Expectation vs reality: It’s a big deal. You hear about delightful white sand on the beaches of Fraser Island, crystal clear blue waters of Lake McKenzie, and glorious sunsets from the tip of Sandy Cape. But, by day two on Fraser Island, we’d still not seen anything the four-wheel drive magazines were promising. Actually, the weather reports at the time we were on the island informed us there was a low monsoonal troph crossing northern Queensland.
Instead of packing our gear and departing the island, Mark and I promised to stay on Fraser for the 7 days we planned. The others in the group weren’t pleased by the weather, and planned to depart the island after they heard the weather forecast for the remaining 6 days.
On the first night I woke several times to the sound of the gazebo cracking in the wind. I peeped through the swag flyscreen and saw the canopy flapping above the metal frame, which was somehow standing firm in the sand. At this point I tapped Mark on the shoulder and shouted over the wind, “Should we pull the gazebo down? I feel like it might fly away.” We chose not to take it down, because there were heaps of stuff beneath the gazebo that shouldn’t get wet. By now, I felt it was redundant – the wind was blowing the rain beneath the gazebo (which really wasn’t covering anything, because it was off its leash). The rain continued to pelt down, and I could feel my side of the swag pressing against my body, massaging me in the wind – but I ignored it until the morning.
In the morning we woke to persistent rain (and winds up to 120km/ph – which we later discovered), I climbed out of the swag to see the carnage. When I walked to the other side, I saw the wind had buried my side of the swag in sand. Thanks, Fraser.
The wind was so strong it hit us with a constant spray of sand – in the eyes, mouth, up the nose, and inside our ears. The others began packing their gear so we could set off to find a better spot sheltered from the wind and rain.
We decided to head to nearby Eurong, where we’d grab a feed and wait out the storm. But, when we got reception we learnt the winds were coming from the east, and figured if we headed inland or to the west coast, we’d avoid copping the full force of the storm.
With high tide hitting around 10:15am, we needed to move quickly to get off the beach and onto the inland tracks. As the others stuffed sausage rolls into their mouths and bickered about the lousy weather, Mark and I returned to the Eli Creek campground to move swag onto the hill between two trees.
Later we realised these trees wouldn’t be enough shelter us from the wind at all, and we’d need to move camp to the western side of Fraser.
As the others started looking at prices and availability in the Kingfisher Bay resort, Mark and I stubbornly refused to chip in for the room, insisting we’d camp in the bad weather – just to prove a point to the others.
But, it was two against ten, and the others calculated that if each of us paid $50, we could book two rooms and squeeze six into each room.
So, we reluctantly chose to stick with the crew, and cough up $50 for a room at the Kingfisher Bay resort.
On the way to Kingfisher Bay we stopped off at Central Station. We walked along the board walk and (potentially illegally) waded through the clear waters of the creek. We spotted an eel sliding along the sandy bank, and one of the blokes tried to grab it (like Crocodile Dundee, but with less grace) however, the eel slipped right between his feet and sailed away like a good eel should.
Next stop – Lake McKenzie.
Despite the shit-house weather, I couldn’t believe how blue the water was, and we could only imagine how incredible the lake would be on a sunny day. We still went for a dip, and to our surprise it was far more warm in the water than out.
We spent one night in the resort, with this good ol’ view.
Hint: 10 – 6 = 4