The early bird catches the worm: After everyone got picked up from their accommodation around Noosa, we soaked up the beautiful morning atmosphere at 6.30am on the cable ferry crossing between Tewantin and Noosa North Shore, on our way to World Heritage listed Fraser Island - the world's largest sand island.
Our warrior for the day, ‘Xena’, also known as the ‘mother of the bus fleet’! Our driver and guide for the day was Dave - you definitely need good driving skills to control one of these warrior buses on the deep sand of Fraser Island.
The journey to Fraser Island was an adventure in itself. Every now and then we passed other adventurers on our way to the Island...
...or campers... Many of the people we saw along the ‘Sand Highway’ were earlybirds like us, doing early-morning ocean fishing. Dave told us some of Australia’s best fish such as trevally, snapper, whiting, flathead, tuna and more can be caught here.
After we passed the Coloured Sands of the Great Sandy National Park and beautiful Rainbow Beach where we had a short stop, we reached the northern gateway to Fraser Island, or K'gari, as the local indigenous people, the Butchulla, know it. With a second ferry we crossed over to the world’s largest sand island and even had the chance to hop out of our warrior on-board the ferry to look out for dolphins and get a breath of fresh ocean air.
Once we reached Fraser Island, we knew why the drivers need to be trained for these trips. I was happy to be sitting in our big warrior truck and not in a small 4WD when we had to negotiate our way around large tree trunks. Dave assured us it is all about waiting for the right moment as the waves flow back before you make it through the gap between water and branches!
Here we go...
Time for morning tea! Dave served coffee, tea and yummy muffins that had been picked up from a bakery that morning. We also tasted traditional Australian lamingtons (for international visitors who may never have tasted a "lammie", it's a sponge cake covered in chocolate icing and desiccated coconut. YUM! It was fun driving on the island's bumpy sand roads and really test Xena's great suspension. Look out for the island’s iconic dingoes on the tracks.
We reached Lake McKenzie around lunchtime and swam in the crystal-clear water, feeling the fine, white sand between our toes. Apparently the water makes you look 5 years younger and your jewellery look brand-new ;-) We also learned that the powdered sand is a great no-cost skin peel!
After a relaxed hour at the lake, a delicious lunch was waiting for us! The Discovery Group catered with super fresh ingredients for wraps and were even prepared for people preferring to eat gluten-free.
We worked off lunch with a rainforest walk through magnificent wilderness - we could even move trees after our hearty lunch! There is not the slightest chance of hugging one of these giants with less than five people joining hands.
We discovered this fellow in the woods! Fraser Island is the place in the world where rainforests grow on sand dunes and it's home to an impressive array of flora and fauna, including a myriad of birds and goanna.
Lush rainforest and quaint crystal-clear streams under the giant canopy.
After a big day with so many memories to take home, we enjoyed an idyllic evening atmosphere on the ferry back to Inskip Point and travelled through picturesque hinterland back towards Noosa. On our way home we even spotted some grazing kangaroos. What a perfect day!
The Discovery Group has tours from Noosa to Fraser Island. Or call the Noosa Visitor Information Centre on 1 3000 NOOSA (in Australia) or +61 7 5430 5000 (outside Australia).