One Eyebrow Raised On Fraser Island

GUEST BLOG: We're constantly amazed at the diversity of the peeps that travel with us and love to hear about their interesting back stories. It's pretty cool too when they flick us an email, Facebook post or tweet to tell us they've loved Cool Dingo and Fraser Island and can't wait to tell the world!  

So we'd like to introduce you to another of our Cool Dingo travelling alumni -  22-year-old Deborah - world traveller, graduate student, crazy funster and prolific blogger.  In her own words, Deborah "amuses myself by over analysing news, gossip, music, films, and insignificant goings on in the form of sarcastic blog posts." There's no b/s here - just some cool stuff about about her time on the world's largest sand island with Cool Dingo's  pocket rocket, Ranger Kirstey (and Kirstey's pics).  Enjoy!

Travelling is all about decisions, and important ones too. Where to go? If you’ve only got a few days somewhere, you don’t want to waste them all in a crummy town that you once read had a cheap bar but turns out to have nothing else. Where to stay? Budget youth hostels and sharing bunk beds with any number of weird strangers, or expensive hotel, and be out of pocket, comfortable and bored? Who to go with? You don’t want to go with someone you kind of know from one of your modules at uni, only to find out they have weird habits like chewing mints instead of brushing their teeth or not wearing shoes and saying stuff like ‘I like the feel of the soil under my feet’.

Thankfully, although people always warned me it was a bad idea to travel in groups of three, it has worked out for us so far, and we’ve found it kind of useful. Two night or three nights in a place? Pizza or pasta for dinner? Remove the spider from the room or pretend it isn’t there? All our decisions have been made swiftly and easily – majority rules, and if the odd person doesn’t like it, they can do what they want on their own (which is why I’ve ended up in Subway so many times while my two thinner companions eat salad).

Fraser Island's a must see on any east coast itin
How to see Fraser Island, the world’s biggest sand island and a must-visit for anyone, backpacker or not, visiting Australia, was the first big decision the three of us struggled to make harmoniously. Everyone we’d ever spoken to (or stalked on Facebook) who had visited Australia had done Fraser Island in the typical backpacker way: paying around $350 for two days, two nights of camping, getting around by driving their own 4X4 cars on the beach, pitching their own tents, making their own food and generally having a blast.

One of my travelling buds was dubious about camping. ‘I don’t want an ant to crawl into my bum,’ she explained to the travel agent, who tried to contain himself. (‘Himself’ is Graham, by the way, from the Ultimate Party company in Cairns – if you are ever there, book everything through him. He takes hours out of his time to explain everything patiently, and even gave us some sweet discounts.)

He explained that for even cheaper, with a company called Cool Dingo, we could get three nights on Fraser Island in lodge accommodation (with toilets! and showers!), including all our food and a guided tour every day on a big 4X4 bus.

‘I just don’t understand why it’s the same price,’ I kept saying. And I really didn’t. How could we get our own beds, cooked meals and a guided tour for less money than sleeping on the soil moments away from snakes and Huntsman spiders? It turns out that the company that lets you drive the 4X4s yourself has to pay a huge amount for insurance as so many idiots think it’s funny to drive into the sea or simply can’t control the cars on the roads, which are sandy and basically run as smoothly as Katie Price’s average relationship.

After hours debating whether we’d rather have the ‘proper’ Fraser experience of sleeping in tents and driving the cars ourselves, we agreed to do the tour with Cool Dingo. It was one of those awkward moments where I had to make the decision, because both of my friends wanted to do one tour in particular, and I could have been swayed either way. Yet having camped in a tent every summer in England for a couple of weeks, I had ‘experience’ enough of being damp and stinking and uncomfortable for days on end. Hygiene is hygiene, no matter how much fun you’re having. I can still smell the Portaloos years later.

‘We’re only going to be on Fraser Island once,’ I reasoned. ‘Let’s do it in flashpacker style.’

WOMAN power on Fraser Island (that's Kirstey on the left)
No regrets. The Cool Dingo tour was fantastic (we even saw an actual dingo). Our guide Kirstey never stopped smiling (even when we burst a tyre in the middle of the beach) as she drove us down ridiculously bumpy roads, hiked through forests with us and took us to freshwater creeks. She even supplied us with apples, homemade cookies and cereal bars, and there’s no quicker way to my heart than with food (except perhaps an uncanny resemblance to Sawyer from Lost).

Our first port of call was Lake McKenzie, beautiful and filled entirely with rain. After going in there, I’m never paying for hair treatments again – the water made our hair incredibly soft. If I hadn’t been squinting because of the strong midday sun, I definitely would have tried to pull off the Cheryl Cole L’oreal advert and swung my hair around, which would almost certainly have been a huge fail.

We also trekked through a forest and took a much needed dip in Basin Lake. Excitingly, we unexpectedly saw a goanna on the ground – which looks like a tiny crocodile – peering at us with suspicious eyes. That wasn’t as terrifying as Laura’s experience with a goanna – she went to throw her food in the bin only to have a goanna appear out of the bin bag. When she shrieked, the cook advised her to lie down on the floor, because the goanna might think she was a tree and climb up her. Creepy.

As backpackers wanting to ease some of the pain of carrying all that weight on our shoulders (literally painful shoulders, not in some ‘cry me a river I’m having so much fun’ metaphorical way), the best news was yet to come – as part of Cool Dingo, we were allowed to swim and hang out in the jacuzzi at the nearby swanky Kingfisher Bay Resort. A true gap yah experience.

The rusted hulk of The Maheno rises out of 75-Mile Beach
The next day, we drove along the 75 Mile Beach, all the while Kirstey telling us of Aboriginal stories from the 19th century about how Fraser Island came to be called so. We stopped to gaze, dumbfounded, at the surreal Maheno shipwreck, a luxury cruise ship built in 1905 which, after a series of unfortunate encounters, came to be washed up on the Fraser Island shore.

Driving along the beach was fun and surreal in itself – apart from the occasional spritz of water spurting up at me from the bottom of my seat, making me feel like I’d been peed on by the ocean.  We also climbed to the top of Indian Head and gazed out at the turtles and jellyfish swimming below, swum in Eli Creek and The Champagne Pools (unfortunately not actually filled with champagne) and visited the coloured rocks along the shore.

Our last stop before a final delicious (and all you can eat…mmm) Mexican dinner was the jetty to watch the sun go down on the beautiful Fraser Island.

Another thing I did this week was read Alice in Wonderland on my Kindle. In it, the Duchess finds ridiculously convoluted morals in every situation. If I had to find one for my incredible trip to Fraser Island, it would be this: make sure you ask your travel agents hundreds of questions. They all made fun of us, whether in Melbourne, Cairns or Airlie Beach: ‘Oh, you girls are really giving me a tough time today!’

They are taking hundreds of dollars off you, and getting a huge commission, so don’t be scared to ask for every answer you want. I’ve no doubt the people going on the standard 4X4 Fraser Island trip had a great time too, but if we hadn’t been pushy and ant-phobic, we probably wouldn’t have found out about the Cool Dingo tour, which exceeded all our expectations, from the spotless accommodation to delicious food to perfect tour guide – and all for a reasonable price.

This blog was originally published on and was reproduced with the author's permission.  Photos used in this blog post are from Kirstey's personal collection and are (c) Cool Dingo Tour.

Eat Your Heart Out, Bond! Adrenaline-charged Fun On Fraser Island

GUEST BLOG: Journalist Rob McFarland is an accomplished travel writer who divides his time between Sydney, New York, the UK and pretty much everywhere in between.  He, and his brother Luke, visited Fraser Island about 12 months ago on a boy’s adventure weekend and their adrenaline-pumping experiences were recently published in The Malaysian Star.  It’s not quite James Bond… but it’s still pretty world class!

