Fraser Island: Cool Dingo tour with Lauren Midgley
Cool Dingo runs several tours of Fraser Island - the most popular being their two day, one night package - but my friend and I made the decision that two days just wasn't enough to see the largest sand island in the WORLD. It was one of my best decisions so far of 2012!
Iced coffee, sunscreen, bikinis and insect repellant in hand, we boarded the bus in Hervey Bay, excited. My first impression as I staked out the crowd was that I could really have some great times with these people. You see, what makes a Cool Dingo tour special isn't just its gloriously obnoxious pink trucks, or their knowledgable, hilarious, fair dinkum ridgy didge true blue Aussie guides, or even the $10 (yes, $10!!) happy hour cocktail jugs at the Dingo Bar ... it's the passengers they attract. Cool Dingo has a unique mix of backpackers, locals, young at hearts and, of course, the odd travel agent. Add a few natural wonders, many bad puns (thanks Damo!) and a pint or two ... if you don't have a great time, then I think you may have gotten on the wrong bus!
The first day of the tour starts with some history and a nature hike through the centre of the island. Keep your eyes out for goannas! You'll see ghost gums, beautifully secluded lakes, and of course the main attraction:Lake Mackenzie!
Our guide Damo was kind enough to time our arrival to give us some quality time before other buses pulled up. In no time, everyone was stripped to their bathing suits - boys tossing various sporting equipment to each other and girls rubbing the pure white silicone sand all over their bodies and touting the various beauty effects. Though dubious at first, after some coaxing even I picked up a handful of the sand myself and vigorously rubbed my teeth. It worked - our smiles were positively glowing - but I still think I'll stick to my usual toothpaste and floss routine!
After a full day, you get some time to hang out in the Dingo Lodges. These lodges are nestled up in Kingfisher Bay with the sounds of birds and various singing insects to keep you company. A short walk away, you can watch the sun set over the mainland from the dock.
Day two will take you to 75 Mile Beach. This day, though it doesn't happen often, we had the sheer luck to see six dingoes wandering along the beach! There is plenty of time to enjoy riding a tube down Eli Creek, take an optional (pay locally) scenic flight over the island, watch for sea life from the tip of Indian Head, marvel at the Pinnacles, fizzle in the champagne pools and, in the case of one European backpacker, get a sunburn so bad that not even the Aussies think it would be funny to slap you any more.
On day two, after dinner, there are hugs and long faces all around as you say goodbye to your new found friends ... and have a cocktail jug in their honour, of course.
The third day was an absolute highlight. This last day takes you to Lake Wabby, where you can hike across the sand blow (an inland desert) and swim with giant catfish. Lunch is a hot buffet at Eurong resort, which after a second hike does not go unappreciated! But, Lake Birrabeen has to be the winner. This huge lake is less popular than Lake McKenzie - I am assuming because of its tea tree water; however, it is just as picture perfect. Other than a small group of independent travellers halfway across the lake, we had the entire place to ourselves. I can't think of a better way to have spent my afternoon than swimming, sun baking and joking around on pure white sand with new friends!
This is just a taste of the Cool Dingo experience. There is so much more to the surreal landscape of Fraser Island - there honestly is nothing like it in the world. And I can guarantee you won't find a cooler bunch of dingoes than on the hot pink bus!
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*Some images kindly supplied by Sohere Roked
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