I’m sitting here on the bus eating my body weight in cookies and crackers (backpacker diet), driving away from some of the best memories of my trip so far and the place where I met awesome people I’ll never forget. I’m trying to figure out how on earth I’m going to put this last weekend into words. I had too much fun and I can now say with absolute certainty that the hefty price tag that comes along with these organized adventures is completely worth it.
I went on what is called a “tag along tour” on Fraser Island, off the coast of a teeny town called Rainbow Beach. It consists of 4 groups of 8 people driving 4x4s around the island and camping out in tents for two nights. And it was so gosh darn FUN! I apologize in advance for how many times I say “fun” in this post but… it was just really fun ok?!
First off, my group was awesome. I got really lucky and met some great people and our car was always blaring good music while we danced and sang along. It made for unforgettable memories and sad goodbyes, knowing I probably won’t see them again since all five of the people in my group who made it so great are from England. I might have even developed a British accent in the short three days we were together… Just kidding, obvs, but I wish I did because everything just sounds that much better with a little English flair and I’d like to think I was an honorary Brit for the weekend. At the very least, my attempt at a British accent has definitely improved.
On the first day, we arrived to less than ideal cloudy weather but made it to a massive sand dune and to Eli Creek, which is a (very) lazy river with the clearest of waters surrounded by trees. We had lunch at the beach and then made our way to the campground where our tents were already all set up and waiting for us, which was lovely since I always found putting up the tent to be the worst part of camping.
It didn’t take long for people to whip out what the Australians call “goon” aka cheap boxed wine. There was no reception whatsoever on the island so we had no choice but to mingle and play cards and drinking games before ending the night around a campfire. It was pretty awesome to be with a group of people with no access to technology to take away from real life and real human encounters. As an awkward, human interaction-hating hermit, it is probably shocking to hear those words come out of my mouth, but I must say I enjoyed being pushed out of my comfort zone since I was able to meet so many people from all over the world and we had so much fun together. It’s amazing what happens when your only option is to actually talk to people (*gasp*) and it made the experience that much more special.
The next day was raining on and off but we made the most of it and visited the champagne pools and an old shipwreck that sits on the shore. It was covered in rust and looked like a tetanus infested nightmare, but was super cool to see and to hear the story behind. The highlight of day two was hands down when we came across a massive turtle washed up on the beach that our tour guide and some “campers”, for lack of a better word, lifted back into the sea. It was crazy to see such a huge and beautiful turtle and even more amazing to see it be rescued.
That night was filled with even more goon than the night before, which was already a lot, and just as many laughs and card games. I don’t have anything to say other than it was just pure fun. I laughed with so many great people, learned so many new card games and drinking games, and even brushed up on some British slang!
The next morning we were up at 5:45, far too early considering the shenanigans of the night before, to pack up our things and head to our last stop on the way out: the incredible Lake Mckenzie. We were blessed with perfect sunny weather on our final day and my oh my, it was the most beautiful lake I ever did see. The water was so blue and bright and the place felt incredibly serene and calm in the middle of a quiet forest… of course, that was all before many other tour groups arrived. We were the first ones there so it was pretty special to see it in its natural and quiet state before it became overcrowded with humans.
I also tried my hand at driving on the last day and it was both terrifying and exhilarating. Everyone who knows me knows I’m a stupidly anxious driver who is not nearly aggressive enough on the roads, so put me behind the wheel of a massive 4×4 on a bumpy off-roading path and you bet I was sweatin. Not to mention I had 7 other souls in my hands, so that only added to the nerves. Thankfully one of the guys in our group talked me through everything and made sure I was doing fine and I’m so glad I actually pushed through and did it. Just facing fears like there’s no tomorrow!!! And now I can say I’ve gone off roading so I feel pretty cool.
To top it off, we saw two dingos on the beach on our way to the ferry. They are so cute and curious and one even came right up to our car looking for food. They look like regular dogs so I obviously just wanted to smother them with love, but I had to remind myself that they are wild and if my own house trained dog attacks me when I touch her then these bad boys would bite my arm right off if I laid as much as a pinky on them. Not that I ever considered going near one, I’m not a complete moron! They’re just so darn cute.
We got back to civilization a few hours later and the whole Fraser Island gang headed to a beautiful sand dune to watch the sunset. We all stayed together and enjoyed our last night before going our separate ways, although pretty much everyone is going to the same place depending which direction they are traveling. The two girls in my group that I spent the most time with are heading south while I go north so we sadly had to say goodbye, but there are plenty of other travellers from our tour who are going to the same places as me and heading up the coast, so I don’t doubt I will be running into familiar faces for the rest of my trip.
So that’s that. My weekend on Fraser Island. I have so many happy and funny and wonderful memories that I hope I will never forget! Memories of whipping down the beach in our 4×4, singing and dancing along to old pop songs, my unruly mop of hair blowing in the wind (think frizzy strands of a disheveled mane flying in every which direction, not cute highway driving scene out of a rom-com). Isn’t it wonderful, but not at all surprising, that musical LEGENDS like the Spice Girls and Avril Lavigne can unite and bond people from all over the world.
So now I am leaving the experience with bittersweet feelings. It sucks meeting awesome people and knowing you’ll probably never see them again, but I’ll always have this weekend to look back on to remember the good times.
And with that, the adventure continues! I am a little more than halfway through my trip and can’t wait to see what lays ahead in my final two weeks! And might I add, I really really love Australia… If you couldn’t already tell.
Oh! I almost forgot, there were no spiders or insects of any kind in my tent!!!!! I still haven’t run into any spiders indoors and I almost don’t want to admit that out of fear that I will jinx it and end up with a massive eight legged critter in my bed… but so far so good for this arachnophobe in the land of all things creepy crawly and venomous, so that’s a huge bonus.
Tata for now,