FOUR-WHEEL-DRIVE REPORT: Fraser Island trip a cracker
FRASER Island, being on our doorstep, is one of our favourite places to have a break and relax.
The annual trip for members of the Bundaberg Four Wheel Drive Club saw 10 vehicles based at the Waddy Point campground near Orchid Beach over two weeks in the holidays were we spent our days checking out the tourist spots at the top end of the island with a bit of fishing thrown in to fill in the days.
Trips to the Sandy Cape Lighthouse always entertain, with the Ngkala Rocks bypass always a spot to entertain the crowd with vehicles getting stuck in the soft sand.
Once past the rocks the run up the beach to Sandy Cape was no challenge with good tides allowing for plenty of room to drive.
Walks to the lighthouse, built in 1870, Second World War bunkers and grave sites gives you an idea of the hardships endured back when the lighthouse was manned.
At this time of year the unmanned lighthouse and buildings is host to volunteers who do nightly patrols along the beaches to log the landing sites of nesting turtles.
Nests are moved to higher grounds if need be and also covered with an aluminium frame that prevents dingoes from digging up the eggs.
Platypus Bay was a highlight for the group, as the track was closed in 2001 but has been reopened recently.
Although driving along the beach is restricted to about 500m it is an idyllic spot to rest and refresh in the calm, clear waters of the sheltered bay.
The contrast from the open beach on the Eastern side of the island to what the Western side offers is amazing.
The beach is on par with Whitehaven beach at the Whitsundays and has to be seen to be believed.
Wathumba Creek is another spot on the Western side of the island which is worth a look.
At high tide the water is turquoise in colour and clear.
Multitudes of stingrays cruise in and out with the tide, chasing the schools of fish that can be seen on the sand flats - just hope they had more luck with the fish than we did.
Ocean Lake, the closest freshwater lake to the sea on the island, was a popular spot for a swim.
The lake has the islands highest population of breeding and roosting water birds including pelicans, pied cormorants, musk ducks and black swans.
The Champagne Pools are a tourist hot spot.
The bubble effect caused by the waves breaking over the rocks was in full swing with the backpackers unaware of the force that the water comes over the top, with some seeing the rocks a bit closer than they intended, being knocked of their feet and dragged across the barnacles.
Heavy seas and strong winds constantly change the amount of sand in the pools.
This is the beauty of the island; it changes from day to day, with massive amounts of sand being moved from spot to spot depending on the weather.
The climb to the top of Indian Head is also another favourite pastime when on the island, with views across the bay to Waddy Point and down the main beach to partake.
Visits to the Maheno and Eli Creek with the obligatory photo shoot at the Maheno documents the toll time and tide has on the ship.
There are many more spots on Fraser to see and explore.
Our limited time was spent at the top end, away from the masses.
Planning is underway for next year's trip to once again take in the beauty of the largest sand island in the world.
To find out more about the Bundaberg Four Wheel Drive Club and the activities it has on, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.bundaberg 4wdclub.com or find the club on Facebook.