After arriving in Australia we met up with Bill and Gail in Brisbane then drove to Hervey Bay. We spent the night there so we could get an early start the next morning and head to Fraser Island on the morning Ferry.
We first had to pick up our 4 wheel drive vehicle, as the rental SUV was apparently not going to be enough nor did the rental company want us to take it to the island. I thought they were being a little too careful but would soon find out why they insisted their car did not go to Fraser Island.
We arrived at what looked more like an auto body shop then a car rental shop, they ran us through the normal sign here and here and here paperwork then had us watch a mandatory video from the Australia Parks service. The video scared the crap out of us, as it kept showing images of horrible car wrecks. It was at about this point that I started to wonder where we were going. Were then handed the car keys and did the inspection of the vehicle. Before we even had a chance to mention any scratches we noticed, he said that doesn’t count only serious damage as he pointed to the bumper which looked like it rear ended a rhino. He said all the scratches and small dents were simply incidentals so don’t worry about it.
So we piled into the truck and drove off, it sounded like a semi and transmission heated up to leave both driver and passenger without leg hair but other than that it seemed like we were on our way.
Bill was the first one to drive and was immediately given the arduous task of backing on to the ferry across two slats, while driving from the opposite side. Thankfully it was him and not me as he put it smoothly on the ferry. After a round of congratulations and a cup of coffee the short ferry ride got us to the island and once again Bill was in charge of driving and got us off the ferry and started us on our adventure. The first section was paved and all I could think was this 4 wheel drive requirement is a scam. But as we got to the first ridge we got onto a dirt road, here I am still thinking ‘what a crock’ but right as we rounded the ridge and looked down our first decent I felt my butt cheeks clench, and all I could think was ‘oh shit, who thought a 4 wheel drive vehicle in the hands of people who have no experience was a good idea’ It looked like something I would have hiked down but never thought you could drive on. To say that the road was full of pot holes would be too generous as, it hardly qualified as a road, it was more of a serious of gaps between trees. Thankfully Bill maneuvered down the descent like a pro. He got us all the way to the beach were driving became smoother.
Over the course of the 3 days on the island we had a chance to each test our prowess at driving. Gail managed to navigate some very large rocks, Caitlin worked her way around a tree, while we all feared we would flip, but did not. I managed to ford a river and climb a sand dune without the death of an oxen. While the adventure was successful it was anything but smooth as Caitlin summed it up with “I feel like my insides have become detached”. While driving was the largest part of the adventure it was not the only activity on the island.
We took multiple chances to hike around different parts of the island and take in some of the wildlife and fauna. Definitely not your average island adventure, we had a great time and took in all the sites.