We boarded a bus to the ferry at 3:30 with a few other people who left their cars in the parking lot on the mainland and boarded the ferry. There were a few others who boarded the boat with their cars, all 4-wheel drive. One of them was driving a red Jeep Wrangler, just like the one I have back in San Diego. I was a bit jealous that I didn’t have mine, it would have been fun trekking through the sand island with that. Once we got on the boat I said hello to the owner of the Jeep and he politely said hello and then walked on. No conversation at all.
We then headed up to the top deck of the boat where it was cooler and spent some time with the captain, who by the way had only half of his right ear. That was interesting. In the front of the boat was a very personable couple who we found out were named Bill and Diane. They were a lively couple and we started talking, and talking, and talking until we got to the dock at Fraser Island. They showed us the car that they had brought over to the island and that they had been coming there since they were young parents with their kids. Their two boys are now 33 and 39, so they hadn’t been back in about 20 years.
When we got to the resort and got all checked in we headed straight for the pool, it is pretty hot and humid as we get nearer to the equator. We had a really nice swim in the pool and I started talking to a young couple from Amsterdam named Mika and Peter. After a few minutes of talking, in walked Bill and Diane. Diane walked up to me and told me that they would find a way to take us to the famous Lake McKenzie the following day. I told her that there were 5 of us and that there was no way we would all fit. I told her thanks and that we would meet in the morning if we figured something out as a family.
We went back to the room and told the kids and Karley that they were going to stay at the hotel for the day and do school work while Ilise and I went for the morning with Bill and Diane. Well, the morning drive around the island lasted until 6 PM! It was truly a special day for the two of us. Bill and Diane we two of the kindest people we have ever met. They shared their lunch with us and took us around this island as if we were part of their family. We drove across from the bay side over to the ocean, which took about an hour. Then we drove north on the beach, you need to understand that Fraser Island is based completely on sand, everything! There is no dirt, no soil, just sand. The amazing part is that it’s close to 100 miles long and covered in rain forest. Hard to imagine an island that big made of sand, but then all these huge trees growing out of the sand, it was spectacular.
We drove on the beach to Eli River, which was about 2 miles south of a 1917 shipwreck. The river was raging so we decided to park the car and start walking. We walked all the way to the wreck with the wind at our back, which was pretty enjoyable. The only problem with walking with the wind at your back is the fact that you need to walk back with the wind in your face!
In the end, we got a great workout and jumped into the Eli River when we were done. The river was so clear and the water felt great. We then left to drive to Lake McKenzie and we stopped for a wonderful picnic. Bill and Diane have an organic farm that they have built and brought their own produce. There was lettuce and cucumber along with a fresh bean salad that was excellent. They even had some vegemite for us to taste so we could leave Australia saying we had tasted it. Both Ilise and I did, and I believe that is enough for each of us 🙂
After lunch we came across a couple that had their car stuck in the sand, did I say all the roads are complete sand? There is no pavement that we drove on other than the resort roads. Over 6 hours driving on sand roads in a 4X4 vehicle. Not the most comfortable of days but it was a ton of fun. As is typical of Bill and Diane, they jumped in to help the stuck car. They started digging and pouring sand behind the wheel, they brought out a long cable that is meant to pull cars out and gave it to the people to help. In the end, the car sustained a bit of damage but they got it out. For us it was time to drive to Lake McKenzie, but not before we stopped at Central Station, another beautiful section of the rain forest.
We arrived at Lake McKenzie and walked down to the beach, which was empty waiting just for us. The water was crystal clear and had a blue color that was spectacular. The bottom of the lake was this sand that was so soft it felt great on my feet. Within 30 minutes the sun started going down and it was time to head back. We arrived back at the resort around 6 PM after leaving at 9 AM. It was a full day and Bill and Diane were the best hosts we ever could have dreamed of for our stay. I hope they find their way to San Diego so we can host them for a few days.
When we got back the kids were starving and we headed to dinner. We enjoyed our meal and when we returned to the room I passed out within an hour. I must say, this was one day I will remember for the entire trip.
To a life well lived!