|Cruising down Eli Creek (that's Anna in the black). Image: Reichlyn Aguilar (closest to the camera)|
The term ‘backpackers’ has long been one that frightened me. It’s up there with spiders, Great White Sharks and clowns. But, as is usually the case when fear-facing, my expectations were wildly exceeded. I even learnt a thing or two along the way.
|Bubbles of fun at The Champagne Pools|
Talk about a bonus.
To my surprise, the bus was quieter than a sunrise at Kingfisher Bay. There were no crazy drinking games, no obnoxious yelling, and no stopping for road-side post-bender-emits. The night before had been a late (or early?) one for my fellow travellers, or Cool Dingoes as I called them.
Lesson number two: Young, international travellers know how to party their way through the night and sleep on an off-road bus during the day. If the ability to speak three different languages didn’t impress me, this certainly did. To be honest, the lack of animation threw me a little. I’m not sure if I was disappointed or relieved. Does it still count as brave if they were lovely and placid?
At least it gave me plenty of time to listen in on the conversations happening through the bus.
|Those Fraser Island worms are man-eaters. Watch out!|
The beaches surrounding a lot of Fraser Island aren’t meant for swimming and the Cool Dingoes had been warned of the risks: rips, jellyfish and sharks. So when they saw a woman dip her toes into the cool blue waters, they (hilariously) feared for her life. Of course, they had to check my theory once I explained it was still just ocean – not acid water – and toe-dipping probably wasn’t going to kill anyone.
Shoes went flying and feet were in the water faster than you could say “Bluebottle Jellyfish”. Until I pointed one out, that is. Then it was like watching it all in rewind. Maybe they were being sensible, or maybe it was because I told them the jellyfish were deadly; we will never know for sure. (Note: Bluebottle Jellyfish don’t kill, they just sting for a bit).
Take two of the games happened at the beautiful Eli Creek, one of my favourite spots on the island. As any good traveller would, I reassured them they were perfectly safe and answered all their “will this kill me?” questions. I did, however, warned the Cool Dingoes of the piranhas hanging out around the bend. Cue screams.
Lesson four: Travellers will believe anything you tell them. I did tell them the truth, eventually. (Note: There are no piranhas in the waters on Fraser Island. Just shiny little fish that don’t like eat humans… most of the time).
|You'll find lots of laughs and plenty of new friends on Fraser.|
Meanwhile, I’m going home to tick that fear right off my list. Would I book myself onto a Cool Dingo tour again? You betcha. Well, that is until I’m over the age threshold and I can’t convince anyone otherwise.
Meet you at the Dingo Bar.
Five COOL reasons to book yourself into a Cool Dingo Tour on your next trip to Fraser Island.
- Backpackers just want to have fun. They know how to let their hair down and they’ll force you to do the same.
- The tour guides know their stuff. I’ve been to the island a couple of times and I still learnt a bunch of facts and secrets I never knew before.
- You get to see some of K’Gari’s hidden surprises. When time permits, the guides will happily show you their favourites. Without them, you might miss out on some pretty cool sights – like the skeleton of a whale.
- The island is only open to four-wheel drives, so if you don’t have access to one, the tours are a safe, easy, and affordable option. Plus super-efficient and quick – they always have right of way.
- You get to really experience Fraser Island as an Australian and as a visitor, and make some new friends while doing so.