Day three of our trip began by getting picked up in a crazy 4-wheel drive vehicle (a requirement for Fraser Island.) There were about 12 people in our tour group, from Sweden, Germany, Ireland, and France. The truck/svu/van/whatever hopped on a ferry and soon we were on the world's largest all sand island.
The beach is a highway on this island there, and it's amazing how fast we were flying in this crazy vehicle. It could climb up ridiculous rocky trails. A few times I sort of feared for my life. Not only were these trails extremely bumpy, they were also only big enough for about a car and a half. Sometimes another car would be coming the opposite direction, so it could be a little different maneuvering. Our tour guide informed us the rule was the bigger car has the right of way, and if the car sizes are the same, the bigger driver gets the right of way. :)
After some driving around we got to have our first adventure. We had about a 3k hike to Lake Wabby. The first 2k were through a rain forrest, and the last was over a big sand dune.
As we were walking through the rain forest there was this trail of caterpillars crossing the path. How funny is that? And even more strange, notice how they are basically color coordinated, every other one? Weird...
Pictures don't do this beast justice. It was SO freaking hot and the dune was endless. I felt like I was wandering the desert for 40 years.
Sooo, here's a random photo totally out of order, but that's the truck/van thing we drove in, parked near the highway.
Once we finally made it we were STOKED. Honestly, I'm pretty sure I've never been that stinky and sweaty? TMI? Be prepared, if you go to Australia (and I wasn't even there in the summer) it's hot and humid. And I'm not a sweater.
As we walked back there was a spider web RIGHT in the middle of the path, basically at face level. I was leading the troops. Yes, I almost walked into that.
The S. S. Maheno was an Edwardian line on the Tasman Sea crossing between New Zealand and Australia, and was used as a hospital ship by the New Zealand division of the Royal Navy during World War I.
A landmark on 75 Mile Beach in Fraser Island is the shipwreck of the S.S. Maheno. The S.S. Maheno was originally built in 1905 in Scotland as a luxury passenger ship for trans-Tasman crossings. During the First World War the ship served as a hospital ship in the Mediterranean, Gallipoli, and the English Channel, before returning to a luxury liner. In 1935, the ship was declared outdated and on June 25, 1935 the ship was being towed from Melbourne to Japan for scrap metal when it was caught in a strong [out of season] cyclone. A few days later, on July 9, 1935 she drifted ashore and was beached on Fraser Island. During the Second World War the Maheno served as target bombing practice for the RAAF. The ship has since become severely rusted. Climbing on the shipwreck is not permitted.
The next day we hiked through another rain forrest. It was so gorgeous and green and lush. I wish I had a good camera to document it.
The freshwater lakes on Fraser Island are some of the cleanest lakes in the world. A popular tourist area is Lake McKenzie which is located inland from the small town of Eurong. It is a "perched" lake sitting on top of compact sand and vegetable matter 100 meters above sea level. Lake McKenzie has an are of 150 hectares and is just over five meters in depth. The beach sand of Lake McKenzie is nearly pure silica and it is possible to wash hair, teeth, jewelry, and exfoliate one's skin. The lakes have very few nutrients and pH varies, though sunscreen and soaps are a problem as a form of pollution.
Our tour guide told us we could exfoliate our skin and clean our jewelry. I didn't have any of my jewelry with me, but there were some girls who washed their wedding rings. Apparently they come out more clean than if you took them to the jeweler. It's pretty sweet. I can't believe there are actual lakes made entirely of rain. It was really nice to end this portion of our trip here because after being in the water we had to get on the truck/van to drive a few hours, then be dropped off at a bus stop, wait three hours, and then get on an overnight bus to Airlie Beach. (And then get on a sailboat for three days....showering during this trip was a luxury.) It was weird to leave a lake actually feeling clean.