Fraser island, underneath the Aboriginal stars


We, Daphne & Anna, spent 3 days on Fraser island and were blown away. It’s an ecological wonderland at the east coast of Australia, like nowhere else on earth. Aboriginals call it K’Gari, meaning paradise. We really understand why now!

Galangoor djali! (Good day, in Aboriginal language)

Can you imagine? Fraser island was created by 800.000 years of drifting sands. But it’s much more than grains of sand… 120 km of lush rainforest, combined with beautiful, white, outstretched beaches (functioning as the main highway ánd airstrip for little planes), mineral-rich pools of freshwater lakes and creeks, surrounded by sandblows (dunes) that soar above 200m. No wonder it’s a World Heritage listed sand island! Fraser is the home of rich animal and plant life, such as cute looking dingo’s (they are very wild dogs though), turtles, and big, big trees in the rainforest that seem to have been there since the beginning of time.

The beach, functioning as highway and airstrip

Beware, the ocean here is treacherous. It’s not just the strong undertow that gets you in trouble easily, the incredible amount of sharks also makes it quite impossible to go for a refreshing dive. If you’re longing for a salty swim, you can try the Champagne pools – the only safe spot on the island for salt water swimming. Because the water is so foamy, you feel like swimming in champagne. Cheers guys!

Champagne Pools

To reach the shores of Fraser island, it’s easiest to take a ferry from Rainbow Beach or Hervey Bay. Don’t even think of using a regular car to get by on the island – you won’t make it alive. The 4WD’s are the queens of the sandy tracks, and it’s quite useful if you know how to drive one ;)

We went on a semi organised trip, a tag along tour with three 4WD’s and a nice Kiwi guide. It’s awesome to drive through the rainforest and the beaches, where it’s often like playing a funky video game – avoiding the sea to take you in, driving around obstacles like coconuts, potholes and shipwrecks to get to your destination. The tide is tricky, and time has a different meaning on the island. Even the clearance of the mail is controlled by the tides. Makes it even more fun to send a postcard to your homeland. Tip: put some soft red sand in the envelope, for an instant happiness effect ;)

At the bizarrely clear lake McKenzie we went swimming in the rain, but wow, even then it’s incredibly beautiful. The rich mineral sand is supposed to have an anti-ageing effect. Well, we felt younger straight away! Haha. Our cameras were less charmed by the sand, but fortunately they won the battle.

Lake McKenzie

In the middle of the rainforest we encountered a turtle family and saw heaps of trees that become perfect didgeridoo material after the termites have had them for dinner. They’re called chimney trees, because they’re hollow inside. Too bad for the termites they are smoked out after they’ve done their job.

At the super green lake Wabby an enormous steep sandblow (dune) meets a lake, surrounded by eucalypt forest. The sandblow encroaches on the lake at a rate of about 3 meters every year. If we wanted to catch catfish here, it would have been easy peasy. But we felt like making them our Lomography models of the day.

Lake Wabby

A rocky outcrop called Indian head is supposed to be the best vantage point on the island, since you can spot sharks, manta rays, dolphins and (during the mating season) whales from there. Usually we are lucky bastards. Not this time. We did make a spinner picture though, of our fellow travellers. Our Kiwi guide Harps believes the old aboriginal spirits show themselves on the 360° picture. They were thrown off the Indian head if they did not feel like working for the colonists. Auch.

Indian head

Also, we went to Eli creek, a fast-moving crystal clear waterway that carries you downstream effortlessly. Two kilometres further, you’ll find the Maheno shipwreck – a passenger liner that was blown ashore by a cyclone in 1935 while being towed to a Janapese scrap yard. More recently, just a few months back, another wreck was blown ashore, causing the death of about 300 refugees. While looking at the wreck we became very silent, intrigued by this tragedy. Trouble in paradise.

Maheno ship wreck

You can wish upon a million stars every night. We’ve never seen the Milky way shining the way she did above Fraser island! We camped at campground K’Gari, a campsite run by local Aboriginals. Only Aboriginals are allowed fires on the island – but you have to respect their rules: no spitting into the fire and no whistling at the campsite, to prevent bad spirits from showing themselves. Whilst sitting around the bonfire we became friends with the didgeridoo’ing Aboriginal Troy. He took us to the beach (Hi Southern cross! Hi Scorpio!), where he started to make extremely funny, insane moves. A bit like the moonwalk – but a twisted version. While he was doing this, magic kicked in. While he was moving, the wet sand started to show little sparks, like there was a bunch of glowworms coming out! Whaaaat the fuck. There are multiple explanations: phosphor + friction on wet sand + enough darkness (read: physics) / plankton / or pure magic. Ha, we know what we like to believe! Before we knew it, we were moving like crazy ourselves…our own little disco beneath the Milky way. Breathtaking.

Yeah. Fraser island is K’Gari; paradise. But remember what the Aboriginals say: wanya nyin yangu, wanai djinang djaa. Wherever you go, leave only footprints.

Daphne & Anna

Enjoy our tiny gallery below:

written by annais on 2011-05-21 #places #island #australia #lakes #landmark #fish #dogs #planes #location #pacific-ocean #fraser-island #rainforest #4x4 #backpackers #fraser #travel-destination #dingo-s #indian-head

One Comment

  1. saidseni
    saidseni ·

    Love this location! Now I'm jealous, I wanna go there and I don't feel like working!! (; Good job, must have been a fantastic trip, thanks for sharing that fantastic place!

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