4. An Australian Island Safari
Fraser Island was my next trip, but I first stopped in Hervey Bay, a little village in a lush forest with trees lining most of the roads.
The small community of Hervey Bay supports Fraser Island through tourism.
Before going across, I would stay at the Colonial Backpackers Resort, which was far out in a semi-forest and had cozy, secluded rooms. The absence of typical hostel structures made it an exceptional location, and the modest wooden huts added to the sense of seclusion in the forest.
Do not Mention the Cane Toads
We heard the notorious cane toads singing in the rain, which made for a fascinating night. A botched bug-killing attempt caused by overzealousness has turned this into a minor humiliation. They imported cane toads from another country because some bugs were damaging crops. The cane toads determined that eliminating the bugs was insufficient. As a result, they ran amok across substantial portions of Australia, harming their unique environment. The cane toad is not the only unpleasant incident involving native life; household cats also regularly kill birds and other native small animals.
We Are off to Fraser Island
The setting was ideal for a four-by-four off-road adventure. I chose Sand Island Safaris since they concentrate on small-group tours. Billy Connolly went to this location on his tour. I also decided it should be on my list to experience a tropical island.
With a few clouds drifting by, the weather appeared calmer after clearing up earlier in the day. Unlucky toads that did not survive the night were visible as I strolled around the hostel and the neighboring roadways. I eventually reached what I thought to be a coastline after traveling a little further. I could see my following location as I looked across the bay at a shadowy mass in the distance.
Later that morning, I returned to the hostel when I ran into our tour guide. Trevor was a short man with strange facial hair that appeared to have been cut without a mirror. With Minjun, a Korean man, Richard, a Swiss man, and Lisa and Jack, a couple from Newcastle, England, we boarded a ship together. We traveled to Fraser Island in our four-by-four vehicle. In addition to our gathering, several other off-road cars had come to the island.
Due to the rainy weather, we could drive wherever. Trevor had told us this was impossible in previous weeks as vehicles could get bogged in super dry sands. Dingoes were visible on a nearby hill as we landed. I wondered how long they had been cut off from the mainland.
We followed a nature trail. Trevor assured us he would drive and wait for us at the other end. We had no idea how long it would be as it meandered alongside a river and through tall trees draped in twisting vines, giving the impression that we were in a real jungle. We were happy to see him again after too many miles to count. As Trevor informed us of this remarkable island's surroundings and history, we climbed back onto the four-by-four. Inland lakes, rivers, forests, and enormous dunes are of the same magnitude as this sandbank. To ensure that we were not alone with dangerous creatures, I sensed hesitation from the nearby guides to go swimming.
After breakfast, we eventually left and went to see the Maheno, which served as both New Zealand's and Australia's joint medical ship during World War 1. It washed ashore on Fraser Island in 1935 because of extreme weather. After some unsuccessful attempts to move it, it was left in place. Despite how decrepit it appeared, it is a well-known monument. We had been warned not to approach too closely for obvious reasons. However, the ship had vanished, leaving just a spectral silhouette of rusted metal.
Later the same day, we went for a stroll across some sizable dunes. I had the impression that I was in an alien environment. We also discovered that the sand is constantly moving. The weather would always determine how it developed. We then drove to Indian Head, where the sea was so bright that we saw fish swimming and jumping next to an outcrop of more exposed black rock. Being in such a location with sunshine and clear waters was hard to believe where I was only two days ago in the city.
The following morning, we awoke early and headed to a gorgeously clear lake for a swim. The waters were fascinating because of their size. A sandbank that big could not possibly have formed rivers, I thought. I noticed more exposed black rock as we approached the beach, which he explained to us was solidified plant life rather than a rock. As the waves exposed the cliff faces, the holes created bizarre sculptures.
The Infamous Coconut Incident
Our group had a humorous story. Minjun, a Korean man, had finished drinking from a coconut and considered the rest useless. Nothing else, in his opinion, was inside. The more frustrating issue was for him to open a coconut with little more than a small penknife after I explained what was inside. He struggled to move it around to gain entry, but he always returned to the tiny holes. After opening the coconut, it is reasonable to state that his penknife could no longer cut anything else.
Lisa, the Newcastle girl, was strolling alongside the rest of us without a worry in the world. An elderly Italian woman was getting her picture taken when Lisa walked in front of her. The woman began yelling at Lisa in Italian as she tried to move out of the path.
On the day before we left, the temperature had dropped once again. A short while later, we boarded the ferry to return to the mainland.
It was a day off and time for washing and other tasks before my next place. I finally bought a little radio when I got to the next town. So, I can now enjoy listening to regional radio stations along the coast.
Why not continue reading
A Memoir of Tales of Self-Discovery Down Under in Australia and New Zealand
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