Friday, May 6, 2016

Fraser Island through a tour guide's eyes

It's a harsh reality of life that some workplaces are definitely better than others and tour guides on Fraser Island have one of the best "offices" in the world. Each year Cool Dingo tour guides meet people from all over the world, share stories over a beer and take travellers on an adventure on the world's largest sand island. 


Scotty enjoying a "tough day in the office" on Fraser Island 
If you've ever wondered what life is like when your job involves driving a four wheel drive bus around Fraser Island, we've decided to ask some of Fraser's top tour guid
es for their insights- starting with Scott Matheson (aka "Buzz Lightyear). 
During his two years as a tour guide on Fraser Island, Scott has also been known to answer to "Scotty the Hottie", Scotty T (a reference for all Geordie Shore fans out there) and "Mr Incredible" (we didn't ask what that was in reference to). 
Scotty is a local  guy who grew up in Hervey Bay and while some kids learned the tools of their dad's trade going on to be dentists, lawyers, sparkies and carpenters- Scott's followed in his dad (Warren's) footsteps and became a tour guide on Fraser Island. 
"When your father is a tour guide you can't not spend your school holidays here," he said. 
It's hard for travellers not to fall in love with Lake McKenzie
Aside from the incredible natural surroundings, Scotty says one of the things he loves most about his job is meeting people from every corner of the planet, "and tormenting them a little", he adds with a warm, cheeky smile.  

Being able to meet so many international visitors has also helped him pick up the odd phrase or two in a range of languages. "I'm slowly learning German from people I'm meeting on tours," he said. 

Making friends in every corner of the globe, also makes Scotty's bucket list a little longer than most. So where does this Fraser Island tour guide want to go when he eventually takes a holiday himself? "At the moment, Canada is on top of my list," he said. "If I won a million dollars, I'd be on the first plane to Canada as part of a world trip." 


Eli Creek is another favourite spot for visitors to Fraser Island
When it comes to a Fraser Island bucket list, tour guides like Scotty also have a unique perspective on what tops the list. While most people would struggle to go past crystal clear Lake McKenzie or Seventy Five Mile Beach as their "favourite spots" on Fraser, Scotty's pick is Lake Wabby. 
With a 40 minute walk and limited access even by foot, Scott says Lake Wabby makes it worth the effort. "I personally like that you really have to work for it," 


If you're keen to have Scotty show you around Fraser Island you can book your adventure here- if want to know more about Scotty before you book, check out is full profile here: 

Scott Matheson
Nicknames: Nicknames I get from other guides and guests include: Buzz Lightyear, Scotty the Hottie, Mr Incredible and Scotty T (Geordie Shore)

How long have you been a guide on Fraser Island?
Two years of fun on this beautiful island.

Where did you grow up?
Hervey Bay and Fraser Island, when your father is a tour guide you can’t not spend your school holidays here.

What's the best part about your job?
Getting to know people from every corner of the planet (and getting to torment them a little)

Do you have a favourite spot on Fraser Island?
Definitely Lake Wabby, I love the fact that you have to earn it!

Can you speak any languages other than English?
Slowly learning German from people I am meeting on tours.

How many push-ups can you do?
All of them!

If you had one-million dollars, what would you do with it first?
Half in the bank and the other half jumping on the first plane to Canada for a world trip.

Who would you love to meet and why?
Arnold Schwarzenegger because I have admired him since I first entered a gym.

What's at the top of your bucket-list?
Getting to that great big country we know as Canada!

If you could choose any superpower, which one would you choose and why?
Shapeshifting would be incredible, could live the life of a different person every week.

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
An impossible question but narrowing things down to dessert, I could definitely eat dessert for every meal of the day!

Do you have any pets?
Most people are shocked to find out we have a Chihuahua named Stucky, but at 16 years old he’s definitely a loved part of the family!

What's your least favourite colour?
Hard and unusual question, but can anyone really enjoy the colour beige.

What time does your alarm go off when you are on a day off?
Alarm set or not the body clock opens the eyes at 5am every day, sleeping in is but a dream these days.

Who is your favourite sports team? 
Brisbane Broncos!


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

ANZAC Spirit is strong on Fraser Island

As the first glimmers of the sun rise over the ocean, waves lap onto the shore, a pre-dawn chill hangs in the air. Locals, visitors, rangers and emergency servicemen and women gather at Waddy Point to pay their respects to those that fought and sacrificed their lives in the line of duty at a special ANZAC service.

