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View Full Version : Come with me - A Day on Fraser Island



Mad Aussie
05-21-2011, 08:58 PM
It's been awhile since I've taken the interested parties at ph.ca on a virtual tour in my region. Yesterday, we decided to head up to Fraser Island, the worlds largest sand island and a world heritage listed region.
I've lived within co-ee of 'Fraser' for more than 30 years, yet have never before taken the time to go for a look. What a fool I've been! :headslap:

There were just 3 of us, my wife, one of my brothers (and his Toyota Landcruiser), and myself.

As I can, I'll add in more photos of the day to this thread.

Keep coming back and see everything we did, from dangerous jellyfish to sea eagles, the purest dingoes in the country to fish in crystal clear streams, miles of beach to rainforest, a shipwreck or two and an awesome rainbow over one of the prettiest lakes around.


A bit of info about Fraser Island from Fraser Island - fraserisland.net - Fraser Island Australia - World Heritage Listed (http://www.fraserisland.net/)

Fraser Island stretches over 123 kilometres in length and 22 kilometres at its widest point. With an area of 184 000 hectares it is the largest sand island in the world.

Fraser Island's World Heritage listing ranks it with Australia's Uluru, Kakadu and the Great Barrier Reef. Fraser Island is a precious part of Australia's natural and cultural heritage, it is protected for all to appreciate and enjoy.

Fraser island is a place of exceptional beauty, with its long uninterrupted white beaches flanked by strikingly coloured sand cliffs, and over 100 freshwater lakes, some tea-coloured and others clear and blue all ringed by white sandy beaches. Ancient rainforests grow in sand along the banks of fast-flowing, crystal-clear creeks.

Fraser Island is the only place in the world where tall rainforests are found growing on sand dunes at elevations of over 200 metres. The low "wallum" heaths on the island are of particular evolutionary and ecological significance, and provide magnificent wildflower displays in spring and summer.



The immense sand blows and cliffs of coloured sands are part of the longest and most complete age sequence of coastal dune systems in the world and they are still evolving.

They are a continuous record of climatic and sea level changes over the last 700 000 years. The highest dunes on the island reach up to 240 metres above sea level.

The Great Sandy Strait, separating Fraser Island from the mainland, is listed by the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention).

The wetlands include: rare patterned ferns; mangrove colonies; sea-grass beds; and up to 40,000 migratory shorebirds. Rare, vulnerable or endangered species include dugongs, turtles, Illidge's ant-blue butterflies and eastern curlews.

Originally we had planned to take 3 vehicles and lots more people on this trip, but as the days led up things went south. One of the vehicle owners pulled out a week before. Then my sister hurt her back so she and her husband pulled out in case the journey aggravated her back again. Then my youngest brother was taken to hospital and is currently in the infectious diseases award with suspected swine flu. As if just surviving his 2nd round of cancer wasn't enough for him. That took out another vehicle and more bodies.
And then there was 3! And then it rained. The weather and the forecast was now against us, things were looking a tad sad but we decided to go anyway because I've found that often inclement weather provides photo opportunities not seen on postcard perfect days.


We were up at 3am and met my brother Glenn at his place a little before 5am. 2 1/2 hrs drive further north and we were on the barge headed for the island.
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3464/5744641020_98d182c99a_o.jpg

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Only 5 mins into our journey and mother nature was putting on a show for us ... hopefully a sign of things to come. It was!
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5067/5744641246_c0cd8d41da_o.jpg

A couple of kilometres from the barge, on Fraser, and we'd just rounded Hook Point at the southern end of the island. Miles of beach lay ahead.
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5026/5744641392_719f4a1faf_o.jpg

We're away :)

Mad Aussie
05-21-2011, 10:07 PM
All along the beach we have to ease up to negotiate these freshwater washouts. Caused by creeks and water seepage from inland, they can get quite deep and soft, and many a 4x4 has been rolled and destroyed (even killing the occupants) from recklessly attacking these at speed. In some lights, they can be difficult to see as well.
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5107/5744807292_2a32e4fda7_o.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2171/5744807548_7e9c890f48_o.jpg

