Back from Fraser Island

Submitted: Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 13:33
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Hey all, just back (well a week ago) from 10 days on Fraser. I haven't completed a trip report yet but have loaded a few photos onto a web site. Some of the shots haven't loaded too well but I'll fix that soon when I finish the new (proper) site.

thrsolutions

I last visited Fraser about 20 years ago, so had certain "expectations". I must admit that my experiences this time leave me with mixed feelings. It was great to see the place again and it is still a magnificent location. However, the development on the Island, the (now necessary) access restrictions to all sites, the significant degradation of the Maheno, the crowds (and especially the inconsiderate and insensitive Pommy back-packers), and the Dingo dramas, all left me feeling a little disappointed.

However, if you haven't been, its still definitely a beautiful place to check out for a few days (or weeks).Smile, you're on ExplorOz
Rohan (Sydney - on the QLD side of the Harbour Bridge)
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Reply By: petprass - Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 13:51

Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 13:51
Rohan,

Great photo's of our favourite place in the whole of Aus (so far). We have been there many times - the last time camping on the beach near the Maheno. That was the best.

Did you go north past Champagne Pools - how did you find the track there? When we were there in Oct last year, a lot of vehicles were getting stuck in the soft sand in that area. Hope you got upto Sandy Cape - no pommy backpackers there!

Looks as though with all the rain you got the inland tracks would have firmed up a bit.

Peter
AnswerID: 26157

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 17:15

Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 17:15
Thanks Peter. Some of the shots have loaded too dark, but I'll fix those soon.

We didn't get up to Sandy Cape as the Mrs was a bit concerned about all the warnings she'd read about getting stuck. It was a compromise I just had to make (if you get my drift). However, there were no backpackers out at Wathumba, and that was great.

Surprisingly, the tracks weren't all that firm. I guess it depends on you idea of firm. On the softest track, the ruts were about as firm as where the sand just starts to get soft on the beach - easy going and a comfy ride. However, the ruts were quite deep in places and our diffs often did a bit of "snow-ploughing" of the ridge between the ruts. Luckily it was very soft. Mostly I'd decsribe the tracks as firm but rough (except for the Dilli Village to central Station run, which was smooth and easy-going. The track out to Kingfisher Bay (the Smith-Poyungan and Cornwells Road) were horrible - full of big tree roots and dirty, gritty water holes, some of which came up to the headlights, every 50 metres or so - and very slow going.

The amazing thing was the trip back to the barge at Hook Point after 4 days of the "big blow" - 30 to 40 knot south-easter. Clearly the southern tip had seen some big seas. In total contrast to our run up the beach when we arrived on the Island, even at bottom-low tide, there was barely enough beach (maybe 2 metres) for a single vehicle to traverse without entering the water. The beach was littered, and blocked with dead trees and the water, at the low tide mark dropped away into a very deep gutter. Yuk! The beach run would have been impossible within half an hour or so of the low. I'm pleased we timed the run well.Smile, you're on ExplorOz
Rohan (Sydney - on the QLD side of the Harbour Bridge)
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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 14:29

Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 14:29
Pic 22 isnt working, and you like your roofrack, more pics of that than anythin' else!
AnswerID: 26162

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 17:18

Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 17:18
Thanks Truckster. I'll see if I can fix pic 22. The roofrack shots were taken specifically for someone who is considering getting the same rack for his Pathy. I can remove them now as I know they're kind of dicky, tacked onto the end like that.Smile, you're on ExplorOz
Rohan (Sydney - on the QLD side of the Harbour Bridge)
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Reply By: Member - Jack - Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 16:31

Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 16:31
Hi Rohan:

Thanks for sharing those Fraser pics with us .... aarrgghhh!! Gotta get back again soon. I was up there in May and loved it ... I try and go every year .. this year, for the first time I stayed at Dundubera, as I had towed my mate's Kimberley Kamper over there for him ... first and last time.

I share your feelings on the Maheno,. but I guess you can't stop Mother nature reclaiming what is hers.