Dawn service at Waddy Point
Copyright: Eurong Beach Resort
The ANZAC spirit is strong on Fraser Island and each year people gather near the beachside campground for what has become an annual tradition officiated by members of the Orchid Beach RSL, a sub-branch of the Wide Bay Burnett District.

One of the local organisers John Quincy said the first service 25 years ago, attracted a crowd of about 20 people. Last year saw record numbers of approximately 600 people attend the beachside service.

“It’s a big logistical effort, when you take into account our remote location,” he said.
“There’s a lot of people that help out and a lot of work that goes into the day.

“We are seeing more young people each year, which is very encouraging.”

Following the dawn service at Waddy Point, organisers cook up a hot breakfast and hold traditional games of Two-Up throughout the day- a $20 donation covers costs of breakfast, local fish and chips and sandwiches  throughout the day.

 Fraser Island’s beaches are also one of the best vantage points to see the RAAF annual ANZAC Day fly-over.

While Fraser Island is most well-known for its incredible natural beauty, the World Heritage-listed Island also has a unique place in Australia’s military history.

Each year tourists flock from all over the world to visit the famous Maheno shipwreck, which ran aground on Fraser Island’s Seventy Five Mile Beach during a cyclone in 1935.

Built in Scotland in 1904, the 5323 tonne ship was initially used as a passenger ship which sailed between Australia and New Zealand.

Wreck of the SS Maheno on Fraser Island
Copyright: Eurong Beach Resort 
In 1915, the SS Maheno converted to a hospital ship was used for the next five years in treating and transporting Allied wounded from Gallipoli and the Western Front as part of the First World War effort.

The Maheno played a role in transporting Allied troops from Gallipoli to safer facilities and brought wounded soldiers back to Australia and New Zealand.
Marking its centenary last year, hundreds of people travelled from as far away as New Zealand to Fraser Island’s Eastern Beach to lay flowers and remember the fallen in a special service held at the site where the Maheno now sits.

For those looking to take advantage of the long weekend to explore Fraser Island and attend ANZAC Day services, Eurong Beach Resort is an excellent base with direct access on to Seventy-Five Mile Beach, as well as the island’s many freshwater lakes and walking tracks.


So if you’re looking for a truly unique, traditional ANZAC weekend experience, mark the date and make tracks to Fraser Island. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

10 romantic things to do on Fraser Island

If men are from Mars, and women are from Venus- there's no better place on Earth to spend Valentine's Day than Fraser Island. 

Whether your ideal escape involves rugged adventures or total relaxation, you can have the best of both worlds with a visit to this World Heritage-listed wonder. 

1. Take a dip in Champagne Pools 
Tucked in behind Indian Head on Fraser Island's eastern side, the Champagne Pools are a natural jacuzzi. Waves roll in and crash onto the cool, clear rock pools offering all the pop and fizz of champagne. 

Image: Gypsie Lust Photo- Visit Fraser Coast 


2. Share a picnic on 75 Mile Beach 

With plenty of sunshine, cool breezes and endless beaches Fraser Island is the ideal spot for a romantic picnic for two. Pop a bottle of bubbly, or simply pack up some cheese and crackers and make tracks down Australia's best beach highway. If you're looking for something extra fancy without the hassle, our good friends at Eurong Beach Resort can pre-pack hampers to take with you for the day. 

Image: Rob Annersley 

3. Take the tracks less travelled 
Take an exit off the beach highway and discover some of Fraser Island's most secluded spots. With a trusty map (and navigator), a sense of adventure and a four-wheel drive there's plenty of idyllic spots- like this one at Woody Point- to explore. 
Be sure to check the tide times and island conditions before heading out to discover your own piece of paradise. 

Image: Woody Point- Visit Fraser Coast
4. Take a walk on the wild side
There's no denying Fraser Island's beaches are some of the world's best, but if you're looking to discover another side to the island, take a trek through the World Heritage-listed rainforest. With crystal clear freshwater creeks running through tranquil, pristine rainforest, you'll fall in love with the breath-taking natural beauty that lies in the heart of Fraser Island.

