Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Base Yourself At Eurong

GUEST BLOG: If you love fishing, you'll be hooked by the team at FishMax, who dedicate their lives to ferreting out the top spots and catching the big fish... and best of all sharing them with others.  The boys visited Fraser during a spot of wild weather last year... and this is their story...

The eastern beach has plenty of top spots to fish
QUEENSLAND: Fishermen looking for  for Fraser Island beach fishing  accommodation options need look no further than the Eurong Beach Resort on 75 Mile Beach.  Based on the eastern side of Fraser Island, the resort  has easy access to the surf gutters just out the front, and a short drive to the productive gutters north of the of the Maheno wreck... so staying with the folks at the Eurong means you can get your lines in to the water faster and catch more fish!

Our four-man FishMax team recently based themselves at Eurong as part of a three-day trip to field test the latest Alvey Surf Reels and the new Ford Ranger Twin Cab Ute and all members agreed it was an ideal base for the Fraser Island surf fisherman, particularly given the atrocious weather conditions we encountered.

We chose to take the Barge from River Heads (20 min from Hervey Bay) to Wanggoolba Creek and it took less than an hour to cross the island. Even though we arrived on dark, the helpful resort staff ensured that we were checked in efficiently and that we had a booking for dinner at the resort restaurant. They also made sure we knew the hours for breakfast and offered to provide a packed breakfast to facilitate an early start the next day if required.

Eurong Beach - an oasis for fisher folk!
In fact we decided to fish the gutters in the early dawn, and after what turned out to be a couple of hours of un-productive and very wet fishing, the hot showers and full cooked breakfast back at the resort, meant that we could start the rest of the day warm and well fed.

Accommodation at Eurong is designed to suit all budgets and ranges from hotel units to two-bedroom apartments. The self-contained hotel units have double or twin beds and day beds, which make two single beds for children, but serious fishermen will probably prefer the self-contained, two-bedroom apartments which accommodate up to five people and have large living areas, decks, fully-equipped kitchens, bathrooms and balconies.

EDITOR'S HINT: Ask the team for a room on the lower floors so you don't have to lug your gear up the stairwells!

The rooms have plenty of space for fishermen and their gear, and while certainly not luxurious, they have everything the serious fisherman would want, including, perhaps most importantly, comfortable beds and heaps of hot water in the showers. The food was good solid fair, ideal for filling up the hungry fisho! The Beach Bar is a great place to catch up for a cold beer and a game of pool after a days fishing or when the weather is just too bad for night fishing as was the case for us.

While at the Fraser Island, we spoke to a number of other fishermen who regularly use the resort as their fishing base, and all agreed that it had everything the fishermen needed and given the dreadful weather conditions we encountered, it beat sleeping under canvas hands down! Next time you're fishing the Fraser Island ocean side beaches, you should certainly consider Eurong Beach Resort as your base.

To check out the Eurong Beach Resort specials available right now, email or call them on 1800 111 808 or follow us on our Facebook and Twitter sites.  You can read the original version of this blog and many more stories by the fabulous FishMax team - Australia's top Online Fishing mag!



Monday, March 11, 2013

Day Two On Tour With Jill From 'Battered Suitcases'


GUEST BLOG: No-nonsense blogger Jill tells it like it is and it's a great read!  In this post, we return back to her BATTERED SUITCASES blog to follow her adventures on her favourite Fraser Island day - that would be day 2 with the cool peeps from Cool Dingo Tours! Click here if you want to find out what happened on Day 1 with Jill.

My favorite day.  Day Two of our Fraser Island tour started off with a very filling breakfast and a bumpy ride across the island. The bus was nearly silent as everyone concentrated on not getting motion sickness. Despite the rough start, this day was my favorite of the two day tour.

After bouncing across the width of the island we emerged from the forest onto Seventy-Five Mile Beach. My stomach welcomed the long and flat stretch of sand that functions as a highway. Driving so close to the surf was also quite the thrill.

