We camped in 120km/ph winds on K’gari and lived to tell this tale

Expectation vs reality: It’s a big deal.

You hear about delightful white sand on the beaches of K’gari (formerly known as Fraser Island), crystal clear blue waters of Lake McKenzie, and glorious sunsets from the tip of Sandy Cape. By day two on K’gari, we’d still not seen anything the four-wheel drive magazines were promising.

Weather reports were showing a low monsoonal trough crossing northern Queensland.


Instead of packing up and leaving, Mark and I promised to stay on Fraser for the seven days we had planned for. The others in the group weren’t pleased by the weather, and planned to leave.

On the first night I woke several times to the sound of the gazebo cracking in the wind. I peeped through the swag 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 was a lot of stuff beneath the gazebo that couldn’t get wet. I felt it was redundant. The wind was blowing the rain beneath the gazebo. The rain continued to pelt down, and I could feel my side of the swag pressing against my body, massaging me in the wind. 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 of the swag, I saw the wind had buried my side in sand.

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 began driving to Eurong, where we’d grab something to eat and wait for the storm to pass. 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 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 availability in the Kingfisher Bay resort, Mark and I stubbornly insisted we’d camp no matter what.

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.


We reluctantly stuck with the crew, and stayed at the Kingfisher Bay resort.

Central Station

On the way to Kingfisher Bay we stopped off at Central Station. We walked along the board walk and waded through the clear waters of the creek. We spotted an eel sliding along the sandy bank.


Lake McKenzie





Despite the lousy 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 warmer in the water than out.

We spent one night in the resort, with this beautiful view.


December 29, 2015

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