Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fraser Island

After my post graduate diploma in education I started to do a little traveling for my final couple weeks in Australia before I headed home. I did not get a chance to see nearly everything there is to see in Australia, or everything I wanted to see and I do regret that. I am grateful however that I got the opportunity to venture into part of what Australia has to offer.

My first stop was Fraser island. Instead of going on my own I decided my best option was to go on a tour. This proved to be a good decision as it is an all sand island so renting and driving a 4 wheel vehicle, while it sounds fun could end up being expensive as well as difficult to get by. The tour also gave me the chance to meet some fellow travelers. It was a big tour group, and a lot of people who went went in big groups were friends and stayed together. Luckily there was a small group of three Korean people that let me share the 4 bedroom hotel room with them. Having lived in Korea, we had a ton to talk about and they were really good about speaking in English the whole time. I even heard them speaking English to each other while I was in the washroom!

Our first stop began on the beach on the mainland of Queensland. Rainbow beach, named for the myriad of colours found in the sand. These first three pictures are from that beach and you can only really begin to see the colours from these pictures but truthfully the pictures do not do the beach justice. A lot of the cliffs with the sand were not to be climbed on due to erosion.

After rainbow beach we had lunch and then got on the ferry. The ferry took us to the largest sand island in the world, Fraser island. The island had no roads, the beach was literally the highway. Our 4 wheel jeep tour bus raced down the beach on the shore of the ocean. It was a fun and bumpy ride. Fraser Island is said to be the only place in Australia where there are pure dingos. In mainland Australia dingos have bred with other dogs where as that has not happened on the island. In order to prevent cross breeding, dogs are not allowed on the island.

Unfortunately I never got to see a dingo. Our tour guide said most trips do see one and some others on the trip very well could have seen one. I am not entirely sure. One of our first stops when we arrived on the island was to one of the islands many fresh water lakes. It had beautiful white sand and crystal clear water. It was really refreshing to swim in, and great to play frisbee in because of how calm and shallow it was.

Our next stop was an old shipwreck. It helps tell the story of how the island was named. The ship crashed there by accident (obviously) and the people on it began to die, they had no food an no fresh water. The Aboriginal Australians found this odd because the island was full of fresh water. The Aboriginals saved these people, including Eliza Fraser who lost her husband on the trip. When she was rescued, she made up a story about the horrors of the Aboriginal people and how they killed her husband. As a result the island was named after her.

Another place we visited was Indian Head, which gave us some gorgeous views of the island and the ocean as the back drop. This place was named by the people on the ship as they sailed past the island. This spot was a lookout to the ocean that the Aboriginal people stood at as they watched the strange ship they had never seen before go by.

It made me wonder what that feeling would be like. Can you imagine seeing a huge vessel on the
ocean carrying a strange looking people who speak a strange language? I think their feelings of excitement, fear and wonder would be the equivelent of seeing a UFO carrying an alien species. I can not even begin to imagine what that would have been like.

There were a lot of other sites to take in on the islands, but other then not seeing a dingo, these were the main ones. As mentioned, the shores of the ocean were the highway. For that reason, swimming on the beach was not the safest. There would be vehicles speeding up and down, so you had to be careful not to get hit. The real reason for not swimming was the jelly fish however. There were plenty of crystal clear lakes to swim in anyways. This jeep here got stuck in the water the night before and the waves gave it quite the damage. It would have been a rental vehicle, and a reason I am glad I did not rent one on my own. Our jeep had to pull it out for them.

There were also a ton of safety signs around relating to dingos. They said not to leave small children unattended at anytime for any reason. No joke. I wish I took a picture of the sign. Our tour guide also gave some instruction in case we were attacked by a dingo. Basically pig a large stick up and start swinging it at the dingo. They want an easy meal so will retreat rather quickly.

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