The first stop of the day was at the Maheno shipwreck. The ship was washed ashore in 1935 while on its way to Japan and has been resting on the sand ever since. Due to the condition of the wreck, visitors are not permitted to touch or climb on it. The chunk of metal just screams tetanus.

Champagne anyone?
Our next destination was The Champagne Pools, a definite highlight of the day. Water erosion created several pools in the rocks that fill with water as the waves roll in. The foaminess of the water makes it sparkle...hence the name "Champagne." The day was hot and everyone was eager for a refreshing swim. Due to strong currents and sharks, the pools are one of the only places you can swim in ocean water on the island.

I was a bit reluctant to leave the pools but of course there were more amazing places in store, like Indian Head. Indian Head required a bit of a hike but it was well worth the effort. From the headland you have an amazing view of the island and wildlife. We were able to spot sharks, rays, and turtles swimming in the waters below. Shark attacks are always in the back of your mind while on the beach in Australia... but actually seeing a shark's shadow is a bit unnerving. Thank goodness we were high above the water!

Eli Creek is a popular watering hole
Our last stop of the day was at Eli Creek. Eli Creek is another popular swimming spot but unlike The Champagne Pools, you're swimming in freshwater. Well, more like floating. All you have to do is walk upstream a few hundred meters along a platform, and then float yourself back down. Mike floated while I walked downstream beside him (the water was really cold!). It almost felt like a ride at Atlantis or Wild Wadi.

Unfortunately, our time at Eli Creek was stretched out much longer than expected due to an emergency elsewhere on the island. Another bus broke an axle and when the driver attempted to fix it the jack broke as well. The bus came down on the driver's hands and smashed his fingers. Naturally, as soon as the call came over the radio, our driver rushed off to help. The scary thing about being on Fraser Island is that medical attention is a good distance away. I think someone said a helicopter was coming to pick up the driver and take him to the hospital. We ended up loading as many people from that bus onto ours as possible so that they wouldn't be stranded on the island. Everyone was a really good sport but I'm sure it was a traumatic experience. (Note from Editor, the tour guide/driver is doing well - he was transported to the local hospital in good spirits).

Fraser Island's dingoes are the most purebred in Australia
At this point we also spotted a dingo! Everyone had their eyes wide open looking for one both days. Fraser Island dingoes are the last remaining pure dingoes in Australia (dogs are not permitted on the island to keep it that way).

It was definitely exciting to see one, but I'm glad it was from the safety of the bus. Plenty of precautions are taken on the island to keep people safe, but visitors have been bitten before. Ouch!

Later in the evening we returned to the resort for another swim and some dinner. We hopped back on the ferry and returned to the mainland fully satisfied!  So, would I recommend a tour? Yep! (Another note from the Ed - check out our previous blog post for all of Jill's reasons to join us on tour).

So where to from here?  Jill's off exploring the Whitsundays and beyond - if you want to follow her Australian east coast adventures, check out her blog - Battered Suitcases.  Content has been reproduced with the author's permission.  Cool Dingo fans are always welcome on Twitter... and you can even bag yourself a tour discount if you friend us on Facebook.

How To Experience Fraser Island

GUEST POST: Meet Jill. She's a twenty-something primary school teacher and eager blogger who has previously lived in the Middle East and is currently exploring Australia. Jill stumbled across Cool Dingo Tours when she was exploring Australia's east coast - and whilst she didn't indulge her fondness for novelty snacks, she managed to have a fab time on the world's largest sand island.  Here's an excerpt from her BATTERED SUITCASES blog...
There's 75 Miles of gorgeous beach highway to explore
Choosing how to explore Fraser Island was a bit overwhelming for me. Everyone has an opinion on how to visit the famous island, and I didn't want to make the wrong choice.

