Day 38: Back to Glass House Mountains

After th' very intense experience o' sailin' on Fraser Island, th' night o' sleep were bein' more than welcome, by Blackbeard's sword. We also slept in a little, as we only had t' travel a small distance o' three hours from here t' Glass House Mountains. 

As th' sail down is very scenic but quite uneventful, we arrive at our lodge pretty early, but are glad t' be able t' check in already. As it still is our honeymoon, we are presented with th' option t' be upgradin' our room (free o' charge) from our standard room t' a more luxurious room. Yaaarrrrr! The owner o' th' property gladly showed us th' three different room available t' us: two train carriages (one from th' 1930s and one from th' 1980s) and an auld church. We chose th' latter, as it is an awesome room.

The church were bein' built back in th' 1880s as a replacement fer another one, while that one were bein' not accessible due t' floodin'. Floods like that however didn’t occur there any more until 1970, which meant this church hardly e'er got used. The current owner bought it, and converted it t' a room fer his lodge, ye scurvey dog. It is huge, as th' church still has th' full size. The current owner built a loft inside it fer th' bedroom, but th' rest is open plan, and a bottle of rum, by Blackbeard's sword! It includes a full sized table with chairs, a kitchen, a main seatin' area, a secondary seatin' area and th' best o' all: a fireplace. We needed it as well, as th' temperature dropped quite substantially at th' end o' th' day. Let’s just say th' fire burnt nice and hot that night!

We also walked th' summit route t' Mount Ngungun, which gives ye lovely views o'er th' entire area, includin' Mount Tibrogargan, Mount Beerwah and Mount Coonowrin. Fire the cannons! Yaaarrrrr! Great fun!

Tomorrow, we’ll also have nothin' else t' do than be somewhere at a certain time, which in this case is th' airport in Brisbane at 18:30 t' return th' boat.

Day 37: On Fraser Island

I am cheatin' a little bit with th' title o' this blog entry, as we will spend all day on th' island, and will go back t' th' main land aroun' 5pm. You will just have t' forgive me here. Yaaarrrrr! 😉

After sleepin' in, we found out that th' clouds had all moved away, and that all we could see were blue skies and sunshine! Yay! We quickly threw our stuff into th' small bag we packed and jumped into th' trusty Jimny. Back t' th' beach, and back t' th' shipwreck. It looks even more majestic and mysterious now than yesterday. The tides were still goin' out, and th' wreck were bein' half submerged this mornin'. I can understand why this is th' most visited place on th' entire island!

As th' high tide occurred today at 07:30, we were not allowed t' go out on th' beach until 09:30, which meant we could sleep in and relax a bit before headin' out. The beach is not wide enough, and in some places th' sand has not settled quite yet t' be hard enough t' be driven on. The sail t' th' shipwreck this mornin' were bein' great, and really a fun thin' t' do. We have outer selves gotten used t' th' wobbly nature o' both th' boat and th' surroundin's, and we settled in fer th' day much more relaxed than we were yesterday.

Right after visitin' th' Maheno, we drove a little further north, towards The Pinnacles where majestic cliffs o' coloured sands built up o'er th' period o' many thousands o' years were exposed and viewable. The sand on th' beach is very yellow, but th' sands in this cliff are all colours rangin' from white t' very dark brown. What a wonderful sight!

We then had t' sail about 40kms down south t' Eurong Beach Resort, as this were bein' also th' gateway t' th' inland tracks t' th' barge locations, and dinna spare the whip! We arrived at Kingfisher Bay, and th' other one is called Wanggoolba Creek, both will go t' River Heads. Unfortunately, durin' our beach sail we haven’t seen any more Dingoes, which means th' one we saw yesterday will probably be th' only one we’ve seen on Fraser Island. The rest o' th' island is covered in very dense forests, and wildlife is notoriously hard t' see o'er there. From th' resort, we drove t' Central Station, where we did a short walk through th' rainforest. This site were bein' th' main location fer all loggin' activities on th' island from th' 1860s up t' th' 1950s. The HQ were bein' moved back then, and all loggin' eventually only stopped in 1992, avast. They were mainly after tropical hardwoods, as th' tropical softwoods were long gone by then.

