Four Wheel Driving on the Beach at Fraser Island

by Brian Carroll on June 4, 2012

Post image for Four Wheel Driving on the Beach at Fraser Island Similar to the Whitsundays Islands, heading to Fraser Island is considered one of those "must-do" activities for any tourist on the east coast of Australia.  While there are options to do a day trip on the island, a more fun (albeit, more expensive) way is to do a multi-day camping and "Tag-along-tour.". Now to understand why Fraser Island is such a popular place to visit, it's important to have a little background on what makes the area unique:
  1. It is the largest sand island in the world
  2. There are basically no roads in the traditional sense.  To get around the island, you drive through the sand, so having a 4wd vehicle that can handle it is crucial
  3. You've heard the term "The Dingo ate my baby," I'm sure.  Well, there are lots of 'em out there.  Dingos, that is...not babies
  4. While you can't swim in the coastal waters (jellyfish, strong ripcurrents, sharks - basically lots of bad ways to die), the island has multiple unique freshwater pools to hang out in.
So I decided to do a three day, two night tag-along camping tour, which is pretty much the best way to go in order to see everything.  Here are some highlights:

Cool Shipwreck

Driving on the beach & in rainforests:  Through a tour like this, you get the opportunity to drive a 4wd vehicle in the sand and spend your nights camping by the beach with a group of 24 travelers.  It was surreal to be driving along the coast, through little bodies of water and in soft sand - where you could see how easy it'd be to lose control of the car if going at a high speed.  The driving itself was cool and we had the opportunity to stop and get some great pictures, as well as stop at a famous shipwreck that sits on the island.

Champagne Pools

The Places to Swim:  Each day you'd hit up a couple spots to relax in the water.  There is Lake McKenzie, the largest freshwater lake on the island and probably the most recognized body of water in the area.  There's the Champagne Pools, which are these rock pools that sit adjacent to the sea and as such have waves splash into it, creating a bubbly-champagne-like effect.  A naturally formed "lazy river" where you lay down and let the current take you around (reminded me of the pools in Vegas) and lastly, Lake Wabby, which is a really cool lake tucked between sand dunes, giving it just a unique atmosphere.

Dingo walking by

Camping:  I've camped a number of times and in the past, the concern had always been bears (in fact, when I camped as a teenager in Northern CA once, one bear got into my backpack and took a bite out of my bar of soap, sure the taste surprised him).  Out on Fraser Island, bears don't exist but dingoes do.  And while they may look like dogs (and will come and walk up to you as if they are docile), they are truly wolves and as such, you have to be on guard meaning leaving nothing around, walking places in 2s, etc...  While we didn't run into any issues with them, it was an interesting dynamic to see.  Anyways, each night we'd cook up some dinner and then sit around the fire, have some drinks and chat.  Among a group of 8 of us, we were smart and brought supplies to make s'mores as well.  I have to admit, it had been awhile since I had real campfire s'more.  And I think because of that I probably overindulged on them over two nights, but man, it was so worth it. One other thing that really stood out to me were the stars at night.  As is similar with any camping experience or opportunity where you're removed from city lights, it is amazing to look up and see the expansiveness of stars above you. Overall, it was a great trip and one of those tourist things you should do if you end up on the east coast of Australia.

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