The Pommy backpackers are a worry .. when I was there earlier I saw a stack of them feeding the dingoes. I reminded them of the restrictions, and even advised a ranger when he came to visit, but until one gets bitten nothing will happen .. then the rangers will hae to go and shoot the "rogue dingo". Go figure!

Also, on my return to the ferry, a Pommy backpacker came screaming past me in his 4WD and camper trailer in tow ... and some 5 minutes later we passed them .. camper inverted in the ocean .. belongings strewn all over the beach ... some floating out to sea ... significant damage to the back of the (hired???) Land Rover .. and I thought as I drove past (without stopping) . .. "there is justice" ...

But in the final analysis .. one of the most beautiful places on this planet ... I can't wait to get back.

Thanks again for sharing it with us ...

Jack
AnswerID: 26169

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 17:32

Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 17:32
Gotta agree with you Jack. So many great places to see but Fraser always seems to beckon one to return. We've been wanting to return for years but the kids have only just become keen on camping holidays.

We checked out Dundeburra and was quite impressed with it as far as camping areas go. Still preferred the bush/beach camping though, for the extra seclusion and privacy it offerred. Dundeburra is also a favoured haunt of the packpackers to use the showers and toilets. Man, they were like locusts - spilling out, 12 at a time, from those damn troop-carriers. We saw several playing rally-driver along some of the inland tracks and one lot that were driving along the beach with no less than 4 hanging out windows and standing on the rear bar hanging onto the roofrack! However, considering their number, generally they seemed to be fairly sensible (most troopies had female drivers).

We only saw 8 dingos in our 10 days on the Island (one came in and snooped around the annex) but their were signs of their interaction with humans. One stood atop the dune behind camp watching my wife and kids and it was clearly seeking an invitation to come down and "interact".

We found it a bit of hassle having to be so "anal" about cleaning up and locking all food and rubbish away after meals, when you left camp, etc. But we did it, and had no bad "dingo experiences".

I'll definitely have to go again - to get to the Cape and do some serious fishing.Smile, you're on ExplorOz
Rohan (Sydney - on the QLD side of the Harbour Bridge)
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Reply By: Member - Willem- Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 18:40

Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 18:40
Rohan,

Thanks for sharing your holiday pics with us.

We spent a week on Fraser about 10 years ago and it was magic. There were of course some idiots driving fast on the beach but once we got up the coast further they dissipated. We managed to get up and around the rocks north of Orchid Beach but then the sand became too soft for the old FJ 55 and we got seriously bogged with nothing to winch off. Lots of digging saw us able to reverse out of our predicament. Fraser is one of the best places in Oz. We criss crossed the island and drove on as many tracks as we could. The dingoes weren't too pesky then and could easily be chased off.

Cheers, Willem
Never a dull moment
AnswerID: 26177

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 09:32

Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 09:32
Hi Willem. How's the knee?

We did about 600 kms on the Island but there were still places to go and things to see. I think you'd be amazed at the changes on the Island in the last 10 years.

Last time I was there, there were (or seemed to be) more horses than dingos. In fact, in 12 days we only saw 1 dingo and it clearly had no intention of coming anywhere near us. Its obviously the much increased interaction that has caused the current problems. We're not too bright, as a species, really.Smile, you're on ExplorOz
Rohan (Sydney - on the QLD side of the Harbour Bridge)
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Follow Up By: Member - Willem- Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 10:19

Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 10:19
Hi Rohan,

The knee is doing really well and I am walking around without an aid. The specialist and physio and everyone else are amazed at my speedy recovery(for an old fella, that is). Will have the right knee done in about 12 months time. I have been reconfiguring the drivers seat in my old truck so as to make more legroom for myself. Doing a bit of a butchers job on the seat and there is a vast improvement. The seat cover hides all the blemishes:-)

The time will come when visitor numbers to Fraserwill have to be restricted on a daily basis just like they do in Gurig NP in the NT. It works but is is frustrating to book ahead. Maybe they will employ speed cops on the beaches(heaven forbid) to keep the unruly idiots in place.

