While in Australia in July, we hired a 4WD for a trip to Fraser Island, largest sand island in the world. From Noosa, it was a 50 km drive on Cooloola Beach to Rainbow Bay, then across to Fraser Island by barge to drive up 75 Mile Beach on the eastern side.
The only real hazards of beach driving were the creek crossings, where sometimes there were non-trivial creek banks that required a bit of care to cross. After about three hours driving north on the beach, we came to the wreck of the SS Maheno. This was an ocean liner used as a hospital ship in World War I and sold as scrap to the Japanese later. It was being towed north to Japan in 1935 when it was blown ashore on Fraser Island. It is disintegrating over time, and there is significantly less of it now than when I first came here around 25 years ago.
We camped on Fraser Island for four days and did day trips inland and north along the beach. One day we heading inland on a very rough and sandy track to Lake Allom. This is one of around 100 perched lakes on Fraser Island at 100 to 200 metres above sealevel.
Lake Allom formed around 40,000 years ago and is fed by rainwater, which is trapped by a layer of peat covering the sand. There are no inflows or outflows, and we wanted to know how the fish got into the lake.
The lake has lots of freshwater turtles. We didn’t see any while swimming. But afterwards sitting quietly by the edge of the lake, lots of little heads popped out of the water to check us out.
Another day, weaded northwards on 75 Mile Beach to Indian Head and then to Champagne Pools. From Indian Head, we saw about 20 whales go past in the ocean, as well as four large sharks and a stingray.
On the last day, we did another trip inland to Lake Mackenzie, another perched lake on Fraser Island, with crystal clear and chilly water.
It was cloudy and colder that day, and the boys wore wetsuits for the first and only time (Australian Queensland winter is not too cold usually).