Passing other beach users. Normal road rules apply here on the beach so we must pass on each others right hand side ... driving on the left just like normal roads in Australia.
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3120/5744809086_fb7ff984ea_o.jpg

Excuse the bland composition of some of my shots but many are taken at 80 kph (50 mph) out of the window of the Landcruiser. This one looks to be the remains of the nose of an Indonesian fishing boat. We saw a few other bits along the beach from this boat as well. Australia has a constant battle with Indonesia to keep their fishing boats out of our waters.
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5102/5744807738_90f7a24e0d_o.jpg

We saw quite a few coconuts along the beach as well
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3406/5744808894_8248a34912_o.jpg

As we were driving along we could hear 'pop' ... 'pop' ... 'pop' sounds as the tyres ran over something. I suddenly realised what it was. We were running over Bluebottle jellyfish, also called Portuguese Man o War.
The Man o' War is found in warm water seas floating on the surface of open ocean, its air bladder keeping it afloat and acting as a sail while the rest of the organism hangs below the surface. It has no means of self-propulsion and is entirely dependent on winds, currents, and tides.
The tentacles that can be up to 50 meters (165 feet) in length, but are typically only between 5 - 10 meters (15 - 30 ft). I've never seen them longer.
The Portuguese Man o' War is responsible for up to 10,000 human stings in Australia each summer, particularly on the east coast where I live and the welts and pain can last a few days. Yes, I've been stung, and yes, it does hurt. The north east winds bring them in so the smart look for them on the beach when the winds blow in from this direction.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2255/5744259845_6594f5c5e6_o.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2659/5744260061_2c5a8590d3_o.jpg

Many more to come when I get time :)

Mad Aussie
05-21-2011, 11:59 PM
After many kilometres of driving up the beach we arrived at the wreck of the SS Maheno. This was to be the furtherest north we would travel with the time we had. It takes many days to see all of what Fraser Island offers.

More info from Fraser Island - fraserisland.net - Fraser Island Shipwrecks (http://www.fraserisland.net/fraser-island-shipwrecks.html)

Fraser Island has claimed many ships with twenty-three wrecks were recorded in Fraser Island waters between 1856 and 1935, when the S.S. Maheno beached near The Pinnacles. The Sandy Cape light house was switched on in 1870 but this, and a smaller light on Woody Island, did little to alleviate the number of ships wrecked.

The Maheno - is the most famous of Fraser Island's wrecks and has become a landmark attraction. Built in 1905, the SS Maheno was one of the first turbine-driven steamers. She plied a regular route between Sydney and Auckland until she was commissioned as a hospital ship in Europe during World War One. She also served in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

In 1935, she and her sister ship the Oonah were sold to Japan for scrap.

The rudders of the boats were removed and they were being towed to Japan. When they reached Queensland Waters, a cyclonic storm snapped the tow chain and the Maheno drifted helplessly onto Fraser Island's ocean beach.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2528/5745111034_0939129e6a_o.jpg

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http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2434/5745112406_dd86a69243_o.jpg

From here we turned south and back tracked a little way to see a small, but beautiful stream.

Bambi
05-22-2011, 12:17 AM
truly an excellent set!!! thanks for taking me on the tour. but slow down a bit eh and enjoy the scenery :)

Mad Aussie
05-22-2011, 12:25 AM
truly an excellent set!!! thanks for taking me on the tour. but slow down a bit eh and enjoy the scenery :)
No time. No time. We only had a single day, AND, on Fraser you have to plan your day around the high tide or risk getting caught in the dunes or watching your 4x4 sink slowly beneath the waves. :)
But don't worry, we did spend almost an hour hiding under a tree from the rain and waiting for rainbows as you'll see later ;)

Mad Aussie
05-22-2011, 01:13 AM
Out along the open beach we constantly were on the lookout for wild life and interesting structures.

