Noosa Heads was the next stop on our tour of Oz. Just a couple of hours north of Brisbane, it was only going to be a short drive, so we stopped for lunch at a small town along the way. It was right by the beach so we went for a little walk along the sand. It amazes me that there are so many nice beaches in Australia and yet nine times out of ten there’ll be practically empty. I guess if you have a beach on your doorstep with great weather for most of they year, you don’t need to make the most of it like us Brits do with Brighton! We stopped at a little healthy sandwich bar and had the most yummy sandwiches. I had pear, sweet potato, blue cheese and mango chutney, whilst Barry had chicken, avocado, brie and honey mustard. They were so big and so filling we only just about had room for the juices we ordered. They were like meals in a glass themselves!
After spending our first night at the Noosa Caravan Park, we headed for the beach. Everyone else seemed to have the same idea. The roads were rammed and there was nowhere to park – I guess that’s the trouble when everywhere is free parking, everyone decides to drive. We drove around for a good 15 minutes looking for somewhere, with no luck. We could see the beach from the road and it looked so enticing, we really didn’t want to turn back. We continued driving towards Noosa Woods and luckily right on the outskirts we found a space. It felt like we had driven for miles so we were predicting a long walk back to the beach. However we cut through a pathway in the car park and after a short walk through the woods, it took us to the beach and it was a much quieter end of it so even better! We spent a couple of hours basking in the sunshine, but it was so hot we couldn’t take it for too long and opted to pack up and go get a Subway for lunch.
The following day we’d booked ourselves a trip with Fraser Island Adventure Tours to Fraser Island – the biggest sand island in the world! It was a very early start – pick up time was 6:25AM! We hadn’t gotten up this early since we left Vietnam. It was tough, but we made it.
We were picked up by our guide in a massive 4WD truck, which held 16 people. We had to cross the Noosa River in a little cable barge – it took less than 5 minutes. Then we made our way to Cooloola National Park where we drove across the sands down the beach. Having never driven on a beach before it was all rather exciting. It was so smooth and every now and then we would get really close to the sea and the waves would be lapping at the tyres. We drove for about 40 miles and were surrounded by sea and the Teewah Coloured Sands – mountains of sands with about 40 different shades. Whilst we were driving down the beach, we were getting nearer and nearer to a big black cloud. After getting about halfway down the beach, we found ourselves under the black cloud and it started to rain. And it was heavy. We really hoped this wasn’t the start of things to come.
Once we were off the beach we made our way to Inskip Point where we caught the ferry to Fraser Island. By this time the rain had stopped and the sun had come out so we were feeling much more positive about the rest of the day. It only took about 10 minutes to cross in the ferry, which gave us just enough time to climb up to the viewing deck. Once on the island, we started our drive down 75-mile beach. The island itself is only 123km long by 15km wide but that does make it 5 times bigger than Singapore! About half way down the beach, we stopped for some morning tea. Having been up so early it was much needed. Don’t think I’ve ever had a cup of tea on the beach before!
After our refreshments (including a choc chip cookie) we continued along the beach. Fraser Island doesn’t have many animals as there is no way for the them to get across to it, but what it does have is a very pure breed of Dingo’s. We hadn’t managed to see any so far so were very pleased when we got to see one just strolling along the beach. There much like foxes and these ones can be vicious, with two having killed a 9-year-old boy 10 years back. There were warning signs everywhere not to leave food out and not to approach them, so we just took photos from the truck.
Next we made our way inland through a sandy forest track. As there was no sea here the sand was incredibly soft and the truck had to fight it’s way through. The journey was extremely bumpy and we were being thrown all over the place. If I didn’t have a back problem before, I sure would now! The sand track took us through the forest where we were introduced to lots of different trees. Fraser Island has a breed of tree that can only be found on the island – the Satinay. Years ago there was a logging company on the island but it got shut down and so all the trees are preserved now.
Having been driving along the beaten track for some time, we eventually made it to our next stop – Lake McKenzie. It was a crystal clear freshwater lake. The sand was so pure that you if you mix it with a small amount of water you could polish your jewellery with it. Barry and I tried it with our wedding rings and they came up as good as new – amazing! We went for a dip in the water – it was another first, neither of us has ever swum in a lake before! We were then treated to a delicious Aussie style barbecue lunch. Barry got a plate full of food and put it down on the table. Whilst he was getting us both drinks, a bird flew down and swiped his sausage! As we were eating, we noticed a big lizard/dragon wondering around. It was harmless but people were jumping up and screaming.
After having lunch with the lizard, it was back on the truck to do some more exploring of the rainforest. This time we pulled up and went on a walk. We got to see more of the trees including the Strangler Fig. Seeds from figs get dropped from birds and as they grow they take over the tree and surround it with its branches. Eventually the tree inside dies but the fig tree just keeps going.
Exploration of the forest complete, we had to make our way back through the bumpy sandy track to the ferry. Barry banged his head on the window at one point as we were being thrown about so much. It was met with a little laughter from the group especially when he done it a second time too. He wasn’t alone though, two other people did the same and they were met with more laughter having laughed at Barry the first time round. We eventually got to the ferry on Fraser Island.After a short ride, we made it across to the main land where we stopped again for some afternoon tea. This time we were treated to a beer. It was Anzac Day in Australia, which meant no alcohol could be served before 1pm. It was now 4pm so the beer was the perfect end to a great day.