Christmas in Paradise: Part 3

Hervey Bay cafe viewMoving on from New Caledonia, we head off via Brisbane to Hervey Bay in Queensland. While waiting for the ferry out to Fraser Island, we have lunch and hang around admiring the white eucalypts. I’ve heard so much about Fraser Island from Bryan I feel as though I know the place already. We’re spending Christmas on the world’s largest sand island, at Kingfisher Bay Resort.
Jetty Hut sunset
sunset at Jetty HutSo, it’s Christmas Eve. As a lovely start to this leg of the holiday, we go to the Jetty Hut for a drink while watching the sunset. And I finally get to dip my toes in the Pacific.

This beach, when the tide’s in, is the starting point for canoe trips round the mangroves. If I’d known beforehand that they started on open sea, I’d have chickened out for sure! It may look tranquil in the photos, but it certainly isn’t when we go out. Miraculously, we aren’t upturned, though we have a few mishaps, including close encounters with bushes in the mangroves.

It’s a beautiful island, not only to see but to listen to. We’re used to cicadas day and night by now. Here amphibians join in the nighttime chorus. We didn’t manage to record any successfully. This short video sounds a little like it, though not as rich and varied.

tour bus cropped
So what happens on Christmas Day on Fraser Island? Well, in our case, we climb into a tour bus built to drive on sand and go on a day-long tour of the island.

This includes bathing in Lake MacKenzie, a freshwater lake with silver sand, before lunch. Swimwear and santa hats seem to be de rigeur.
Christmas lake
Christmas lake 2

Then walking through the rainforest afterwards.
forest
forest trail
forest 2
Up until the 1980s, logging was the major industry on the island, especially for the giant satinay, or turpentine tree (Syncarpia hillii), which was highly prized in shipbuilding. The rainforest is slowly recovering, but how long does it take a satinay to grow a trunk four metres across, I wonder. Twelve hundred years? There’s a short video about it here:

The rusting hulk of the SS Maheno is a striking sight on the east coast of the island.
Maheno & Bryan
Maheno
Maheno & me
Maheno and me
Hmm. Interesting texture…
photographing rust
Finally the day arrives when we take a last look at the swamp below our balcony, with its waterlilies and wonderful singing frogs and toads, and say goodbye to K’gari (the Butchulla place name for Fraser Island).
balcony view
ferry returnIt’s time to catch the return ferry for the start of our long journey home.

One more place of interest yet to come, though!