Image: Kingfisher B


5. Discover  the magic of Sunset Beach 
As the sun starts to drop, there are few places more amazing to watch the sunset than on the western side of Fraser Island. Head down to the jetty at Kingfisher Bay Resort, relax with a cool drink and take in the show. If you want to add a little something extra, grab yourself a table down on the sand and share a  cheese and prawn platter as the sun dips below the horizon. 


6. Splash out in a resort villa with a private spa 
If you want to treat yourself and your partner, book yourselves into your own private villa complete with a spa deck.Nestled amongst the treetops at Kingfisher Bay Resort, these secluded villas are the ideal place to relax and unwind after a day out exploring Fraser Island. 

Image: Kingfisher Bay Resort 

8. Share a candle-lit dinner at Seabelle Restaurant 
Your taste buds will fall in love with this island-inspired menu that offers fine dining with a bush tucker twist. Using native ingredients, local seafood and island-grown herbs this award-winning restaurant will take your breath away. 

Image: KIngfisher Bay Resort 

9. Discover the beauty of Lake Birrabeen 
Lake Birrabeen is the Kourtney Kardashian of Fraser Island lakes- she's just as beautiful but, for some reason, not quite as famous or well known. Take the Southern Lakes drive and discover this and other incredible freshwater lakes dotted all over the island. 


10. Team up and take a canoe paddle together 
The western side of Fraser Island is more sheltered and protected so it will generally offer calm waters and perfect conditions for a canoe paddle or stand-up paddle board.  Even if you're not the "outdoorsy" type- it can be a great spot to just float around and watch the sunset. 

Image: Via Instagram Gypsea_Lust



Friday, July 24, 2015

COOL DINGO: Confessions Of A Fraser-phile

GUEST BLOG: Anna Kantilaftas is a self-confessed Fraser-phile. She first visited Fraser Island as part of an all gal media group on island to learn the basics of four-wheel-driving.  She returned to recharge during a relaxing Yoga retreat holiday at Kingfisher Bay Resort.  This was quickly followed by a trip north with our Cool Dingo Tour to discover The Champagne Pools, Indian Head and some of our eastern beach attractions. She's not your average backpacker, but here's her story...


Cruising down Eli Creek (that's Anna in the black). Image: Reichlyn Aguilar (closest to the camera)
I’ve done plenty of brave things in my time. I’ve jet skied across the Great Sandy Strait (between Fraser Island and Hervey Bay), gone swimming with Whale Sharks in Western Australia, and abseiled down cliff faces in Victoria. So, when I booked myself on to one day of a three-day Cool Dingo Tour to see some of the beautiful K’gari (Fraser Island), I thought I was just sticking to the theme.

The term ‘backpackers’ has long been one that frightened me. It’s up there with spiders, Great White Sharks and clowns. But, as is usually the case when fear-facing, my expectations were wildly exceeded. I even learnt a thing or two along the way.

With Jarred our tour guide at the helm, the engine roared and before I knew it, the blue Cool Dingo bus was bouncing through K’gari’s offroad tracks smoother than any 4WD I’ve had the pleasure of driving.

Bubbles of fun at The Champagne Pools
Lesson one: You’d be surprised at just how much ground you can cover in a bus. We managed to visit the Maheno Shipwreck, The Pinnacles, Champagne Pools, Indian Head and Eli Creek… and a couple of extra little secrets that only a tour-guide could know. It’s a great, stress-free way to see the island. Plus, if you get bogged, you’re not the one having to dig out the tyres… in the middle of a rainstorm… with a busload of people watching!

Talk about a bonus.

To my surprise, the bus was quieter than a sunrise at Kingfisher Bay. There were no crazy drinking games, no obnoxious yelling, and no stopping for road-side post-bender-emits. The night before had been a late (or early?) one for my fellow travellers, or Cool Dingoes as I called them.

Lesson number two: Young, international travellers know how to party their way through the night and sleep on an off-road bus during the day. If the ability to speak three different languages didn’t impress me, this certainly did. To be honest, the lack of animation threw me a little. I’m not sure if I was disappointed or relieved. Does it still count as brave if they were lovely and placid?

At least it gave me plenty of time to listen in on the conversations happening through the bus.

Those Fraser Island worms are man-eaters. Watch out!
Lesson three: First time visitors to Australia are afraid of everything, because ‘Straya! This makes for a whole lot of fun for us locals.

