Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cool Dingo Tours: Ground Control To Major Tom - Mikes Aussie Adventure - Day 2 Cool Dingo

Canadian Mike Wenzlawe continues his adventures with us on stunning Fraser Island - Queensland. 21 May 2011

Hello Beautiful People!

I am absolutely loving Australia so far, it is such a astonishing place that is so different than anything else.

The people are fantastic, extremely kind and have the coolest accents that are beginning to rub off on me. I find that as each day passes I start sounding more and more Aussie…Kind of…not really.

Well without further a due, lets jump into what I did on day two!

Day Two: Almost too much adventure for one day
I had an early start on the day today and was on the bus by 8:00 AM. We were told it is because of the amount of activities and stops we were going to do that day, I soon found out this was an understatement. After a bumpy 45-minute drive through the sand-trail roads of Fraser Island we reached the vast and soft sand of the beach, the Seventy-Five Mile Beach to be exact.

The drive on this beach highway was incredible; the bus was so close to the ocean edge I could see every bright blue wave crash into the sandy shore right in front of me.

First stop of the day was one of my favourite places on the tour, they are called The Champagne Pools and are a photo opportunity to say the least. The Champagne Pools get their name from the bubbly white wash that trickles into the rock cove as the ocean waves pound into the rock. After having a swim and float in these pools we were back on the bus to make our way to Indian Head.

The historical landmark was said to be a place where pioneers sailing around the coast spotted Aboriginal inhabitants. Needless to say this rocky headland birthed spectacular endless views of the coastline. It was also said to be common for people to spot sharks, dolphins, turtles and even humpback whales from this vantage point, unfortunately I was not so lucky this time.

After a short drive along the beach we stopped next to a small 7-passenger plane with the words Air Fraser Island along the side. The pilot, named Tom stepped on the bus and began asking who would like to take an areal tour of Fraser Island. As I boarded the plane, camera in hand I felt a rush of anticipation and excitement rush over me. Tom wasted no time and before I knew it I was speeding down the beach and taking off into the stunning blue sky! We toured the island from a birds-eye view; flying over all of the wonderful places I had stopped giving me an unforgettable perspective of the island below.

Tom made the ride very exciting by explaining different facts about the island, pointing out landmarks and of course doing gut wrenching aerial manoeuvres. About 15 minutes later we started coming down to land, after overtaking a bus that was racing closer and closer to our runway we softly touched down on the beach we had taken off from. This was a truly amazing experience and I recommend it to anyone touring Fraser Island!

Next stop on the list was the Maheno Shipwreck, a large vessel that is shrouded in a vast history. This ship was washed on shore by a cyclone in 1935 while it was being transported to Japan to be retired; now the beast lay dormant on the ocean shore. Just a hop, skip and a jump away we arrived at the last stop on our tour, Eli Creek.

Another one of my favourite stops, Eli Creek showcases Fraser Island's vast topography and water systems. Eli Creek is a vein of fresh water that snakes from the inland to the salty ocean. The wonderful thing about the creek is that you can walk up it via a wooden catwalk or you can throw on your swim suit and walk up in the creek itself (my choice).

The experience while walking through the stream was simply magical with the overhanging trees and bathtub temperature water. The coolest thing about the creek though is once you get to the end (about 500 meters) you sit down and float back down to the mouth of the creek while taking in the beauty of the forest around you. I did this a few times and then it was time to go back to the resort.

Luckily we got back to the resort in time to grab a seat on the beach and watch a beautiful sunset. Once back I showered and got ready for dinner at the Dingo Bar. Tonight I was extremely happy because it was pizza and pasta night! After dinner the group and I sat down for a couple of beers and games. Everyone was beyond tired from the day so after a little dancing and drinking I went back to my room to write a post for you guys! Tomorrow is my last day on Fraser Island and I am already excited for what we will be doing, I’ll give you a hint, it has to do with a lot of sand and I have my first wildlife encounter!

Well everyone I wish you were all here and look out for my next post coming soon!!! To follow Mike's adventures on Fraser Island and the rest of Queensland visit his blog: http://mikesaussieadventure.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/ground-control-to-major-tom/

Cool Dingo Tours: Mikes Aussie Adventure Kicks Off With A Cool Dingo Tour (Here's Day 1)

Canadian Mike Wenzlawe (on the right of the picture) won a comp run by Tourism Australia and is currently blogging his way through Queensland. We're chuffed he opted to kick off his Aussie trip with some Fraser Island time on our Cool Dingo Tour. 20 May 2011 Read all about it...

