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Fraser Island Field Trip: Offroading Inland to Secret Creeks and Special Lakes

July 24, 2014 at 10:35 PM | by | ()

We may have stayed close to the shore yesterday, but now it's time to brave the sand dune tracks and head inland on Australia's Fraser Island. While it's rated as the largest sand island in the world, Fraser is shockingly easy to traverse if you've got the right gear, and we're not just talking low gear. A 4x4 is all you need to reach those corners of the island both so untouched and pristine, you'll think you're the first to ever view them.

It's important to note that there are a handful of lakes on the island worth the trek away from the beaches. Lake McKenize is the most famous, with its crystal blue waters ringed with white sand. McKenzie, Lake Birrabeen and Basin Lake are all perched lakes that depend on rainfall to fill their shores, so the waters are cool and fresh, and begging you to swim. Let's talk about a few of the other inland sites, however:

· Lake Wabby is another of the island's lakes, but it is formed by windblown sand dunes coupled with a blocked creek, all which combines to exude a rich green hue within the surrounding eucalyptus forest. These emerald waters are home to about 13 species of fish.

Above: Lake Wabby

· On the flip side of the color spectrum, Lake Boomanjin takes a little hiking to reach, but the stunning red color of the waves (caused by nearby swamp tannins) will be worth the trip.

· Smack in the middle, between the beaches of the island, sits Wanggoolba Creek. Flowing from the rainforests down to the west coast, the freshwater remains a constant 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit and originates from a aquifer that holds 30 times more water than Sydney Harbour. At first glance, the water looks a little mucky, but on further investigation the water transforms into crystal clarity.

· Central Station is a former logging camp transformed into a Wildlife Service ranger station for education and conservation. With a few logger homes still standing, this zone is a quaint step back in time which highlights the earliest days of the island.

· During the 1920s, the logging industry was in full force with wood of the Satinay Tree as the main product. These giants are similar to redwoods, but found to be perfect in marine conditions since they were resistant to borers. A trip through the Pile Valley will have you weaving in and out of these giants whose timber was used to line the banks of the Suez Canal.

· Further north, a perfect swimming spot is Eli Creek where it flows onto Seventy-Five MIle Beach. The lush green banks and warm waters are common spots for visitors to cool off in the heat.

From coast to coast and all over the limited sand trails around the island, there is plenty to see and do to fill a few days on Fraser Island. Since it's pretty rough terrain in all, the island does take a brave traveler to mount a self-guided tour, so all-wheel-drive bus tours are available. And, if you're really lucky, you can score a spot all to yourself for a few hours and pretend that this little spot is much farther away from a metropolis (Brisbane) than the 3.5 hours it actually is.

[Photos: Rayme Gorniak, SusLikesTurtles]

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