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Dingoes and 4WD on the Largest Sand Island--Fraser Island

Lookout, it's a Dropbear!

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When travelling in Australia, particularly along the east coast, it's a must to see Fraser Island. While I didn't want to miss out on Fraser Island, I was skeptical after hearing some of the stories about the different companies that run tours. You can do anything from a day tour to a three day tour, ride in a bus or do a tag along 4wd tour (where your group is split into several vehicles, depending on the size and everyone can take a turn driving). I certainly didn't want to do a day tour and the bus was definitely out, but there were several tag along tours to choose from. I turned to TripAdvisor to see if anything stood out. Many of the companies recommended by travel agents (such as Wicked Travel had mixed reviews, however one company immediately stood out. Dropbear Adventures. Out of the 188 reviews on tripadvisor, 181 were excellent, 6 were 'very good' and only 1 negative review. I was astonished by the reviews and immediately decided to go with them. Best decision ever.

From being picked up at the hostel by the owner himself, to how smoothly the paperwork, safetly introduction video and vehicles were sorted, I was impressed.

As quick as possible we all packed our stuff up in the cars and left Noosa for a two hour drive from Noosa to Rainbow Beach, where we'd catch the ferry to Fraser Island. This 2 hour drive was a good opportunity to chat with the people you were in the car with and start getting to know some of the people you'd be spending the next 3 days with. Unfortunately, I ended up in a car made up entirely of Swiss who all knew each other and though they tried to speak English, they inevitably slipped back and I was left on my own. The following days some people switched around in cars and so I was able to be in different cars.

Once we got to Rainbow beach we hopped on the ferry and saw our first glimpse of Fraser Island.

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It was a short ferry ride and soon enough we were driving on the sand, where all normal road rules still apply, such as speed limits and driving on the left.

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I had no idea Fraser Island is as big as it is, it's almost 80 miles long! The eastern beach goes most of the length of the island and is the main driving area. It seems to go on forever!

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Our first stop was our campsite so we could change and have lunch. One of the reasons I'd chose Dropbear Adventures was that food was included, which is a nice change for backpackers.

We were right next to the ocean, just a sand dune separating us from the water and you could always hear the waves.

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Our tents were already set up with sleeping pads and sand already in them. You just had to claim one, but make sure you didn't keep any of your belongings in the tent when you weren't in it, dingoes are very present on the island and never hesitate to steal a tent if they think there's something good in it.

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Our afternoon adventure was to Lake Wabby, one of the many freshwater lakes on the island.

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The water was chilly, but in a refreshing kind of way.

We headed back to camp for dinner, drinks, and then I spent the night laying on the beach looking up at the sky. The stars were absolutely incredible!

And it was so great being so close to the ocean, but unfortunately due to stingers, sharks, and rips, you couldn't swim in it.

But you could watch the sunrise!

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We did a lot of driving that next day, since it was our only full day on the island.

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And spent some time at Eli Creek, another freshwater spring (where our camp drinking water came from).

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We went to the Champagne Pools, where water washes over the rocks and there's lots of little fish in the water.

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We hiked up Indian Head, which was a sacred area for the Aboriginals and had gorgeous views, we even saw a shark swim by down below!

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There's a famous shipwreck on the island, called the Maheno. You can read more about it here.

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Fraser Island wouldn't be complete without some dingoes!

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Our last day a storm came in, but we were headed inland for some bush driving and a rainforest walk anyway. Though we did stop at Lake Mckenzie which certainly would have been better had it been warm and sunny.

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It wouldn't be Australia without a ridiculous sign.

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We took a walk in a rainforest and there was another freshwater stream, this one almost difficult to see as it flowed over the sand.

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All too soon it was time to say goodbye to Fraser and head back on the ferry.

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Though since I was headed all the way back to Noosa, my trip wasn't done. After we dropped some people off we headed for another beach drive along Rainbow Beach.

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Right at the end Mark got stuck and we all got out to push and eventually had to tow him out. It would have been disappointing if no one had gotten stuck the whole trip, so this was good timing. And he was very stuck.

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But we pulled him out, no problem.

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We took another ferry and watched the sunset and then we were all ready to be home after a very long three days.

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I would highly recommend Dropbear Adventures to everyone. It's an unforgettable trip!

The following photos courtesy of Dropbear.

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Posted by smr1188 15:02 Archived in Australia Tagged lakes beaches rainforest fraser_island ocean wildlife beach australia driving tours sunrise east_coast Comments (4)

New Zealand Wrap-up

That's right, last post of NZ! (Unless I think of something else...)

This is a miscellaneous collection of pictures and maybe brief stories from the North Island that didn't fit anywhere else.

While in Hawke's Bay we drove up to the lookout and there were some gorgeous views!
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While in Hawke's Bay, you have to go to at least a couple winerys and do some wine tasting. We went to a couple places, and one gave us a tour which was interesting to learn about some of the wine making process.
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In Gisborne we dragged ourselves out of bed quite early in the morning to see the sunrise. Sunrises are cool but the special point of this one was that Gisborne is the first town in the world to see the sunrise!
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Our hostel was right across the street from the water, so we had gorgeous views from our bedroom window...
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Just outside of Gisborne there's the longest pier in the southern hemisphere. Well cool. We had to go check it out! At 660m (almost a quarter mile!) in length, it offers a nice walk out over the water and several fishing and jumping activities, if you're into that sort of thing.
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We drove up to the northern tip of the north island and did a tour to Cape Reinga. Our bus driver was crazy, but it was cheap for New Zealand and we got to see a lot.

This involved everything from hiking to a lighthouse which is the official northern most point.
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To seeing the Tasman Sea meet the Pacific Ocean
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There were neat views and beaches below...
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We stopped by some huge sand dunes, for those that wanted to climb up and sand board down.
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And our bus went off roading and drove down 90 Mile Beach (though it's really only 55 miles or so)
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Our last stop before Auckland was the Kauri forest. These Kauri trees are the largest in New Zealand and roughly 2,000 years old!!
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This concludes the New Zealand adventure, now it's back to Australia and on to new places and adventures. (Unless of course I realize I've forgotten something important about New Zealand, then I'll be sure to add it). We covered a lot of ground in New Zealand with 3 different vehicles and over 8,000km driven, and we slept in 32 different beds in 55 days.

Relocation Roadtrip

Relocation Roadtrip

South Island Roadtrip

South Island Roadtrip

North Island Roadtrip

North Island Roadtrip

We'll certainly miss New Zealand!!!

Posted by smr1188 15:49 Archived in New Zealand Tagged trees tours sunrise new_zealand lighthouse winery roadtrip north_island summary Comments (2)

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