The beaches surrounding a lot of Fraser Island aren’t meant for swimming and the Cool Dingoes had been warned of the risks: rips, jellyfish and sharks. So when they saw a woman dip her toes into the cool blue waters, they (hilariously) feared for her life. Of course, they had to check my theory once I explained it was still just ocean – not acid water – and toe-dipping probably wasn’t going to kill anyone.

Shoes went flying and feet were in the water faster than you could say “Bluebottle Jellyfish”. Until I pointed one out, that is. Then it was like watching it all in rewind. Maybe they were being sensible, or maybe it was because I told them the jellyfish were deadly; we will never know for sure. (Note: Bluebottle Jellyfish don’t kill, they just sting for a bit).

Take two of the games happened at the beautiful Eli Creek, one of my favourite spots on the island. As any good traveller would, I reassured them they were perfectly safe and answered all their “will this kill me?” questions. I did, however, warned the Cool Dingoes of the piranhas hanging out around the bend. Cue screams.

Lesson four: Travellers will believe anything you tell them. I did tell them the truth, eventually. (Note: There are no piranhas in the waters on Fraser Island. Just shiny little fish that don’t like eat humans… most of the time).

You'll find lots of laughs and plenty of new friends on Fraser.
And so we come to the final lesson. The best thing about travelling on a Cool Dingo tour is meeting people from all over the world and seeing this beautiful part of the country through their eyes. We tend to take Australia’s wonders for granted, so to experience K’gari (which is a special kind of amazing) with a fresh perspective makes it even more extraordinary… plus, we get to have a bit of fun along the way.

Meanwhile, I’m going home to tick that fear right off my list. Would I book myself onto a Cool Dingo tour again? You betcha. Well, that is until I’m over the age threshold and I can’t convince anyone otherwise.

Meet you at the Dingo Bar.

Five COOL reasons to book yourself into a Cool Dingo Tour on your next trip to Fraser Island.
  • Backpackers just want to have fun. They know how to let their hair down and they’ll force you to do the same. 
  • The tour guides know their stuff. I’ve been to the island a couple of times and I still learnt a bunch of facts and secrets I never knew before. 
  • You get to see some of K’Gari’s hidden surprises. When time permits, the guides will happily show you their favourites. Without them, you might miss out on some pretty cool sights – like the skeleton of a whale. 
  • The island is only open to four-wheel drives, so if you don’t have access to one, the tours are a safe, easy, and affordable option. Plus super-efficient and quick – they always have right of way. 
  • You get to really experience Fraser Island as an Australian and as a visitor, and make some new friends while doing so.  
We're guessing Anna's already planning her next trip back.  This story was written for Life on Fraser and Cool Dingo Tours. When Anna's not testing the mettle of her four-wheel-drive on Fraser's sandy highways, you'll find her behind a desk editing the brand-new Whichcar.com website - CHECK IT OUT!, writing for 4x4 Australia and Instagramming like a boss.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sparkling Champagne, Fantastic Driving And The Annual Tailor Weigh-in

FRASER ISLAND: The Champagne Pools looked amazing over the weekend and there were plenty of people there to enjoy them and to take advantage of the excellent driving conditions on the inland tracks.  We are also starting to see lots of humpback whales off shore - splashing and jumping around in calmer looking seas this week.

Air Fraser spots some migrating Humpbacks off Fraser's east coast.  Pic by Troy Geltch
I have been up north in the past few days with lots of fisherman and people having a go at pulling some beach worms between Happy Valley and north of Dundaburra. Pulling worms is a real art form and fish just love them as bait. Don't despair if you can't pull a worm to save yourself as we sell them in our General Store.

We're also seeing plenty of beach worms being pulled out the front of Eurong on the afternoon low tides and we are expecting some good afternoon fishing when the tide is on the turn and with no wind at all.

Locals are starting the hit the beach fishing with some good reports of bream and whiting, but the tailor are being very quiet at the moment. Eurong guests have also been wetting a line or two out the front of the resort in the afternoon, which is always great to see.

For those amateur fishers who head to Fraser around this time every year, don't forget about the Annual Tailor Season Weigh-In, which the resort is a proud sponsor. Fresh tailor can be weighed daily at the Fraser Island Retreat at Happy Valley. Entry is $5, there are great prizes to be won and funds raised at the event go towards supporting the operating costs of the Care Flight Rescue helicopter - a super worthy cause.

