Monday, 5 March 2007

Fraser Island - dingo camp!

What an amazing trip! We were introduced to the people we were travelling with at a hostel meeting, given a 4x4 Toyota Landcruiser, a box of food and camping equipment and sent on our way to Fraser Island.

Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and is a world heritage site. I know it sounds rather daft, but we just didn't expect there to be so much sand! There were no tarmac roads so the driving was fun! Ryan and 2 other guys, Adam and David were designated drivers and managed to successfully navigate through the beach and inland tracks.

Driving along the beach

Ryan and Andrew- clearly concentrating on driving!

Adam- the fourth McAlpine!

The barge took about 30 minutes and when we arrived on Fraser the first stop was Lake McKenzie, an idyllic fresh water lake surrounded by pure white sand and trees.

After swimming in the beautiful water we had some lunch and got to know the group a little better.

In order to avoid any salt water (a condition of our insurance) our itinerary depended upon the times of high tide. We had to set up camp on the first evening by 4.30pm so after lunch we headed straight to look for a spot to camp. We weren't booked into the official camp grounds, instead we were told to pull off the beach behind the sand dunes when we felt like it.
We were running a little late and didn't want to get caught by the high tide so we gave the driver (Welsh David) instructions to put his foot down a bit! He took this direction a little too seriously and approached what can only be described as a huge canyon at around 70km an hour. The 4X4 flew off the cliff, splashed into a river and then we managed to scale the opposite bank to safety. (This report may have been slightly exagerated for literary effect.) We sat in stunned silence for a few seconds, soaking wet from the water that poured in the open windows. Thankfully it was freshwater and our insurance was still valid.

Death Canyon- the scene of our off-road terror!

After we picked our camping spot, Pamela chatted with the 3 German girls- Yanna, Lucy and Monica while the guys played beach football. Ryan, Eric the German and Andrew the Canadian beat the English and Wales select, Adam I, Adam II and David, 10-7.

Once the boys had had their fun, the real work started in putting up our tents and setting up the gas burners to cook dinner.

Not a bad spot for the night!

Toilets were easily accessible at our camp - you had to pick up the shovel, find a private area and dig about 50cm into the sand! Any scraps of food and rubbish had to be disposed of similarly in order to protect the environment and prevent wild dingoes sniffing around the area, and you weren't allowed to go on your own because of the danger of dingoes.


The Dingo Stance

A group of dingoes might attack someone on their own but if there is a group of you, we were told to stand still with your arms folded in front of you and they should leave you alone. This came in handy the following night...

After dinner we taught the group how to play Mafia and had a good laugh. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to burn a fire due to fire restrictions but a small lamp connected to the cars battery and a bright moon created a cosy atmosphere. Then it was off to bed and sand is not as comfortable to sleep on as we hoped! Pamela shared a tent with Lucy and Yanna and was awoken in the middle of the night for a toilet stop so she could check for the dingoes! As you can imagine, it was quite scary!

After showers and breakfast at a nearby campsite we headed to Indian Head, a beautful viewpoint over the deadly ocean where sharks, stingers and turtles swam beneath us.

This was a perfect photo opportunity and an equally perfect opportunity to slip and smash your digital camera off a rock! After Ryan had done that we were forced to take photos with no screen hoping that they were turning out alright.

Ryan- annoyed with himself after breaking the camera

From Indian Head a 40 minute walk took us to the Champagne Pools where we swam with fish in the only salt water you can safely swim in on the island. Then it was back to the car and more 4x4 crazy driving to the next camping spot. We were slightly later arriving than we should've been but managed to set up camp again quickly.

The boys decided to play more football while the girls chatted at the camp. The girls had to adopt the 'how to escape dingoes' position when four rather mean looking dingoes began to circle the tents. There were 4 dingoes so they could have had a girl each for dinner...the girls decided to abandon the position and just hide in the car. Thankfully the dingoes finally left of their own accord, and we were safe to begin cooking dinner.

After eating we played some more Mafia and Pamela showed off her rope trick. Adam struggled but congratulations to David for working it out almost immediatey!

The driving was lots of fun but scary too (especially for the people in the back seat who seemed to get the brunt of every bump!) As you can see from the photo above we got stuck in sand a few times so had to get out, clear sand from the wheels and push.

The last day started with a trip to Lake Wabby- surrounded by trees and a huge sand dune and filled with catfish.

Then we visited the Moheno shipwreck before heading back to the ferry port for some lunch before catching the ferry back to Hervey Bay. We arrived safely and after a quick check from the mechanic our vehicle was declared okay and we got our deposits back (not always guaranteed apparently).

It was an amazing couple of days and has to be one of our highlights so far. The group were great fun and despite the dingoes, the huge angry flies and the bumpy roads, it was a brilliant experience.

Sailing round the Whitsundays next...


danny ferrie said...

ok,you know me ,i like to get a couple of points cleared up first,the'dingo position'i take it you stand with your arms crossed in front of you so the dingo thinks your a wee bit angry and upset with it,the way mums do when youve done something wrong(though ive rarely seen this act as im an angel),for full effect why not do a little tut and a shake of the head also,this will leave said dingo feeling really ashamed of itself and walk away with tail firmly between legs,although....the dingoes that pamela and friends came across were a little bit more intelligent than your average dingo,on seeing pamela and group flee to the car for cover they in turn drove away in a honda accord,or have i read this wrong somewhere,all that was just incase your missing the famous ferrie weird sense of the serious bit..looks really great again guys ,one big adventure!!,photos look fine from here guys(even though apparently our ryan has been dropping the camera now and then,never was a goallie ,no billy the fish)ok ill get of and leave space for others,bye for now,uncle d xx,ps. is it dingoes or dingi ???

Liam & Jacqueline said...

I like the way you managed to get out of pushing the car by standing at the back taking a picture!!

Neil M said...

Hmmm, nice idea for a photo that (the one at the top), i wonder where you got the idea from? Coincidence, no?

Ha ha, just kidding. Looks great guys!

danny ferrie said...

im hijacking a couple of inches of column space on youre blog!!!
i too am off my travels,i leave in the morning to go to gran canaria!! ill mostly be taking the scenic route(round the bing by ryans nana jones's)on the way to the m8 freeway on route to glasgow .there ill give some strange lady a piece of paper for which in return she will kindly let me sit on a big metal budgie which will wisk me to sunnier climates,on reaching this far off land i will then enjoy some local hospitality followed by three nights of calamine lotion on shoulders and back due to 3rd degree burns caused by drunk sunbathing(this can now be done on ayr beach also due to global warming).ill let you know what happens after that when i get back.Latest pics look great again guys,its good we can all share this experience with you,take care,love uncle d xx