Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island and sits just off the East Coast of Australia. Far from being the barren dunes you’d imagine, it is teeming with natural lakes, dingos and (perhaps most incredibly) ancient rainforest. You can explore Fraser Island in three ways: a guided bus tour over one or two days, an independent trip (if you have access to your own heavy-duty 4 wheel drive and no sense of fear). We chose the happy medium – a guided 4wd tour with Dropbear Adventures. We’d have the fun experience of driving a 4×4 across the sand, while a responsible grown up would be on hand if we needed to be dug out.
We managed to rejig our itinerary and get a discounted rate thanks to a tip from a lovely couple called Nisha and James at our hostel, who told us about a website called BookMe where you can pick up discounted trips and activities in Australia and New Zealand. Guys, thank you; you have saved us a fortune.
The first activity for our group was the safety video, which impressed on us that it was not only possible, but would indeed be easy to flip the battered Land Cruisers on the soft sand, at which point we would probably combust into flames. As with anything in Australia, apparently we were going to have to make a conscious effort not to at least severely maim ourselves.
Sufficiently subdued, Craig took our first driving leg to the ferry – an hour or so down the beautiful Rainbow Sands beach, so called due to the different coloured sands found here.
Once we’d crossed the short strait, we were officially on Fraser Island. There are no sealed roads here, so the main highway is the beach. It was the first one I’d been on with a speed limit, and also doubled as a landing strip!
Thankfully we made it to the camp with our 4×4 upright for our briefing. The camp was certainly… rustic. The girls were given a portaloo in a tent. The boys were presented with a shovel. If you would struggle to cope without running water, showers of any description and prefer your chairs not to be made from crates and plywood then this is not the tour for you.
Once we’d grabbed some lunch, we headed off in our convoy to our first stop on Fraser Island.
This cool, freshwater lake was full of little fish that nibbled on our feet as we sat at the edges. Then they started to get a bit feisty nibbling our legs and I beat a retreat to the sandy shore!
By this point we had acquired six German teenagers in our 4×4 and, as we bounced along the sand back to camp, they taught Craig and me the key differences between good and bad German rap music (negligible, it has to be said).
Back at base, we claimed a little tent as our home for 2 nights and did the only decent thing you can do when camping: consume significant quantities of the box of Merlot you’d brought, which had been thoughtfully chilled by the teenage camp volunteers (honestly. Do they teach kids anything these days?) and collapse into a bed which most decidedly was not the same as the one you set up a short while earlier.