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Packedin Fraser Island

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 18 October 2008 | Views [999]

Fraser Island Part 1

Early in the morning eleven of us backpackers worked together, instructions in hand, to pack a large 4x4 vehicle roof rack and all with all we would need for two nights and three days over on Fraser Island.

Even with a picture of where everything should go on the roof rack provided it took some of the group members a little longer than it should have to get everything packed neatly onto the roof. After almost another hour of talks and demonstrations of how the vehicle works and safety briefs we finally set off to the ferry crossing which would take us over to Fraser. It was a cloudy day that gave an impression of rain a coming and our first driver didn’t fill the group with much confidence of their driving ability as we kangarooed and weaved along the roads leading to the crossing while the driver attempted to search through songs on their IPod instead of concentrating on driving. Yells of “no just drive” came from the back as the driver kept asking if they wanted another song putting on.

Driving off the ferry and into the soft sand was an exhilarating feeling that we were about to spend three days on our own being self sufficient for the time spent on the island. We knew the tide times that meant we knew the safe times to drive along on the beaches. Driving rules on a beach are the same as any normal road in Australia, they have speed limits and the same passing rules as any two way street. Every so often you have to bump across a river outlet that could be quite a drop and quite deep so the drivers had to keep their wits about them. The other tracks that we could use with the 4x4’s were these extremely rocky tracks that winded and snaked their way around the island. The driving was a bit of a challenge for anybody who had never had any experience of this type of terrain. Some learnt quickly while others never really quite got the technique of driving smoothly and not turning the wheel too drastically which will make the top heavy vehicle roll from side to side making it very uncomfortable for those in the back. Another trick is to keep the revs up high and be in the right gear before you hit whatever obstacle is upon you.

Our first stop was at the famous Lake McKenzie were countless travellers have got a group photo of all of them in mid air jumping as the photograph was taken. Unfortunately the scene that met us was a very over cast cloudy place that didn’t quite give the lake its usual beauty. The group had to agree to come back on the last day before we would head back over on the car ferry.

One thing that makes younger travellers stand out is the way they can be so indecisive. They almost have to be told what to do as when confronted with a question or a choice they just freeze and become unable to speak. They can never just tell you what they want to do or give their opinion instead they bottle it up and they only ever let it come out when they get vexed at someone then they will go on a rant about how the other person is to blame.  So often during the trip we would try to arrange things together for say the next day or the arrangements for camps or meals and all that would happen was that would people would stand about saying nothing or go off and do their own thing which was no help to anyone.  Sometimes I would find myself stood on top of the vehicle with a heavy cooler box in my arms ready to pass it down to the next person who would then decide there was something better they could be doing so would just turn away and head off with me stood there having my arms pulled out of their sockets. I would then have to shout out before anyone would come and help. It seems that people these days are so afraid of making a fool of themselves they would rather do nothing than getting stuck in and helping out the group.

I was in my element during the short time I had to drive the 4x4 I have had a lot of experience driving different types of vehicles. In the soft sand of the camp site tracks you can keep the revs up high and just glide the vehicle around the tracks which gives for an exciting ride for the people in the back.

Tags: backpacking, fraser island, iainob1, packedin



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