Still Abroad in Australia: Fraser Island aka “Paradise Island”

By Mike Crossley

Last weekend I voyaged to an aboriginal territory, Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world. Just hearing, “largest sand island in the world”, you might assume that I had to travel all over to get there. Lucky enough, due to the location of my school on the Sunshine Coast, it was merely a two-hour bus ride.

Our initial bus ride ended only miles away from Fraser, which was followed by a huge all-terrain second bus ride. Soon our bus pulled up to the beach and onto the ferry that would take us to the island. The aboriginals named the island “k’ Gari”, which means paradise, and as we landed onto the island I realized that they were spot on.

As we stepped off the bus there were miles of beautiful beaches visible, and the resort that we were staying at was only a football field’s length behind it. After we dropped off our luggage the first stop was Lake Wabby. It was about a 45-minute hike consisting of mosquito smacking, snake dodging, and some other insects that we weren’t sure what to do about. However, once I got to the lake and saw the green tinted water I knew it was well worth the trip. The lake had gigantic sand dunes that extended upward, on a 45 degree angle, about 150 feet. Then suddenly, just when I thought the dunes were the best attribute of the lake, I noticed a group of people flying down the sand dunes on buggy boards and into the lake. I only needed to see one person go down the dune on a board, aka “sand surfing”, to convince me that I had to give it a try.

Mike Crossley backflips into Lake Wabby

After a couple of wipeouts on the buggy board and backflips in the water, it was time to move on to our next destination, Lake McKenzie.  This time it was not a long journey through the woods but just a five-minute drive. Lake McKenzie is recognized as the main highlight of the island and once we approached the crystal-clear water, I knew why. Along with the extravagant water was the infamous exfoliating sand on the lake. The clean white sand, which was used to apply to your skin and healed any type of sunburn, peeling, cuts, rashes, and more, was by far better than anything you would find in your local bath and body works store. The water was so clear I was able to plunge 30 feet into the water and still perfectly see everyone kicking their feet as they waded on the water’s surface.

After a long day at both lakes it was time to enjoy ourselves at the resort bar for some cold drinks and dance. There was a Brazilian bachelor party that was going on at the same time with a live band from Brazil so it’s safe to say it was a party.

We woke up early the next morning and took the all-terrain bus along the stretch of beach until we reached the most eastern part of the island, Indian Heads Point.  Indian Heads Point is a rock formation that shoots up to almost 200 feet above the water where you can witness the three shades of gorgeous blue water from all sides. Along with the spectacular view, we were able to see an endangered species of turtles, as well as stingrays, dolphins, and a variety of fish. After the view we hiked down the rock formation to the infamous shipwreck along the coastline known as The Maheno Wreck. This was once a cruise vessel that was intended to go to Japan over 60 years ago, only to be swept ashore due to a fierce cyclone.

Our next stop was at Eli Creek. Another water adventure was entailed here as we traveled along a pathway to reach the ice cold freshwater of the creek. After dealing with temperatures in the low 90s and a hot Australian sun all day it could not have been at a better time to be there.  Right alongside Eli Creek was The Pinnacles. The Pinnacles are multicolored cliffs made of red, orange, brown, and yellow which were formed by erosion.

Lastly we visited the Central Station rainforest. “Central Station,” makes the rainforest sound like there could be a town square mixed in, but make no mistake, there were places in the rainforest where it was so thick that the sun could not penetrate.

It was an eye-opening two-day trip to say the least, and I constantly found myself saying, “These views are what you see on the postcards.” Next week I will be traveling with the Mojo Surf team for my first surf lessons located at Spot X, New South Wales. Hopefully I will still be in one piece to write about it.

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