Queensland, Australia

with Aussie Walkabouts

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Day 4 - Fraser Island

We spent last night on Fraser Island at the Kingfisher Bay Eco-Resort.  Fraser Island is the world's largest all-sand island, and it is designated a "World Heritage Area."  Fraser Island is home to lots of wildlife including dingos and whales.  It was amazing to see so much vegetation on an island that is entirely made of sand.
We spent the first part of the day on a pretty difficult hike.  If there is anything in this world that sucks more than hiking uphill in sand, I haven't encountered it.  Our final destination for the hike was Lake MacKenzie, which was absolutely beautiful!  Lake MacKenzie is a rain-fed lake in the higher elevations of Fraser Island.  Seeing it made the long hike worth-while in the end.
We then took a 4WD Landrover to the east side of the island, which is exposed to the open Pacific Ocean.  This side is much more desolate, as you will see in the pictures below.  You are not supposed to go swimming in the ocean on this side because strong rip currents can form, and sharks like to hang out on this side of the island.
On this side of the island is a ship wreck called the Maheno.  This ship was a luxury liner in the early 20th century, then it was converted into a hospital ship for World War I.  In 1937, a Japanese company bought it and was towing it back to Japan for an overhaul when the ship broke loose of its moorings in a storm.  It came ashore where you see it today.  In WWII it was used as target practice for Allied bombers.  Today it has become unsafe for people to be on, so you are not supposed to get any closer then 3 meters (10 feet).  We actually saw a while out to see from the wreck, but it was too far away to get a good picture.
Lake MacKenzie, our initial destination after a hard hike.  This rain-fed lake is crystal-clear and beautiful!  Not much in the way of fish, etc. in the lake though. (2500x338, 60k)
Leah taking pictures on the east side of the island. (117k)
Linette enjoying the beach (281k)
Mark and Sheryl chat while waiting on lunch. (165k)
Chris and Steve-o preparing lunch (66k)
The beach on the east side of Fraser Island.  If you start swimming from this point, the next land you will see will be New Zealand (about 1500 miles) then South America.  It so flat that they actually land planes on this beach!  You can see a storm rolling in on the right side of this picture (2000x239, 39k)
Sheryl and I on the beach.  It was a little chilly! (62k)
The wreck of the Maheno (65k)
Decades of water and wind have eaten away at the ship's hull. (86k)
The ship's front portion.  You can see how long the ship has been hear by how far in the sand it is buried. (68k)
The Maheno's mid-section (72k)
Sunset on Fraser Island. (26k)
The end of another day on our trip. (52k)
This is one of the few places in eastern Australia where you can watch the sun set over the ocean. (2500x366, 94k)