Fraser Island Great Walk. (1)2013
If you like walking through bush, along fabulous lakesides, wide open beaches or under huge Tallowood and Satinay trees, feel the fresh air and see wildlife, Fraser Island has it all. Last year the track was closed during storm damage and bushfires. To make sure we could go this year I rang the info centre and was told that all the tracks North of and including Central Station were open as were the camping sites. The Southern lakes and walking tracks were still inundated. Our plan was to take the barge from River Heads (Hervey Bay) and start at Wanggoolba Creek. That was our plan in total. The rest was wait and see what happens.
Yasmine had planned all the supplies needed for a ten-day hike and the backpacks were filled to the brim and some of it was hanging on the packs. (thanks for carabiners). We drove up to River Heads, a suburb of Hervey Bay, and went to the boat ramp from where the barge would depart.
While there, we bought the tickets for our transport but had a strange experience with the girl at the desk. As walkers, you don’t have to book ahead and we asked for two return tickets. Fifty dollars each and I paid the money (cash) and waited for the tickets. “You will get the tickets when you return about half an hour before departure time” the girl said. “Ok, can we have a receipt for our payment”? Yasmine asked. “I’ll recoqnise you when you return”, was the answer. She looked surprised when we insisted on having a receipt, but she eventually got us one.
We had to leave the car in River Heads and a couple of days earlier I had arranged secure parking with Shane, a Real Estate agent who also runs a security parking business. It gave us a nice comfy feeling having not to think about leaving the car on the site of the road being subject to break-ins etc. Shane also drove us to the barge where we arrived a bit early. The timetable for the barge left us little choice and taking the 4pm barge to Wanggoolba was a bit late but 10.15am was too early. No departures in between like the barges leaving from Inskip point to Hook Point that run continuously.
Travelling friends told us that you can get a lift from the barge to Central Station or Happy Valley (if you’re lucky) but having seen the few cars on the barge with no space for hitch hikers, our hope was quickly dashed and we decided to walk to Central Station. Besides, we came here to walk. We walked over the 4WD tracks and the sand was very soft.
The last hour and a bit we walked in the dark with a headlight mounted on my head. At an intersection which lead on one way to the dayrecreation area and the other way to the camping two boys were trying to get their car out of the sand. They were there bogged for two hours. We couldn’t do anything to free them but our encouraging words must have helped because they drove past us 50 mtr further down the track and offered us a lift. Something we would have accepted earlier coming from the barge but now gracefully declined since we were almost at our destination. We saw all these lights on the left hand side coming from the campsite but, the entrance was still about 600 mtr further down the track. A sign at the entrance told us that we again had to go back past two general campsites before we arrived at the walkers camp. About 600 mtr back. Finally we found a nice spot to pitch our tent, had soup and chocolate and went to sleep. We walked about 11km through the soft sand and were a bit tired.
Up the next day, we found a cage where you can store food to keep it away from dingo’s but I think bush rats etc. can still get to it so we’ve kept in our tent. Opposite the toilet block was a wonderful kitchen sink with water. Oh well, things you miss when you arrive in the dark.
We fastened our backpacks and planned to walk to Lake Wabby.