My old man bought himself a new lens for his camera at Christmas and also had one of his DSLR converted to take infrared photos. Given he had new toys to play with he suggested a boy’s trip to Fraser, with the intent to go top to bottom or vice versa pending tides. I jumped at the chance and set up the last week of the school holidays to go over with him and my eldest boy Jake.
Given I hadn’t been out camping for quite some time I and still had time up my sleeve I wanted to make a few little improvements to the camp set up for the back of the rig. The only thing that let us down last time out, and all I had the budget to fix given Christmas, was the hand pump for the tap. I leaked, was hard to use and near impossible to get working correctly so it had to go. Dad sourced a cheap little electric pump for me and I spent far longer then I should have getting it mounted in the back of the car. It pumps at 4 lpm and is self-priming. I do still have a switch located up near the tap though, just to make sure she isn’t under pressure all the time.
Due to the way the stainless steel was originally designed for the hand pump my choice of tapware was limited. I needed something that was basin mounted, not wall mounted, was economical but also long enough that I could still use it effectively. After scouring the isles at Bunnings nothing was really looking promising tap wise until I stumbled into the plumbing section and saw some classing looking cistern taps. This with a bit of clear tubing would work an absolute treat and not look too bad. With a bit of plate bodgyed up for the switch she was in and working a treat.
Only things to sort now before departure was insurance (AAMI wanted way too much $$$ for an “agreed value” that was far below anything I ever agreed too) so I signed up with club 4x4. The premium was more then AAMI but I have the car covered for the maximum they would allow ($17 800ish) with $20 000 worth of accessories. So if the worst happens and she get written off I get near enough to $38k to buy a replacement!
The only other issue which cropped up the day before departure was with the 4wd system. She hadn’t been in 4x4 for a while so on a straight bit of road I engaged 4h to ensure it was working – nothing – no light nothing… tried a number of times and still nothing. Got the mechanic on the phone to see if we could get her in for a quick once over but he was booked out and super busy. Thankfully while on the phone with the mechanic the system seemed to kick in, the light flickered then came on and stayed on! Massive relief as it seemed to be golden from that point forward.Day 1:
Saturday 16th Jan came round and we were up and ready to leave at 4am hoping to get the first ferry at Tewantin. Trip up was great but the rain was on and off and things didn’t seem to be improving as we headed north. We managed to make the first ferry and it wasn’t long before we hit the beach at Teewah. Tide was low at 6am so we made good time to Double Island and was able to get round the rocks at Rainbow with ease. It was a quick fuel and pie stop before hitting the Barge.
We hit Fraser in the middle of a decent shower but excitedly pressed north. We had no idea where we would be stopping for the night as the trip was meant to be a very flexible like it and stay sort of touring trip but we figured we would go as north as possible. First stop was Eurong, as dad was keen on another pie, and we then pressed on and didn’t stop again will Waddy Point.
By this stage the weather was clearing and the island was starting to look its spectacular best.
We must have had honey on our arses as it wasn’t long after this shot that we had a massive crew set up right behind us!
We pressed on and stopping in at Ocean Lake. Given we have largely stayed to the south end of the island we were a little disappointed with Ocean Lake. It’s nice but is nothing compared to McKenzie or Birrabeen. We hit the beach again and continued north.
The tide was on its way in by now and we still had Ngkala Rocks to overcome. This had me a little worried due to all the stories you hear about constant bogging’s. I did pack my GoPro to capture the action but we hit a rock bypass and before you knew it we were though. I turned to dad and said “I think that was Ngkala”. His response was, “couldn’t be, that was too easy, must be another one further up”. Haha, low and behold that was it!
We hit the tip at high tide and found a fella in a Prado looking lost. As the tide was in you couldn’t get around a bunch of trees that the tide had taken but he was desperate to make it though. We found ourselves walking with him to see if it was possible or if we have to wait for the tide to go down a bit. We found a track around the trees, it was hidden in the dunes not far from where I had parked but you still had the main sand blow dune tackle. It was either wait it out or attempt to drive the sand blow – which is a no no. We headed back to find the Prado guy taking the track around the trees. We followed a short time later only to see him turn around and bail back south. Dad set up his fishing rod and Jake got his bogey board of the roof and we set in to wait for the tide to lower. An hour or so later, no fish caught but heaps of sand tobogganing done, we made it round the dune.
Surprisingly it was super busy at the tip and we wondered if we could find a camp site. Given the new ways of booking sites on Fraser you can’t just select beach camping anymore but have to select a designated zone. As we were touring the island without any real plan we couldn’t do this so just picked a zone to get a permit and went bugger it we will go in any space available. Luckily we found an awesome spot and set up for the night.Day 2:
We all managed a massive night sleep and got up ready to tackle a bacon and egg breaky and a big day at Sandy Cape. It wasn’t long before we received our first visitor, a “cheaky” (according to the ranger) dingo who came up the access track to our site and sat and watched us for a good 15min.
Not long after he scampered of up the beach the ranger came in to check our permit. Given we were in the wrong zone I let dad sort it out. He was a ranger at Cooloola back in the 70s so it wasn’t long before he was busting out stories of the good ole days and he and the ranger were having a good chin wag. Ranger was fine with us being in the wrong spot but offered the warning to only do it in off peak periods and that if we tried to pull it over the Australia day long weekend we would likely be asked to move.
After breakfast we headed out to do the lighthouse walk and were amazed that most others had already packed up camp and bailed – we had the place largely to ourselves!!
We did intend to do the walk to the WWII bunkers and the graves but it was hot and we couldn’t be bothered so ended up fishing, swimming and tobogganing on the dunes again for the remainder of the day.
The only time Fuel and Sand mix well