The other logistical factor involved with visiting Fraser Island is the driving--only 4x4 vehicles are allowed, so we left our trusty Ferdinand the Minivan at Fraser Magic 4wd Hire and got acquainted with the very industrial Land Rover Defender. After watching a video explaining all the potential horrors, dismemberments, and deaths that accompany 4-wheeling and beach driving--and signing our lives away--we set off for the ferry.
Is there some universal boy gene that expresses itself when multiple boys are placed into one row of seats in a Land Rover? Our children transformed into a wild pack of wrestling dingoes. And I know you're thinking that I should give them a break, because of course bumpy, 4-wheel tracks are going to rile them up. Jeez, why can't I cut them some slack on their first 4-wheel drive experience. I'll tell you why--
this one, so I resigned myself to four days of the inevitable automobile-related frenzy.
At precisely this moment, I realized that our camera--the one that we needed to document and remember our family's experience in this amazing environment when they were not torturing me in the car--was in Ferdinand the Minivan's glove compartment.
In the rental car place's parking lot.
Across a salty croc-filled waterway.
Never have I been so happy to own an iPhone, as it was all I could desperately cling to in hopes of photographing our time. But of course, I didn't bring the car charger for the iPhone so I had a day and a half of battery, tops.
Driving on the island is a four-wheeling driver's dream, with sandy, rutted inland tracks and 50-odd kilometers of beach driving with streams, washouts, and rock bypasses.
|beach driving (and making room for an oncoming plane)|
One of the reasons I had chosen Central Station campground (apart from safety) was that its rainforest made it a destination even for those who weren't camping there. And the greenery didn't disappoint--our own campsite was edged by this gorgeous massive, mossy fallen log, and its friends were scattered amongst the grounds, with countless others towering above us. The weather seemingly changed in 12-minute intervals from rain that dripped lightly after being filtered through the leaves above to sunshine barely glimpsed through the canopy.
I went on a much-needed solo hike along a small portion of the 90km of hiking trails along Fraser Island's Great Walk. As someone whose favorite color is green, I marveled at all the shades and textures; a feast for the eyes.
Back home in the States before we left on this exchange year, I asked the New Zealander that co-owns the awesome Curtis Park Deli what some of the must-sees were in Australia. Fraser Island's Lake McKenzie was top on his list, so off we went. As we walked down the path from the carpark, I caught my first glimpse of water:
And then in full view:
The recent high rains meant that much of the white sandy beach was underwater so the lake was less gorgeous than usual, but really, I wasn't about to complain--lowering the description from stupendously gorgeous to incredibly gorgeous means it's still a pretty damn beautiful place to spend time.
We visited the lake twice, since our first late-afternoon visit got a little chilly as the sun fell behind the trees, and I took as many pictures as I could with my waning iPhone battery.
Kenyon is going to remember little to none of this trip since he's so young, so I try and take as many pictures as I can of him to help us talk about it for years to come. Plus, I just can't get enough of his face.
|I love this one that Kenyon took of us.|