Fraser Explorer Tour - a one day tour of Fraser Island
We were excited to be going on a day tour to Fraser Island with Fraser Explorer Tours and they didn’t disappoint. If you want to see a good chunk of Fraser Island in one day, then these tour operators have got the goods. Here is my first hand account of the day. Watch the film clip for the full story.
Pretending to be a visitor to the Park was fun, we got to hang out in the Bush Kitchen and wait for the bus. When it arrived it was a green bus, which was unexpected. Most of the time the buses that collect you are either white or blue, so this made a change. We were to disembark at the ferry and catch the blue bus on the other side. We met our driver Hayden and straight away you could tell he was an accomplished Tour Guide. I got first dibs at the front seat so got some footage of the rough tracks from the ferry to the Eastern side. If you watch the video – This is a great way to see first hand just how rough it is. I have never had a customer say they didn’t enjoy the trip because it was rough, as it is part of the experience. You cannot possibly visit a SAND Island and expect bitumen roads. Hayden was terrific at doing the commentary while trying to avoid the hazards of the road and the other “too slow” drivers and gave everyone a feeling of ease. Those blue buses seem to make short work of the challenging terrain. I am normally a nervous nelly when it comes to getting bogged or travelling off-road, and he seemed so calm that any concerns were unfounded.
The entrance to Fraser Island is not appealing. You can imagine the overseas guests thinking ‘wtf’ we paid all that money for this. It’s not until you get into the tour and get a grasp of just how big the island is and how much land there is to cover that you can appreciate that the entrance via the Wanggoolba Creek is very understated and doesn’t even give you a glimpse of the treasures the island has in store
After bouncing along the tracks for about 40 minutes we reached a comfort stop at Eurong Beach Resort. A quick in and out and off we went onto the sand beach (aptly named 75 mile beach) where we spotted a dingo.
Our first stop was at the Maheno Wreck where we took photos. The history of the wreck is an interesting story as told by Hayden.
Our next stop was up to the Pinnacles or Coloured Sands. Not sure what all the fuss is about, but being one of the very few Australians on-board perhaps I don’t appreciate coloured sand formations. Everyone seemed busy taking photos though.
A few of the guests decided to take advantage of the Fraser Island Air Experience which is a terrific way to see the Island from a birds eye view. There are about 100 inland lakes on Fraser Island, most of them inaccessible due to the rough terrain. Some of them are very spectacular, like the aptly named Butterfly lake, We chatted to a lady who did the flight its $100 for 15 minutes and she said it was a great experience and worth the little bit extra. The only way to really appreciate just how big this biggest sand island in the world is. They got dropped off at Eli Creek which is where we were headed next.
When we arrived at Eli Creek there were other tourists there and I was expecting it to be unpleasant because of all the people who were enjoying this piece of paradise. I had seen the photos before of the crystal clear water and was amazed that it is exactly as in the pictures only better, clear bright blue sky, the water was chillingly refreshing and a perfect place for me to get my flick hair shot before my “shave for a cure” next month. A few blokes slowly ambled past floating on the inner-tubes, while others were having races in the shallows. It was a good aerobic work out walking upstream against the gentle current. You could see little fish swimming in the shallows. And eventually after trying several times, the flick hair shot was achieved, before dropping the phone in the water….yikes.
We had plenty of time at Eli Creek to walk up and down the creek and get the flick hair shot before heading back to Eurong Beach Resort for the Buffet lunch. To be fair, I wasn’t in the best frame of mind at this point, worrying about the wet phone…so headed over to the shop and bought a bag of rice to put it in. Hence the pathetic food shot. I had already started to eat, but you get the idea. There was plenty to choose from at the buffet with sausages, chicken, salad, pasta, and fresh bread rolls. Some fruit salad for desert. Nothing fancy, but adequate and did the job nicely. The timing was precise, with us all getting back on the bus at 1.30pm after being at the resort since 12.30pm. So there was plenty of time. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of Eurong Beach Resort.
It wasn’t a very long drive until we reached Central Station and what a lovely surprise this was with crystal clear water in the creek and towering trees with lots of staghorns. The mosquitos were out in force so it kept the group moving, but we didn’t mind as it meant more time at the next stop, Lake McKenzie. I am sure if we had of carried a stock of Mangove Magic we could have sold the lot. Everyone was busy doing the tourism haka
Not until you step onto the fine white sand and take in the magnificent crystal clear water lake can you really appreciate just how special this place is. So this is what everyone raves about “I thought” Amazing. Sure there were people there enjoying the lake but everyone else also seemed to be in awe and just layed about in the shallow warm water enjoying the last rays of afternoon sunshine. The time now was 3pm and we had 1 hour to spend here. Hayden assured us that our group had made good time and not all tours can run to schedule due to tides, or vehicle break downs, but we had a dream run and this last stop was the icing on the cake.
The water was amazing, it was luke warm and I couldn’t believe it really was fresh water so I had to try it. On the walk down we spotted a couple of lace monitors or goannas and a little skink. Apparently there were a few in the car park as well. We had to get back to the bus for departure at 4pm, so we ambled back up the path, it’s an easy walk and well worth it. There is a toilet block there which is adequate where we could change into some dry clothes for the bus ride back to the ferry.
As we pulled up, the ferry was just coming into view.
We all piled back onto the ferry and headed back to River Heads for transfer back. On the ferry you can buy snacks and drinks and they also serve alcohol. I enjoyed a hot chocolate and a bag a chips while Paul had to have a Bundaberg Rum to match his Bundaberg Rum outfit.
We got back to River Heads at 5.30pm.
The buses were lined up and you just said where you were staying and they pointed you to a bus. The little white bus we were on drove very fast and I thought we were going to get air-born when we turned into Bengtson Road. Crazy. This driver was totally different to Hayden. A shame, because Fraser Explorer Tours have done an amazing job at putting together a first class experience only to have an unfriendly driver at the end of the trip.
Regardless of this, I would highly recommend the Fraser Explorer Tour, they certainly know what they are doing…it is a well oiled machine.
Footnote: I kept the phone in the bag of rice and it seems to be going fine…fingers crossed.