And with more people on the beaches for the holidays, comes this friendly warning from the local Fraser Coast Chronicle paper.

Here at Eurong Beach, we say enjoy your holiday, stay safe on the tracks and we'll keep fishing to bring ya island updates as they happen.

Cheers, Wilko (and Zoe).

John 'Wilko' Wilkins is the Resort Manager at Eurong Beach Resort and a mad keen fisherman.
Latest Fraser Island Update.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Here's What's Currently Biting On Fraser (with Zoe)

FRASER ISLAND: Wind is most definitely not a fisherman's friend and the large swell has made it a bit difficult to get the lines to stay out over the last few days. Schools of mullet have been spotted north around Waddy Point, which means the tailor aren't too far away - as the boys from RBAC found out recently.

Not to be deterred, a quick trip over smooth tracks to the sheltered western side has meant that reputations stay intact and that fish can still be served up for dinner. For those that love their flathead, there have been some beauties caught (and spotted) around Ungowa.

A big thanks too to Andreas Peuler who wrote in (via Facebook) to tell us he'd cleared some fallen trees from the track in to Ungowa late last month. There'll be some pretty happy fisherfolk on Fraser at the moment because of your good deed.

Andreas hard at work on the track to Ungowa.

The good news is the sun is shining and conditions are looking better for the back half of the week as we await the NW wind turn- around that'll see tailor on the bite. There's also been plenty of folks heading across from Dilli to Birrabeen on the southern lakes circuit drive, which is in great condition.

You'll find Zoe R working in the Front Office at Eurong Beach Resort. We don't mind telling you that, when it comes to fishing, she gives visiting fisherfolk a run for their money.

Latest Fraser Island Update.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Fraser Islanders Rally Behind Nepalese Orphans

On 25 April, Australians woke to the news that almost 9,000 Nepalese had been killed and tens of thousands more injured in a earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter Scale -  the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal since the Nepal–Bihar earthquake in 1934.  Hundreds of thousands of people were made homeless with entire villages flattened.

The devastating news touched the hearts of people on the Fraser Coast who have a special connection to Nepal through the Forget Me Not Children's Charity, started by local Lars Olsen.

The news broadcasts also made quite an impact on Fraser Island and resort staff decided to raffle an iPad to help raise vital funds for the Nepal Earthquake Rescue Fund.  Staff even gave up their 'Dingo Dollars' (resort cash) to buy canned goods and non-perishables to send over.

Tickets in the relief raffle were sold in all areas of our business including Eurong Beach Resort, Brisbane Office, Hervey Bay based departments, Fraser Island Barges, Kingfisher Bay Resort and Fraser Explorer Tours.

According to Group General Manager, David Hay, who championed the cause - the support from all the team was overwhelming and the group matched staff's fundraising dollar for dollar.

"We are very proud to have been able to help the people of Nepal in this small way, who have been devastated by this disaster," Mr Hay said.  "Our Human Resources Manager, Natalie Griffiths, deserves a special mention as she sold over seven hundred tickets, which was an outstanding effort."

Kingfisher Bay and our staff on Fraser Island have had a long association with Lars and the F-M-N home. Over the years we've hosted balls and fundraisers and past staffers have sat on the board and visited Nepal. We've also donated prizes to help boost fundraising and our David Hay's wife, Michelle, is a current board member.

A cheque was presented to the Vice President of Forget Me Not Australia, Peter McKay (pictured above right), in a modest ceremony on Fraser Island today.

Related story: Resort Receptionist's double life.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Fraser Fishing With Wilko

FRASER ISLAND: Last weekend wasn't particularly flash for those brave souls fishing the eastern beach. We had a couple of mentions of good sized stubnose dart (oyster eaters to some) being caught in deep gutters on the incoming tides south of Eurong Beach Resort.

Locals venturing over to the western side have mentioned some good sized fish - suspected large trevally - that "got away" on the mid tide in.

Pic Cody Doucette, The Matador Network.

There's also mention of tailor being caught off the eastern beach... and as soon the north westerly wind return, we will see them in large schools just off the beach. Good luck to all that are wetting their lines this week.

For those heading over from Wanggoolba, some solid rainfall has hardened the tracks nicely, making for easy access for all 4WDs around the island.

John 'Wilko' Wilkins is the Resort Manager at Eurong Beach Resort and a mad keen fisherman.