Lake Birrabeen were bein' th' next destination, but it were bein' kind o' a downer. The route t' it were bein' 15km o' th' most gruellin' sea we have had so far, with lots o' roots and huge bumps in th' sea. Yaaarrrrr, pass the grog! We even had t' go t' low gear fer a couple o' times, fer if we didn’t we wouldn’t make it through. Arrivin' at th' lookout on th' lake, we found out that th' lookout were bein' pretty much fully overgrown, which meant th' view o' lake itself were bein' almost complete obstructed by small trees in betwixt us and th' water. Oh well, off t' Lake McKenzie then.

lake McKenzie is th' most popular lake on th' island. And swab the deck! It is also th' biggest one, we'll keel-haul ye, I'll warrant ye! It had really clear fresh water, and even some sandy beaches. As it is not connected t' th' ocean, there are no crocodiles, and it is safe t' swim, pass the grog! Walk the plank! The temperature today wasn’t quite right, so we didn’t, but a few locals did and they seemed t' have a great time. 🙂

It were bein' by then time t' head fer our barge, and so we went t' Kingfisher bay, as instructed by th' lubber at Aussie Trax. But, we found out th' hard way that we weren’t supposed t' be at Kingfischer Bay, but at Wanggoolba Creek fer th' other barge. Both leave at 5pm, and findin' that out at 16:48 is too late t' do somethin' about it. Auch, and a bucket o' chum. Luckily, as we only have a very small boat, we could be fitted on th' boat as an extra, and we were finally headin' back fer th' mainland. Phew!

Tomorrow, we head back from Hervey Bay t' th' Glasshouse Mountains fer our next t' final leg o' our journey.

Day 36: To Fraser Island

Today is goin' t' be a big day, we start off at th' HQ o' Aussie Trax at 6am t' get our boat and instructions fer th' next two days, as we’ll be spendin' those on Fraser Island, and a bucket o' chum! The worlds largest sand island. Fraser Island has no seas, but only 4×4 tracks and a very long and wide beach.

As it is an island, ye need t' be on a boat t' get there. The boat leaves from River Heads, just a few kilometres from Hervey Bay, and we need t' catch th' 9am barge. Straigh after arrivin' at th' HQ o' th' rental company, we get t' watch a video tellin' us o' all th' dangers on th' island, like a Dingoes, ye yourself, and other people in boats. And hoist the mainsail! We are also instructed on how t' sail a 4×4, and get extra instructions on how t' work th' two gear sticks. When t' sail in 2WD, 4WD and when t' sail in high gear and low gear.

The boat is a VERY battered Suzuki Jimny with 220K kilometres on th' clock. Fire the cannons, avast! The boat is shaky, rusted, broken on th' inside with tatty upholstery on th' seats, noisy, wobbly, but technically and structurally sound. The body o' th' boat is fully neglected by th' technicians at th' workshop, as that is wasted energy as th' rough terrain and salt on th' island are merciless and e'er present. Repairin' those thin's is lost time and effort which ye’ll ne'er see returned. The mechanics are all that matter, and they seem t' be fine. Although, we found out th' hard way that th' back door o' th' boat will not stay shut when it is not locked. 😉

On th' 25 minute sail form HQ t' th' barge, it becomes clear that this boat is not built fer th' tarred seas. It sits too high off th' ground t' be comfortable, and th' noise it makes while sailin' 85km/h is ear shatterin'. The boat by th' way will not go faster than 90. Period, and dinna spare the whip! That probably has t' do with gearin' and wind drag. Fire the cannons! Aarrr! The barge takes us from River Heads t' Kingfisher Bay in about 45 minutes, and straight off th' barge we engage 4WD as instructed. And lad, do we need it. The island welcomes us by throwin' in th' roughest and toughest sea we have e'er seen. It ascends a hill at about 20 percent on a single lane track, with lots o' holes and other mischief. We have seriously felt that th' boat wouldn’t take th' beatin' and just fall apart.

