From Sand to Suzuki | Fraser Island, Australia
Considered a pilgrimage to every avid Australian 4WDer, the scenery of Fraser Island is a sight to behold.
As I write this, almost half of Fraser Island - a World Heritage listed site and the world's largest sand island - has succumbed to horrific bush fire as a result of an irresponsible campers, so it seemed an especially poignant time to reflect on my travels there.
Any Fraser trip entails a list of 'must see' places including 75 Mile Beach, Eli Creek, Champagne Pools, the TSS Maheno shipwreck, Central Station and various freshwater inland lakes - most notable of which is Lake McKenzie.
The TSS Maheno came to rest on 75 Mile Beach, Fraser Island in a cyclone in 1935. Had she not broken free of her tow rope in a storm this majestic ship was destined to become scrap metal in Japan, instead she is now a major draw-card for tourism on the island - I rather like this ending better.
Valley of the Giants
Towering fig, satinay and palm trees dominate the subtropical rainforests that make up the heart of Fraser Island. A personal favourite, Valley of the Giants, finds you engulfed by your surroundings in some of the island's most ancient forest - left untouched by the logging operations of years past.
Keen travellers will then venture further to the northernmost point of the island - Sandy Cape - and the tranquil west coast, to avoid the hustle and bustle of tour buses and tagalong 4WD groups.
Golden hour on the western side of Fraser Island was a treat for an east coaster like me, to be able to see a sunset over the water. Winds have sculpted this landscape over thousands of years - in fact, the sands of Fraser reach over 244m in height and move at a rate of 1-2m annually.
In a bid to avoid the crowds I woke at dawn, packed up camp for the day and headed to Lake McKenzie in time to see the sunrise on our last day... a truly magical experience to hear the song of the birds and see the aqua waters before it became a tourist hotspot again.
Fraser Island is a must-see if you haven't made the trip before, this breathtaking island island draws tourists from across the Great Sandy Strait and across the world alike. I just hope it recovers gracefully from the fires which are currently burning uncontrolled.