|Lake McKenzie, a popular fresh water swimming hole stop on the Unesco Heritage site Fraser Island tour. Queensland, Australia.|
|We saw lots of signs about the dingos, met others who saw|
the dingos. Alas, we did not see any on Fraser Island.
|Looking up at the rainforest canopy, Central Station, Fraser Island, Queensland Australia.|
|75 Mile Beach, East Coast, Fraser Island, Queensland Australia. The beach is drivable - in theory!|
|These Fraser Island seeds release only when there is a fire. Queensland Australia.|
|Carpet python, Fraser Island, Australia. Harmless.|
After Lake McKenzie we stopped off at Central Station, the island's tropical rain forest, where we got a chance to stretch our legs and learn more about the remaining trees, as the area was once heavily logged. Eco-tourism's replaced timber as Fraser Island's economic lifeblood, driving the protection of the areas natural resources. "the Greenies in the 70s got it started," Peter explained. Central Station used to be a train stop, to transport felled timber for export.
Native dawn ferns, casting their lofty umbrellas over Central Station's stream were stunning, as was the whole forest canopy. Ironically, there were even imported and now mature California sequoias - which made me feel at home in an odd sort of way. Tall, wide satanay pines were the native grand-daddies of the forest. We also saw more kauris than in New Zealand.
What really made the Central Station stop and our whole tour was when Chris of s/v Scintilla spotted a handsome carpet python. It was close enough we could see the python's blue tongue flicking, as it leisurely made its way from one side of the trail boardwalk, underneath us to the other. Unlike many Australian plants and animals,carpet pythons are not poisonous and do not attack humans.
|Chris of s/v Scintilla, pointing to a tree hollow|
where we found a skink. Fraser Island, Australia.
From Central Station we stopped off for a generous though not particularly memorable buffet lunch at Eurong. Eurong is now owned by the same folks as the far more glam Kingfisher Lodge, which is where we anchored near and began the tour.
Peter rounded up his ducklings just as we were finishing lunch, and our next stop was for those folks interested in taking a 15-minute Cessna flight over the island for $80 AUD. "One of the few places in the world where you can take off and land on a beach," we were told. Tempting, and not too outrageously priced, but my tight purse strings won out over my curiosity. The folks who took the tour seemed satisfied with it.
The much-photographed wreck of the SS Maheno was our next stop. Once a luxury liner, built in 1905, the Maheno wrecked and eventually washed ashore Fraser Island in 1935. Time and tides have not been kind, though after 81 years it's amazing anything is left. The beach surrounding the wreck is quite stunning, which caught my interest more the wreck, thronged with tourists.
|SS Maheno in its heyday. Image pilfered from Wikipedia.|
|SS Maheno today, what's left, wrecked on the shores of Fraser Island's 75-Mile Beach since 1935. Queensland, Australia.|
|Jellyfish near the wreck of SS Maheno, Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia. Photo courtesy Chris of s/v Scintilla.|
Eli Creek, a tributary leading to the sea gave us another opportunity to take a final afternoon dip. A boardwalk leads to a spot upstream that invites a drift, some float, some 'tube it, like the trio of our 20-something hitch-hikers, along for the ride. We waded instead of drifting when we heard one of our fellow passengers comment the stream was shallow enough she bumped bottom several spots along the way.
|Inner tubes. Best way to go down Eli Creek. Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia.|
|Even in flat afternoon light, Fraser Island's sandstone Pinnacles are still colorful. Queensland, Australia.|
|This is not sugar-gum tree graffiti, but moth larvae from an earlier life phase eating their way through the trunk's bark.|
|Our illustrious and quite funny 9-toed Fraser Island tour guide, Peter Meter. Check out his photos! (The ones he takes - not this one;))|
|Cruiser buddies, tour-mates and all around nice blokes Chris and Chris of s/v Scintilla demonstrate what to do|
after the Fraser Island tour.
We toured Fraser Island (S25.22.852 E153.01820, near Kingfisher Lodge) a few days ago, November 19-24, 2016. We are currently on passage between two Brisbane area anchorages, from Scarborough Marina (S27.11.606 E153.06.370) to Manly. There are still a few more posts from Fraser Island coming as well as a few final catch-up posts from New Caledonia.
|Fraser Island tour map, pilfered from Nomad's Fraser Island Tours. Queensland, Australia.|
- Our November 2016 sail from New Caledonia to Australia, 790 miles
- Our September 2016 sail from Vanuatu to New Caledonia was 305 miles.
- Our August 2016 sail from Fiji to Vanuatu was 525 miles.
- We cruised just under 440 miles in Fiji, between late May and early August.
- Our May 2016 sail from New Zealand to Fiji was 1090 miles.
- December 2015 - May 2016 if we weren't cruising New Zealand or hunkering, we were making massive road trips from New Zealand's tip to its tail.
- From December 2014 - November 2015 we sailed from Northern Florida's Atlantic side to New Zealand, over 10,000 miles, with more than a few stops in between.
- December 2013 - May 2014 we sailed 1792 miles from Jacksonville Florida to the Bahamas. and back.
- March 2012 we bought Journey in St. Lucia. September 2012 we moved aboard, did some boat work, then sailed her to Jacksonville Florida by June 2013, 3762 miles.
After Brisbane and Gold Coast, we’ll mosey on down to off to Pittwater, near Sydney by early December 2016 for boat work. Weather permitting, we’ll stop along the way whatever else strikes our fancy.