Fraser Island

Jake and I spent a few months down under in Australia. We started our whirlwind tour in Sydney like most backpackers do on their way north to the east coast party scene. After a week of drunken debauchery on Bondi Beach, we headed up to Byron Bay for a more laid-back week of drunken debauchery and surfing. After we couldn’t take the hippies anymore, we decided to get more Americanized in Surfers Paradise, which is a mix of Cancun meets Miami Beach. After yet another week of destroying our livers and losing the key deposits to our hostel for being stupid, we decided to sober up and get back to nature and head to the largest all-sand island in the world. This island is located off the east coast of Australia and we took a boat out after a night in Hervey Bay. The name of the island is Fraser Island.

We had signed up for a 3-day, 2-night trip to the island where there are no roads and you rent 4-wheel drive Land Rovers for the few days with eight people per truck. We were only two and, at the hostel in Hervey Bay, we formed groups the night before we left. We did not know anybody in our group, which contained two goofy Brits that were dating, two little Norwegian girls and a Dutch couple. We didn’t know what to expect. We were a little nervous that we had to spend the next three days in a truck and camping with them as well. However, as soon as we formed the groups we had our group meeting to decide what types of groceries we would bring to the island because there were no grocery stores. The first item for discussion was how much beer to bring. Jake and I looked at each other and smiled. We knew it would be fun from there.

We set off the following morning to Fraser Island. The truck of course was a stick shift, which neither of us could drive and, of course, the driver’s seat was on the other side so we were stuck in the back the whole time with all the food and the luggage. Disregarding the discomfort it really wasn’t that bad because of the ridiculous scenery and the fact that we were driving purely on sand and on wooded trails. We had a map but it was very tough to figure out where to go.
We finally decided that we were going to go to Lake McKenzie, which people said was very nice. It always amazes me how British people downplay things or just lack enthusiasm in general because when we arrived we were stunned. Lake McKenzie was breathtaking. It was like a Caribbean beach but it was a lake. The water was crystal clear and warm enough to bathe in, which in fact we did because there were no showers on the island, and we were filthy with perspiration from the extreme heat. It was so refreshing and so beautiful. We set up the grill to cook lunch and were visited by numerous iguanas looking for some scraps or maybe just some little Norwegian girls. Finally, after lunch we headed north up 75-mile beach, which is actually over 100 miles of tiger shark infested water to the first campsite to set up camp for the night and to bust out the beer.

We set up camp right off the beach, and it was very windy and cool at night. After a fabulous gourmet meal of English sausage and beer we had to make sure to clean up properly otherwise the native Australian Dingo would visit us. The dingo is half dog and half wolf and it eats anything it can get its paws on. We saw numerous dingoes over the course of our time but fortunately our campsite was never violated and nobody was ever attacked but other camps did have a dingo problem. After dinner, we partied long into the night or so it seemed. When you have no electricity you lose track of time and by the time someone actually bothered to look at their watch it was like 9pm and we were all about to pass out. There were only three tents for eight people and there were two sets of couples. So it was us – the two big American guys and the two little Norwegians girls. So we decided to be nice and let them have the tent and we would sleep in the car. That didn’t work so well. It was absolutely freezing in the car and we couldn’t get comfortable for the life of us. We opened the tent of the Norwegians and crawled in and there was no shot this was going to work but we tried – to no avail. Jake eventually said he was going back into the car. He went into the front seat and tried to sleep in the sitting position. I stayed in the tent and made everyone’s life miserable. I literally slept across the two Norwegians and slept like a baby. They didn’t sleep at all. Jake got absolutely no sleep in the car and everyone was miserable the next morning. There was only one solution. Start drinking.

As we drove south back down the beach, we stopped at the biggest mountain to climb and despite the daytime heat and effects of the beer we actually made it to the top. We passed out on the top of the mountain for a few hours. It was the best sleep any of us had ever had. After we woke up it was nearly dinnertime and we headed for the next campsite right off the beach. We had met up with a few of the other groups and created a gigantic campsite and had the best party ever. We had so much fun and everyone was from every corner of the globe – that was the best thing. We all just hung out and talked and played games and had fun and drank until the early morning when we would have to leave the island at noon. Before we left, we took one last dip in Lake McKenzie to remember it. Then we were off back to Hervey Bay for a much needed shower.

Our last night in Hervey Bay was great. After a shower and a nap we just chilled out all night reflecting on our trip and talking about where we are going from here. All in all, our 3-day excursion to Fraser Island was one of the highlights of our Australian adventure. There was nothing specific that happened and there was no real reason that we loved it so much except that it took eight people who didn’t know each other and forced them to get along, and we all thrived in that situation. I don’t even know any of their names, but I will always remember each of them as they were and for the time that we had together. I hope they remember us in much the same way.

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  1. Fraser Island is a lovely place, I was recently there as well on gap year and did a similar trip as you did. It was brilliant.

  2. I wish Americans had a gap year, it is the coolest concept ever. That is probably a big reason why Europeans travel so much more than Americans.

  3. no, you’re wrong, americans dont travel because they are fat and lazy. to be honest, i prefer that and do enjoy being a part of the small percent of yanks who actually do travel…

  4. btw, fraser island was awesome…. especially the dutch drago!

  5. “I must break you.” He was a stiff but gotta give the guy credit, he was pretty funny, took jokes well and anybody that lives out of the back of his van for a year with his girlfriend has to be commended…for what I am not sure

  6. Just re-read this. Amazing time. So much you’ve done in your life, man. I’m doing Fraser in July. Can’t wait.

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