FRASER ISLAND: THIS isn’t quite the James Bond moment I’d imagined. If Daniel Craig had jet-skied from Hervey Bay to Fraser Island, he’d have worn a white tuxedo and been accompanied by a stunning brunette.  I, on the other hand, am wearing swimming goggles and am clinging onto my brother.

When we met Larry from Aquavue Watersports at 6am, the sea was mirror flat and the sun was just poking over the horizon. Now we’re in the middle of the Great Sandy Strait between the mainland and Fraser Island, the wind has picked up and it’s seriously choppy.
A Not-Quite-Bond-Moment enroute to Fraser Island
Up until I donned my swimming goggles, this meant a rather uncomfortable ride while being relentlessly splashed in the face. Now that I’m suitably attired, it’s some of the best fun I’ve ever had sitting down.

I’m on Queensland’s Fraser Coast for an action-packed long weekend with my brother.  The aim is to experience as much adrenaline and adventure as we can in three days. Yesterday, we kicked it all off with a stand-up paddle-boarding lesson from Enzo, owner of Enzo’s On The Beach.

After wading out into the warm water of the bay, we paddled over clusters of coral looking for fish and other marine life.  I was just thinking how well we were doing when I realised we’d been paddling downwind. It turns out that paddling into the wind is another matter.  Lie-down paddle-boarding doesn’t have the same glamorous following as its stand-up sibling, but I’d recommend it if you ever have to get back to shore in a strong headwind.

Next up was wakeboarding at Susan River Homestead, a 30-minute drive from Hervey Bay.  I’d never tried it before but owner Paul “Call me Cookey” Cooke reassured me that he’d “never had someone not get up yet”.  Kitted out with helmet and lifejacket, I lay in the water with the board out in front and let the cable pull me along.  And blow me if Cookey wasn’t right – I was up the first time.  Making the turn at the end of the course to come back took a little longer to master.

It ends up taking us two hours to jet-ski to Fraser Island, and there waiting for us is Shayla*, a stunning 10m catamaran that offers sightseeing cruises around the bay.  While skipper Brett hoists the sail, we lie in the sun and enjoy a leisurely cruise along Fraser’s coastline.

As we pass Duck Island – one of the other islands in the bay – Brett points out ospreys, herons and two rare Beach Stone-curlews bobbing along the beach. They often see dolphins as well as humpback whales during their annual migration.

After a swim and some morning tea, it’s time to ramp up the action again. Brett unfurls the boom net from the back of the boat and we all jump in and hang on as we’re dragged through the water.  There are only four of us onboard today but Brett reckons he’s had 15 on it in the past.

As we pull into the wharf at Kingfisher Bay Resort, I’m reminded of the last time I visited Fraser Island.  I was backpacking and eight of us hired a 4WD from the mainland, stocked up on supermarket food and camped on the beach each night.

It was good fun, but now being older and wiser, I’m much happier checking into the welcoming arms of the Kingfisher Bay Resort.  This low-rise, eco-friendly property has won a bevy of ecotourism awards for its seamless integration with the natural habitat. Boasting four pools, three restaurants and a nightclub, it manages to provide the full resort experience without really feeling like a resort.

It also has a sensational on-site spa – after taking a pounding on the jet ski, I’m very content to let therapist Robin ease my aching muscles with a coma-inducing hot-stone massage and facial.  After a sensational dinner in Seabelle, Kingfisher’s award-winning restaurant, followed by a sound night’s sleep, we are ready to explore the largest sand island in the world.

And while there are several excellent guided tours available, there’s nothing quite like jumping in a 4WD and doing it yourself.  All day we bound along winding sandy tracks, weave our way through lush, towering rainforest, swim in crystal-clear lakes and speed along the hard, flat sand of Fraser’s wild eastern beach.

Take to the tracks on the world's largest sand island.
Ideally, you’d want to spend at least two days here but even though we have only a day, we manage to see the rusted wreck of the Maheno, take in the panoramic views from Indian Head and marvel at the incomparable colour of Lake McKenzie.

It’s a privilege to be able to explore this World Heritage-listed icon, and careering around it in a 4WD seems a fitting finale to our action-packed weekend.  There are still plenty of adrenaline-charged activities we haven’t got around to trying – microlighting, skydiving and kite surfing to name a few, so we’ll just have to come back.

And while my chances of persuading a stunning brunette to accompany me are slim, I can at least pack a white tuxedo.

*Shayla Sailing Cruises no longer operate from Kingfisher Bay Resort.  The resort has just introduced several new cruising products with Captain Keith and the team from Freedom III.

 The writer was a guest of Kingfisher Bay Resort and Tourism Queensland.

Dingoes, Dunes And Desolation - A Two Day Adventure on Fraser Island

GUEST BLOG:  Originally from Toronto, Canada, freelance travel journalist, photographer and blogger, Cindy Fan, has - in her own words - spent the last seven years globetrotting to thirty countries, hiking, cycling and paddling through some of the world’s great landscapes (and pigging out on a lot of great food).   Cindy is currently making her way along the east coast of Australia and called in to spend time with us on World Heritage-listed Fraser Island - an absolute must-do on any Queensland itinerary. Here's her story (Nov 2012).

Eli Creek on a gorgeous spring day - (c) Cindy Fan
Steve Salter remembers scrambling up and across Hammerstone Sandblow on Fraser Island as a young lad on a Boy Scouts’ camping trip.  It was hard work for his ten-year old legs but he’ll never forget the sight. The sand seemed to go on and then plunged down to emerald green Lake Wabby nestled below; he was awestruck. That was the moment he fell in love with Fraser Island.

Steve, 52, is now a guide with Fraser Explorer Tours and has been guiding for eight and a half years. He remains in awe of the island, declared a World Heritage site in 1992.

“The rawness of it. Most people that we talk to are fascinated that we can drive all over a national park. I think the rawness of it – it’ll never change. You can come back with your children’s children and it’ll be exactly the same.”

Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island and it is easy to understand why the Butchulla people, the Traditional Owners of the island, called it 'K’Gari' – paradise. It has surprising features such as rainforest, multi-coloured sand cliffs, spring fed lakes and crystal clear freshwater creeks. After years of logging and mining, it has been given back to nature and is now protected land. There are no sealed roads, just sand tracks, and the only way you can get around is by hardy 4WD. Bouncing around in the forest, down beaches and through water is all part of the adventure.

Leave the driving to the experts - (c) Cindy Fan
Steve was born and bred in Hervey Bay, the mainland gateway to Fraser Island, and was a commercial fisherman for 25 years before retiring. It doesn’t seem like a natural fit – going from a life of isolation as a fisherman, with months spent at sea, to being a guide – but Steve took to the role like fish to water, relishing in the experience of meeting new people from all over the world.

“Every passenger has different personalities. I enjoy the group dynamics. That’s what makes the job – the people…you get to meet so many different people and they have their stories to tell me.”

Steve also points out that group tours like Fraser Explorer Tours lessen the environmental impact compared with hiring your own 4WD as it removes individual vehicles driving around. Fraser Island sees over 350,000 visitors each year and for good reason.

Here are some of the highlights:
Seventy-Five Mile Beach
True to its name, Seventy-Five Mile Beach runs the length of the east coast and it is the island’s “super-highway.” There’s nothing quite like the feeling of racing along, tires in the water, with that beach endlessly stretching out before you.

