Thursday, August 17, 2006

fraser island

After Tasmania we went next to Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world, and it is a UN World Heritage Site. It is truly an amazing and diverse habitat. Riding over on the boat from Hervey Bay the kids snuggled next to me, the weather was perfect and the wind felt so good, and it just felt really peaceful. We got there and were greeted by two wild dingoes roaming the beach to forage. They are like wolves, but were introduced to Australia from Asia around 4,000 years ago so are pretty much considered part of the ecosystem now. They look totally different than wolves - they are tan and white. One climbed into someone's boat that was on the beach! LOL. Anyway that was pretty cool. The sunset was gorgeous! (photo on right, Lake McKenzie, a freshwater lake with clear water and white sand beaches)

The next day we got shown around the island by a Kingfisher Bay Resort Ranger/EcoGuide. There's no way to see it all but we saw a great cross-section! In the center, freshwater creeks run through primeval rainforest with tall palms and cycads and ferns. On each side of the island are Eucalyptus forest and huge sand blows which basically create massive sand dune complexes. We hiked across this yellow sand dune at Lake Wabby for an hour and it reminded me of scenes from Star Wars where R2D2 and C3PO are stuck on a desert with only sand. The way the sand blows the sand into rivulets is just beautiful. (photo to left, the kids climbing a giant "sandblow" or sand dune in the middle of Fraser Island)

The lakes are spring-fed and COLD so I let the kids swim but I stayed out and enjoyed the scenery. Colin, the EcoGuide who showed us around, was very knowledgeable and I learned a lot about the ecology of the island. We saw a lace monitor - a huge lizard - among other things. During our trip we also ate "Bush Tucker" at the resort's restaurant which is Aboriginal food sources - not just the various plants used but we also tried kangaroo, emu and crocodile meat and the kids loved all of them!

We stayed at Kingfisher Bay Resort which was one of the first-ever ecoresorts, truly designed with the environment in mind - from the architecture of the buildings and rooms to the food to the natural history tours - birdwatching to spotlighting to whale watching and island explorations - and everything in between. I was very impressed with the way they developed everything, preserving all the native vegetation, elevated walkways, energy conservation.

Last we went on the most AMAZING whale watching trip, which was almost surreal. The water was a deep but clear blue you could see the whales under the surface. Two subadults played near our boat for over an hour. They got SO close to the boat! They did all the behaviors from spy-hopping to pectoral fin flapping to tail slapping to breaching. They went back and forth under the boat and really just seemed to enjoy our attention (we made noise, and it draws them to the boat). They are amazingly beautiful animals.

A subadult humpback whale surfacing in Platypus Bay, near Fraser Island.

Sunset on Fraser Island.

The clear blue waters and white sand of Lake McKenzie.

The rivulets in the sand dunes on Fraser Island, near Lake Wabby.


Lisa Sullivan said...

Wendee...sounds like you are having a fabulous time Down Under. I'm so jealous! Can't wait to see the photos. Make sure you post LOTS of them. :-)

Safe travel home. Btw...I appreciate you too. So, come to NC, will ya?!

Much luv...Lisa :)

Sus said...

Daydream Island? What an excellent name, I'm assuming it's translated from an Aboriginal word/phrase? Can't wait to see all the cool pic's I'm sure you've taken!