Thursday, June 18, 2009

Awesome Fraser Island camping Day 2

 The rising sun woke all of us up nice and early.  Some of us were a little hungover, the rest, like myself, were doing just fine.  Once up, it was time to pack everything and get breakfast cooking.  Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs with tomato and onion with bread (there was no real easy way make toast).  The rest of the groups we had camped with were ahead of us leaving, but we took our time and made sure to get a nice meal in.  Apparently, one of the groups left their food outside and had most of it taken by several dingos (which we never saw).  Sucked to be them :P

Breakfast was delicious.  Mmm.

We left and headed back South down the island.  The itinerary suggested that we head back to town, stock up on ice, and then continue to Lake Mackenzie, which is what we planned to do.  On our way back down we hit a traffic jam.  There was a huge line-up of cars waiting to access a one lane route around rocks on the beach.  Someone told us that a truck had gotten stuck and was waiting to be towed and everyone was waiting on that.  

So what were we to do?  Instead of waiting in line, we backtracked a few minutes to a place called Eli Creek, a beautiful fresh water creek, and planned to play there a bit and wait for the line-up to dissolve.  Eli Creek was sweet!  A group of us walked to the beginning of it and swam down.  I loved it!!!  The water was crystal clear and you look beside and see small fish swimming along with you.   

You would often see planes fly by and some would land right on the beach.

After we were done, it was time to see how the line was doing.  Unfortunately, it had not lessened at all.  In fact, it was slightly larger than when we left it.  Shitty.  There were lots of trucks hauling 25ft+ boats from a fishing competition that was being held on the island.  It had ended I guess, and everyone was in a rush to get home.  Watching a truck pull its massive boat up some the tracks was wild as they grew quite steep and rocky at times.  

Anyways, so here we were stuck in massive line-ups waiting to get past the 3 rock by-passes so we could get to the small town on the island.  At one point everyone in the back jumped out to walk along the beach, which was faster than the truck was headed.

It ended costing us about 2 hours to get through it all, but we persevered.  We made it to the town, stocked up on ice, and met the 3 other groups we'd left with.   Along the wait, C.J. heard from another driver that a big storm was on its way and that we should camp inland tonight.  We made plans for that and decided to use the campsite close to Lake Mackenzie, which would let us spend the most time possible at what we'd heard was an amazing place.  We let the other groups know that's what our plans were, headed out of town to a water tap, and passed them all again on our way to Lake Mackenzie.  We literally drove past them all without stopping figuring that we'd all meet up again at Lake Mack.      

That didn't happen... Take note for tomorrow.

We trucked it up to the campsite, only to find out it was closed.  Fuck.

Check out the fences they use to keep away the dingos.  Pretty intense.  The cables along the ground are electrified.  

I found this massive tree here when we stopped to figure what to do next.  

What were we to do?  The closed sign suggested some other campsites, so we decided on the closest one, Lake Boomanjin, but since it was much further South, we headed to the lake first.

Even with the crappy on and off rain, and the little sun, it was still absolutely beautiful.

Swimming in Lake Mackenzie was one of the coolest things I did while Australia.

Check it out:

Even with the clouds, still was great.

When I got there I immediately noticed a stretch of light blue water, which then sharply darkens.  That boundary line in where the lake suddenly dropped much deeper.  

Look at me, I'm having fun!

Luckily, C.J. had a waterproof digital camera so he was able to take some underwater photos.

Here I am diving down to grab some of the bottom.

Here is a picture of the group of us in Lake Mackenzie.

I dove down pretty deep and took this shot of C.J., Ashley, and Connor.

Lack Mackenzie is the clearest lake I have ever seen.  Swimming in this lake was wonderful.  You can see people at distances away that you wouldn't think possible underwater.  I tasted a bit of the water to see if it was salty at all.  It. Even. Tasted. Good.  Take that as a measure of just how wickedly awesome this place was.  

Here I was happy we'd had lots of fun there; we made plans to come back tomorrow.

We were all reluctant to leave when it came time.  And seeing as time was of the essence (we were not supposed to drive at night), we needed to head out to make sure we had plenty to set up camp.  Our first stop was Lake Boomanjin, a campsite about an hour South of Lake Mack.  Once we got there, none of us liked the look of it.  There were already about 8 trucks there, none of which were yellow tops.  Interesting. 

We were having lots of fun during the trip though.

I went for the retard face unlike everyone else...

Onward we went.  Dilli Village was about 40 minutes to the Southeast.  It was a fun and quite bumpy ride to get there, but we all had plenty of drinks to pass the time with.  Poor C.J., I think he was the only completely sober one at this point, but that is the sacrifice he made being the driver.  He made up for it later in the night, no worries.

We arrived at the campsite, but first drove a bit to check and see if camping at the beach was a viable option.  It wasn't.  The tide had come in, and it would have been impossible to get to the beach site, short of a trip as it was.  It was starting to get dark at this point, and we looked to see how we would camp here.  Dilli Village, we learnt, was one of the few campgrounds that you have to pay to camp there.  $10 each to camp for the night.  Fuck that.

So back to Lake Boomanjin campground it was.  At this point were driving in the dark, which was no big deal, it was more of the fact that we'd wasted time getting here and our asses were getting a little sore that was annoying.

The goon began flowing...

Needless to say we made it safe and sound (and a little more inebriated) back to Boomanjin.  By now there were, I'd say, 15 trucks there, and finding a spot to pitch our tents wasn't the easiest.