I learnt(some years ago) of a couple who lost their 4by in Eli Creek whilst crossing it. They never checked their approach and drove too high up along the creek and the Nissan Ute sank into the depths of the beach. These dangers are still there as well as washouts that are unseen and cause rollovers when taken at speed. Oh well....I have learnt from experience to take it easy and enjoy nature. I especially liked the western side of Fraser and was able to access some remote tracks on our visit there.
Cheers, Willem
Never a dull moment
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Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 10:40

Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 10:40
Good news about the knee. It must be all that out-door activity keeping you fit that's led to a speedy recovery.

We really enjoyed what little we saw of the western side. Other than Kingfisher Bay, there are rarely many people on that side - perhaps the mozzies keep them away. We explored it extensively last time I was there and had a thoughorly good time "discovering" the old log dump, mission ruins and the like. Unfortunately a great many of the tracks are now closed and only the "main" routes remain accessible.Smile, you're on ExplorOz
Rohan (Sydney - on the QLD side of the Harbour Bridge)
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Follow Up By: Member - Willem- Thursday, Jul 31, 2003 at 11:08

Thursday, Jul 31, 2003 at 11:08
Hello Rohan,

Just finished looking at all your holiday pics. They are very good and it reminded me of all the places we went to on Fraser. AND what a handsome couple you two make !
Cheers, Willem
Never a dull moment
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Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 12:09

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 12:09
Thanks Willem. I really like the new "my rig" shot you've loaded too. It looks like something from a brochure advertising 4WD holidays. Where was it taken?Smile, you're on ExplorOz
Rohan (Sydney - on the QLD side of the Harbour Bridge)
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Follow Up By: Member - Willem- Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 18:49

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 18:49
Hi Rohan,

The pic was taken at Little Dip Conservation Park, just east of Robe, SA. We visited the area outside school holidays and had the whole place to ourselves. The beach run produced some very soft sand but we did not get bogged. Just let the old girl idle through feathering the accelerator in 3rd low with 15psi in the tyres. It is a very beautiful part of Australia.
Cheers, Willem
Never a dull moment
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Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 09:41

Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 09:41
It looks spectacular. Could you beach camp?

Hmmm - one day ...Smile, you're on ExplorOz
Rohan (Sydney - on the QLD side of the Harbour Bridge)
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Follow Up By: Member - Willem- Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 10:40

Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 10:40
Sorry Rohan...no beach camping. There are four camp sites but only one is close to the beach.

Discover Australia National Parks book by Ron and Viv Moon with contribution by Willie Kempen(aka Willem) is a good reference for South Australia and indeed all of Australias National Parks. I think that they are out of print now but you will still find them on bookshelves.
Cheers, Willem
Never a dull moment
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Reply By: relaxed QLD - Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 23:20

Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 23:20
I live approximately 30mins away from the barge at River Heads in Hervey bay that goes over to fraser, and you know its probably been at least 10 years since i've been to the island. Now your probably thinking what wrong with this person, living so close to such a beautiful place and not going there. Well, there is probably thousands of us up here who use to always be over there until the government stuck its big nose in and (in my/our view) spoiled it, as you have semi eluded to Rohan. There are just so many things that you can't do or go to anymore, it just isn't as much fun anymore and of course there is the cost factor. I remember many years ago, my wife and I camped at the cape for 10 days, total cost of $25 for the barge return. In that time 7 vehicles went past our camp, 4 in the first day. Now those were the good days. Maybe I'm dwelling on the past too much, but honestly, you've got to think whats it going to be like in 20 years from now, it will be either - you will sail along the island in a sight seeing boat with a person on the speaker saying this is Fraser Island, you used to be able to go there, but the government has turned it into a environmental santuary and off limits to everyone. Or, it will be a place where you won't be able to scratch yourself without a permit of some description and a wod full of notes to pay for them.
I think I'll just stick to my memories.
Rohan, its good to see that you were able to enjoy your holiday up here and for the rest of you thinking of doing the trip up this way, do it soon.
Relaxed
AnswerID: 26208

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 09:36

Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 09:36
Yeah, I agree relaxed. Do it soon. I think the government would have been better off restricting access to a certain number of visitors per year and leaving the Island undeveloped. But hey, $$$ talks.Smile, you're on ExplorOz
Rohan (Sydney - on the QLD side of the Harbour Bridge)
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Reply By: Andrew(WA) - Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 23:48

Monday, Jul 28, 2003 at 23:48
Rohan

I had a look a your pics, great set up.

