Maheno Shipwreck, Fraser Island, Australia
Australia

The Unique Fraser Island

Just like the Whitsunday Islands or the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island is high on every traveller’s bucket-list.  Fraser Island is situated just off the east coast of Australia approximately three hours north of Brisbane.  It’s the world’s largest sand island and the only place in the world where rainforest grows on sand.

The beautiful crystal clear waters of Lake McKenzie alone make this place not one you want to miss.

I recently spent a day exploring Fraser Island with Unique Fraser.  Unique Fraser are a tour company offering one day 4×4 Land Cruiser tours with small groups of six.  If you don’t want to see the island on a 4×4 bus with thirty eight other tourists or your budget doesn’t stretch to a two or three day tour, this is the tour for you.  They are also the only one day tour to visit all of the main sights including Indian Head and Champagne Pools.

Here are my highlights from the trip:

Lake McKenzie

This is what you’ve come to Fraser Island for.  Lake McKenzie is one of many freshwater lakes on the island but this is by far the most popular.  With Unique Fraser, we were the first off the barge and got here before the tour buses.

Unique Fraser Island

I’d seen on photos just how clear the water was but, being slightly pessimistic, I thought it’d be murky for some reason.  I wasn’t disappointed, the water was the clearest I’d ever seen.  You can see so far when you open your eyes underwater.  Not only is the water perfectly clear, the sand is whiter than white!

Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island, Australia
Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island, Australia

Driving down the beach highway/airfield

Surely it can’t get much more exhilarating than this.  Racing down the beach, yes the beach, in a V8 Land Cruiser with the pounding surf right next to you.  Even better when you have your head out of the window.  Did I mention that the beach is not only a highway but also an airfield?  Every now and again you’ll spot planes getting ready to take off on scenic flights.

Unique Fraser Island

Indian Head

The Australians call this headland a mountain even though it rises only 60 metres in total.  The climb up to the top wasn’t bad at all but the reward is 360 degree views over the island.  We were lucky enough to catch a sight of two Ospreys but, unfortunately, none of the famed sea life.  The sea was far too rough to see any sharks or manta rays.

Indian Head, Fraser Island, Australia
Indian Head, Fraser Island, Australia

Coming face to face with a dingo

I had a run in with a dingo a few weeks ago as one silently creeped through our remote campsite after dark.  I’d also seen them in zoos but it was nothing like seeing one on Fraser Island.  The dingoes here are probably the purest in the world.  On the mainland, most dingoes have inter-bred with domestic dogs.

As we were racing down the beach, all of a sudden we braked sharply to the call of ‘DINGOOOOO’.  It looked very skinny although this is natural.  The dingo will patrol it’s whole territory every day and that can be up to 60km.  This one had a tag in its ear and looked like he wanted something.  The tag means that it’s had quite a few run ins with humans; anymore and it will have to be put down.

Whilst this sounds cruel, humans are (against the law) feeding dingoes so much that they become dependant.  If the next human comes along and doesn’t feed them, the dingo can get very aggressive.  As we looped back around for a closer look, the dingo came straight up to my car door.  The window was fully down and I was leaning out with my camera.  I was less than two feet away.  All of a sudden, it didn’t feel right.  It felt as though the dingo was going to jump up.  Chris, our tour guide, felt exactly the same.  My window couldn’t go up quick enough.

It’s likely that this dingo had been fed from cars before.  Tourists think that the poor dingoes are so skinny they must need feeding.  Please don’t do this!

Eli Creek

This is another of Fraser Island’s must-dos on every tour.  A freshwater creek flows down towards the sea pumping out a crazy 80,000 litres of water an hour.  The attraction here is that you can float effortlessly down the creek like a lazy river.  The idea sounds great.  The reality is that the creek is only deep enough to float on your back in a few places.  Most of it is only shin high.  If you have a noodle or a rubber ring, it would be much more entertaining.

Champagne Pools

As with Indian Head, Unique Fraser are the only one day tour to visit here.  This is the only place that you can dip in saltwater without worrying about rip currents or being eaten by sharks.  The idea is that the rockpools froth and bubble with the incoming waves.  Just like champagne right.

It wasn’t quite as I imagined when I visited and our guide Chris warned that there may be bluebottle jellyfish around.  Still it’s worth the extra drive up the beach for sure.

Maheno Shipwreck

As we bounded down the beach highway, out of the mist appears the ghostly wreck of the Maheno.  Once as extragent as the Titanic, Maheno was turned into a floating hospital during WWI.  Eventually, it was sold to the Japanese for scrap and, whilst being towed from Sydney, a cyclone pushed the Maheno onto Fraser Island.  It’s been on the island ever since despite being used for bombing practice in WWII.

You really don’t need long here apart from to take a few photos.  You can’t climb aboard the Maheno and, even if you tried, you’d probably end up with tetanus.

One Day or Three?

In my opinion, Fraser Island can be comfortably done in one day.  How long do you really need to see the Maheno Shipwreck or to float down Eli Creek?  I’d rather save the budget for sailing the Whitsundays as multiple day tours here can get expensive.

Sunset at Fraser Island, Australia
4x4 on Fraser Island, Australia
On the way home...

I cannot recommend Unique Fraser enough.  On our tour, there were another couple of a similar age so just four people plus our guide Chris.  This meant the tour felt so personal; as though we were being chauffeured around for the day.  I think the beer and champagne at lunch helped too.  The total cost was $235 per person but it really is worth it.  The other day trips (such as Fraser Experience or Fraser Explorer) are $190.  Whilst they’re a bit cheaper, they’re the ones with the buses and forty tourists!  If you like that then fine but, if you want the best one day tour possible, Unique Fraser is the way to go.

However you decide to visit Fraser Island, you’re guaranteed to make memories that’ll last a lifetime.

If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to send me a message and I’ll help where I can. 

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Unique Fraser Island

 

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