Though a straight line appears to be the shortest distance between 2 points, life has a way of confounding geography. Often it is the dalliances and the detours that define us. There are no maps to guide our most important searches; we must rely on hope, chance, intuition and a willingness to be surprised.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

And we just stand idly by...

Please read this. You will hear plenty about it in the next two weeks. My guess is that it will then disappear from tv screens, as we once again do nothing about it:

A Trip to Fraser Island

I love the greens in this photograph. Beautiful.

For the holiday weekend, Dom and I took a trip to Queensland’s rainforest and beach paradise of Fraser Island.

I already have my big holiday for this year planned – in December I’ll be back in the UK for 3 weeks over Christmas and New Year. As this will drain most of my annual leave, I’m having to be pretty scrooge-like with my holidays for the next few months.
Those crazy, crazy 'roads'.

So with the office closed for a long weekend, and the Sydney weather turning a little more wintry (well, 18C and rainy), it made a lot of sense to get out of the city and seek the warmer climes of Queensland.

Hervey Bay is a 90 minute flight north from Sydney, and the stopping off point for the ferry to Fraser Island. Dom and I had organised a 3-day hire of a Landrover Discovery (see pics), which would be our trusty steed for getting around the road-free, sand-dune covered expanse of Fraser.
Right: eagle-spotted ray, seen from the cliffs at Indian Heads, Fraser Island.

After an unconventional safety video – “do not drive in the salt water, deflate tires to extract yourself from swamps, do not feed the wild dingos, etc…” – we were off on the ferry.

We had been told about the island’s dirt tracks, but hardly expected the all-terrain assault course that awaited us. Half-sweating in fear, and half-laughing hysterically, we tackled the outrageous cambers, giant pot-holes and sand slides that make up the navigable tracks. In fact, this was one of the key attractions for me – awesome fun, and really just like a big advert for 4x4 off-roading.

It got even better after we’d traversed the 15 mile-wide island and reached 75-mile beach on the far side. Driving at up to 90kmph along the beach, running through wash-outs and scattering wading birds was just too much fun!

I should say a little about the natural attractions too. As you can see from the pics, the island has some beautiful scenery – a natural result of the combination of desert, rainforest, lakes and ocean, which is actually pretty hard to find, even in Australia.

One less natural attraction is the wreck of the Moheno, a passenger liner washed ashore in a storm in 1935. The ship had been bought by the Japenese, but was shipwrecked during delivery to its new owners.
Given that it would probably have been used against the Australians in WWII, the grounding can now be considered somewhat fortunate.

Great place, great weekend break, back to work now.