(c) Cindy Fan
It’s a good thing Steve emphatically told us that there are no pets on the island. From afar, the dingo I saw playfully running on the beach looked like a regular ol’ Fido. Fraser Island is home to approximately 300 dingoes (wild dogs) and due to the island’s isolation, they are the purest strain of dingo in Eastern Australia. Keep your eyes peeled on your drives. It is an amazing opportunity to observe these wild animals in their natural habitat.

Dingoes aren’t to be taken lightly. Not only is it illegal to feed them, it can be dangerous. They are keen opportunists and have been known to snatch backpacks with food. Keep your distance. If they approach, don’t run. Stand your ground, then slowly back away.

Central Station
Once the central forestry camp and hub, now given back to nature and the starting point for many trails. Fraser Island is the only place where rainforest grows on sand.  “The rainforests are just brilliant. You can stay for days in there,” says Steve.

You can take a short walk through the rainforest on a boardwalk that runs along a crystal clear creek or tackle the 90 km Fraser Island Great Walk.

The Champagne Pools
This is not listed as part of Fraser Explorer Tours’ advertised itinerary because the area is not always accessible due to tides and conditions. Keep your fingers crossed that you get to go there. It is a stunning view and a fun spot – definitely one of my favourite highlights.

Natural barriers create protected pools of frothy sea water, allowing you take a refreshing dunk (you normally can’t swim off the coast because of that small pesky issue with sharks in the ocean).

Lake Wabby
A spring-fed emerald green lake surrounded by giant dunes. Walk across Hammerstone Sandblow which is actually slowly taking over the lake.

Lake McKenzie
Lake McKenzie is a rainwater lake and is famous for its fine white sand and vivid turquoise blue appearance under the sun.

Eli Creek
Cold spring water, “as clear as gin” as Steve would say. A perfect swimming pool on a hot day.

The SS Maheno
In its heyday, it was a luxury liner, then a hospital ship in World War I. In 1935, it was being towed to Japan for scrap metal when it was caught in a storm and wrecked on the island’s eastern shore. The sight of the rusted, disintegrating remnants is both beautiful and eerie.

Indian Head offers sweeping views of Fraser (c) Cindy Fan
Indian Head lookout
No words required.

Fraser Explorer Tours offers 1-day and 2-day/1-night tours ex Hervey Bay and Rainbow Beach with connections from Brisbane and other major centres.  The 2-day tour allows you more time to explore Fraser Island (and increases your chances of seeing wildlife) and includes Indian Head, a stunning lookout point on the eastern shore.

The tour includes: Courtesy pickup from your accommodation in Hervey Bay, ferry, 2 days of touring on Fraser Island:
  • Indian Head
  • Lake McKenzie and Lake Wabby
  • The Pinnacles coloured sands
  • The SS Maheno Shipwreck
  • Eli Creek
  • All meals and accommodation at Eurong Beach Resort, drop off to your accommodation.

Visit Fraser Explorer Tours' website or our Facebook page for up to date info or So Many Miles to read more of Cindy's adventures! Photos/content in this blog has been reproduced with Cindy's permission.

Rediscovering The Fraser Coast

GUEST BLOG: Journalist Kim Anderson is the Vice President and Administrator of Coolum Business and Tourism and recently visited the Fraser Coast (as a guest of Kingfisher Bay Resort and Tourism Fraser Coast) to see what we have to offer.  She recently published her story on ViewNews and we're chuffed to share it here for you...

Sunshine Coast residents and businesses have spent the past few weeks happily welcoming holidaymakers during one of the busiest holiday periods the region has seen for some time.  It’s little wonder then that our own tourism operators are feeling the need to take a short break themselves, but when you are lucky enough to live in an idyllic holiday destination on a daily basis, just where is it that locals can escape to when the need arises?

Why not visit the reinvigorated Fraser Coast?

You'll come away with a 'whale of a tale'
The area has ‘grown up’ over the past few years and while it has always been there, how many of us have actually taken the short drive north lately?  You’ll feel surprisingly like you’re a world away with a stunning range of experiences now on offer to cater for any type of holiday.

The Fraser Coast is Australia’s ‘Home of the Humpbacks’, with Hervey Bay widely regarded as the whale watching capital of the world. From late July through to early November, the area’s calm waters play host to an estimated 13,000 Humpbacks who, rather than just pass through on their annual return journey south, make the Bay their temporary home.

It’s easy to see why Hervey Bay is regarded as the ‘Whale Watching capital of the World

The majestic animals stop in for three-four days’ refuge to rest, frolic and play, giving their incredibly cute newborn calves a chance to fatten up before continuing the arduous journey back to Antarctica.  Surprisingly, the Humpbacks are just as curious about us humans as we are about them, and the
phenomenon of a boat being ‘mugged’ by inquisitive whales is an exciting part of the uniquely special whale encounters experienced by close to 50,000 visitors a year.

Gorgeous Eli Creek on Fraser's famous 75-Mile Beach
But, it’s not only Whale Watching that has visitors flocking to the area. The Fraser Coast is also a gateway to the iconic Fraser Island and the chance to experience eco-tourism in its purest form.  The world’s largest sand island is a sanctuary for some 350 species of birds, wallabies, echidnas and of course, some of Australia’s purest Dingoes. It’s also one of the few places on earth where pristine rainforests thrive in sand.

While 4WDing, camping and fishing are well-known activities on the island’s expansive eastern beaches, it’s not until you get a chance to explore the inland regions of Fraser Island that you can truly appreciate the magnificent beauty of the World Heritage-listed icon.

And, there is absolutely no better way to experience that wilderness than from the spectacular surrounds of the laid-back, eco-friendly Kingfisher Bay Resort.  Having recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, the highly awarded resort remains an ecotourism benchmark, setting standards now aspired to by ecotourism ventures worldwide.

The large-scale resort has 152 hotel rooms, more than 100 self-contained villas and Holiday Houses, a Wilderness Lodge for groups, three restaurants, four bars and a shopping village; and is the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring Fraser’s many freshwater lakes, beaches, rainforests and historical sites.

Rush hour at Kingfisher's jetty after a day spent exploring
Although visitors are welcome to bring their own 4WD’s or hire one from the Resort, the best way to
discover the island is aboard one of the Ranger-guided Fraser Explorer 4WD bus tours.  The beautiful Wanggoolba Creek is easily accessed via a boardwalk, and visitors can view the spectacular ‘sand-grown’ rainforest

The full-day ‘Beauty Spots’ tour traverses the inland island tracks, stopping at the sapphire-blue freshwaters of Lake McKenzie, exploring the deep woods of the historical Central Station, pristine Wanggoolba Creek and rainforest and calling in at the Eurong Beach Resort Restaurant for a full buffet lunch before heading onto the sandy highway of 75 Mile Beach.

From there, it’s a somewhat smoother ride to the Maheno Shipwreck, the coloured sands of The Pinnacles and the popular freshwater swimming hole, Eli Creek.  The island’s Dingoes are commonly spotted along the beach and the tour makes one final stop at the breathtaking Stonetool sand blow before returning to Kingfisher Bay.

Air Fraser Island, which also operates aero-commute services from Sunshine Coast Airport, conducts spectacular 20 minute scenic flights from the beach, and tour guests have an opportunity to explore Fraser from above for just $70.

Access to Kingfisher Bay Resort, and the many wilderness discovery opportunities is via a 45 minute barge transfer from River Heads, with the Resort’s mainland reception also offering bus transfers from Hervey Bay Marina or secure car parking at River Heads.

