Byron Bay was a little chilly but we still braved the cold and tried to go in the water. There were crazy waves (well probably not) and I was scared but Aaron made me get in the water with him anyway. It was very chilly. Later we played frisbee on the beach and played fetch with a stray pooch. It made me miss my puppies. Aaron eventually got bored of frisbee and wrestled me to the ground and buried me in the sand.
Next stop was Noosa. Surrounding Noosa were beautiful everglades but we did not get to see them entirely. There was crappy weather here until the day we left, figures. For one day we took a day trip out to Beerwah to the Australia Zoo. This is where Steve Irwin started his career and where his wife and two kids continue his legend. It was a really cool place. We saw lots of crocodiles, giant tortoises, cassowaries, dingoes, kangaroos, koalas, snakes, lizards, elephants and tigers. I had a great time! We sat and watched the crocodile show where a guy fed a large croc by hand! It was awesome! I wouldn't want to run into one in the wild.
We settled into Hervey Bay next, our starting point for Fraser Island. We rented a Landrover Defender 4x4 and boarded the ferry over to the largest sand Island in the world. After a 30 minute ferry ride we set off through the trees down a narrow sandy road towards Eurong Beach Resort where we picked up some ice to put in our esky. Then we set off for the beach. It was so awesome driving along side the ocean on a sandy road that seemed to go on forever. We stopped at the starting point to the Lake Wabby trail and hiked about 45 minutes through bush until we reached the deepest lake on the island. However, it is slowly disappearing because of the impeding sandblows. It wasn't a very clear lake so we didn't swim in it. But all around were sand dunes! We climbed to the top of a dune and we could see the ocean so we started to head towards it. We came out a few hundred meters from where we parked the vehicle so we had to walk down the beach a little bit. We headed north towards the start of the Rainbow Gorge trail. Rainbow Gorge contained sand dunes of many different colours. It was really pretty to see all of the colours in one area.
We stopped for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Canadian backpacker special, and then drove further north to the largest creek on the island, Eli Creek. We had to cross the creek with our vehicle and I held my breath because it was deeper than the other creeks we had previously crossed. But we made it alive. We parked and walked up the creek. It was so clear and green and very cold. But like good Canadians we adapted to the cold temperature and continued on. After our trek up and down the creek we sat on the beach and watched the waves. Low and behold Aaron spotted a couple of humped-back whales playing in the distance. It was so cool! We watched them for a while until we could not see them anymore and then we headed out to find our campsite for the night. We picked a cozy little spot just off the dunes from the beach and under a couple of trees. We set up camp and then watched the colours of the ocean change with the sunset.
We bundled up cozy in our tents expecting to freeze to death during the night because someone had warned us about the temperature drop at night, but it was suprisingly warm. I didn't freeze at all and almost took off my socks. The next day we got up bright and early and watched the sunrise. It was so pretty. We had breakfast and then headed out towards Indian Head, a cliff outlooking the beach and the ocean. On the way Aaron let me drive the vehicle up the beach a little way. It was hard to drive on the wrong side of the vehicle, with the shifter on the left hand side, and then on the left hand side of the road. It was especially hard for me too since I haven't driven a vehicle since I left Canada in January. I was really nervous too crossing the creeks. I didn't want to crash or get stuck or drown for that matter.
We got to Indian head and hiked up the giant hill. At the top we looked at the waves crashing into the rocks at the bottom and spotted a couple of manta rays swimming below searching for food. They were so pretty. I wish we could have gotten closer to them. It started getting quite busy at the top of the cliff so we headed back to the vehicle. We drove further north to the Champagne Pools, which are pools filled with water from the ocean at high tide. They were very cold and filled with lots of interesting creatures. We could see little tiny black and white striped fish and a few other not so interesting fish. We saw lots of anemones and bugs and we even came across a few crabs. The waves were smashing violently against the rocks and into the pools and looked pretty cool, from a distance.
After looking for creatures stopped being so interesting, we hopped back into the Landrover and drove south where we had originally come. We stopped at Red Canyon and The Pinnacles which were giant mounds of red and yellow sand, respectively. The Pinnacles here were not nearly as neat as the Pinnacles in Western Australia. Further south we reached the S.S. Maheno shipwreck. It served in both of the world wars and eventually was sold to the Japanese in 1935 for scrap metal when it was deamed unsea worthy. However, a freak winter cyclone caused their boat to loose the Maheno and it eventually washed up on the eastern shore of Fraser Island. Since it was such a hassle to removed it and haul it back to Japan, they left it there. It was just lying on the side of the beach, all rusted and mysterious. We could walk right up to it and investigate but we could not climb on or in it. Oh well, it was cool just the same.
We headed back towards the Eurong Beach Resort and set up camp along the beach again. Then we headed into the resort 'town' and got some ice cream from the bakery. Back at the campsite a friendly dingo came along, however right when I had my pants around my ankles ready to do my business in the bush. It was a little frightening to look up and see a dingo looking at you. He was probably wondering what the heck I was doing. I quickly pulled up my pants and went back to the campsite. Aaron was telling him to go away but he seemed to want to play instead. He layed down and put his head between his paws to look cute but it obviously didn't work. He eventually took off and searched the beach for scraps. Later on another dingo came along but it didn't look too friendly. I didn't see it coming either, I was too busy taking a picture of a pretty laurikeet in the trees when I heard Aaron making noises back at the camp. Then I turned around and the dingo was looking at me again. He looked meaner and I didn't stick around by myself for very long.
Day three we got up early again and drove to the bakery for breakfast. Then we headed to Central Station which was only a big parking lot and a little museum. But lots of walking tracks started from this point. We decided to walk to Pile Valley. We walked through the rainforest and beside a really clear and calm creek. At the end of the trail we decided to walk up the road but soon discovered that it went the long way back to Central Station and that was too far. We turned around and eventually got kind of lost. Don't worry we found another trail that luckily led us back to our vehicle.
We drove to Lake Mackenzie, the most popular lake on the island. It was so clear and green but darn cold. There was no swimming involved. I tried to wear my bikini but that seemed to be too cold as well. Instead of hanging on the cold beach we hiked the whole way around the lake. We found some really cool things along the way. We saw this really weird land anemone (I don't know what it was but that is what I am calling it) and it secreted a gooey substance from its tentacles when you poked it with a stick. We also saw lots of turtle shells and even a rotting turtle, but no live ones.
It was now time to board the ferry back to the mainland. It was sad to leave Fraser Island, but we hadn't showered the whole time and we were very stinky. We were looking forward to showers back at the YHA.