A Fraser Island Dingo, reputed to be the most pure of them all. It's a $40,000 fine to feed these animals which is in no small way because of the danger they present to humans. Mainly children.
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2192/5744733519_44464ea00b_o.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3032/5744733739_e37efd382e_o.jpg

Fresh tracks in fresh sand
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5061/5745278852_d48ca63e09_o.jpg

There's some reasonable sized dunes around here
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5306/5744732337_9c0fe0bbb6_o.jpg

Coloured sands in the dunes
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5265/5745278154_5f058fd617_o.jpg

Mad Aussie
05-22-2011, 01:16 AM
This is one of our prettier raptors, the White-bellied Sea Eagle. We saw quite a few of these large birds
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3092/5744733283_3c74c1bf11_o.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3542/5745279430_61dc4e80dc_o.jpg

The Pied Oyster-Catchers were as weary as ever
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2277/5744732981_deeb0f84fd_o.jpg

Next ... Eli Creek's crystal clear waters ...

The little Red-capped Plovers looked out of place on the beach to me
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3110/5744732801_b426dca686_o.jpg

Mad Aussie
05-22-2011, 03:16 AM
A little after 10am we arrived back to a place, we had driven by to see the Maheno, called Eli Creek.
As you'll see from the photos, the weather wasn't given us the bright sun that makes the white, sandy bottomed creek sing with clarity and colour but it still wasn't bad at all.

Here we are looking at the mouth of the creek and a boardwalk that keeps visitors out of the environment and restricts how far up the creek you can go.
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5182/5744998701_9accaa53ff_o.jpg

Looking back out to sea and Glenn's Landcruiser parked on high ground
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2508/5745544656_66b88464c1_o.jpg

Glenn walking across the boardwalk
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2098/5745545062_2929c6712a_o.jpg

Looking upstream
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3339/5745545556_208307d849_o.jpg

You can make a grand entrance here
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3111/5745000035_cacd95e830_o.jpg

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5184/5745000555_991a0e6c37_o.jpg

It looks about 6 inches (150mm) deep, but in reality it's about 30 inches (500mm) deep. You can see a couple of small freshwater fish in there too.
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2765/5745546550_5f55b17e3c_o.jpg

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5309/5745547386_c51338d5b4_o.jpg

Mad Aussie
05-22-2011, 03:20 AM
Time to head further south and look for the inland trails to a magical sand lake (there are several on Fraser) so we headed back to the Landcruiser where a 4x4 tour bus and a plane we had seen earlier parked way down the beach had arrived with their load of tourists.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2774/5745000995_b7f56b7092_o.jpg

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http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2347/5745001171_b8f16f4b56_o.jpg

MoinMoin
05-22-2011, 03:31 AM
Steve, that's an excellent pictures story. With these wonderful photos I can live the journey with you - even thousands of kilometers away!

Mad Aussie
05-22-2011, 03:35 AM
Steve, that's an excellent pictures story. With these wonderful photos I can live the journey with you - even thousands of kilometers away!
I'm pleased you are enjoying the trip with me Kerstin :) Keep the seatbelt on tight ... we aren't finished yet ;)

Mad Aussie
05-22-2011, 04:59 AM
So, around 11.30 am we turned inland and began the long, slow journey through the rainforests towards Lake McKenzie.

The speed limit is 30 kph through these roads but in many places it's not really possible to even do that.

As we got away from the beach, the flora changed quickly and soon we were in a section of cool looking trees that looked like they were bleeding rust!
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3397/5745773580_78c9d455f5_o.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2748/5745774422_f1cc093e94_o.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2590/5745774714_08d5cdee3f_o.jpg

Further in still and the plants were becoming even more varied
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3461/5745226679_03bf4f0a3a_o.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3028/5745775406_40ba236470_o.jpg

Mad Aussie
05-22-2011, 05:03 AM
As we got towards the islands center, things got wetter
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3477/5745227305_8c2c7273ec_o.jpg

I decided to play with some slow shutter shots and capture a sensation of speed. We were only doing 30 kph but it looks like were flying!
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2784/5745776066_6ebb507640_o.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2394/5745227871_31d4ff113d_o.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2772/5745228137_736999d9bf_o.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2535/5745776960_a908c6c918_o.jpg

next stop ... the lake

okmqaz42
05-22-2011, 05:52 AM
Powerful, truly wonderful. Thanks for doing that it is great to really get a view of another country. Perfect..

