Flying Solo

Posted: July 15, 2011 in Fav Stuff, Funny Stuff, History Stuff
Tags: , , ,
Not so Wicked Van…

Fraser Island is named as one of the top things to do in Australia.  It has a 75 mile beach.  I had missed it.  I had booked it with OZ experience and slept out.  I was determined to do it before I left.  I rebooked.  The tour was leaving from Rainbow Beach.  I booked it the weekend of Bluesfest and left the Aussie boys behind.  They checked the van for me and said it was safe for me to drive.  I was flying solo.  I flew up the east coast in my rickety campervan from Byron Bay to Rainbow Beach.  When I say flew, I mean I went as fast as the van allowed and slowed down whenever I saw steam coming out of the engine… It took me 6 hours.

Knock Me Kangaroo Down Sport

I rolled down the windows for air con purposes and had music blaring out of my mini-speakers to keep me awake.  The radio was obsolete.  I was told to watch out for kangaroo’s and not to drive at night.  I hadn’t planned on it. I could barely drive during the day… I kept my eyes peeled.  I noticed other drivers staring at the van.  I smiled and waved.  I was driving a pink van on a motorway. It had to be that, right?  I was motoring along when I realised someone was tailgating me.  I wasn’t going fast enough for them.  I indicated to go into the slower lane.  I quickly glanced in my mirror and judged the distance, space and time it would take to get into said lane.  I misjudged it.  I forgot I had a big behind.  The car behind swerved and voiced his frustrations with his horn.  I waved again.  Apologetically.

4WD Tour Bus

I made it to Rainbow Beach.  Alive.  With only slightly scarred nerve damage.  It took me a few minutes to pry my fingers from the wheel… I was glad no kangaroos had been killed in the undertaking of this adventure.  I managed to get parking at the hostel in Rainbow Beach.  I vowed to get an early night and not miss the trip again.  I went to get the tour bus the next morning.  It was huge.  A big bouncy 4WD bus.  We bounced our way along to get the boat for Fraser Island.  I had heard lots of good things about it from fellow travellers.  It was not to be missed.  Highlight of their trip so far.  You could drive a 4WD.  You get to see Dingoes.  Camping is amazing overnight.  Beautiful lakes with sandy beaches… I was en-route.

Beach Rules

When we got to Fraser Island, there were 4WD’s everywhere, zooming up and down the beach.  No Road.  A Beach.  There appeared to be Rules of the Beach when it came to driving.  One way, drive on the left, other way drive on the right.  Not dissimilar to Rules of the Road.  However, in these Rules, planes were allowed.

Just landed on the beach

Out of nowhere, a small Cessna plane lands in front of our bus.  Captain jumps out in official looking whites and jumps on board.  “Anyone want to see the Island from the air?” He asked.  I pondered this.  At 70 aud, it wasn’t cheap and I was admittedly scared of heights.  However, it was cheaper than a sky dive and a bungee jump and this could be my leap of fear.  I leaped.  “Yes, I do” I answered.  Far too loudly for my liking… I seemed overly enthusiastic.  The rest followed suit…

  We took off on the beach with no apparent regard to the Beach Rules.  We lifted off just above a 4WD that had been coming towards us.  I repeated the mantra “I am calm, centred and balanced” a few times, hoping it would take effect… The captain told us to spot the fish.  He said that we might see a shark.  I doubted it.  All I could see were waves and dark sea.  We flew around for a bit and saw sand, green stuff and sea.  No fish…  Still, it was picturesque.  It was also mad to see lots of 4WD’s zooming up and down the beach from up on high.

Maheno Shipwreck

After landing, we visited some of the sights.  A Shipwreck.  There was not much left.  A rusty skeleton of a mighty ship… The story unfolded of how the ship was being towed from Melbourne by a smaller ship and got caught in a cyclone.  They had misjudged the weight to tow it back.  It happens… It washed up on Fraser Island.  It had cost lots so some official types decided it could be used as bomb practice by marines during WWII.  Hence, lack of ship.  It came with a warning.  You were not allowed within 3 meters of the wreck.  I could see some little boys itching to get onto it… I, on the other hand, went back to the bus.  I had faced enough fear for one day without trampling upon a killer jellyfish…

Camping Next to the Dingo's

We saw lots of wildlife:  a bird, two dingoes and some plants.  You are not allowed to feed the dingo’s because apparently they can bite back.  I wasn’t planning on sharing my food anyways.  I kept thinking about that movie where the baby gets taken in the wild after the parents go camping.  They think it was a dingo.  I wasn’t planning on camping either.  We went swimming in the lake to cool down.  It was packed.  There were families everywhere.  It was Easter break.  They were all camping on the Island behind the green parts near the beach.  I had heard that camping was great craic.  I just didn’t fancy sleeping next to the dingoes.  I had a festival to get back to…

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