Friday, June 8, 2012

Eurong Beach Resort: A Sad Tale About A Humpback Whale

STAFF BLOG:
7 June 2012: A little, lost baby Humpback Whale made headlines around the world when it beached itself on Fraser Island's famous 75 Mile Beach - just a short way from Eli Creek earlier this week.  One of our Fraser Explorer Tour guides was first on the scene, alerting park rangers and authorities.  Fraser Island has such a tight knit community and ten wonderful staff members from Eurong Beach Resort headed north up the beach armed with towels, buckets, a marquee and shovels to help rescue the animal. 

For two days the team worked with Queensland Park Rangers and other volunteers, but sadly their valiant efforts were to no avail as the animal passed away in the night.  Eurong Beach Resort's Dawn Boreham was one of the first on the scene and her photographs have been used by several media agencies.  Here's Dawn's story...

News travels fast on Fraser Island and after hearing about the stranded baby Humpback whale from a tour guide, I asked a couple of people if they would like to go and help... after all, though Hervey Bay is famous for close encounters with Whales in the calm waters off the Great Sandy Strait every August through October, it isn't everyday you get to see a whale THAT up close and personal. 
Eurong staff provide towels, bucket and shelter for the little fella

Did you know:  Humpback Whales are the most surface active of all the whales?


From there it just snowballed.  We were going to go after work that night, but Fraser ended up having the highest tide for winter - which hampered our efforts.  So, after some deliberation we decided to get up in the very early hours of the morning and go up in three four-wheel-drives. 

We left Eurong Beach Resort at approx 4.00am.  Luke and Crystal in the leading car, Greg, Peta, JD and Jay in car 2 and Dianna, Jessica, Hitomi and myself in the last car. 

On arrival we thought we were too late and that the poor thing had died, but on closer inspection realised it was still alive.  Our primary objective was to make the baby more comfortable and give it the best chance possible to survive. 
Our early morning vigil on Fraser Island's eastern beach
Luke and Crystal had one bucket and Greg had another, so the rest of us took turns in digging out the sand from around it and pouring water over the top of it. 

Not long after, it started opening its eyes and making what we called "distress noises".  It followed us and our movements with it's big eyes pretty much from then on.  As you can imagine, hearing those sounds out of such a graceful and helpless creature was heart wrenching - so we redoubled our efforts.

The whole time we felt pretty helpless... because even for a baby - it was very big, about 2.5 car lengths and we were going to need heavy machine to help move it.

Crystal called it 'BLUEY', which stuck.  We all would have loved to stay for a lot longer but some of us had to get back to start work at 7.00am so one car load including myself, driving, left just before 6.00am. 
Up close and personal with a whale named Bluey

Some of us returned during the next day to - when we could - to help out again.

Our night on 75-Mile Beach was probably the most rewarding, but also one of the saddest things we have all seen here on Fraser Island... but we would all do it again in a heart beat. 

Rest in peace, Bluey!




NEWS HEADLINES
Brisbane Times: Residents tell of efforts to save baby whale
Channel Seven: Race on to rescue baby beached whale
Fraser Coast Chronicle: Rescue team works to save whale

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT WHALE WATCHING IN HERVEY BAY?
Kingfisher Bay Resort - Fraser + Whales Early Bonus Offer
Whale Watching and Fraser Island - Hervey Bay Is Where the Humbacks Holiday

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Kingfisher Bay Resort & Sunlover Holidays: The Flavours of Fraser

GUEST BLOG: Sunlover Holiday’s resident blogger and PR Lady extraordinaire, Donna Kramer, recently visited Fraser Island with her fabulous family and discovered it’s not just a destination for blokes on mancations.  She spills all in her Sunlover Holidays blog, which we’re sharing with you in this forum… (May 2012)

Fraser Island's 75 Mile Beach Highway
We’d spent the day in the car exploring every inch of the natural island paradise that they call Fraser Island.

For my husband, Fraser Island is the definition of paradise, the beach, natural landscapes, the wildlife oh and the fishing so much so that this question was asked about 501 times as we explored the island

“Are you seeing that gutter DK? It’s beautiful!”

So after seven years of mancations to Fraser Island I decided to finally join him on a trip, I jumped in our 4WD (along with our 15 month-old) and really experienced Fraser Island. The four wheel driving was an adventure within itself the tracks were well maintained and signposted, it was an adrenaline rush within the confines of safety.


Gorgeous Lake McKEnzie
Once on the road, well sand, we swam in Lake McKenzie for hours, floated out to the beach in the crystal clear waters of Eli Creek, walked through the stunning rainforest at Central Station and picnicked beside the Champagne Pools at Indian Head.

I was impressed ten times over, and I now wished I’d done it years earlier.

Fraser Island is a beautiful place on all levels and trust me when I say that it is a destination that you have to experience and if you have overseas friends visiting get out their to-do list and put Fraser Island at the top.  It will be the highlight of their trip, I promise.
We stayed at Kingfisher Bay Resort and I instantly felt at home.  Our spacious room looked straight out to the ocean and with ramps everywhere it made getting around with a pram super easy.

While I loved the room and its view, the heated pool and stunning common areas at Kingfisher Bay Resort I’m not deep when it comes to accommodation, if it’s clean and the staff are friendly then I’m happy (I do love camping you see) so I tend to measure a resort by its food and Kingfisher Bay Resort received a shiny big gold star in my books.

We ate like KINGS at the buffet breakfast both mornings and the overflowing fresh seafood buffet dinner was so good I literally could not move for 15 minutes afterwards, I’m having flash backs to the Moreton Bay Bug induced food coma writing this!