Mad Aussie
05-22-2011, 06:55 AM
Powerful, truly wonderful. Thanks for doing that it is great to really get a view of another country. Perfect..
Thanks okmqaz42 ... glad you are enjoying the ride ;)

Iguanasan
05-22-2011, 09:46 AM
Me too, me too! What a trip. Very cool and awesome images. Can't wait to see the rest.

Mad Aussie
05-22-2011, 06:07 PM
It was around 1.45 pm, after a long, slow crawl through the inland trails before we finally arrived at Lake McKenzie.

The rain was falling so we huddled under the rear door of the Landcruiser and enjoyed some shortbread biscuits and a coffee before heading to the lake when the rain eased around 2.05 pm.

Here was our first look (2.08pm)
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3367/5748131768_a87e89a52f_o.jpg

Without rain around the sand, which is incredibly fine, is usually blindingly white in the sun.
Across the lake we could see the rain coming again (2.10 pm)
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3370/5748132156_4e9edefc1c_o.jpg

After huddling under a tree for awhile and finally giving up and heading back up to the toilet shelter, we sat and waited out the rain. For about an hour.

Back down at the lake we wondered if the sun would come out and truly show off the deep blue and incredible green of this lake or whether our time here would be a bit bland.
Here Glenn is standing almost knee deep in the crystal clear water yet you'd swear it was barely ankle deep. (3.07 pm)
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2582/5748132906_29c0c9c057_o.jpg

Suddenly I noticed a rainbow forming as I took this shot ... (3.08 pm)
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5069/5748134014_cd2035e461_o.jpg

We bolted back up the beach to a better advantage point and were rewarded for the long journey and the persistence we showed by hanging around this long (3.09 pm)
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2773/5747586625_ef8bb62636_o.jpg

(3.10pm)
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2453/5748134734_664144c069_o.jpg

(3.11pm)
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3064/5748135220_2eab691fee_o.jpg

(3.19 pm)
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2724/5748237500_434864eb89_o.jpg

Mad Aussie
05-22-2011, 06:18 PM
These people were watching the rainbow as well
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3044/5748258538_638a2f99ed_o.jpg

These guys didn't really care. The lake was cold for us Aussie's but these POM's loved it. "Warm summers day back 'ome, me ole cock!"
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5301/5747587963_e533f44a3a_o.jpg

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By 3.30pm we were away again. We had to get to the barge by 5.30pm or we'd be spending a night in the cruiser.
I liked the trees in this shot
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5230/5747589733_2e6f5f20fc_o.jpg

We drove through a section of mossy bank after mossy bank
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2012/5748138062_802a4f13ba_o.jpg

Mad Aussie
05-22-2011, 06:25 PM
Time Travel
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5308/5747590775_a5c9545137_o.jpg

Emerald Forest
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2575/5747591433_aa2969db77_o.jpg

By 4 pm we were back on the beach with plenty of time to make the barge thankfully. You never know how long these trails will take so you need to give yourself leeway.
The rain was starting to fall again
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5103/5748139580_a637783f2b_o.jpg

(4.01 pm)
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3037/5747592137_039fe89c1a_o.jpg

And then the rain came down ... hard. Several hours later, we were almost home and it was still hammering down. We'd even seen another 4x4 hit a huge puddle on the tarmac and get so close to spearing off the road that he pulled over and stopped.

We rolled into Glenn's place at around 7.30 pm ... had a coffee ... put our gear in our car ... and drove the final hour home to Brisbane ... and went to sleep! A 17 1/2 hr day done ... ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz zzz zz z ....

