Lewis' Exploring Oz

On and off the beaten track…………………….

Fraser Island and Hervey Bay – June 11

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on September 1, 2011

Lake MacKenzie Pana

Reversing onto ferry

Hi Everyone,
We are staying at the Big 4 Fraser Lodge Holiday Park in Hervey Bay. It’s not far to the beach and a great little cafe strip as well. The park will let us store our van, on power (so I don’t have to defrost the fridge=yeah!) while we tent it over on Fraser Island. We set up on our storage site so we didn’t have to move in the morning and then spent the arvo shopping for Fraser Island and making sure everything was packed and worked:) We have already got all our permits organised so we now just have to catch the ferry.
We caught the ferry from River Heads at 0900 which took about 50mins and landed in King Fisher Bay on Fraser Island. We had to reverse onto the ferry so we could drive off forward when we landed. We couldn’t believe the roads were all bitumen! Well the resort and “township” anyway. We

First of many sandy tracks

headed off down the sandy track which has a lot of rubber conveyor belt laid into the track and some areas have

Lake Wabby & Hammerstone Sandblow

log sleepers for traction, mostly on the entrance and exit to the resort as these roads get pretty hammered. Our first stop was Lake MacKenzie as we had been told that the buses, yes 4×4 buses, get into here around lunchtime and it can get pretty busy, with parking limited. There were only a couple of backpackers here when we got here so we managed to park easily. Wow, what a place. It has white, sandy beaches with clear, blue-azure water. The water is clear on the shore and progressively gets more blue towards the centre of the lake where it is deepest. It looks just like the photos we had seen of it, just stunningly gorgeous! It was a bit cold for swimming but we had a bit of a paddle and watched the English tourists splash around then jump out and sun bake to warm up! Two busloads turned up then so we took that as our cue to head off. It is a perched lake, which is where a saucer-shaped hard-pan of organic matter and debris forms in a depression between the sand dunes and then water, from rainfall mostly, collects and filters to the water table below it.
The tracks are quite sandy but they have lined some of the tracks with the conveyor belt rubber and boards on

Low tide at the wreck

some uphill sections. It makes it all very tame and a little disappointing when you’re expecting some serious 4WDriving. None-the-less I can see how it helps to preserve the tracks as the buses and huge amount of traffic

The Maheno Wreck

Looking thru the rust

would kill these tracks otherwise.
We drove to Lake Wabby Lookout parking area and took the very short walk to the actual lookout. It was a bit disappointing as the view from the lookout is obscured by the bush that has obviously grown since it was put it! Lake Wabby was very dark green and the Hammerstone sandblow amazing to see.
We then drove out towards the Easter Beaches, coming out at Cornwell’s Beach, just north of the Eurong Resort. We stopped on the beach and had lunch with one of the best views ever. Magnificent landscape, it’s quite breath-taking. We finished lunch and drove along the beach, passing several

Plane landing at wreck

Dundebarra Campsite

Boy's swing they made

beach camping sites. We stopped at “The Maheno”, which is a wreck of a passenger liner which also served as a hospital ship in WW1. It was sold for scrap metal and was being transported north when it came aground in a cyclone. Unrecoverable, it became a practice bombing target in WW2. It’s rusted and crumbling pretty badly but you’re still able to distinguish all the parts of the ship. There are some photos of the ship pre-wreckage in the general store at Cathedral Beach. We managed to be there on low tide so we could walk all the way around the

Perente = big fright on the track

Almost to the top

wreck. It was excellent and we saw lots of fish and crabs in the pools throughout the wreck. While we were walking around the wreck a small, light plane came and landed on the beach and a few tourists stepped-out in their city clothes:) There are signs up and down the beach warning of planes landing but we were still surprised to see it. I reckon the views would be magnificent from up there too!   We headed on up to the Dundaburra Campground, which is set back a bit from the beach in the bush. It’s only a few hundred meters to the beach and it protects you from the huge onshore winds. There are some brilliant sites and we were amazed to find flushing toilets and hot showers there too ($1 for 3mins) and they worked for most of the time! Set up camp and had yummy hamburgers for tea, then over with our chairs to the communal fire-place, where we met some great people. Daniel and Wade found an old piece of wood and used it and their rope (best $20 bucks ever spent) to make a