It was a tough decision, but in the end we decided to just cross our fingers and climb aboard the Cool Dingo bus. I'm glad we did. Here's why:

First, if you've never poured over a guidebook or travel forum trying to figure it all out, you should know that there are essentially three ways to experience Fraser Island.*

1. A guided tour - ride along in a 4WD bus with a tour guide
2. Self drive tag along tour - follow along behind a lead car in a long caravan
3. Independent self drive - make your own itinerary and drive yourself around

Despite being more DIY style travelers, Mike and I did the guided tour and had an amazing time. Of course as everyone knows there are drawbacks to a guided tour: it's expensive, you're on a set schedule, your companions might be annoying, etc. But there are advantages too!

Advantages: 
The wreck of the SS Maheno is a popular spot!
1. You'll learn something! 
As I said in my first post about Fraser Island, I learned a lot. I learned so much (and forgot so much) that I struggled writing about the experience. I couldn't figure out how to fit in all the factual information with a retelling of the events. There are so many cool stories and facts that I left out (Like the guy who came from the American South to log Fraser Island in the 1800s and got really excited to see native people. He was thinking free labor, right? Wrong! The natives didn't enjoy being forced into slavery so they stabbed him to death with spears instead. Makes you chuckle, doesn't it?)

During one of our lunch stops we met up with a self drive tag along tour. Some of the people on the tag along tour complained that they were learning nothing about the fascinating Fraser Island and had no idea what they had or hadn't seen. In fact. most of the guys in the group were already drunk (1pm) and dancing on top of the trucks. That's cool if you're only on the island to party, but why not learn at least a tiny bit about the incredibly unique ecosystem while you're there? And of course if you're leading yourself around the island you'll need a really good book and a lot of patience.

2. You (probably) won't get stuck! 
Driving on Fraser Island is tricky. Depending on the weather the sand can be very, very soft. This means you really need to know what you're doing or you're going to get stuck. Because there is basically one route to each destination on the island, if you get stuck you'll be holding up others, and possibly getting them stuck as well.

Our bus had to stop several times to help people on self drives out of messes. We even had to tow one truck out of a bad situation. Of course, getting stuck for some people is just part of the adventure. However, you'll be really irritating the experienced guides and drivers. Not to mention, you'll be covered head to toe in sand from trying to get your truck to budge. I felt very grateful to have an experienced driver driving us around the island.

Blending in to the natural environmnet
3. You'll sleep in comfort!
If you're on a tag along tour or doing a self drive, chances are you'll be camping overnight (on uncomfortable mats, we were told). Now, I love camping...but we had been doing it a lot. Having camped night after night, the prospect of sleeping in a real bed was just too appealing. Our tour included a night at a resort in dorm accommodation that we fully enjoyed. Plus, we didn't need to worry about dingos or disrupting the ecosystem with our urine (seriously, that's a problem).


You wouldn't want to pee on the Pinnacles of Coloured Sands, would you?

4. You're free to enjoy yourself!
Since Mike and I were basically doing a self drive tour of the east coast, it felt really nice to let someone else do the driving, navigating, and guiding. Two whole days where we didn't have to read from a guidebook, fiddle with the GPS, stop for gas, or wonder if we took the correct turn. It was a welcome break.

So there you go. Four reasons why taking a guided tour was the right choice for me (and Mike).  Have you been to Fraser Island? Which option did you chose and why?
xo, jill

PS This is not a sponsored post for Cool Dingo, in case you were wondering. I just really enjoyed our tour and would recommend this style of exploring Fraser.
*I'm sure there's more but these three options are what you're most likely to encounter while doing research.

Too much fun for just one day... stay tuned as we publish the second installment of Jill's adventures on World Heritage-listed Fraser Island.  Like what you've read? You can catch more of Jill's awesome Aussie adventures on her blog - Battered Suitcases - which is where we discovered her story.  Content has been reproduced with the author's permission.  Or why not visit our Facebook and Twitter pages and say g'day!