It was here where we all worked beautifully as a group.  Some went off to set up the tents, others began preparing our dinner, which was vegetable stir-fry.  Another delicious meal.  It was supposed to have chicken as well, but the chicken bag had popped in our cooler.  Thankfully most of the other food in there was properly sealed.  We got everything done quickly and efficiently.  Great job!

And after eating it was party time!  

There were plenty of other people to meet, and since we had our truck's music blaring, lots of other campers came to visit us.  We were party central, and we all partied by truck for the night.  The goon had been flowing freely for awhile already, and it continued.  At one point, the rain turned on heavily so the party moved to the back of the truck.  It soon stopped, and we all slowly began to pass out.  There was a small storm in the middle of the night I remember waking up to, our tent managed to stay dry.

It was a great day followed by a great night.

Andre\/\/  /\/\eades

***The next day we ran into a big surprise.  Make sure to check it out.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

My last day in Australia...

So this is it, my final day here in Oz. I don't know how I feel really. Wait. That's a lie, I do actually. It's a mixed feeling. I am sad to say goodbye to Australia, a country that has treated me so well. One that has helped me learn more of who I am. Helped me understand more of this world and of its people. But I am also happy. Happy to head back home and see faces that I have missed, and to a place where I grew up; one that is forever familiar.

What sort of things am I doing as a final goodbye? Nothing really. I ate an Ogalo chicken burger, a chain here in Sydney that I like. Other than that, nothing. I lived in Sydney for 5 months. I've done the city. Now, all that's left is my arrival back.

Back to home. Back to family and friends. Back to pennies. Back to my car, dog, cat and a new puppy. Back to work. Back to where I was before I left.

It wont be the same though.

Things have changed. I have changed. Changed, so that even though I will be heading back to where I was before, it wont feel the same. Home will never be the same. My view of where I came from will be different. I have seen some of what this world has to offer and will automatically compare that to home. Don't get me wrong, home is still home, just not like it was before. The same way you change once you head off to university and come back. That same change, only a greater one. And this change is exactly what I was looking for, and needed, so I am glad.

Now, the next step for me is to figure out what I am doing with the rest of my life. Too easy :)

Good bye Australia. I love you and will miss you.

Andrew Hamilton Meades

** I am still working on the rest of the posts but will not be able to post them for a few days, so hang with me till then **

Friday, June 5, 2009

Awesome Fraser Island camping Day 1

Everyone was up bright and early to check out, store our bags, and have our morning orientation before we left. In the orientation we checked our camping equipment, checked the vehicle, and went over the suggested itinerary. We packed up the trucks, got everyone settled, and then the journey began!

We journeyed to the barge which would take us to the island. Just after we got off the barge is where I saw the first and only dingo of the trip. Which was strange we didn't see any because the island is supposedly full of them. He was just standing on the beach looking at the passing convoy of vehicles. Not everyone in our group saw him, but we all expected to see some more. Such is life though.

Our first leg of the trip was to drive the entire length of the island, all the way to a place called Indian head. Driving the entire island only takes about 3 hours, so that is what we did. The weather was nice and sunny for us, and we were all pumped and ready for camping.

Indian Head was beautiful and offered an amazing view of Fraser.

Check out Damien's awesome pose.

We climbed along the rocks and then Damien, Ashley, CJ and I climbed all the way to the top which had an amazing view of Fraser.

Luckily there were a couple other people at the top to help take some pictures for us.

I took these panoramic shots:

We then climbed down and had our lunch. The other groups that we left with had arrived as well.

Then it was time to leave. The tide was slowly starting to come in so we had to be careful driving back along the beach as big waves would come every now and then. Several times the truck would get soaked when we couldn't avoid the waves. Great fun :) Our next stop was back along the beach to the ship wreckage we had passed earlier. It is a mystery how this ship ended up here, but great for tourist photos nonetheless.

We took a nice group photo here as well.

Then it was time to stop at the campsite on the beach for the night. We all set up our tents and camping equipment. There were about 7 trucks at the site, all of which were 'yellow tops' and were part of Dingo's hostel camping adventure.

This shot gives you and idea of how close to the beach we camped.

As you can probably guess, a big party was slowly beginning to form. But before we started all the drinking games, we watched the sunset along the beach, and cooked our dinner. It was STEAK! And it was delicious.

C.J and I. Yes, I'm wearing a head lamp. Thanks for that Auntie Sally, it was very useful!

After dinner, Ashley, CJ, Damien and I went to the beach to do the dishes and almost died. Seriously (not really). The tide was in, and we were trying to wash dishes, when 2 huge waves came. The first soaked us up to the hips, and the second up to our necks. It was insane. None of us even saw the wave coming. We were incredibly lucky that we only lost a little frying pan as we have to pay for everything we didn't come back with. I was holding the big frying pan and refused to let go of it even as I was being dragged along the sand back out to the water. It was brutal, I ate lots of sand. Ashley's camera got soaked, my one and only sweater as well. We learned the hard way why you have to be careful along the beach when the tides in.

But that little incident didn't stop the party. No way! We played some drinking games, met other campers, and had wicked fun all night. After which, everyone passed out in our tents looking forward to the next day ahead of us.

Stay tuned for Day 2 of the trip. It involves a trip to Lake Mackenzie, a beautiful freshwater lake on the island with the clearest water I've ever seen.

[Andrew Meades]