More sand dunes

It's all downhill from here

swing – pretty cool!
Next morning we decided to do the 5.5pm Wangul Sandblow Walk. We headed off clockwise through the bush section first where we almost trod on another perente, which scrambled up the nearest tree to get away from us. The track is mostly marked with a lot of uphill sections. We finally made it to the Sandblow and it was amazing, never seen anything like it before. Sand blows form when gaps are carved in the stabilizing vegetation or foredunes by the strong onshore winds. The sand is swept inland by the winds, slowly overtaking and smothering the land and vegetation in its path. We climbed up to the highest part of the blow and took in the view-absolutely stunning! Joel spotted some whales breaching and we just stood in awe of the moment. We thought there was a lot of rock in amongst the sand but it was actually black clay. The kids did some sand hill runs then we headed back to camp, grabbed the car and drove up along the beach, where we climbed to a higher point in

Indian Head

Northern view from Indian Head

Southern view from Indian Head

the dunes to watch the whales some more.  We drove up along the beach towards Indian Heads, parked up and made lunch, watching the waves crashing onto the beach. After lunch we hiked up to the top of Indian Heads and were greeted with gorgeous views both north and south of us. On the northern side we watched a pod of dolphins playing about and on then southern side, watched the whales breaching and waving their flippers. Magical! It’s a fantastic, sunny day which just makes the views all that more beautiful! We drove around IH

Whales breaching close to shore

Orchid Beach Store, Pub and Servo

View from Champagne pools lookout

and as the tide was low we managed to make it past the narrow strip of and head up the beach towards Orchid beach. We stopped in at the general store for an ice-cream and as there is a Telstra tower around here somewhere, we checked our messages, email and fb. On the way back we stopped in to look at the Waddy Pt campgrounds. They were similar to Dundaburra and they also had some beachfront sites with fireplaces too. Next stop on the track was the Champagne Pools, which the photos show to be pools with lots of bubbles, like champagne. Only problem was the sand has blown in so much over time that it is filling in the pools so there is less and less water.  We headed back to camp for early showers (5pm) as the nights are bloody cold, like 4-6 degrees! We chatted with Rick, Tracey, Shannon and Anna around the fire and also met a German family who unfortunately had damaged their brakes on their vehicle. Next

Champagne Pools

The Pinnacles

morning Rick and Shannon helped to patch up their brakes, well enough to get them safely to the ferry to Rainbow Beach. Wade found some new friends in a family of young boys, who are

Lake Allom

traveling around as well. He’s so excited to have some kids to play with and Daniel helped them all to build a monster swing too. It kept them occupied for a long time:) then we stole him away for an hour or so while we travelled back to Orchid Beach to change our return ferry times. The high tides would have made it near impossible to return when we originally planned so we’ll return a bit later and enjoy some more if the island:) We stopped in to see the Pinnacles and coloured sands too. Back at camp we lost Wade until dark then

Eastern Beach - just gorgeous

Red sands on Eastern Beach

showered and tea before settling into another good session around the fire! The kids watched a movie in the tent and we rugged up with boots, beanies, scarves and jackets for another night. It was so cold that Joel was sleeping fully clothed in jumper and trackies in his sleeping bag!
Next day we had pancakes for brekky, cooked lovingly and expertly by the boys! Yummo! Today we headed south and inland, across to the western side of FI. We stopped at the Knifeblade Sandblow Lookout, which was okay but not as spectacular as the one yesterday. next up was Allom Lake. The circuit walk was under water so we headed down to the boardwalk and steps to watch heaps of small turtles just swimming around. Wade could almost touch them from the end of the steps, which were under water as well.