Whether it’s a day away, a short weekend escape or a longer break, you can discover more about the many exciting opportunities to holiday on the Fraser Coast.  There's also a gallery of photos from the trip on my website.

This blog has been reproduced with the permission of the author.

Chris and Marvin's Adventures Continue...

GUEST BLOG: One day is just not enough to discover Fraser Island... on Day 2 (after time out at the Dingo Bar with fellow travellers) Ranger Les takes the boys to discover some of the top spots on this World Heritage-listed island.

On the road again....
After a very good breakfast, hearty and savory for Chris (bacon and beans) and sweet for Marvin (chocolate flakes and honey toast) we were back on the 'rollercoaster' road. We were crossing the island for about an hour to get to Fraser Island's Eastern Beach.

Les was driving along the lonely, wide beaches - which are actually a gazetted highway - at approximately 80 kilometre per hour. On the left we saw the island's forests and dunes passing by and on the right we were greeted by a wild and rough ocean – The Coral Sea.  There were plenty of shore birds and we were eagerly watching the shoreline to see if we could spot any migrating Humpback Whales.

Look at that DIN-GO!
After only a few minutes of Fraser on 75-Mile Beach, we spotted one of the island's most famous inhabitants – a dingo - one of about 200 left on Fraser Island.

Today, our first stop on the Eastern Beach side was Eli Creek - a fresh water creek that flows to the ocean. The water there felt even clearer than the crystal clear water of Lake McKenzie and we thought we wouldn't taste water any fresher than that - we were wrong!. We started exploring the creek and surrounds on our own with permission from our guide - during summer this place is jam-packed as it's the perfect place to cool off in the Queensland sun.

Afterwards we went further to get to Fraser Island's Champagne Pools. They were true to their name, possibly due to the roughness of the sea or the surf on the day we visited.
Protected by a rock barrier, the warm foam is created when waves crash into the rock - it's enough for us to believe that we're sitting in a sparkling pool of Champagne. As we had lunch on the rocks enjoying the magnificent view of The Coral Sea we spotted Humpback Whales on the horizon. What a treat!

The Champagne Pools are the perfect way to relax on Fraser Island
We went further to Indian Heads - a cliff which even today is a very important area for the Butchulla Aborigines of Fraser. Again, this rock formation offers a fantastic view of The Coral Sea. On the way to the top Les explained the local flora and fauna and showed us a wild bush fruit which we have never heard of, with a very nice taste. 

Afterwards we visited the Red Canyon and were amazed about the many different minerals of Fraser Island's shifting sands. The orange-red colour of the sand is quite unique.

The last stop on our tour was possibly the most well known attraction of the island – a stranded shipwreck, called The Maheno. It was awesome. Unbelievable! Very interesting to see how the ocean has taken over the wreck in the last decades. Covered with shells and many colourful crabs it provided an unforgettable view.

Before heading back to the Dingo Bar for dinner we stopped at another lookout for a great view, coffee and snacks as well as some more useful tips and information about the natural environment from our tour guide Les.

During dinner we said "Goodbye" to Les and headed towards the ferry. As we had some time left we walked along the mudflat whilst the sun was going down.

In a nutshell the trip was well worth it however we would definitely recommend staying an extra day and doing the 3 day / 2 night tour. When travelling to Australia do yourself a favour and go on a Fraser Island Cool Dingo Trip.  We loved it!

Marvin and Chris Discover Fraser Island

GUEST BLOG: Boomerang Reisen backpackers Marvin and Chris travelled more than 14,000 kilometres from Germany to Australia on a trip of a lifetime.  They recently joined us on a two-day Cool Dingo Tour - as part of their Australian east coast adventure.  Here's their story...

We are sitting in the car travelling around 800 kilometres to get to Airlie Beach (in Tropical North Queensland) which means we have enough time to blog about our amazing adventures on Fraser Island from the last few days.

Sunday morning and our first thought was Mother Nature's revenge!  We woke in a very unpleasant way, heavy rain lashing down on the roof of our Juicy Camper. Maybe that was payback for us complaining about our first and so far only rainfall during our otherwise rather sunny trip.

However, we were still very excited and got ready for our Cool Dingo Tour bright and early.  At our check in at the River Heads Mainland Terminal in Hervey Bay we were welcomed in a very friendly manner and  parked our Camper in their secure car parking facilities, before jumping on the ferry to Fraser Island ready for our adventure on the world's largest sand island.

The very enthusiastic Ranger Les!
On arrival we were welcomed by a very happy Ranger called Les- our guide for the next two days. We couldn't have asked for a better tour guide. Les has travelled all over Australia and has been working on Fraser Island for a few years.

After some quick information about the largest sand island in the world we were on our way to our first stop in the Cool Dingo Tour vehicle: Lake McKenzie. And we soon realised why one can only travel on the island by 4WD. The 'roads' which lead towards the inland of the island and take you through tight overgrown forests - they really were a real highlight, which everyone has to experience! The drive felt like a roller coaster and now we know why we were told to make use of those secure seat belts in the vehicle.

However our tour guide Les led us in a more than perfect, secure and professional manner through the heavy terrain. Not that easy when the width of the vehicle and the road are almost the same. Lake McKenzie is a spectacular fresh water lake with the most crystal-clear water and the purest and smoothest sand we have ever seen. And we were given enough time to play and have fun at and in Lake McKenzie!

This was followed by time for snacks and talks where we were given lots of information about the island.

Lake McKenzie viewed from Air Fraser Island
More highlights followed during the first day of our tour: Central Station, the former central living point for the people living on the island. Lunch was followed by half an hour walk through the island's rainforest - with a very picturesque creek. We were able to see and hear many different types of birds: A must for bird lovers!

Once we finished our walk, we were greeted by Les who took us to our accommodation for the night - Kingfisher Bay Resort's Wilderness Lodges. Each lodge has got a common kitchen area and separate bedrooms and bathrooms. Since we have shared beds for quite a few nights we were happy to have a bed to ourselves again. After a nice and fresh shower we were ready for Fraser Island's famous Dingo Bar, where Les was waiting with dinner. As you can see there was no shortage of food and we had almost as much today as we had during our first two weeks of our trip. Thanks to the wonderful hospitality we did not miss a thing!

After dinner Les chatted about his quite adventurous life in a campfire like atmosphere which was very charming and funny. With some drinks together with the rest of the group we ended our first great day on the island.  However the second day was full of adventures too... and we can't wait to share them with you.

Fraser Island Day 3 with Lauren and Fiona

GUEST BLOG: After two action-packed days on the world's largest sand island - British Backpackers Lauren and Fiona spend their third and final day with Cool Dingo on Fraser Island before heading back to Hervey Bay to continue their east coast itinerary.  Is it any wonder the traditional owners of Fraser Island called it K'Gari - which means paradise.

DAY 3: Another early start. Another breakfast served hot, and with a smile from a very enthusiastic man who told us how much he loved his job. Then, we were back onto the bumpy bus, with our numbers down from 21 to 10.

Our first stop was Lake Birrabeen, which was a clear fresh-water lake, and just as beautiful as Lake Mackenzie, but even better, as we had it all to ourselves! We had a paddle and a good chat with Mark in the lake.. the conversation ranging from Kerry Katona's drug habits, to what goes through the minds of serial killers...

Fraser's fabulous eastern beach highway!
After the lake, we then went to Eurong Beach Resort for our free restaurant all-you-can-eat lunch. Yet more delicious food!! Once we were completely stuffed, we then went back on the bus to Lake Wabby.

The bus had to stop about a 45 minute walk away, so we had a good old trek through the sandy forest to get there, but it was worth it!

