PenUltimate Destinations

Central Station – Fraser Island

10-12 December 2011

The barge trip across to Fraser was remarkably quick – only about 10 minutes long. We were soon rolling the tyres over the soft white sand of Fraser Island. This was only short lived, however, as the high tide forced us to take the rough and corrugated inland road north and avoid rounding Hook Point.

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After about 30 minutes, which included one emergency comfort break, the road turned sharp right and spat us back out onto the soft sand and we could commence our sand adventure again.

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Before long we were into the swing of things, making good progress down on the harder packed sand closer to the water – every now and again a spray making its way across the windshield – much to the excitement of the kids (big and small)!

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We pulled into Eurong for lunch, making some sandwiches on the run, before continuing inland from the beach for our home for the next 3 nights – Central Station. Very quickly the environment changed before our eyes. Through scrubby bushland along the mostly single lane track, then into dense rainforest. Central Station is deep within one of these rainforest sections.

A couple of laps around the two camping areas, one on each side of the amenities block and we found a couple of sites that ‘would do’. We had hoped to get two sites next to each other, but there weren’t any suitable ones to be found that were big enough, so we found the closest we could and decided to set up camp.

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The sites were quite small – we actually had to move our trailer after mostly setting up the tent as it just wouldn’t fit properly. In the end there was only a very small walkway down one side of the camper.

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Dave and Kate had a little more room for their GIC with a slightly bigger footprint, but unfortunately rolled a tyre off a rim on the camper as they were reversing into the site. We got that off and changed with the spare, before setting them up and (by this time), having some dinner before an early bed. We were all spent after a long day and were looking forward to what tomorrow would bring.

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An overnight thunderstorm cleared to an absolutely gorgeous day. Not that we could really see much of it until after we left the confines of the campground. The rainforest canopy effectively shielded us from the outside world!

Our first destination would be Eurong, to drop Dave’s tyre off for repair, before heading into Lake Mackenzie for a swim. I’d read stories about queues to get into the Lake during the summer months, but was surprised upon arrival at the lack of traffic and the relative few people there.

Before long we were all in the water and having a fantastic time. This is just a sensational spot. Crystal clear fresh water on a bed of fine white, talcum like sand made an awesome combination. The kids had an absolute ball – and literally needed to be dragged from the water when it was time for lunch.

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You’re not allowed to take food down to the lake itself (so as to not encourage Dingoes), so we went up to the enclosed eating area for a picnic lunch. We decided that after lunch we would head down to Kingfisher Bay, to see what was down there. On the way there, we came across two vehicles that had stopped at a fallen tree. With absolutely no basic 4WD safety or recovery gear between them, they were just hoping someone would come along to help.

Before long we had a couple of snatch straps hooked around a stump to pull the fallen tree off the road. Job mostly done, we then just cleared the rest by hand. At least we kind of felt useful!

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The steep road into Kingfisher was good fun – we then went for a short drive around the town but as it is mostly resort we didn’t really see too much. Some coffees for some (and a pie for me!) and we were back on the road, trying to beat the next storm to the campsite.

We almost made it, and enjoyed our spag bol that night under Dave and Kate’s awning, listening to the rain falling on the canvas. We were all really exhausted again after a full day and headed to bed relatively early. Again.

Bad news is that it looks like the battery in the camper has died. I think the old regulator on the solar panel wasn’t doing its job properly, causing it to spike a number of times. The fridge will now only run on a fully charged battery for about 12 hours before the battery voltage is too low and the fridge turns itself off. Looks like we’ll be taking the fridge with us in the car everywhere for the next week (that’s not altogether a bad thing) before hopefully getting a replacement battery when we get off Fraser.

I also checked the water level indicator this evening, and it shows that we are down to ‘reserve’ water already! This can’t be correct. I suspect that the indicator has somehow bounced inside the tank and isn’t resting on the bottom anymore. I’ll check this out again next week too, and hope that the water that is in there lasts us long enough!

Monday was a bit of a sad day. Dave (W) had been struggling with a bit of a bad back all week, and finally had to give in to the pain and seek some medical treatment. They decided to leave the island that morning and head back to Rainbow Beach for some R&R. We were naturally disappointed that our travel buddies weren’t going to experience the rest of Fraser with us, but assured them that we would be fine when they left, and that Dave’s health was their biggest concern!

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So we helped them pack up, and followed back to Eurong to pick up the tyre that had been (NOT) fixed by the local mechanic, who, according to Dave, may or may not have been all there. New plan was to get the tyre fixed in Rainbow Beach. (The saga of the tyre WILL continue…)

We then followed them down along the beach to the inland road to say our good-byes, before heading back up along the beach towards Eurong. The highlight of this drive was to see a couple of FA-18 Hornets about 100 feet above the water flying down the coast. Fortunately Rach was driving (her first time on the beach) at the time so I could take a short video.

After lunch on the beach near Eurong, we thought we would take the kids to Lake Wabby for a swim. So we drove up to the carpark, only to then realise we were still a 3km walk away. None of us were particuarly keen for this by now, so a quick decision was made to have a quick dip at Lake Mackenzie again on the way back to our campsite.

They were filming some TV show on the northern end of the beach at the time, so we were confined to half the beach, but the kids really enjoyed having a splash around after spending quite a long time in the car. (It was another, absolutely stunning day! We’ve been very blessed with the weather here. Great days, and thunderstorms at night.)

We got back to the campground today before (yet another) thunderstorm and packed away a few things to make life hopefully a little easier in the morning when we would have to pack away the camper after our 3 nights in the rainforest and move up to Cathedral Beach.

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We enjoyed our time at Central Station, but three nights there was probably enough. The dampness of the rainforest was starting to get to everyone, as were the slightly tight and confined spaces. It is fenced there to keep the Dingoes out (we haven’t seen one yet) but still not a great location for young kids, as it is difficult to keep an eye on them.

Now at 53 nights.

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