I'll be doing Frazer during November. Other than it being a big island I don't much about the place.

I'll be in the patrol towing a camper van and will have about 5 days + or -.

Just wondering what your thoughts would be on whether to move on each day towing the van, or getting a base camp and working out from that each day??

Also, is the whole Island accessable and worth seeing or are there some parts not worth it??

cheers
AnswerID: 26213

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 09:47

Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 09:47
Andrew, to be honest, you won't get to see a lot in only 5 days and rather than give you the drum here, I'll have it al in the trip report, which I hope to have up on a new web site in the next few weeks.

With the camper, I'd base camp. However, I'd also take a tent if you can and plan to spend a night away from base. The tides (and their time of day) can really restrict the available hours you have to get around and therefore limit, to some extent, just how far you can get (and back) in a day. This is what we'll be doing next time so we can spend a little longer enjoying a particular place, such as Wathumba. The area from Rainbow Gorge to Dunduburra, on the eastern beach is centrally located so I'd suggest camping along there.

The is much less that is accessible now than when I last went. Many tracks are closed to only "official" traffic and are chained off. Whislt there are 4 or 5 different types of forest on the Island, its not long before you've seen them all so touring tracks just for the sake of it is a wast of time. The majority of things to do/see are within middle half (north to south) of the Island. Spend one day doing Indian Head to Sandy Cape and Wathumba and that's all you need do up there.

Anyway, more later. In the meantime, search this site for Fraser Island, have a look at the trip report under "Treks" and also duck over to overlanderand do a search there too. There is heaps of info and other trip reports, many of which we used when planning our trip.

Have fun.Smile, you're on ExplorOz
Rohan (Sydney - on the QLD side of the Harbour Bridge)
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Reply By: Member- Rox - Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 00:46

Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 00:46
Rohan K , Love the 10ft anex what are you using for the floor?
I was going to extend mine to 8ft from 6ft but might make it bigger now as that looks great.Around Oz 06/2004
AnswerID: 26217

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 09:56

Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 09:56
Rox, if you've got kids, go 10'. The extra space to "live" when shelter from the elements is required, is a real boon - you can keep from getting under each other's feet and all be comfortable. However, it does add considerable weight (in canvas) and you'll need spreader bars to support it (where you don't with only a six foot annex).

We use shadecloth for the floor. A single piece that my wife sewed together that goes under the entire set-up. It is the annex floor, the "groun-shhet" under the sleeping quarter's floor and extends to also be the floor for the rear awning/shower room (which we didn't set up this time because of the privacy our site provided). We also put a small poly-tarp under the shadecloth part that's under the sleeping quarters floor, for additional protection, when required.

The shade-cloth is excellent aa floor, particularly in sandy conditions, as we discovered, and also allows grass and the like to "breath" so its stands up better to being covered. Shade-cloth is now the preferred flooring material in many camping grounds and caravan parks.Smile, you're on ExplorOz
Rohan (Sydney - on the QLD side of the Harbour Bridge)
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Reply By: Member- Rox - Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 00:47

Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 00:47
Have you got any picks of your kitchen set up?Around Oz 06/2004
AnswerID: 26218

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 10:04

Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 10:04
We don't use a "pull-out" or "swing-out" kitchen. We use stand alone gear so that we can use the same gear when tent (rather than trailer) camping.

We set up the esky and main food box on the drop-down trailer tail-gate, set up the (prep and stove in one) table running perpendicular to that and another working table perpendicular to that with the other food and kitchen boxes on shelves and the floor under that table. It all makes a large, square U-shaped kitchen area about 4' x 10'. Thats' our normal set-up, but on Fraser we had to pack the esky and all the food boxes back into the trailer and close the tail-gate every time we left the camper and every night.

Not sure if we've got any clear photos. I'll have a look.Smile, you're on ExplorOz
Rohan (Sydney - on the QLD side of the Harbour Bridge)
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