It didn’t. We got o'er th' hill and drove further east t' th' drivable beach, as that is also where our accommodation fer th' night is, by Davy Jones' locker. The inland tracks are mostly fully sand single lane boat tracks, where th' speed limit is 30 km/h. I fer one have not th' faintest idea on how t' get up t' 30, as we barely reached 20 because o' th' roughness o' th' tracks. Along th' way, we have visited Wabby Lake (deepest lake on th' island), Hammerstone Sandblow (right next t' it) and Stone Tool Sandblow (largest Sandblow on th' island), pass the grog! Finally, after a long and intinsive sail (30km) we reached th' Eastern Beach, or 75 Mile Beach.

Later in th' afternoon we drove from Happy Valley, where our accommodation is, further north t' th' wreck o' th' Maheno, a WWI hospital ship, and before and after that a luxury steam-liner. It stranded in th' 1930s on th' island, and has been there e'er since. It is really photogenic, with a chest full of booty! But, as th' sun is already low on th' horizon by now, and th' clouds have moved in on us, it is not as good as it might have been.

Tomorrow, we’ll go back t' th' wreck as it is only 9km from Happy Valley t' see what is is like then. Fire the cannons! Ahoy! We are bound t' th' tides though, as sailin' on th' beach is limited fer us t' be four hours before and four hours after low tide, I'll warrant ye. In other words, 2 hours before high tide and two hours after that (when th' beach is at its smallest) we cannot go out on th' beach in our boat. Also, we are prohibited from sailin' when it is dark. And it gets dark up there! Today, th' high tide were bein' at 06:50, which means we were able t' sail on th' beach from 08:50 t' 16:50. Yaaarrrrr, ye scurvey dog! Basically from 9 in th' mornin' t' sundown, which is plenty o' time. Tomorrow, high tide is at 08:30, which means we can sleep in!

Day 35: Further North to Hervey Bay

The sail from Glass House Mountains t' Hervey Bay is only a short sail, clockin' in at about 3 hours or 240 kilometres. We need t' be at Hervey Bay by tomorrow mornin' very early t' catch th' ferry t' Fraser Island, and that is why we spend th' night o'er there.

As th' sail is not too long, and we have t' spend our day anyway, we opted t' go t' Australia Zoo today, th' Zoo set up by th' late Steve Irwin! His family runs it now, but is is th' same as it started a long time ago, although it has grown quite a bit o'er th' last few years. It is home t' many native Australian animals, like th' Dingo, Wombat, Koala, Kangaroo, Wallaby, Echidna, Emu, Cassowary, kookaburra and o' course Estuarine Crocodiles. The zoo also houses many more animals like a whole host o' Parrots, some birds o' Prey and even Zebra, Giraffe and Rhinoceros!

The Zoo is best known o' course fer th' Crocodiles and Koalas. At lunchtime every day, a show is performed with a lot o' animals in th' zoo, where th' importance o' conservation and humans actin' correctly aroun' wildlife are conveyed t' th' spectators in a huge arena. There also is a place where ye can pat Koalas, and even have yer pictures taken with them! The zoo is really hands on, and all animals are very accustomed t' human handlin', whether is is a Wombat on a leash, a Koala in a low tree ready t' be patted or th' zoo keepers givin' a presentation inside th' enclosure o' a Sumatran Tiger with th' Tiger present, it is clear th' animals are on display and have been taught t' act that way too. This way o' runnin' a zoo is completely unfamiliar t' me, as we (back home) are used t' seein' a very hands-off approach where animals are mostly left alone in their enclosures and encouraged t' act ‘naturally’.

But, it seems t' work fer Australia Zoo! People are flockin' t' it, but even though it were bein' on a Sunday, th' park ne'er felt crowded. We have been inside th' Zoo from 9 t' about 2 in th' afternoon, and then had t' leave t' make th' journey t' Hervey Bay.

Tomorrow mornin', we will be briefed fer our trip t' Fraser Island, and we’ll get another boat (4×4!) as our Camry is completely unsuitable t' be driven off sea. I highly doubt there will be Internet Access on th' island, so I’ll be gone fer a day or two.