Lake Wabby is an oasis in the sand.
We came out over the massive Hammerston Sandblow, which was like we had stepped out into the desert. There was a very steep incline down to the lake, which we were told not to run down as it had actually been made illegal as so many had done it and had fallen and broken various bones!

We heeded the advice, and took a leisurely stroll down the sandy slope instead. Team GB beat Team Italia and Team Deutschland to the lake. Hurrah! We had another paddle, and a chillax on the sand, before the long walk back to the bus.

It was then back to Kingfisher Bay Resort and down to the jetty to catch the ferry back to River Heads, and then a coach to take us back to Hervey Bay. Laura got dropped back at the Friendly Hostel to stay there for a night before, sensibly, taking a flight to Cairns. We, on the other hand got dropped back at the coach terminal to take our last Greyhound bus of the trip - departing 8:55pm. Arriving in Cairns the next day at 8pm!!! Epic.

Fiona & Lauren   xoxo
Read Lauren and Fiona's original Travelpod blog.

Have you travelled with Cool Dingo tours and loved it? We'd love you to write about it on Trip Advisor!

Fraser Island Day 2 with Lauren and Fiona

GUEST BLOG: And so we continue the great sandy adventures of Lauren and Fiona aboard Cool Dingo Tours on Fraser Island. It's Day 2 in paradise... what's in store!  (August 2012).

Day 2: We woke up the next morning, early (again.. common theme to the trip?), got ready and had a good, hearty traditional big breakfast.

Look at that DIN-GO!
We clambered aboard our 4WD bus, ready for a bumpy journey through the forest (literally, like being on a rollercoaster), before reaching the smooth sands of the 75-mile beach (which is actually nearer to 65 miles..).

When we were on the beach, we spotted a DINGO!! We were really happy to see him as he looked sooo cute, but we had had many a warning about them, so it was nice to see him from the safety of the bus, where we didn't have to worry about having our faces eaten off!!

After stopping to watch the dingo for a little bit, we continued along the beach, going past a dead whale that had been washed ashore and unfortunately hadn't been able to be rescued, so had been left to rot.. we had the option to walk up to it to see it up close. We declined.

Eli Creek is always popular on a sunnday.
We then stopped at Eli Creek: a really picturesque creek running into the sea. Again, it was pretty cold, but we waded in waist-deep to walk all the way along, which was lovely! After our wander along the creek, we then had some time on the beach to just chillax and soak up some more of the sunshine!

Next stop was to see the Maheno Shipwreck, which is one of the biggest and oldest ships that has been wrecked on the island. Very rusty! And it was here that we also saw a whale out in the ocean, which was incredible, as it wasn't that far out to sea so we got a good glimpse of him. However, when we tried to take photos, he just looked like a black speck amongst the waves :(. After watching the whale for a bit, we then headed to tThe Pinnacles to see the different coloured sands there.

After The Pinnacles, we carried on quite a way on the beach until we reached The Champagne Pools - so-called because the waves crashing up on the rocks around the pools are meant to look like bubbling champagne. Unfortunately, no free glass of champagne was involved! They were very pretty though, and we waded in, despite the water being freezing yet again!

Bubbles of fun in The Champagne Pools
From the Champagne Pools, we drove to another part of the beach to have a picnic lunch, before climbing up Indian Head for stunning views. Stunning views combined with somebody's giant writing in the sand: "Get your tits out!"... there's always one!! We also had a great view of the ocean, and managed to spot manta-rays and dolphins. A very good day for animal-spotting.

After a long day, we headed back down the beach (spotting another 2 dingos!) and back into the forest and to our lodges. A few of us hit the resort's jacuzzi (sooo nice) before dinner - Asian night! After dinner, we said our fond farewells to most of the group who were only doing 2 days on the island, and then had an early night as we were knackered from our busy day along with our 'hardcore' partying the night before...

Lauren & Fiona xoxo
Read Lauren and Fiona's original Travelpod blog. Their adventures on day 3 is coming soon!

Fraser Island Day 1 with Lauren and Fiona

GUEST BLOG: Lauren and Fiona are two British backpackers who are blogging about their time 'down under' on the Travelpod website. We stumbled across their entries on their time with Cool Dingo on Queensland's gorgeous Fraser Island and wanted to share their experience with you. (August 2012).

Day 1: We woke up very bright and early to be picked up by Cool Dingo tours at 7:20am, and were taken via coach to the marina at River Heads to catch the ferry over to Fraser Island! Fiona, of course, had her travel sickness pills, and we luckily made it over to the island without any sick involved! Hurrah!

Wild times on the world's largest sand island.
When on dry land, we met the rest of our tour group (21 of us in total) and our guide for the next few days - Damien. We got right on our way to our first stop - Lake Mckenzie. We had tea and cookies (well, most people, Lauren & Laura included, had cookies.. Fiona wasn't allowed.. dam nut allergy), and then headed down to the lake. It was GORGEOUS. We stripped down to our bikinis and sunned ourselves on the lovely soft white sand, and had a little bit of a splash (not a full swim though, the water was far too cold!). We were there for a good hour or so before then being treated to a big buffet lunch, in a special "dingo-safe zone".

Check Cool Dingo out on Facebook!

From Lake Mckenzie, we then went to another lake (Basin Lake) which was equally as stunning, but we weren't allowed to go in the water there. So it was just a quick 'photo op' stop before then moving on to Pile Valley, where we did two 45-minute walks through the forrest, which was a great time to start to get to know other people on our tour. We also all stopped to hug 'Big Jim', one of the biggest Satinay trees in that area, which would apparently give us good luck!

Lake McKenzie is pretty special all year round!
After our walks, it was then time to head back to our resort to claim our luggage and settle into our wood-cabin style lodges, which would be our home for the next couple of days. We all got freshened up and then gathered in the lounge, where we played Ring of Fire.. yes, before we even had dinner. Hardcore! Ha. It was a fairly relaxed game though (apart for one guy, Mark, who somehow managed to drink a good amount of goon..), as we then did head down for food.. and it was Mexican night. Fajitas and chilli con carne, absolute feast

8pm signalled the start of happy hour, so we got a couple of jugs of cocktails to share, and enjoyed a good dance! Fiona also took part in the karaoke.. most people doing the karaoke sounded..hmm.. 'interesting', to put it nicely!! So we were glad when it stopped and we could dance again! The DJ also pandered to our needs, and played a LOT of Skrillex. The crazy moves came out.

We boogied the night away until about 10pm (yep, really hardcore) before heading to bed, excited about what the next day on Fraser Island would hold!

Read Lauren and Fiona's original blog.  More adventures to come soon!

A Freak Of Nature

GUEST BLOG: Journalist Ian Neubauer  refers to travel as the ‘university of life’. This is a university campus that has taken him from exotic Cambodia to the world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island.  Ian recounts his adventures on his website and Balinese-based FRV Travel recently published his Fraser Island story, which we’d like to share with you in this forum. Buckle up, it’s one heck of a ride.

Fraser Island's famous 75-Mile Beach.
 In 1991, my father took the family to Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world.

Twenty years later I’m heading to Fraser again, this time with my eight-year-old nephew on his very first visit to the 123km-long stretch of land sculptured by wind, waves and rain into what scientists describe as an ecological freak of nature.

It’s a 300km drive to Hervey Bay, where a motorised catamaran takes us across the Great Sandy Strait, a nursing ground for dugong, dolphins and humpback whales, and a resting place for an estimated 40,000 trans-equatorial shorebirds that migrate up and down the coastline every year.