Thanks for coming along for the ride :)

Iguanasan
05-22-2011, 07:24 PM
Amazing... the rainbow was beautiful. Thanks for a lovely trip without the long ride :)

Mad Aussie
05-22-2011, 07:54 PM
Amazing... the rainbow was beautiful. Thanks for a lovely trip without the long ride :)
It was a good day :)

edG
05-22-2011, 08:46 PM
incredible set MA- thanks for sharing!

Mad Aussie
05-22-2011, 08:59 PM
incredible set MA- thanks for sharing!
Thank you EdG :)

Bambi
05-23-2011, 09:08 AM
wow, the rainbow, crystal clear water, action shots, all are wonderful!!

mbrager
05-23-2011, 10:51 AM
Interesting place, and a lot of logistics involved to get there. I love the photos you took from the moving vehicle. I can imagine you leaning out the open window, holding your camera precariously to get the shots. They work very well. Thanks for sharing the trip. Looks like a 4 wheel drive vehicle is going to be standard equipment for photographers. I've been looking at Jeep Wranglers myself.:rolleyes:

Marko
05-23-2011, 11:59 AM
This is a wonderful set MA - such variety and many interesting compositions. I like the fact that you included your vehicle in many of the shots, an interesting creative choice.
Gonna blog this thread - hope that's cool - Marko

Mad Aussie
05-23-2011, 05:18 PM
This is a wonderful set MA - such variety and many interesting compositions. I like the fact that you included your vehicle in many of the shots, an interesting creative choice.
Gonna blog this thread - hope that's cool - Marko
Yes of course. Thanks Marko.

Thanks also Bambi and MB.

4x4's are certainly an advantage over here if you really want to get out see something different. Having said that though, you can pretty much get a tour for everywhere in Aussie. No real hanging out of windows MB ... just the arm and camera ... and we had a sunroof too.

We saw a lot of the beach on the east side of the island ... probably about a 3rd of it I guess, but we saw very little of the interior and nothing of the west side. There are heaps of other lakes, rock formations, a lighthouse, couple more wrecks, huge sand blows to be seen yet. Might be a year or so, but we'll go back and stay a few days next time if we can.

aubintbay
05-23-2011, 06:30 PM
Awsome set as always MA! Easy to see why it is world heritage listed.

Mad Aussie
05-23-2011, 06:58 PM
Awsome set as always MA! Easy to see why it is world heritage listed. Thanks :)

Yisehaq
05-24-2011, 03:11 AM
What an enjoyable story telling MA!
I think, I now can say, I have been to Fraser Island.:shrug:.

johnbriner
05-24-2011, 03:17 AM
Just by looking at these pictures, I feel as though I was on the tour too. Fraser Island has a lot of good stuff; wish I could go there with my wife. Thanks for sharing these, Steve.

Mad Aussie
05-24-2011, 03:21 AM
Thank you both Yisehag and JB ... glad you enjoyed joining us on our little journey :)

Hillbillygirl
05-24-2011, 06:50 AM
I thank you for taking us on yet another of your wonderful adventures in such a beautiful part of the world MA. Love the variety of scenes/wildlife, plus the very informative narrative from yourself. It was definitely a wonderful day, and I don't know who enjoyed it more, yourselves, or all of us here that you shared it with.

Mad Aussie
05-24-2011, 07:39 AM
I thank you for taking us on yet another of your wonderful adventures in such a beautiful part of the world MA. Love the variety of scenes/wildlife, plus the very informative narrative from yourself. It was definitely a wonderful day, and I don't know who enjoyed it more, yourselves, or all of us here that you shared it with.
Thank you for saying so :)

casil403
05-24-2011, 09:17 AM
Awesome set MA...love your narrative as well. Looks like you all had a great time!

Mad Aussie
05-24-2011, 03:39 PM
Awesome set MA...love your narrative as well. Looks like you all had a great time!
Thanks Casil :)