Monday, 16 November 2009


So here I am in Hervey Bay, having just had breakfast by the sea, sipping mocha coffee while the waves lap on the beach and the sunlight sparkles on the water. And now you all hate me, there's more, because over the weekend I went over to Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island. It was formed around an extinct volcano, and is now 124km long and covered in rainforest - absolutely amazing. Occasionally I'd catch myself thinking: "yes, but I've seen rainforest" and then realise that this one has taken root on sand alone. One of nature's true wonders.

And the island's beauty even shone through the mother and father of all headaches - one of those ones where you feel as though your brain is being squeezed through your nose. Consequent to this the first day passed in a bit of a blur - we went on a gentle (thank God!) rainforest walk, and saw the Coloured Sands (there's a great Aboriginal story to go with this: a princess was betrothed to a respected but old warrior and she was unhappy about it, so she used to go to this place by the beach to be by herself and think; one day she was joined by the Rainbow Serpent man, and they fell in love and continued to meet in this special place. One day the warrior caught them together and decided that if he couldn't have the princess no one would, so threw his boomerang at her; at the last minute the Rainbow Serpent threw his body in front of hers and saved her, but the boomerang hit him and he exploded into all the colours you see in the sand there today. To this day it's a sacred place for Aboriginal women and men aren't allowed there). We also climbed the headland on the only true rock on the island to watch stingrays, sharks and turtles in the water below, and paddled down Eli Creek, a crystal clear stream of water that flows from inland down to the sea.

The following day - after nine hours of sleep in my own room, luxuriously - I woke refreshed, relaxed and gorgeously free of pain. And it was just as well, because Sunday was much more action-packed. We went on a 2.5km walk (uphill, through sand) to get to Lake Wabby, which is populated by catfish and turtles and was formed when the sand blew across a creek to form a dam. Arriving at the top of a sand dune, looking down towards a sparkling blue lake, was like being in Lawrence of Arabia - complete with mirage. And that wasn't even the best, because in the afternoon we visited Lake Birrabeen, which was formed when vegetation filled a depression in the sand at the top of a dune, making it waterproof, and capturing the water for all time (known as a perched lake). This was absolutely sensational - first of all we were the only people there, and then the water itself was like nothing I've ever swum in before. It was as clear as if it had been drawn out of a tap, cool but not cold and so unpolluted it was potable. I could stand up to my chest in it and see my toes as clear as day, wriggling in white sand so fine you could clean jewellery in it. Yet another magical experience - I took photographs but they simply cannot do it justice, not least because the water is so clear on the island that you can't see it on film!

All in all, I had a fantastic time, and we even got in a bit of 4WD adventure when the bus got a flat (and our driver was nearly flattened when the jack collapsed in the wet sand), and then we got bogged down in the sand 10 minutes further on! Poor Ben, the guide, had several beers once we made it to our accommodation that night. There are no roads on the island, of course, and the beach acts as the main road - another amazing sight, seeing 4WDs obeying traffic laws as the waves come in up to their wheels.

And today I have a free day to swim in a sea that has no jellyfish in it (hooray! no stinger suits!), and then swing in a hammock on the verandah at my hostel. Tomorrow, Brisbane, and after that Byron Bay. I'm a lucky girl...

1 comment:

  1. Have you seen any migrating humpback whales yet? You should off Byron.