“ Fraser Explorer Tours are operated by the Kingfisher Bay Resort Group, which also incorporates Kingfisher Bay Resort, Eurong Beach Resort, Fraser Island Barges and Fraser Island Cool Dingo Tours. „
Fraser Explorer Tours
Day Trip to Fraser Island from Rainbow Beach in Queensland , Australia
We chose to do the day trip as opposed to the 2 day trip as it was quite considerably cheaper and also we were running short of days available in Queensland. The day trip cost $165(Australian) per person while the two day tour was $375 per person for a double room in a motel style room. If you stay overnight then it is at Eurong Beach resort and this is fairly basic accommodation I understand. My daughter spent some time working here when she was in Australia a few years ago so I was taking her advice. We felt if we were going to spend that much more money then we would want something a bit better than canteen style food and basic room.
We were staying with a friend in Buderim and so we got up very early in the morning to drive to Rainbow Beach to meet up with the tour. You could also be collected from Hervey Bay but this was further away from Buderim and obviously the tour left earlier from there too. We had to be at rainbow Beach Tourist Information centre for 7.40am and we could leave our car parked in the parking area in the middle of the small town of rainbow Beach.
There really isn't much in Rainbow Beach but I did quite like it as it reminded me on the north coast area as I remember it about twenty years ago. There are about ten shops ,a hotel, a petrol station and a couple of hostels but not a lot else besides houses. This is the closest town to where the car ferry crosses to fraser island from the main land hence the pick up here.
We were collected in the huge for wheel drive truck/bus which seated about twenty people I think but in our group there were only about sixteen. Our guide/driver was a true blue Aussie whose parents were "£10 poms" and came out in the 1950s. He had the typical Aussie sense of humour and obviously enjoyed his job; he particularly loved driving the truck/bus with its powerful engine and called it "A real boy's toy".
So off we went arriving at the ferry across the sand then crossed to the island which took about ten to fifteen minutes before we disembarked on to the sand y beaches of Fraser Island. We drove along 75-mile Beach which has to be one of the most amazing experiences. Driving along at about 30 to 40mph along a huge expanse of white sandy beach that is like a 4-wheel drive highway that goes for miles upon miles with waves lapping along the edge that we splashed through at times.
Along the way we passed a very sad sight of a huge turtle struggling in the waves obviously not coping. Out guide said it had been on the beach the day before so had not got long to go. I know its nature but it is still quite upsetting seeing such a wonderful old creature struggling in such a way.
We popped in to Eurong beach Resort for a cup of coffee and a muffin. It was exactly as my daughter had described. The huge dining room was just like a canteen, we were seated at three log tables then instructed to help ourselves to tea or coffee using the urn, tea bags, instant coffee, milk and sugar. The muffins ran out very quickly so we had to wait while they got some more. It was far from silver service but did the job and we appreciated it as we had not had any breakfast leaving so early in the morning for our meeting at Rainbow Beach.
Having enjoyed our coffee we continued onwards until we reached The Pinnacles which are eroded coloured sands that has formed spires and pinnacles. The sands are pretty but not stunning, a bit like the coloured sands on the Isle of Wight. We got out and took a few photos but as the day was a bit overcast the colours were not so bright as they might have been on a bright sunny day.
The wreck of the Maheno right up on the beach is a photographer's dream or a rusty wreck depending on your point of view. This ship sunk with no loss of life when it was being sailed to Japan for salvage. I believe they managed to get most of what was valuable from the wreck and it is just the rusting hull left now. However it does make from some great photos as you look through the various holes and out to the sea. You are forbidden to climb on the wreck and you are meant to stay at least a couple of metres from it but needless to say there were some people who ignored this and attempted to enter the sandy bit within the wreck.
We then stopped at Eli creek which is pure fresh water coming down across the beach to meet the sea. It was very cold so we paddled rather than swam in there. It was really so clean and clear that it was a shame we found it too cold. We did walk up the path to the toilet block and then right to the widest part where braver people than we were get in to tube or just float down the creek to the beach. We decided it was still too cold and walked back along the path and then the board walk instead.
Lunch was next and that was back at Eurong Beach Resort. Once again we were greeted by a member of staff who explained where we were to sit before being invited to the buffet. The food was a buffet salad and there was quite a lot of choice of hot stuff too. From what I remember it was okay, nothing special but perfectly good and plenty of it. There was not a lot of time for lunch and we just about managed lunch through the queuing time then toilet and a quick read of the annotated photos on display around the room which we found very interesting. Others made their way to the shop to buy soft drinks and cakes but lunch was sufficient for us.
After lunch we made our way inland to Central Station which was the former small town where the logging families lived. Their huts have all gone now but a few like the school house remain with information on boards around the outside. Our guide took for a walking tour through the camp and along Wanggoolba Creek which flows in total silence through the sub tropical rainforest. Fortunately even when logging was being carried out on the island the companies involved didn't go for total destruction and so there are still a good number of ancient trees still on the island and really there is little evidence of the logging ever having taken place.
Wanggoolba Creek was once again so crystal clear that it looked as though there was actually no water in the creek and the other strange thing was that there was no rushing water sound, it was almost silent.
Our final stop was the perched lake Mackenzie. Fraser island is the world's largest sand island and a perched lake is formed when a layer of rock sits on the sand and water settles on this perched rock. Lake Mackenzie is supposed to be one of the most beautiful fresh water lakes. It is certainly a stunning site. We parked in our truck/bus and made our way to the changing rooms which are wooden huts with cubicles for changing and there are also toilets - all are unisex. You then take your clothes with you and head along the paths towards the lake.
Your first sighting is quite awe inspiring. The sand is bright white, the lake crystal clear at the edge and then deep blue ringed by the rainforest trees. Unfortunately for us the heater ( sun) had not been on and once again the water was gaspingly cold. I do marvel at these mad fools who jump into water, breaking the ice as they leap in but it is not something that appeals to me and I found this quite cold enough for me and about five minutes was quite enough before I emerged looking for my towel to wrap around my shivering body. I then sat and admired the view while enjoying the little bit of sun that was trying to peep through.
After we were all ready to depart Lake Mackenzie our bus/truck headed back towards the ferry. Our guide was very keen to drive back along the beach but it is quite a tricky timing issue with the tides. The alternative is to drive along the road made by the loggers which I understand is a less exciting drive. So off we headed back along 75 Mile Beach and as we got closer to the place where we were meeting the ferry we had less and less beach to drive on and more often than not we were driving through the shallow waves. There were times when we spun a bit and needed to make full use of the power and 4 wheel drive on the truck. Our guide appeared calm but I think he was quite relieved to meet the ferry despite his pretence at joking.
Anyway the ferry was there alongside the beach as he had arranged by his mobile phone, we got aboard and enjoyed the ride back to Rainbow Beach and from there found our car and drove back to Buderim. This was a great day out, tiring but so very memorable and I would thoroughly recommend a trip to Fraser Island if you are in the area.
Should you choose the two day trip you obviously stay overnight which is at Eurong Beach resort and meals are included. Be careful as some tours do not include the fee for the National Park and I think these are quite expensive. My son got caught with this when he did his two day tour with a different company and then they were asked for about another $50 each which was a shock after thinking everything was already paid. The two day trip takes you to Indian Head where you climb high enough to be able to see the marine life in the clear sea below and this may include whales and dolphins in the right season. It also includes a swim in another lake called Lake Wabby and a walk across Hammerstone Sandblow. We decided that we would get a good idea of the island from the one day tour.
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