We decided it was time for a quieter day so we started with pancakes for breakfast. Matthew helped cook for everyone including our friends and they were hit.
After breakfast we played few games and decided it was time to introduce our friends to one of our favourites, Forbidden Island.Later in the morning we went for a short drive from our campsite at Waddy Point back to Champagne Pools. The pools are two large, natural swimming pools in the rocks and the waves break over the rock walls into the pools, apparently creating fizzy bubbles like in champagne.
I’m not sure it was really like champagne, but the pools were lovely. There were a number of colourful fish in the water which lzzy and I enjoyed watching with our snorkels. Matthew also took us for a walk along the rocks and we had fun trying to build a bridge with a piece of driftwood.
We then went back to camp for lunch and a lazy afternoon in camp.
This was our day for driving right up to Sandy Cape at the far northern end of Fraser Island. It was reasonably quick driving on the beach on the way up and we made good time. There are certainly less people, and no tour buses, this far up the island and the vegetation is also very different. There are no more tall forests but instead scrubbier bushes and grasses in the dunes.
Just around the cape a little way is the Sandy Cape lighthouse. We stopped and walked about 1km up the hill to a rather nice lighthouse, which has been spoiled somewhat by a number of more modern structures surrounding it.
We walked back down to the cars to discover we had misjudged the tide, which was now in much further than we had expected so we jumped in the cars and headed off, hoping we could get back around the cape before the tide came up too much. It was not to be. We made it a little way back before deciding to stop and wait it out. In hindsight we would have been fine but we instead stopped for a couple of hours of lunch, playing in the water and a walk through the amazing dune field nearby. Matthew was determined to reach the end of the rainbow.
Once the tide had turned we continued driving and the sand was much softer now that we had to drive much higher up the beach. There were a couple of places where we didn’t have much room between the water and the top of the beach but we made it back with no problems.
There are two points where we had to take inland bypasses around rocks – South and North Ngkala Rocks. Neither are particularly difficult (although the Hema map does warn they are for experienced 4WDers only). However, South Ngkala Rocks in particular is interesting as the track had eroded very deeply into the rocks.
We had rest day in camp, playing games.
We only ventured out to go down to the beach and find a couple of nearby geocaches. One was on Waddy Point itself which is an impressive headland with nice views over nearby cliffs. I decided to come back for sunrise the following morning.
Moving day. We packed up camp and started the drive back down south to Dundubara, our third and final campsite. This is the third campground on the island with a dingo fence and is similar to Waddy Point – very open and spacious campsites. All three campsites have had terrific facilities, toilets, showers and dish washing areas. They have also been very quiet and a number of times I’ve thought that we picked the right time of year to be here. Apparently the campsites book out during school holidays and I don’t know that I’d want to be here then. Having said that everyone in the campsites and has been very considerate and we haven’t had any problems with music, loud noise etc.
Along the way Red Canyon and The Pinnacles are interesting stops. Both are essentially cliffs that show an incredible array of coloured sands, ranging from deeps reds and browns to almost pure white.
We dropped the trailers at camp and continued down the beach to Eli Creek, which is one of the popular ‘must see’ spots on Fraser Island. It’s a beautiful, crystal clear creek running into the ocean and a boardwalk has been built along the creek for a short way. The idea is to walk up the boardwalk and then swim/float/walk back down the creek. The tour buses provide their customers with tubes to float in so there were plenty of backpackers floating down the creek with beers in hand! Eli Creek was fun and the kids enjoyed it – and it is beautiful – but I have to say it’s a little overrated given all the publicity it gets as a ‘must see’ attraction.