Half an hour later we arrive at Kingfisher Bay Resort, an eco-property nestled behind a maze of salt-water ponds with three pools and all the trappings of a four-star resort, an ideal place to unwind after a long day on the road, and after checking into our room, we make a beeline for the beach.

“There is a natural gravitation that brings people back,” says Kingfisher Bay Resort’s General Manger. “And the delightful thing is that the island hasn’t changed. We get 400,000 visitors a year, more than Kakadu but less than the Great Barrier Reef. I don’t mean to belittle it, but you can see coral reefs in many parts of the world. There’s no other island in the world like this.”

Fraser is a mecca for 4WD enthusiasts.
There are virtually no paved roads on Fraser Island, so a four-wheel drive vehicle is the only way to get around and for those on limited budgets or averse to difficult driving conditions, organised tours (or check out the Cool Dingo tours for 18-35s) present a suitable alternative. We set out from Kingfisher in an all-terrain minibus with a crew of 24 Australian and European holidaymakers and in a minute we’re crawling up a steep sandy track, immersed in sunlit woodlands spotted with bristling banksia pods.

Our driver and guide, Hervey Bay resident Allan Souter, explains how Fraser Island’s rich vegetation came to be. “There is no soil on this island, it’s 100% sand, so none of these plants should be able to grow here. Mother Nature is very kind to these plants,” he says, revealing a deep-seated environmental consciousness that is omnipresent on the island. “But when we try to change her, things tend to go pear-shaped.”

Our first stop is Lake McKenzie, the jewel of Fraser’s network of 100-plus freshwater lakes. Fed by a massive underground water table, Fraser’s lakes are amongst the cleanest in the world. Some are honey- and tea-coloured, others emerald green or red-brown, all of them ringed by sandy white beaches. The water coalesces into a dozen shades of blue and is warm enough to swim in all year around.

Wading in the clean waters. A 1,000-year-old satinay tree: 4W Driving at Eurong Beach.

The tour continues and our guide regales us again, this time with the history of logging on the island. Trees were felled on Fraser until 1991 — the year it was nominated for World Heritage listing. The most sought-after species was the satinay tree, prized for its striped bark that’s resistant to corrosion. Satinay was used to rebuild the London Docks after the Blitz and 20,000 were shipped to Egypt to prop up the Suez Canal.

“Mother nature is very kind to these plants, but when we try to change her, things tend to go pear-shaped.”

Welcome to Fraser Island International Airport.
Our next stop is Central Station, a former logging camp now occupied by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. A walking track leads into a gully called Wanggoolba Creek, home to some of the oldest rainforests on the face of the planet. We see prehistoric ten-metre-wide king ferns and a 1,000-year-old satinay that reaches 60 metres into the sky. Broccoli-like epiphytes cling to towering hoop pines next to brush box trees being strangled by parasitic fig vines. The next leg of the trip takes us along Seventy-Five Mile Beach, identified on state maps as a bona fide highway. Police have been known to lay speed traps here and subject drivers to random breath tests during peak periods. Vehicles must also give way to small aeroplanes that land on the beach, like the propeller-powered eight-seater that takes us on a short joyflight.

Fraser’s freakish geography is best appreciated from the air — a patchwork of jungle, shifting sand dunes and multi-coloured lakes that would have left Charles Darwin scratching his head. But the highlight of the day is yet to come, when we career over the ocean to spot some whales. In no time we catch sight of a majestic humpback that looks up curiously as we swoop overhead. “This job never gets boring because the shape of the beach is constantly changing,” says our pilot. “Last week I took a group up and we didn’t see any whales, but on the way back we flew over the biggest hammerhead shark you’ve ever seen.”

By the time we return to Kingfisher Bay Resort I’m feeling wrecked, head buzzing from sensory overload. Our guide bids us a cheery farewell, though not before leaving us with this little pearl. “When Fraser began opening to tourism, we asked the descendents of the Butchalla people, the Aboriginals who once lived here, what they called the island. They said it was called K’gari, paradise.”

It’s our last day at Fraser and we’ve been invited to sail the Great Sandy Strait on a 10-metre catamaran. The Shayla is a purpose-built whale-watching boat that can drift within an arm’s length of frolicking humpbacks. Skipper Brent Milne guarantees whale sightings between August and November, when humpbacks stop for a break on the way back to Antarctica. It’s unlikely we’ll see the mammals today, though conditions are perfect for a leisurely sail. It’s the middle of winter but a pleasant 22 degrees, the sun is shining and there’s but a touch of wind. There is nothing to do but sit back and chill as the vessel cuts along water still as a lagoon.

We bypass Little Woody Island, where a quarantine station and little-known leper colony once stood. White-bellied sea eagles kite around tiny Duck Island as a pelican lands on its stony beach. Fraser and surrounds boast 354 species of birds, including honeyeaters, osprey and noisy cockatoos.

We drop anchor at Big Woody Island, where Brent sets out morning tea. He talks about what it’s like growing up in the area, and what a great place it is to bring up his kids. “When I was young I was always keen to travel and see the world. But take a look around,” he says, casting his eyes seaward. “There’s nowhere else I’d rather live.”

This story was originally published by RFV Travel.

Hervey Bay - It's Humpback HQ

HERVEY BAY:  New mums normally are obsessed with routines – nurturing, resting, managing feeds and visitors… but in our neck of the woods our 30-tonne new mums think nothing about leaving swimming 900-odd kilometres, from the Great Barrier Reef to the sheltered waters of Fraser Island, with their 1.5-tonne newborns in tow.
See the giants of the deep in the calm waters off Fraser Island
Nor do they bat their enormous eyes at the 60,000 visitors that flock to Hervey Bay, between August and November, each whale watching season to photograph their newborns.  You could say whale watching is a bit of a family affair off Fraser Island!

Each year the Southern Humpbacks leave the rich feeding grounds of Antarctica in May and make the annual 5,000 kilometre journey to the breeding grounds in the warm waters of the Whitsunday.  They spend a short time here where some of the females give birth and others mate.

Like human mums, the Humpbacks are warm blooded, air breathing and they give birth to live young.  In sharp contrast to their human counterparts, Humpback mum’s milk has a fat content of 35% - compared to 2% for human milk.  The 1.5m long humpback calves suckle at a rate of 400 to 500 litres a day, which allows them to put on a good fat layer in preparation for the long swim back to Antarctica.

When that time comes, the lifecycle of these giants brings them into Hervey Bay on Queensland’s Fraser Coast.  This region of Queensland coastline is the undisputed whale watching capital of Australia and one of only two places in the world where the Humpback Whales take time out of their migration south to socialise, rest, nurture and perform in the calm waters on Fraser Island – the other is Hawaii.

All aboard the Quick Cat II for a great day's watching!
Ranger Colin Anderson said that each season sees between 4000 and 5000 humpbacks will venture into Hervey Bay with numbers increasing every year – and with 60,000 whale watchers it can sometimes be a case of who is watching who.

“During the first part of the season you can expect to see pods of mainly adults and sub-adults,” he said.  “Mothers and calves arrive towards the tail end of the season – but all offer spectacular viewing in our calm waters.”

“And on the whale watching boats we’ve got all sorts of families – singles, couples, mothers and children, grandparents – and all get a kick out of being so close to these magnificent animals.”

During the Whale Watch season Kingfisher Bay Resort, on World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, offers half-day whale watching cruises (aboard the Quick Cat II with the pioneers of whale watching in Hervey Bay, Jill and Brian Perry) from 1 August to 31 October and great deals for longer stays.

Follow us on Twitter @fraserwhales or on Facebook: Fraser Island Whale Watch.

