Sorry this is a post from last week!
*WARNING:I decided to write a book.
On Thursday morning we were all set to go to Fraser Island. We prepared for the day by putting on swimsuits, flip flops, and grabbing a bag with a couple other essentials we would need for the night. We had heard only great things about Fraser Island. Other travelers we had met claimed the island to be their favorite stop in Australia. We started getting pretty excited on the ferry ride over to see what was to come in the next 2 days. We didn’t even last 12 hours.
We knew we were doing a drive tour on some sort of 4WD vehicle. We did not expect the vehicle to be a school bus. We got on the bus along with the rest of our tour group to meet our tour guide/ bus driver, Martin. (Side Note: If anyone has ever watched the show Lost he is not only the spitting image of John Locke but also acted exactly like him.) If he wouldn’t have told us his background story I would have assumed that he lived in a tree house and spent his nights fighting off dingos. The first thing Martin said to us was, “No one is allowed to mention the weather today.” I think that was the first time we realized how overcast it really was. It wasn’t raining yet so we still had hope that it would clear up.
Our first destination on the bus tour was Lake McKenzie. We were surprised this was our first stop on our 2 day adventure because Lake McKenzie is the main attraction on Fraser Island. So after off-roading on the bus through the rainforest we reached Lake McKenzie. The whole group rushed off the bus to see the beautiful lake. This is what Lake McKenzie looks like on a clear, sunny day.
A secluded lake with white sand and clear blue water! Couldn’t get much better right?
Let me explain how Lake McKenzie works. The surface of the lake acts as a mirror. It reflects the blue skies onto the lake which makes the water look so blue. This is what it looks like on an overcast day…
With all the rain there had been we couldn’t see the white sand and the lake looked like pretty much any other lake.
The group got pretty quiet and awkwardly glanced at each other. I think everyone had heard about the beauty of Lake McKenzie and were a little let down. Since we had 2 hours at the lake, Giana and I decided to get in and try to picture what it looked like on a clear, sunny day. It was nice and quiet on the lake until Martin came belly flopping into the water with a bunch of rugby balls. The next 2 hours were spent like this: half of the group sat on the dock and watched, a french couple put on swim caps and goggles and started doing laps, and the rest of the group played some game with Martin that involved throwing rugby balls at each others heads. Giana and I spent the 2 hours avoiding the game.
At the end of the 2 hours it started raining. We piled onto the bus again to make our way to where we were eating lunch. After some more bus off-roading, we came to a sudden stop. This is when Martin announced that everyone would need to get off of the bus and hike for the next 40 minutes to lunch. By this time it was raining pretty hard. Most of the people on the bus were only wearing flip flops, swimming suits, and coverups (excluding the French couple who brought ponchos)… not appropriate hiking gear, especially in rain. People started slowly making their way off the bus in disbelief that Martin was going to make us hike in the pouring rain. Finally one girl spoke up and asked if we could just ride the bus to lunch if we didn’t want to hike. When we found out we didn’t have to hike the majority of the people got back on the bus and happily waved goodbye to the hikers. After lunch Martin announced there would be ANOTHER 40 minute hike. It was still raining. Giana and I thought there was no way we could sit out on the second hike and started getting ready to go. We then noticed everyone from the last hike climbing onto the bus (except the French couple). Giana decided to go ask a previous hiker what he thought of the hike. His response, “Well I saw trees, trees, and more trees. Oh and the French couple wouldn’t allow us to talk for the 40 minutes because they were trying to spot animals.” Giana and I quickly found our spots back on the bus.
Once again there was a large group sitting on the bus waiting for the hikers to return. There was one other American in our group besides ourselves. She had somewhat of a split personality. One minute she was cursing the trip and the next minute she was acting like Martin’s right hand man. So while we were waiting she decided to teach everyone how to play catch phrase. (If you have never played catch phrase before it’s a game were you try to get people to guess the word or phrase you are given without saying the given word.) We started feeling a little weird during the game because we never realized how much it was based on American culture. We ended up having to describe a lot of American cities, phrases, and restaurants. It also didn’t help when my word was turkey and I said “What do we eat on Thanksgiving?” Thankfully no one minded and even wrote down the name of the game hoping to purchase it in the future.
The hikers finally returned from their trip. They started talking about how awesome it was and how happy they were that they went… except for the leaches. Everyone perked up when they heard leaches. Excuse me? Leaches??? The girl responded very nonchalantly saying they noticed some leaches on their feet at the end of the hike but it was no big deal because they were able to brush them off.
2 minutes later… “AHHH LEACHES!” The girl was not playing it cool anymore when she discovered more leaches on her foot. She was crying and shaking but no one was helping her remove them in fear the leaches would attach to them. Someone yelled, “Get Martin!” I responded, “No! He’ll fry them up and eat them!” We found Martin but he could have cared less. He was too busy trying to catch a snake with the French couple. Everything started to calm down a little until the girl realized the leaches were no longer on her foot. The bus went into complete chaos. Everyone was in search of the missing leaches. I was basically sitting on Giana’s lap laughing/crying as she was screaming “Leaches on the loose!” In the middle of everyone panicking the other American girl somehow found speakers on the bus and started blasting Don’t Stop Believing as Martin drove away bopping his head ignoring the chaos in the back of the bus.
We finally made it to our cabin. The first thing I did was check the weather for the next day. Thunderstorms. That was all I needed to know. After a few phone calls I cancelled the rest of our stay on Fraser Island and booked us the next Ferry out of there.
We still had 2 hours to waste until the ferry so we decided to mingle with the other people staying in our cabin. Everyone pretty much had our same feelings about the day. Many people had unfortunately booked a 2 or 3 night stay on the island. They started talking about the days to come and how they were just going to make the best of their time on Fraser. Then they all started talking about the other American girl and her bad attitude. Supposedly she had been complaining nonstop about the trip and how she wanted to get off the island that night. Giana and I got really quiet. Right then we were asked, “So how long are you two staying?” Since I’m really good at thinking on my feet I decided to respond something like this, “Well…umm…you see… uhh… we are leaving…uh”. Thankfully Giana interrupted me and explained that we booked the trip all wrong and have to return our car to Brisbane by tomorrow morning or else we would have to pay for the car an extra day. Everyone said they felt bad but really I think they were jealous we were leaving. Needless to say, we were very happy pulling away on the ferry waving goodbye to Fraser Island.
Since we didn’t stay on Fraser Island we were able to spend the next day in Noosa and explore the beach town before returning our car in Brisbane the following day. I have to say Fraser Island has become one of my favorite stories from the trip so far. I would even give Fraser a second chance… on a sunny day. Up next Sydney and Melbourne! Can’t wait!