Posts Tagged With: Hervey Bay

Long Night Ride 2 Magnetic Island

I got off the island at Hervey Bay, and was dropped off at the bus station to await my coach.  But first, I had to stop and get some reading material for my long bus ride!  I settled in for a long haul up the coast, doing an overnight bus that left at 9pm, arriving at my destination around 1pm the next day. It wasn’t too bad, all things considered.  I slept + read my book and ate bus-made peanut butter sandwiches. Mmm.

The greyhound rolled into Townsville and I was dropped off right at the ferry terminal, which was convenient but I’d just missed the ferry! I hoped this far-flung Magnetic Island was worth it, after all the trouble to get here!  I boarded the ferry and sat on the windy top, happy to be outside in the sunshine after more than half a day on a bus!  The public bus on the island dropped me off right at my hostel, Base Backpacker.  It was one of the most scenic places I’ve stayed, right on the shore, and my dorm was a little cabin! Cute!  When I got there, I decided to explore and looked around the surrounding area.  I hiked up the hilly terrain into the sleepy town, and watched the sun set over the beach, which looked over the coast of Australia.  It was a beautiful view, and a perfect stopover on my long trip to Cairns.  I slept like a baby in my little cabin dorm, too bad I didn’t have more time to explore this little island, which is not actually magentic, but had some properties in the sand that was said to throw off compasses, so was named for it.  Looks like a perfect and popular spot for weddings, it’s so picturesque!
The ferry back was fantastic, the weather was warm, and it was ONLY  a six hour bus ride to Cairns. Luckily I was into a good book, so the time flew and before I knew it, I was in Cairns!  The small city immediately charmed me, and I made my way to the big hostel in the middle of town, Gilligans, which was definitely the swankiest hostel I’d stayed in on my whole trip! I was excited to explore Cairns the next day and check out the city.
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Fraser Island FTW!

My two night-three day trip on Fraser Island will definitely be included in the highlights of my trip to Australia – It was such an adventure!  Fraser Island is the worlds largest sand island, and held in place by the rainforest that eventually grew on top of that sand.  It’s a unique natural formation and worth checking out if going up North on the east coast of Aus!  I did the tour which included giant 4WD buses, glad that option was included in my pass because there are other tours where you drive the vehicles, and although it looked like fun, they often got stuck in the soft sand.  You need 4WD vehicles on Fraser Island because there are no paved roads, only sand roads and original logging trails.  The “highway” is the beach area, and on the highway you have to dodge fishermen, rocks and the occasional sunken ship 😉

I was picked up at Rainbow beach on a HUGE 4 wheel drive bus, and after doing our rounds we drove right off the road onto a barge, for the short ferry ride to the island.  Our first stop was morning tea (cute!) and then a trip to Lake Mackenzie, where we would be picked up by the rest of our group to carry on with the trip.  The lake was perfect, formed by rainwater, made your hair soft, the sand ex-foliates your skin, not a bad first stop!  We met the rest of our group at lunch, and set off for a rainforest hike through Fraser island, to an area once called central station because of the logging activity there in the past.  We learned about the ecosystem of the island, and did another short hike back to the bus.  The bus ride itself was worth mentioning, as it is the BUMPIEST ride I have had yet, kind of like an amusement park ride, bouncing along through the forest on this giant sand island.
We were driven (bumped) back to our resort, called Kingfisher Bay, in time to watch the sun set over the jetty, and to have a delicious dinner.  I had a box of goon (gross wine) to get into, but after a few glasses i decided to go to bed.  Other tour members were Aussie, German, American, British and Kiwi, a good mix of people!  We had to get up early the next day and be on the bus by 8am to check out the giant Stonetool Sandblow, which is basically a mountain of sand, and the pinnacles colored sands, which were giant outcroppings of these sand blows that had all different colors of sand contained in them.  We also visited the Maheno wreck, a ruined ship that had washed up on the shores of the island and was used as target practice during WW2.  It was cool! My favorite part of the day was when we visited Indian Heads and the Champagne Pools on the far side of the island, with spectacular views and a chance to swim in the ocean without being afraid of the jellyfish!  The last attraction on our list was Eli creek, an incredibly clear freshwater creek that we could tube down and relax in the sand, right by the crashing waves of the ocean!  it was awesome!
The second night there was another good dinner and lots of drinking games which allowed me to finish my goon which gave me a wicked hangover on a jolty bus 😦 not my best idea.  Ugh.  Our third way we visited two more lakes, Birrabeen and Lake Wabby for some refreshing swim time, and finished up partway through the day so we could make the 5 o clock ferry off the island and back to the mainland, arriving this time at Hervey Bay on the other side of the island.  Cool Dingo Tours took very good care of me, and I met some cool people who were fellow travelers and adventurers.  I feel like I learned a lot about the history and heritage of the island, and was able to do some relaxing in between the bumpy bus rides!
I was about to get on another bus, though, for an epic sixteen hour journey! My Greyhound awaits!
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