June 2024

The Fraser Island Experiment Part II

Continued from Part I

That was probably when the tension began, and the social experiment started to go full force. The cool kids were identified (and consisted of the skin boarder guys and a few really cute girls) and the anal retentive ones emerged…which consisted of the Irish in our group. They cleared up all our dishes after dinner, and I thanked them for it. To this, they replied (in a not-so-nice tone), “Yeah. It was a lot of work. We’re off duty tomorrow.” I was a bit surprised by this….they had simply cleared the dishes and put them, unwashed, into the jeep. We couldn’t wash them at night, because we had to wash them with sand in the ocean (no dish soap for us to preserve the environment). Then, they all went to bed. Super early. The rest of our group segregated themselves by sitting in the sand away from the dance floor, while Scott and I joined the big party under the tarp, in search of meeting new people and making friends. We met tons of people that night and had a great time watching couples form and relationships develop. People kept wandering off to various tents and then rejoining the party…often to form a new couple. It was slightly disturbing. One cxibitionist couple even decided it would be fun to get naked and go at it right outside camp on the beach, to which many people with flashlights laughed and pointed their lights on. This didn’t seem to disturb them, and they went at it all night.

We finally made it to bed at around 2 a.m., even though the music was still blaring and people were still partying and hooking up. Scott had to walk out and talk to one drunk guy about being noisy near the sleeping area since he kept bringing his ipod speakers into the tent area, and our sleep that night was uncomfortable. They hadn’t provided us with sleeping pads, as promised, and we didn’t have pillows either. We spent the night on the hard ground (which was harder than I thought, considering Fraser Island is made out of sand), with our dirty sand-filled clothes to support our head. It sucked. Sand was EVERYWHERE, so that didn’t feel too nice either. Then, as a nasty surprise, the sun rose at 5:30 a.m and beat itself onto our tents making them small saunas. Everyone was up by 6 a.m. It was painful. Scott, being the beauty sleep queen that he is, moved our tent into the shade and managed to sleep until 9:30. I am not so fortunate, an can’t sleep when 40 people around me are up and doing things. So, I got out of bed and joined our group, and boy, I wished I hadn’t. They were the grumpiest group of people I’d ever seen in my life. Most of them, having felt very slighted by going to bed early and disturbed by the loud partying, were right pissed. Myself, having been a part of the party group, was shunned.

Kenna floating down the water in Eli Creek on Fraser Island

Kenna floating down the water in Eli Creek on Fraser Island

Scott, being still asleep, was doubly shunned. Somehow I was elected to cook eggs for the group, while I was rummaging in the cooler for some OJ, so I decided to make fried-egg-susans – a popular dish Scott and I have at home, because you fry the egg with the toast, and we didn’t know how to make toast any other way. Now, fried-egg-susans don’t look very appetizing, and I got a lot of disgusted looks at this. No one wanted to seem to eat them. So, I gave up. It all felt very wierd.

The group decided it was too hot and boring to hang out until 11, which was our safe driving time, governed by the tides that day. So they decided they wanted to leave. However, Scott was still asleep. They all went to go pack, leaving me to dishes (because I was in the dog house, and even though I had a partner to wake up), which put us WAY behind. We ended up holding up the group because I had to go wake up my sleeping princess (complete with eye mask), and pack up our stuff. Scott also does not move very quickly in the morning – he is definitely a night owl. We were confused because we thought the plan was to leave later…so we thought we had plenty of time. We became the evil ones of the group, especially Scott. It wasn’t fun, hanging out in this jeep with a bunch of sleep deprived anal grumps.

Kenna hanging her feet over the cliff at Indian Head

Kenna hanging her feet over the cliff at Indian Head

We went to a nearby stream, and had a bit of a rough time on the beach during high tide to get there. The Irish got their panties in a bit of a knot and started yelling that tomorrow, we would not be going out until low tide at 11:30. None of the other groups seemed to be worried about it, so it was somewhat uncomfortable. We made it to the stream, where the other 5 jeeps had gone, and went off to hang out with our other friends from the other groups and spent time playing in the stream and floating down it. It was lovely. We then took a drive up the beach to our most northerly point, Indian Head, and did a small hike up to the headland. It was really nice, but lots of people were cranky with the heat and lack of sleep. Our recommended itinerary suggested that we do a small hike to something called the Champagne Pools. We weren’t allowed to swim in the ocean due to the rips, sharks and jellyfish, so everyone was hot and wanting respite. Scott and I were cool to do the walk, but our group decided it was too far (it was 20 minutes), and that we’d go to a place called Lake Wabby instead. This was where the other 5 jeeps had headed anyway.

