Fraser Island is a considerably sized sand Island off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Some say it is the biggest sand island in the world (and some find meaning and significance in hierarchising anything and
I set off for my six-day, 90 Kms, hiking adventure on Fraser Island from mid-
Hervey Bay is geographically bright but culturally grey. A go-to climate fantasy for captive Modernists escaping from Modernity by creating an even worse version. I checked into my Air BB in a laconic Queenslander (a type of wooden house on stilts), then went for a walk along the boulevard of mistaken dreams. I had dinner in an obese fish-and-chip shop, a pint of Guinness in a grim gambling den masquerading as a sports bar, then walked back to the Queenslander for a laconic night’s sleep.
At the crack of dawn, I was on the ferry to Kingfisher Bay, a quick 40-minute ride across to the island. The ferry master discussed the European history of the island through a tedious frontier narrative; the stuffed dingo toys for sale at the bar were a lot more intrepid.
As soon as I disembarked, I started walking, eager to escape from the 4-wheel drives full of families with babies inviting to be devoured by the dingos. It is illegal to feed the dingos on Fraser Island; there is a $10,000 fine; however, it is not illegal for the dingos to eat the babies as dingos are not legal persons under Australian law.
Day 1: The first day, I walked from Kingfisher Bay to Lake McKenzie. This was an easy walk along wide, sandy paths through scrubby bushland. There is a beautiful wooden pier on the way, and thankfully, I did not meet any other people. I wanted to walk by myself, experience solitude and reflection, read in the evening, and listen to the birds. Admittedly, I felt a bit dark before I left, but the life in the Fraser Island rainforests buoyed a starved Modern soul.
Lake McKenzie is remarkable, a large freshwater lake in the middle of the forest. I pitched my tent in the well-equipped campsite surrounded by a hysterical dingo fence, then went for a swim in the beautiful lake. In the evening, I watched Netflix on my phone (pre-downloaded) and listed to ABC Radio. It was pitch-black dark by about 5.30 PM, so luckily, I bought an excellent re-charge battery for long, lonely evenings in the tent.
Day 2: From Lake McKenzie to the utilitarian named Central Station was a leisurely stroll. I stopped and had lunch at the deep Basin Lake, fringed by reeds and home to frogs and freshwater turtles. I walked through the rainforest with towering trees, banksia woodlands, melaleuca wetlands, and eucalyptus. Just before Central Station, there is a spectacular sandy creek traversed by the meandering wooden walking trail. The walkers camp was in the middle of a rain forest that rained. I set up camp, hydrated my dinner, and settled in for the night.
Day 3: From Central Station to Lake Wabby was a very long way, and I welcomed the physical challenge as the past could of days had been pedestrian. I walked through the vast rainforest with mammoth trees, and I still had not met anyone on the path, which suited me fine. I set up near Lake Wabby, then walked to the lookout. Lake Wabby is beneath a giant sand blow; the sand island fights the trees, attempting to reclaim the island.
Day 4: Lake Wabby to the Valley of the Giants was a very long day again, but I was not weary. It is incredible what you can achieve when you are a little scared. I walked through the central high dunes, cloaked with open eucalypt forests and woodlands. Most of the day was through the cool, dense rainforest with a cacophony of birds and the odd ray of sunlight shining through the canopy.
The Valley of the Giants walking camp was deserted like all the other places I had camped; just me and my post-apocalyptic fantasies. The camp is within a forest of giant
Day 5: After deep sleep, I made some strong coffee, then walked through inspiring stands of brush box,
Day 6: The last day’s walk was the easiest of the hike, and I was in the village of Happy Valley (which was neither) by noon. I found the local bar, bought some deep-fried, salty fat chips and beer, and waited for my 2.45 PM ‘taxi’ back to Kingfisher Bay to catch the ferry. The taxi (a 4-weel drive) cost me a reluctant $160 but was worth the expense. It took about an hour to drive back to Kingfisher with several embarrassing piss stops. The driver told me stories of nubile attracted dingos and that there were only 200 on the island (there must be at least eight warning signs for every dingo).
I arrived back at Hervey Bay at dusk and rested before my flight back to Melbourne the next day. A great winter hike, and Queensland has a whole series of ‘great walks’ similar to this. I am looking forward to discovering the others.