On our final night we had wines and a cheese platter on the jetty followed by wood-fire pizza.  And they say that the secret to a man s happiness is through his stomach?  I was in love.

But a firm highlight of our trip for me aside from the amazing fishing gutters (between you and I, I have no idea what I was looking at other than the ocean) was the Kingfisher Bay Resort Bush Tucker experience.
Home grown tucker goodness
Hosted by Kingfisher Bay’s chefs from their signature restaurant Seabelle (which sadly was undergoing renovations when we were there) and a ranger Jermaine who’s indigenous ancestors used to call Fraser Island home, the bush tucker experience is intimate, we were one of five couples. Not only did we taste an array of native seeds, herbs and plants but we left full of knowledge about what native plants the indigenous Australians used each day in their cooking.

It was fascinating.

Kingfisher’s Seabelle restaurant incorporates many local native ingredients into each of their dishes; the thought process behind producing basic foods with a native food twist was impressive.

Clear highlights were – jam infused with quandong or ‘desert peach’, panna cotta with lemon myrtle picked straight from a small native garden and herb farm on the Island, relish with bush tomatoes and lillypilly and my all time favorite pesto with bunya nuts was divine.

Now as a vegetarian (pescitarian to be precise) the low-fat meats such as kangaroo, emu and crocodile steaks that were offered were wasted on me, not so my husband who happily snapped up my share with rave reviews, but the fresh prawns covered in aniseed myrtle and the barramundi baked in paperbark was swoon-worthy.

Aside from being a tutorial into native deliciousness the hour-long Bush Tucker class is fun and entertaining with the banter between the ranger and chefs keeping us in constant hysterics. I left feeling full of good food and interesting facts.

Next trip I’m adding the Seabelle’s bush tucker-inspired degustation menu, which I’m told contains countless delights including the freshest of Queensland’s famous seafood and Australian wines, to the top of my to-do list… oh along with finding amazing fishing gutters.

You can see Donna’s pics and read about her other adventures on the Sunlover Holidays’ official blog site… http://sunloverhols.blogspot.com.au/

“FOODIE FACT: Seabelle has taken out the top gong of ‘Best Restaurant’ at the Fraser Coast Tourism Awards for the past two years”

Monday, June 4, 2012

Eurong Beach / Fraser Explorer Tours: The Coughan Family Discover Fraser Island


The Coughlan Family recently visited Fraser Island and blogged about their experiences on the World Heritage-listed island.  Here, we share their story with you.  June 2012.
We arrived in Hervey Bay, the gateway for Fraser Island and a great campsite with pool and jacuzzi, the next day we began our trip by ferry over to the largest sand island in the world, 123km long.  Shane our guide drove us around this wonderful island in a four wheel drive bus for the next two days pointing out interesting sites and giving us lots of information about the area and about the aboriginal peoples who once lived there and their ways.  He had a great sense of humour and kept us entertained all day long.

Our first view of this wonderful place was a drive down 75 mile beach to Lake Wabby where we hiked in 2.5km to Hammerstone sand blow and then on to swim in the lake with the catfish.  It was a great walk and a lovely swim and on our return journey out we were lucky to spy a large lizard basking in the sun.  75 mile beach is wonderful but guess what, no swimming – its full of sharks and stingers and to prove the point there were hundreds of blue bottles (jellyfish) on the beach which when you walked on them went pop, pop, pop, like rice crispies but without the snap and crackle!


The crystal clear water of Lake McKenzie
Next stop was a swim in Lake McKenzie which is a Perched Lake i.e. it has an impervious seal so it is perched 90m above sea level and is dependent on rainfall,it has such crystal clear water, is surrounded by sandy beaches and eucalyptus forests, a little piece of heaven, it was wonderful.

To top off the day we walked the Wanggoolba Creek along an amazing clear, silent river flowing on sand through a tropical rainforest with all the giant king ferns, satinay trees and kauri pines, did I mention heaven already?

We were staying in luxury and having amazing food in the Eurong Beach Resort on the island and in true backpacker style we ate rings around ourselves.  The next morning we headed back up 75 mile beach (it is a registered highway) and we took an amazing flight (it is also a landing strip) up and over the beach to have a look for marine life in the sea and then fly over Lake Wabby, Lake McKenzie and get a good view over the island from above, what a treat.

Fraser Island's beautiful 75-Mile Beach is also a gazetted highway
We had a quick look at the Maheno shipwreck, washed up on the shore in 1935 and rusting away gracefully ever since.  Then it was off to Indian Head to have a look over the island and to try spotting sharks in the waters below, there was too much rough water to spot much in the ocean but the views from the top were spectacular.  After Indian Head we continued to Champagne Pools with time for a quick dip in the rock pools with bubbles caused by the waves crashing over the rocks.  On our drive back along the beach we were rewarded with the sight of some dingoes and a great chance to have a look at these lovely wild animals.

The Pinnacles, our next stop gave us a chance to see some of the 72 different coloured sands on Fraser Island and then it was off to Eli Creek where 4.2 million litres of fresh drinking water flows every hour out of the lagoon on to the beach.  Alan and I walked up the creek and then floated down to the ocean on our backs, hearing nothing and watching the flora and fauna float past as we wound our way downstream drinking the crystal clear water and maybe humming a tune to ourselves..... heaven is a place on earth.

The next morning we left Hervey Bay again heading north, stopping off in the small town of Childers where we wandered around this town that has kept its 19th century roots alive, never mind the buildings and the old pharmacy but everyone says hello.......so Goodbye for now.

Read more: http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/alanandleslie/1/1337936823/tpod.html#ixzz1wmW8Pa23