More About The Resort
Kingfisher Bay Resort - on World Heritage Listed Fraser Island – includes 109 self-contained two and three-bedroomed villas; Kingfisher holiday houses for bigger groups; the 152-room Mercure Kingfisher Bay Resort – Fraser Island hotel; as well as touring and marine businesses.

Kingfisher Bay Resort: Ten Things You Can Do To Help Save Australia’s Coast And Oceans

GUEST BLOG: Kingfisher Bay Resort is a proud partner and Platinum Business Supporter of The Australian Marine Conservation Society – Australia’s only national charity dedicated exclusively to protecting our oceans.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation staffed by a committed group of scientists, educators, and advocates who have defended Australia’s oceans for 40 years. They, along with patron Tim Winton, work on the big issues concerning the sea - creating sustainable fisheries, recovering threatened species and creating marine national parks.
Fraser Island’s fabulous eastern beach. 
AMCS’ Daisy and Ingrid have put together their top ten tips of how you can help protect our waterways and oceans at home.  Check them out…

1. Support Organisations Working to Protect the Ocean
By joining conservation groups like the Australian Marine Conservation Society, you contribute directly to protecting habitats such as coral reefs, recovering threatened species such as sharks and whales, and stopping unsustainable fishing practices. To become a Sea Guardian visit or call 1800 066 299 (toll free).

2. Make Sustainable Seafood Choices
Three-quarters of the world oceans are considered to be overfished or fished to their limit.  Avoid overfished species and choose sustainably-caught fish by using Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide ( or downloading the free iPhone App.  Avoid eating shark (flake), orange roughy, Southern Bluefin Tuna and other long-lived species.  Whenever possible, eat low on the food chain – it’s good for you and the environment too.

3. Be a Conscious Consumer
Take a close look at the products you purchase. Support Earth-safe products that use minimal, recycled, and recyclable packaging. Avoid common household cleaners, detergents and other products that contain toxic ingredients. Use baking soda, vinegar and borax to clean instead of bleach, detergents and ammonia. Don’t purchase marine curios such as coral and shark teeth. Buy organic products or grow your own. Pesticides and fertilizers used in commercial farming inevitably make their way into our oceans through rivers and streams.

4. Speak Your Mind
Let your elected officials know how you feel about the state of our oceans. You elected them, now put them to work on behalf of our environment. Send your views to the media too.  Politicians take note of Letters to the Editor and calls to talkback radio. Consider signing on-line petitions at and other organisations that protect our oceans.

5. Leave More Fish in the Sea
If you fish, do it responsibly. Catch what you need and eat what you catch. Use best practice catch and release. Use environmentally friendly fishing tackle such as lead alternative sinkers and non-stainless hooks. Dispose of all litter and fish parts responsibly. Remember that all fish are important to the ecosystem.

Soldier Crabs in the intertidal zone on Fraser’s western beach. 
6. Education for Everyone
Learn the facts about our oceans and the dangers they face and then share them with others.  Half the battle is cutting through the hype and getting to the facts Positive change begins with each of us. If others are abusing our oceans alert the Government or a conservation group.

7. Avoid or Clean up Solids and Plastics
Floating plastic and other solids are not only ugly but also harmful. They may suffocate or choke birds, animals and fish and reduce the amount of light and oxygen available to aquatic life. Plastic rubbish is not biodegradable and persists for a long time in the environment killing marine animals including turtles, dolphins and fish.

8. Don’t Let it Go Down the Drain
Oil, fuel, antifreeze, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and toxic household products often enter our waterways through storm drains. These and other nonpoint pollution sources are responsible for 60% of the pollution in our nation’s waterways. Fix leaking cars, and use safe, biodegradable alternatives. Don’t put string, hair, plastic and sanitary items down the toilet, as they are hard on sewage treatment plants. It does make a difference.

9. Conserve When you Can
From fossil fuels to fresh water, conservation is good for your wallet and good for our oceans.  Leave your car at home when you can, take short showers, use water saving devices, buy a rainwater tank for your yard and never leave the water running when shaving, cleaning your teeth or doing the dishes. And never hose down your path or sidewalk. Use a broom.

10. Travel the Ocean Responsibly
Practice responsible boating, kayaking, and other recreational activities on the water. Never throw anything overboard, and be aware of marine life in the waters around you. If you’re set on taking a cruise for your next vacation, do some research to find the most eco-friendly option.

For more information visit our mates at the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

Eurong Beach Resort: A Sad Tale About A Humpback Whale

7 June 2012: A little, lost baby Humpback Whale made headlines around the world when it beached itself on Fraser Island's famous 75 Mile Beach - just a short way from Eli Creek earlier this week.  One of our Fraser Explorer Tour guides was first on the scene, alerting park rangers and authorities.  Fraser Island has such a tight knit community and ten wonderful staff members from Eurong Beach Resort headed north up the beach armed with towels, buckets, a marquee and shovels to help rescue the animal. 

For two days the team worked with Queensland Park Rangers and other volunteers, but sadly their valiant efforts were to no avail as the animal passed away in the night.  Eurong Beach Resort's Dawn Boreham was one of the first on the scene and her photographs have been used by several media agencies.  Here's Dawn's story...

News travels fast on Fraser Island and after hearing about the stranded baby Humpback whale from a tour guide, I asked a couple of people if they would like to go and help... after all, though Hervey Bay is famous for close encounters with Whales in the calm waters off the Great Sandy Strait every August through October, it isn't everyday you get to see a whale THAT up close and personal. 
Eurong staff provide towels, bucket and shelter for the little fella

Did you know:  Humpback Whales are the most surface active of all the whales?

From there it just snowballed.  We were going to go after work that night, but Fraser ended up having the highest tide for winter - which hampered our efforts.  So, after some deliberation we decided to get up in the very early hours of the morning and go up in three four-wheel-drives. 

We left Eurong Beach Resort at approx 4.00am.  Luke and Crystal in the leading car, Greg, Peta, JD and Jay in car 2 and Dianna, Jessica, Hitomi and myself in the last car. 

On arrival we thought we were too late and that the poor thing had died, but on closer inspection realised it was still alive.  Our primary objective was to make the baby more comfortable and give it the best chance possible to survive. 
Our early morning vigil on Fraser Island's eastern beach
Luke and Crystal had one bucket and Greg had another, so the rest of us took turns in digging out the sand from around it and pouring water over the top of it. 

Not long after, it started opening its eyes and making what we called "distress noises".  It followed us and our movements with it's big eyes pretty much from then on.  As you can imagine, hearing those sounds out of such a graceful and helpless creature was heart wrenching - so we redoubled our efforts.

The whole time we felt pretty helpless... because even for a baby - it was very big, about 2.5 car lengths and we were going to need heavy machine to help move it.

Crystal called it 'BLUEY', which stuck.  We all would have loved to stay for a lot longer but some of us had to get back to start work at 7.00am so one car load including myself, driving, left just before 6.00am. 
Up close and personal with a whale named Bluey

Some of us returned during the next day to - when we could - to help out again.

Our night on 75-Mile Beach was probably the most rewarding, but also one of the saddest things we have all seen here on Fraser Island... but we would all do it again in a heart beat. 

Rest in peace, Bluey!

