A Dingo ate my Baby?

By , December 27, 2009 6:46 am
Well, not quite but man, dingoes are not to be messed with–they are cunning and not afraid of humans.  And, Fraser Island has heaps of them–isn’t that why you go there?
I wasn’t sure what to think about Fraser Island except that it was a pretty cool place.  There are two types of tours you can take on the island–guided, where you are in a big 4 wheel drive bus and the driver takes care of your every need (i.e. food, transport and lodging) or self drive where you are given a land rover and paired up with 6 to 8 other people and the group is responsible for the food, getting around and camping.  Imagine going to the grocery store with people from 4 different countries trying to shop for 3 days worth of meals in only 40 minutes because the ferry is going to leave.  It was a bit comical but we got it done and we were the last ones on the ferry.

Let’s back up for a moment…the morning we left, we were given a 2 hour briefing on how to drive on the island…see, it is the largest sand island in the world.  We had to worry about getting stuck in the loose sand, driving through salt water which would cost us an extra $5,000, puncturing a tire–$2,000 or crashing into a tree.  Also, stay away from the water because of rip tides, stingers and sharks.  By the time the briefing was over I was seriously wondering why we didn’t do a guided tour and how the hell we can get on one.

But, in the end, we got paired up with three lovely Swiss girls which was great, a very dysfunctional English couple who provided plenty of drama and a girl from Holland that was a bit on the psycho side (one morning she took all the stakes out of the tents and they collapsed with all of our stuff in them and another day she broke into the vehicle because she didn’t want to ask for the key–weird).
The minute we got onto the island, we were told to let air out of the tires and put it in 4-wheel drive.  The tracks (I won’t even call them roads) were amazing…one lane, soft sand and huge bumps.  It reminded me of a ride I have gone on at Disneyland.  Anyways, we went on this track, bouncing around, through the rain forest for about 45 minutes and finally came to the beach.  The beach sand was not much better–very loose and deep.
We headed up the beach and our first stop was Lake Wabby which we hiked into.  We went through the woods and then came to a clearing in the sand where it looked like someone took out a big scoop of sand and filled it with greenish water.  We were so hot and took a lovely dip in the refreshing water.  After that, it was time to set up camp.
We were running against the clock as it was getting to be dusk.  We made it to the beach camp that had no tables, bathrooms or anything for that matter.  Along the way, we saw our first dingo as well.  Once there, we quickly put up the tents and had a nice barbeque dinner.  The night was very dark without a lantern and it was advised to go to the bathroom in the bush in pairs due to the dingoes.  The stars were magnificent–no light pollution to block them out.  And the ocean had luminescent algae in it and glowed when we stirred it up.  Very cool.  Sleeping in the tent was a challenge because it was hot, the sand is not very forgiving and the English couple kept yelling at each other in their tent (it was better than reality t.v.).  In the morning, we discovered the biggest sand flies on earth with an even bigger bite.  They were everywhere and seemed to be attracted to dark fabric.  Needless to say, making breakfast was a bit interesting.
We got all packed up and headed out to a place called Eli Creek.  We took a left instead of a right and ended up too far up the beach.  We found the ship wreck and hung out there for a bit and then headed back and found the creek.  We were last of the 4 vehicles to get there and the creek was so refreshing.  It is so fresh you could actually drink out of it.  It was good fun hanging out there.  Then we headed up to Indian Head and had our first conflict as a group because the English girl wanted to ‘learn’ how to drive and the first thing she did was get us stuck in the sand.  Because we had so much to lose moneywise, we were not too excited to have her drive and so I let her know we weren’t comfortable with her driving and she got really mad, then her and her boyfriend got into an argument and he decided that he was going to exceed the speed limit and drive over 80 km down the beach very close to the saltwater.  Needless to say, we got there very fast but our nerves were a little shot.
Indian Head was awesome, we hiked to the top of the mountain and you could see for miles…beach on two sides, ocean with loads of marine life on another side and the backside was miles of sand dunes.  Afterwards, we headed to our campsite.  The problem was, it started to pour down rain about 5 minutes before we arrived.  It was also getting late and we didn’t want to set up camp in the dark again so we put up the tents in the pouring rain.  Paul got a great idea on how to put up a tarp without any rope so we could hang out and cook (he used tree vines, an ace bandage from the first aid kit and trash bags).  Before we knew it, we had a nice little camp there.  The Swiss girls made a lovely pasta dinner and we hung out and chatted the evening away.
After sleeping in a very sandy, wet tent, Paul and I got up before dawn that last morning.  We decided to take our sleeping bags out to the beach to watch the sunrise.  It was gorgeous but while we were sitting there we noticed two guys down the way, also in their sleeping bags and 5 dingoes heading their way.  Next thing you know, the one guy was up, swinging his sleeping bag at the pack of dogs.  Let me tell you, the dingos were not that scared and it took him a good 5 minutes to get rid of them.  It was a bit humorous and very scary all at the same time.  Luckily the dingoes came our way and just kept running by.  I’m pretty sure I would have fainted had it been us.

After clearing up the camp, we headed across the island.  Paul was by far the best driver and he was having a ball driving.  We headed to Lake McKenzie, which is the most amazing lake with a sand bottom.  It is so clear, dark blue in the middle, aqua blue along the rim and so very refreshing.  Hanging out here was a great way to end our adventure on Fraser Island.

After, we had a picnic lunch and headed to the ferry.  Unfortunately, a truck in front of us got bogged down in the sand on the way there and since the tracks are only wide enough for one vehicle, we darned near missed our ferry again.  We were the second to the last on.  I was so glad to be back and get our bond back that we paid for the car, take a shower and reflect on the wacky time we had on Fraser Island.

It definitely wasn’t as comfortable as a guided tour, but it was a heck of a lot more interesting.

2 Responses to “A Dingo ate my Baby?”

  1. Leah says:

    Dingos, on a whole, are afraid of humans. The dingos on Fraser Island, however, are not! This is because in the past people have fed them and they’ve come to view humans as a soft target. I wouldn’t be afraid of a dingo anywhere else in Australia.

    Just for interest’s sake also: they are considering banning the self-drive tours on the island. There have been so many accidents with foreigners driving on the wrong side of the beach, at stupid speeds and unable to control the vehicle on the sand, and people have been killed as a result. (Please note I’m not saying you were like this – just an interesting side note on the topic of self-drive tours!)

    Glad you generally enjoyed yourself despite your travelling companions 😛

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