I can be easily persuaded to head in any direction, at any point, along any journey I’ve ever been on. I love a good random adventure. I’ve hitchhiked across Romania to Serbia just to attend a trumpet festival, I’ve biked from said trumpet festival to Macedonia all because I was given a bike and told “it would be fun” and I’ve hitchhiked 5000km in the blistering heat of the outback just because it seemed more exciting than flying. That search for adventure never really stops and can occur at the most random times in the most random places.
This particular adventure started with a simple coach ride. And would end up with me battered, bruised and in desperate need of a ride out of the world’s largest sand island.
What? When? How?
You could say that it all began in Brisbane where I had just flown to after spending my first 6 months working at a Casino in Perth. On arrival in Brisbane I met some fellow travellers, as you do, and we bonded over sightseeing, drinks and cheap domino’s pizza. And then off I went, northwards, in search of work and leaving my brief new friends behind. Nothing too out of the ordinary so far. The real meat of this story starts to happen when I set foot upon an incoming coach a week or 2 later. Low and behold I meet a couple of my old Brisbane friends and we start to talk of our future plans. They’re heading to some Island called Fraser and I’m heading further north in search of some much needed work. Funds at this point are running drastically low.
And then things changed dramatically.
The driver of the bus announces that an incoming cyclone would be affecting some areas up north and that the bus would terminate early.
I now have some tough decisions to make. Do I stay on the coach and go as far as the bus driver is willing? Or do I take a slight detour and head to see this Fraser Island malarky?
Cue one of my most stupid adventures to date.
So on the way to the ferry port I learnt a little more about my destination; It’s the world’s largest sand Island, it’s home to wild dingos, and nearly everyone who visits does it the simple, efficient and the less traumatising way…they hire 4×4 jeeps.
I was not one of those people. I’m an idiot.
You won’t be surprised to learn that the main reason for not taking the 3 day 2 night 4×4 extravaganza tour was mainly due to monetary reasons. I was running out of money fast and this little tour cost a good couple of hundred dollars, dollars that I really didn’t have. But not to be deterred I discovered that there were indeed walking routes across the Island and pretty soon I had repacked my bags, equipped myself with a cheeky free map and set off across the Island. Did I mention that the only food that I took was a loaf of bread, some nutella and a jar of peanut butter?
God I hate peanut butter. I’m an idiot.
So the ferry across was pretty uneventful, apart from the fact that the people who ran it were a little confused that I wasn’t in a car. Good start then! The cynic in me also thinks that one of the drivers of the 4×4 convoy clearly had a disdain for anyone who dared not use his services. His lovely tip of “just turn left when you come to the first road and you’ll get a lift” really was the worst advice I have ever received. Ever. 7 hours later, and literally no cars along the way, I had finally arrived at my first camp. Peanut butter and bread for tea it is.
God I hate peanut butter.
The next few days is what you would expect from your average hike across the world’s largest sand island. Dense thick forest. Of course I did spend some of my time walking along some of the widest beaches I’ve ever seen but for the most part it was a relatively uneventful journey.
Apart from the howls of Dingos. That shit is scary.
One of my most iconic occurrences happened in the most famous place on Fraser Island, Lake Mckenzie. This awe-inspiring turquoise lake in the middle of the Island is the tourist centre, and you can see why. Most tourists chill here for the afternoon, relax in their bikinis and soak up the sunshine. I am not one of those tourists, but by God I wish I was.
By this point in the trip my knees were absolutely killing me and my feet were covered in blisters. I was dehydrated (a distinct lack of water supply was a worrying situation I hadn’t envisaged), I was knackered, I was hungry (god I hate peanut butter) and I was knackered. Did I mention that I was knackered?
At this point I would feel extremely sorry for anyone that had to witness what crawled out of the forest on that fateful afternoon. As people laid on the golden sands and enjoyed their blissful afternoon under the gorgeous Queensland sunshine. A monster dragged himself out of the bushes and slowly inched his way closer to the beautiful lake. Propping himself up with a trusty stick, covered in dirt and looking like someone who hadn’t seen civilization in years. He slowly seeped into the water, oohing and ahhing as the salty water soaked into his cuts and bruises. He sat still in the crystal clear lake and contemplated the journey he had taken on.
Long lonely days.
Pitch black scary nights.
Dry peanut butter sandwiches.
Wild dingos lurking in the shadows.
Distinct lack of water.
And a dodgy, broken body.
But I had made it. And I had survived
The journey out was made a lot more tolerable by a couple who had the sense to see that a man with a limp, sunburnt skin and the look of someone who just wanted to end it all certainly was lying when he said “I’m fine”. So I hopped in their van and was driven to my final destination.
The Gods were also on my side because not only could I buy a Golden Gaytime at the ferry port, but to my surprise I was simply let onto the ferry, no ticket required! Clearly people walking on to the island are few and far between, I was even allowed on board a coach heading to the nearby town without even a mention of payment. What a winner!
And so the moral of this story is that although I may have absolutely hated my trudge through Fraser Island at the time, I still look back on that hike as one of my greatest little adventures. So next time you’re faced with the possibility of missing out on an adventure all because you can’t afford this, that or the other, just think to yourself…is there another way?
Just make sure to take anything but peanut butter with you…