When we got to Lake Wabby, we discovered we had to do a 2.5 km hike through the sand to get there, which ended up being a 40 minute walk. Lovely. So really, it would have been a lot easier to do the Champagne Pools. Damn bossy Irish. Lake Wabby was really interesting, because it was located right below another sandblow, at the bottom of a sand cliff. It was very beautiful, like being in an oasis in the middle of a desert on one side, with tropical forest on the other.

View of Lake Wabby from on top of a sand blow

View of Lake Wabby from on top of a sand blow

However, after the long walk in, we discovered that we only really had about 20 minutes to spend there! This caused another riff with our group, because some people wanted to stay longer than others. Because of the raw steaks the night before, the Irish were especially concerned about getting to camp with enough time in the daylight to ensure that our chicken was cooked properly. The ridiculous thing is that dinner that night was a stir-fry! It’s not hard to cook chicken properly in a stir-fry!

Night two was much less exciting than the first night. Again, Scott and I watched as couples formed and reformed – I thought people might return to their mates from the previous evening, but it looked like it was a whole new ball game. Scott and I were pretty tired of that scene, so after learning a few new drinking games and hanging out with the group (and getting into a fight with our group about having the car headlamps on for 20 minutes), we spent most of the evening sitting on the beach and just talking. It was nice, and nice to have some time to ourselves after being with our group 24/7.

The 'cool' group in Lake Mackenzie

The 'fun' group in Lake Mackenzie

Day three was another early morning, but this time we had gotten to sleep around 1 a.m. We were expecting an early morning, and people were a little more considerate the night before, so it wasn’t as bad. Our group, however, was in even more of a foul mood than the previous morning, and we were explicitly told that we were not leaving until high tide was over. If we wanted to go early like the rest of the groups, we’d have to find a group willing to take us. Having made quite a few friends, we approached one group who immediately said they’d adopt us and take us back to Lake Mackenzie. We went back to tell our group, which created a large discord….and finally resulted in them telling us we could go early, but that Scott had to drive, and if we hurt them we’d get sued. Lovely attitude. None of the other groups seemed to be having so much drama….

So we set off at high tide, and actually ended up getting stuck in the sand…along with a large tour bus, and a jeep towing a truck. It was pretty rough and we took a lot of heat for it, but we managed to get ourselves unstuck, and pushed the other guys out as well.
We finally arrived to Lake Mackenzie, and immediately left our group and went and hung out with the big group that had accumulated at the end of the lake. It was a great way to cap off the trip – just chilling, drinking beers in one of the most beautiful places in the world with fun, positive people. We met our group and had a very silent drive back to the ferry (I think they were pissed that we ditched them, and showed us pictures they had taken with our group, sans us), but it didn’t matter to Scott and I. The whole experience made us really realize that attitude is everything, and that a few bad apples can really ruin something for everyone.

Our bottom line about Fraser is that it’s an amazing trip – it lives up to being a world heritage site. However, your group can really make it our break it – thank goodness we had a larger group of 60 people to draw on, or it could have been a real disaster. We were also a bit sad with the destruction of the island – people left beer cans around quite a bit which we kept cleaning up…and were leaving their toilet paper in the bushes instead of packing it out or burying it.

We are now making our way to Bundaberg to see the rum factory (Bundaberg is our new favorite rum – so delish!), and seeing sea turtles hatch their babies on sanctuary beach called Mon Repos. We’re hoping for some quiet time and respite before we head to the Whitsunday Islands, which is sure to be another crazy party/social experienment…as there will be 25 people crammed onto a small boat.

P.S. We are experiencing again, technical difficulties – this time with our Olympus camera. It is the third one to give us grief – first sand in the Pentax, then the laptop fiasco, and now the Olympus won’t turn itself on. We’re pretty upset with this – it’s a waterproof, shockproof, everything-proof camera that we can’t figure out what is wrong with it. At first we thought it was sand from Fraser Island (since the bloody stuff gets everywhere), but we took it apart and cleaned it out, and that doesn’t seem to be what’s ailing it. Looks like we’re going to have to send it back to Olympus and be without it for about a month (which is extra irritating because it’s only about 6 months old)…wonderful, just as we’re about to head into the major water activities in the Whitsundays and diving in Cairns! We don’t have anything else left on us to go wrong in the tech department….three’s a charm, right?!

2 comments to The Fraser Island Experiment Part II

  • Mark Boulter

    Sounds like a good reality show!!

  • Dave

    wow sounds like a complete mess. But some of the sites you saw are totally amazing. But it us too bad about the group you were with. The whitsundays are much more relaxed (depending on what boat) hopefully you guys got a great boat to head out on. Travel safe

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