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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Winter Holidays - The Fraser Coast

After a couple more days of driving and a stop overnight in a slightly sketchy holiday park in Rockhampton we arrived in Hervey Bay. Our two main plans for this stop in the trip were to take a whale watching tour as it's humpback whale season and to spend a day on Fraser Island.

Well it turns out that the humpbacks were running a couple of weeks behind and hadn't arrived in the area yet.  So we scrapped that idea and set out to see what else Hervey Bay had to offer.

The local aquarium wasn't very big, but it did offer great service and a personal tour.  We even got to feed the turtles their lunch. I haven't seen too many sea turtles this holiday so it was great to get up close and personal with a couple of them.

This is a rock fish. Ugly little guy isn't he? They're very poisonous and hide
amongst the rocks on the shore. I wasn't hard pressed to find this guy
 in the tank, I can't imagine looking for him on shore!
The sun was shining so we decided to walk out the local pier. It's almost 1km long! The pier was a
busy place with fishermen of all sorts (some feathered, some not) hoping for a good catch.

This guy is hoping for a good catch too!
After all that walking we treated ourselves to a well deserved lunch by the ocean. Hannah deems any day she can have fish and chips a great day!

We hung out at the beach the rest of the afternoon and were able to take in the amazing sunset. It just doesn't look like this in Osgoode!

Fraser Island is just over 123 kilometres in length and 22 kilometres at its widest point.  It is the largest sand island in the world and is a world heritage site. Fraser Island is also the only place in the world where tall rainforests are found growing on sand dunes. We were wrapped over our tour there for the day.

Murray, our guide for the day picked us up at the crack of dawn in our 4wd ride. Since the entire island is sand, you have need to have a 4wd and you have to know what you're doing to drive there!

We caught the ferry over to the island and started our day. We started at Central Station in the centre of the island where the forest is the densest. The vines growing everywhere were amazing, they're so long you could picture yourself swinging through the trees!

One of the most amazing parts of this tour was driving on the beach. It's amazing to be driving right along the ocean.

At one end of the beach is a shipwreck. It was a cruise liner once upon a time that broke away from the boat towing it on route to it's new home. It's been on the beach ever since. A bit more rugged looking perhaps as it's been bombed a few times as well as part of a military exercise. 

When you first arrive on the island you see these signs.

There are several hundred dingoes that live on the island. They are all tagged and their population is monitored by the rangers on the island. That being said they are wild dogs and the are always on the lookout for food. They compare to the coyotes we have at home, but I found it odd to see them as dangerous since they look so much like your average stray dog.

When we arrived at Eli Creek, this little guy came wondering down the beach to see us. Or sample us...hard to say.

He followed us for a while down the beach and when the ranger decided he had shown far too much interest in the little Canadians, he stepped in. So the dingo sat down on the creekside to watch the action. Looks pretty innocent doesn't he?

So we continue up the hill on the boardwalk to check out Eli Creek (I promise more on that in a bit) and this guy meets us at the top. He had walked up the hill from his earlier spot by the creek to meet us. It really showed how wild and food oriented they are. He had identified that the kids were small and might make an easy target. Fortunately the ranger noticed that the dingo was gone and we still hadn't returned back down the creek after a time and discovered us still up at the top of the boardwalk cornered by the dingo. He was aggressively circling us, barking and trying to find a way to separate us. But when he saw the ranger he took off. Busted! Never to be seen again that day!

We lost the dingo only to discover a couple of bush pythons. The first snakes we've seen in the wild since we arrived in January!

Eli Creek is a fresh water creek that continuously flows through the island and out to the ocean. Super cool. The water looks murky but in actuality the water is crystal clear and that's the sand bottom you can see. It has a natural current so people were walking party way up the creek on the boardwalk and then floating down towards the ocean. 

Our last stop of the day was Lake McKenzie. We were excited for this stop and spend some beach time in the afternoon. But as you can see from the sky, the weather was not interested in cooperating! Oh well, none this huge fresh water lake was incredible to see. It was amazing to see the trees growing in the sand.

This is what Lake McKenzie should have looked like
It was a long day (we were gone 12 hours) and we have lots of different weather, and some excitement, but when all was said and done we had fun!

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