in Brisbane with the parents of the wife. They took us to South Bank, which is a beautiful park area right along the Brisbane river. A birthday celebration for Buddha was being held on South Bank, so we got in on some delicious Asian food and perused booth after booth of cheap Asian-looking paraphernalia. (Yes, you know what kind of stuff I’m talking about.) Once it got dark, we got on the CityCat, the ferry system along the Brisbane River that is part of the Brisbane/Gold Coast transportation network. The view from the river of the city all lit up on a Friday night was so pretty!
The next morning, we were up bright and early to drive up to Fraser Island. I think it was about a 3 hour drive (My friend and I slept most of the way!), and when we got there, we took the ferry from the mainland to the island. We drove all along the beach and hit up a couple of hiking paths on our way to Lake Mackenzie, a freshwater lake in the middle of the island. Lake Mackenzie did not disappoint the visual senses. It is a body of beautiful clear blue-green freshwater with a beach around it… basically the most perfect body of water you could ever have, in my mind! We then headed over to the other side of the island to a resort to watch the sun set over the ocean… breathtaking sight! That night, we stayed in another resort on the island and were delighted to find out the restaurant was serving Mexican for dinner! We hadn’t had or even seen a Mexican restaurant since we had been in Australia! (For obvious reasons… there isn’t any Mexican food because there aren’t any Mexicans.)
On Sunday, we continued to explore the island and traveled along the beach to Indian Head, a tall cliff you can climb, Eli Creek, a perfectly clear freshwater creek leading to the ocean, Champagne Pools, where the ocean crashes over the rocks and creates fizzing bubbles, and the Maheno, an old shipwreck right along the beach . We also headed inland to another freshwater lake named Lake Wobby, which is only accessible by walking about a mile across a massive sand dune. The dune steeply slopes downward into the lake, and the Midwesterner in me thought, “Wow… now that would be a fantastic sledding hill!” That evening, we headed home, and I spent the rest of the night trying to get sand out of EVERYTHING I took with me!