Turtles at Lake Allom

Western Beach

Rugby boys

Joel tried to get them to kick AFL

Daniel chopping wood

Our campfire buddies

Our first wild dingo sighting

Eli Creek is so clear and fresh

Mouth of Eli Ck out to ocean


Back out on Wooralie Rd out to Wooralie Creek and the western side of FI. The wind was up a bit today so it’s not as smooth and still as it’s supposed to be apparently. We drove up the beach for a short way then parked up for lunch. After lunch the kids drew a makeshift rugby pitch in the sand and proceeded to tackle each other- very funny! After many laughs and just vegging out we headed back to the eastern beaches, stopping in at Cathedral Beach. It is a Big 4 park with lots of backpackers but we prefer where we are, and of course our campfire friends too:) who are great company. We headed back to camp and Wade was already out the door to play with his friends before we’d even come to a stop! Daniel and Joel were splitting logs for the fire as Rick, Tracey, Shannon and Anna and us were wanting coals to cook on tonight so they thought they’d get an early start. The others came back later than we thought and told us about their adventures for the day with a few beers around the fire. Seems they’d found some creek crossings that we’re a bit deep and Shannon had drowned his

Jetty at KingFisher Bay

Jetty cafe at Kingfisher Bay

Kingfisher Bay panorama low tide

electrics so was driving back in the dark, with Rick behind him with his lights on full beam to help light the way:) Another great campfire night but couldn’t be bothered cooking so had cheese and bikkies and the kids tinned spaghetti and baked beans.
Had a relaxing morning walking down the beach and reading in the sun then an early lunch and packed up camp. We said our goodbyes to our campfire buddies, swapping numbers, email and having a photo or two. We headed off down the beach and saw our first wild dingo. We had been driving everyday whilst over here and this is the first time we had seen one. A lot of the literature

Jetty panorama

and even pieces we’ve seen on the tv led us to believe they were rampant on the island, but we didn’t find this to be true. We stopped for a look at Eli Creek, which is a fantastic little freshwater creek that flows out to a pool then into the sea. There’s a boardwalk that you can walk along back into the bush/rainforest and at the end of it you can enter the creek and walk back along it or even float down on a tube. Wade and I got in and walked back; it was cool but so clear we could see the fish swimming around us. When

Boys hamming it up at the pier

Urangan Pier - Hervey Bay

we got out we turned around and saw a huge eel swimming right near the last step we’d just got up onto.Eeeuuuwwww! It was time to head back to KingFisher Bay so we wouldn’t miss the ferry. We

Sunset clouds

arrived early so we took a look around the bay area. All the roads are bitumen and there’s some lovely places to come and sty if you don’t want to camp! There’s even land/blocks for sale over here – it’d be a nice place for a holiday shack if we lived on the east coast! We drove down and parked in the queue for the ferry. I walked down the jetty taking some photos of the awesome sunset and beach shots too. We boarded just before the actual sun set so we could take photos of the sun setting on the water. Not a patch on a Cable Beach or 80 Mile sunset but still quite pretty. It was an easy trip back on the ferry and we were back in the caravan park by about 6:30pm. It’s still amazing to watch our GPS as it shows us doing the ferry crossing and still tracking us. Our storage site was next door to an ensuite site so we paid a bit extra and had the use of the ensuite- a little bit of luxury. After a long, hot shower we went out for dinner at the Sailing Club. It had really nice meals and a lovely view of the harbour lights. We didn’t hang around after dinner as we are all pretty bushed and ready for bed. We spent the next few days doing washing, cleaning and schoolwork – all the boring but

So sweet and innocent?

GPS of ferry crossing

necessary stuff! I managed to get a good massage for my back and hip which does not seem to like extended periods of sitting in the car. Bit unfortunate that:) We finished off our final night with a delicious meal at ‘The Wild Lotus’. Meals were superb as was the service; we would definitely recommend them. The kids rode down along the foreshore to the Jetty.  Wade came back with me later for some sunset shots off the jetty too. It used to be used for loading and transporting of sugar, coal and timber by boat a long time ago.
Packing down and heading off to Bundy and Bagara tomorrow.
Till next time


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