Brisbane Times: Residents tell of efforts to save baby whale
Channel Seven: Race on to rescue baby beached whale
Fraser Coast Chronicle: Rescue team works to save whale

Kingfisher Bay Resort - Fraser + Whales Early Bonus Offer
Whale Watching and Fraser Island - Hervey Bay Is Where the Humbacks Holiday

Kingfisher Bay Resort & Sunlover Holidays: The Flavours of Fraser

GUEST BLOG: Sunlover Holiday’s resident blogger and PR Lady extraordinaire, Donna Kramer, recently visited Fraser Island with her fabulous family and discovered it’s not just a destination for blokes on mancations.  She spills all in her Sunlover Holidays blog, which we’re sharing with you in this forum… (May 2012)

Fraser Island's 75 Mile Beach Highway
We’d spent the day in the car exploring every inch of the natural island paradise that they call Fraser Island.

For my husband, Fraser Island is the definition of paradise, the beach, natural landscapes, the wildlife oh and the fishing so much so that this question was asked about 501 times as we explored the island

“Are you seeing that gutter DK? It’s beautiful!”

So after seven years of mancations to Fraser Island I decided to finally join him on a trip, I jumped in our 4WD (along with our 15 month-old) and really experienced Fraser Island. The four wheel driving was an adventure within itself the tracks were well maintained and signposted, it was an adrenaline rush within the confines of safety.

Gorgeous Lake McKEnzie
Once on the road, well sand, we swam in Lake McKenzie for hours, floated out to the beach in the crystal clear waters of Eli Creek, walked through the stunning rainforest at Central Station and picnicked beside the Champagne Pools at Indian Head.

I was impressed ten times over, and I now wished I’d done it years earlier.

Fraser Island is a beautiful place on all levels and trust me when I say that it is a destination that you have to experience and if you have overseas friends visiting get out their to-do list and put Fraser Island at the top.  It will be the highlight of their trip, I promise.
We stayed at Kingfisher Bay Resort and I instantly felt at home.  Our spacious room looked straight out to the ocean and with ramps everywhere it made getting around with a pram super easy.

While I loved the room and its view, the heated pool and stunning common areas at Kingfisher Bay Resort I’m not deep when it comes to accommodation, if it’s clean and the staff are friendly then I’m happy (I do love camping you see) so I tend to measure a resort by its food and Kingfisher Bay Resort received a shiny big gold star in my books.

We ate like KINGS at the buffet breakfast both mornings and the overflowing fresh seafood buffet dinner was so good I literally could not move for 15 minutes afterwards, I’m having flash backs to the Moreton Bay Bug induced food coma writing this!

On our final night we had wines and a cheese platter on the jetty followed by wood-fire pizza.  And they say that the secret to a man s happiness is through his stomach?  I was in love.

But a firm highlight of our trip for me aside from the amazing fishing gutters (between you and I, I have no idea what I was looking at other than the ocean) was the Kingfisher Bay Resort Bush Tucker experience.
Home grown tucker goodness
Hosted by Kingfisher Bay’s chefs from their signature restaurant Seabelle (which sadly was undergoing renovations when we were there) and a ranger Jermaine who’s indigenous ancestors used to call Fraser Island home, the bush tucker experience is intimate, we were one of five couples. Not only did we taste an array of native seeds, herbs and plants but we left full of knowledge about what native plants the indigenous Australians used each day in their cooking.

It was fascinating.

Kingfisher’s Seabelle restaurant incorporates many local native ingredients into each of their dishes; the thought process behind producing basic foods with a native food twist was impressive.

Clear highlights were – jam infused with quandong or ‘desert peach’, panna cotta with lemon myrtle picked straight from a small native garden and herb farm on the Island, relish with bush tomatoes and lillypilly and my all time favorite pesto with bunya nuts was divine.

Now as a vegetarian (pescitarian to be precise) the low-fat meats such as kangaroo, emu and crocodile steaks that were offered were wasted on me, not so my husband who happily snapped up my share with rave reviews, but the fresh prawns covered in aniseed myrtle and the barramundi baked in paperbark was swoon-worthy.

Aside from being a tutorial into native deliciousness the hour-long Bush Tucker class is fun and entertaining with the banter between the ranger and chefs keeping us in constant hysterics. I left feeling full of good food and interesting facts.

Next trip I’m adding the Seabelle’s bush tucker-inspired degustation menu, which I’m told contains countless delights including the freshest of Queensland’s famous seafood and Australian wines, to the top of my to-do list… oh along with finding amazing fishing gutters.

You can see Donna’s pics and read about her other adventures on the Sunlover Holidays’ official blog site…

“FOODIE FACT: Seabelle has taken out the top gong of ‘Best Restaurant’ at the Fraser Coast Tourism Awards for the past two years”

Eurong Beach / Fraser Explorer Tours: The Coughan Family Discover Fraser Island

The Coughlan Family recently visited Fraser Island and blogged about their experiences on the World Heritage-listed island.  Here, we share their story with you.  June 2012.
We arrived in Hervey Bay, the gateway for Fraser Island and a great campsite with pool and jacuzzi, the next day we began our trip by ferry over to the largest sand island in the world, 123km long.  Shane our guide drove us around this wonderful island in a four wheel drive bus for the next two days pointing out interesting sites and giving us lots of information about the area and about the aboriginal peoples who once lived there and their ways.  He had a great sense of humour and kept us entertained all day long.

Our first view of this wonderful place was a drive down 75 mile beach to Lake Wabby where we hiked in 2.5km to Hammerstone sand blow and then on to swim in the lake with the catfish.  It was a great walk and a lovely swim and on our return journey out we were lucky to spy a large lizard basking in the sun.  75 mile beach is wonderful but guess what, no swimming – its full of sharks and stingers and to prove the point there were hundreds of blue bottles (jellyfish) on the beach which when you walked on them went pop, pop, pop, like rice crispies but without the snap and crackle!

The crystal clear water of Lake McKenzie
Next stop was a swim in Lake McKenzie which is a Perched Lake i.e. it has an impervious seal so it is perched 90m above sea level and is dependent on rainfall,it has such crystal clear water, is surrounded by sandy beaches and eucalyptus forests, a little piece of heaven, it was wonderful.

To top off the day we walked the Wanggoolba Creek along an amazing clear, silent river flowing on sand through a tropical rainforest with all the giant king ferns, satinay trees and kauri pines, did I mention heaven already?

We were staying in luxury and having amazing food in the Eurong Beach Resort on the island and in true backpacker style we ate rings around ourselves.  The next morning we headed back up 75 mile beach (it is a registered highway) and we took an amazing flight (it is also a landing strip) up and over the beach to have a look for marine life in the sea and then fly over Lake Wabby, Lake McKenzie and get a good view over the island from above, what a treat.

Fraser Island's beautiful 75-Mile Beach is also a gazetted highway
We had a quick look at the Maheno shipwreck, washed up on the shore in 1935 and rusting away gracefully ever since.  Then it was off to Indian Head to have a look over the island and to try spotting sharks in the waters below, there was too much rough water to spot much in the ocean but the views from the top were spectacular.  After Indian Head we continued to Champagne Pools with time for a quick dip in the rock pools with bubbles caused by the waves crashing over the rocks.  On our drive back along the beach we were rewarded with the sight of some dingoes and a great chance to have a look at these lovely wild animals.

The Pinnacles, our next stop gave us a chance to see some of the 72 different coloured sands on Fraser Island and then it was off to Eli Creek where 4.2 million litres of fresh drinking water flows every hour out of the lagoon on to the beach.  Alan and I walked up the creek and then floated down to the ocean on our backs, hearing nothing and watching the flora and fauna float past as we wound our way downstream drinking the crystal clear water and maybe humming a tune to ourselves..... heaven is a place on earth.

The next morning we left Hervey Bay again heading north, stopping off in the small town of Childers where we wandered around this town that has kept its 19th century roots alive, never mind the buildings and the old pharmacy but everyone says Goodbye for now.

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