I know you all have been patiently waiting for this post, and I’m sorry it has taken me so long to get it up.

It has been nearly impossible to find down time with all of the unique and unforgettable things I have been doing, things I hope you are all excited to read about!

So because there have been a couple days since my last post I thought I would make this a mega-post including everything I have done so far!

The Travel Day: Just Massive
One word to describe this day…Mammoth! It was so unbelievably long, that I found my days blending together as I hopped from place to place. From the time I left Calgary International airport till I arrived at Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island I had spent around 22 hours in the air, about 15 hours waiting for transportation and ended up taking 4 planes, 3 busses and 1 boat to get to my destination…but it has all been more than worth it! I thought that I would have been more exhausted or jet lagged but to be honest I feel amazing!

Once I got to Hervey Bay I was picked up by a shuttle that took me to the Fraser Island ferry, once there I got on the ferry and began the last leg of my trip to the Cool Dingo Wilderness Lodges that are located in the Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island.

I was met by Duty Manager Simon, who took me up to the lodge to get me checked in. After arriving at my accommodation, a beautiful eco-lodge that is best described as simple and homely, while retaining a wilderness feel as it is nestled deep in vegetation. Simon then lead me to my room, where I was pleasantly surprised to find that this 3 person accommodation was completely mine! This was honestly the coolest thing ever, and the perfect start to my adventure!

VIP Treatment - Day One: There Ain’t no tour like a Cool Dingo Tour
The day started surprisingly early, I thought I would for sure be dead from jet leg but I awoke with the warm soft glow of the sun trickling through my window at 6:30 AM.

After getting ready my hostel mates (The Norwegian Girls) and I went down to the “Dingo Bar” where a very large buffet breakfast was waiting for us. After devouring breakfast we headed down to the “Jetty Hut” (where ferries load and unload their cargo) to wait for the remaining 12 members of the travel group to come in on the ferry.

Soon we were introduced to each other and to our Cool Dingo Ranger Guide, Hayden (see pic above - he's the one in khaki LOL). At 9:30 we all got on a huge 4WD vehicle and were off on our adventure for the day! I soon found out that the reason why we needed such a heavy-duty bus to travel in is because the only paved roads on Fraser Island are the ones at the Kingfisher Bay Resort, the rest are deep sand roads that could swallow up almost any other vehicle.

Our guide was unbelievable, from the moment we left he was on the mic telling us jokes, stories, facts about the island and even played a song “were all going to die someday” as we flew down a nearly vertical, bumpy sand hill that the rangers refer to as the “Rollercoaster.”

Lake McKenzie: First stop on the list was Lake McKenzie, this beach had sand so white it put photo shopped postcards to shame. The water was equally as beautiful and inviting, shimmering a crystal clear turquoise and deep blue color. We spent a couple unforgettable hours here lying on the beach, playing in the water and grabbing lunch. After a short ride and walk we came across Basin Lake, another gorgeous example of perched sand lakes (Lakes that are above sea level and surrounded by sand) and how Fraser Island holds many hidden treasures.

The most fascinating thing about these lakes is how they’re made. Fraser Island is entirely made up of sand (about 123km long and 22km wide) it is able to collect and store a large amount of fresh water in these lakes. Another thing that blows my mind is, even though Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world it is also home to the world’s only tropical rainforest that grows on a sand island (Cool Dingo Editor's note: this is at elevations of 200m).

Rainforest: The following part of the tour showed off locations like Central Station, which was an old lumber harvesting site used by pioneers. Then there was Wanggoolba Creek, a rainforest that can only be described and marvellously beautiful and holds trees as tall as mythical giants! The last stop was Pile Valley, a truly magical place full of satinay and pure white eucalyptus trees.

The bumpy drive back to the Cool Dingo lodges gave me lots of time to think about all the things I had just done and seen, the tour blew my expectations out of the water.

The night proved to be just as fulfilling as the day, after stuffing my face again at the Dingo Bar a bunch of the people in my tour group came back to the lodge for a couple of beers and fun. Shortly after we headed back down to the Dingo Bar, which had music pumping and lights flashing. This was a great opportunity for the group to cut back and party before the long day of activities tomorrow.

Day one is done, See you all tomorrow!

To follow Mike's adventures on Fraser Island and the rest of Queensland visit his blog: http://mikesaussieadventure.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/ground-control-to-major-tom/