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On a monthlong tour of Australia, I was extremely excited for our Fraser Island Day tour which involved beautiful lakes, 4WD busses, exploring creeks, hiking in forests, and LOTS of adventures to make for an amazing experience.
The signs reading ’80’ along Fraser Island’s 75 mile beach are not the temperature… they are the speed limit. The world’s largest sand island, Fraser is also home to a long sandy highway where you will find massive 4WD busses zooming at great speeds, carrying awestruck passengers from around the world along the island’s only highway which doubles as a beach.
We took the advice of our tour guides not to have too big of a night before our Fraser Island day tour… because ‘bumpy ride’ was an understatement. These massive 4WD busses just barely fit through the one way sand tracks throughout the island, which I wouldn’t even call ‘roads’ because they’re merely pathways carved out through the sand and trees. This made for a super exciting ride, though. I was sitting at the back of the bus and literally caught air a few times on the way home. And this was while our tour guide blasted Justin Bieber and the whole bus was screaming along to the lyrics. It was a lot of fun.
Our tour guide told us that Fraser is a “Stage Four” sand quay – meaning apparently that it is the most advanced of sand islands, complete with its own vegetation and plant and animal ecosystems. It really is completely composed of sand – all the plants grow right out of the sand and all the pathways are sandy. I’ve never seen anything like it- it was really fascinating.
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Fraser Island Day Tour First Stop: Lake Mckenzie
Our first stop on our Fraser Island day tour was Lake Mckenzie – which has been apparently voted one of the best places to swim in Australia! The water is stunningly clear and pure, and the sand is so fine that it is supposed to make your hair and skin softer if you rub it on yourself (which we of course tested out.)
The lake formed from dead vegetation mixing with sand over years and years, creating a solid rock under the lake that keeps rain water from seeping down through the sand. So, it’s essentially a lake comprised of pure rain water, which makes for some pretty nice views.
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Fraser Island Day Tour Stop 2: Sandy Highway
The tour companies that runs these Fraser Island Day Tours all have these massive 4WD busses that look quite silly until you understand what they’re for. We saw a wild dingo or two on our way out to the famous 75 Mile Beach, where the ride quickly went from bumpy to smooth as we started to jet along the wet sand on the beach.
It was such a surreal experience to be driving along a massive beach in the first place, but in a monster-truck like bus at that! The waves lapped up at our wheels as we passed by other busses and backpackers crammed into Land Rovers also zooming along the beach highway. We actually drove quite quickly, and I watched the scenery wizz by as we sped down the beach, easily missing busses going the other direction because there was so much space!
Fraser Island Day Tour Stop 3: Maheno Shipwreck
Fraser Island has a famous shipwreck at the north end of its long beach, which has been there since 1935. This boat was built in Scotland, used as a medical boat in Africa during WW1, and bought by the Japanese for scrap metal. They ran into some trouble when a storm hit on the way back up to Japan… and I think you can guess what happened there.
This massive hunk of metal has been a tourist attraction on the beach for over 82 years now, and was even used for target practice for pilots during WW2. It’s a necessary stop on any Fraser Island day tour and so cool to explore! These days you aren’t allowed to touch it, just admire from afar. My favorite view of it was from the sky – but I ill get to that later!
Fraser Island Day Tour Stop 4: Eli Creek Floating
One of the must do’s on Fraser Island is to float down Eli Creek. Bring an inner tube or accept the challenge to float down this awesome, chilly water stream that hastily makes its way from the hills to the ocean.
I think I floated down it about four times before joining some girls playing volleyball on the sand. There were tons of people who drove their jeeps up to the creek and got out their speakers and barbecues for a chilled out beach sesh between the creek and the sea. This is definitely a great chill spot on Fraser, and I would have stayed longer if I had time!
Fraser Island Day Tour Stop 5: Forest Hiking/Walking
Fraser has some of the most beautiful forests and rivers in the center of the island. We went on about a 30 minute walk through the vegetation and walked along the clearest stream I have ever seen! This river was so clear it looked like there wasn’t even any water in it at all, if that makes sense… a friend and I walked along a log that had fallen across the river and drank straight from it because it was that pure. We saw some trees that were over 2000 years old on this scenic walk too – it took five or six of us to make it all the way around!
And finally – a Flight From the Beach!
When offered to take a ride on a small little plane that would take off right from the sand as the last option on our Fraser Island day tour – I couldn’t really say no to such a unique experience! I mean, where else in the world does a beach double as a highway and a runway?! I’m all about getting the most out of any experience, and the flight just put the cherry on top of my awesome day on Fraser.
We flew right over the shipwreck, over five or six of Fraser’s iconic lakes and sand dunes (which formed from beach sand blowing up over the forest and slowly burying it – pretty cool) and the gorgeous 75-mile beach. It was insane to watch little tiny cars speeding along the beach (see if you can pick out the cars and blue busses from the photos!) from the front seat of this little 9-seater plane, which I of course claimed as soon as I had the chance! I would definitely recommend doing this on Fraser; it kind of brings the whole day of experiences together being able to see all the places you visited from high up in the sky.
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