I said the weather gods smiled on us during our Queensland mini-break, but it was more of a sly grin.
The clouds were constantly ominous, showers were never too far away … and that was actually perfect for a pale redhead unsuited to dazzling sunlight.
However, while it was great for snorkelling on Lady Elliot Island, we worried it wouldn’t be much fun once we returned to the mainland.
DD even looked into changing our flights home, but because they’d been booked on points we were looking at buying pricey new airfares.
We had until 7pm on Sunday night to decide if we’d pay the extra cost or book a soggy day trip to Fraser Island. We mused our options over a couple of glasses of chardy at the local club and decided to stick around.
It turned out to be an awesome decision. Although, I wouldn’t want to stay on Fraser Island for a holiday – it has an incredible 75 Mile Beach, but you can’t swim there because of all the sharks, which would do my head in.
However, there are some beyond stunning reasons for a day trip and we enjoyed quite a few of them on our four-wheel drive bus tour.
Pete the bus driver totally gunned it around the island’s sandy roads and was quite the character. He also thought I was quite the character so we got along swimmingly …
Pete took us to a fabulous shipwreck – the SS Maheno, which was forced ashore just north of Happy Valley during a cyclone in 1935. The Maheno was a photographer’s dream, all rusty and beautiful on the sand. DD and I had heaps of fun taking arty snaps.
Then we headed to Eli Creek, the largest creek on the eastern beach of Fraser Island, which pours around four million litres of clear, fresh water into the ocean every hour. It’s like a natural lazy river, but I wasn’t in the mood for full immersion before lunch, so I rolled up my denim skirt and walked my way down the beautiful stretch.
After our buffet lunch at Eurong Beach Resort, where the German tourists went berko over the all-you-can-eat selection, we headed to one of the most glorious places I’ve ever seen, Lake McKenzie. Lake McKenzie is a ‘perched’ lake, meaning it contains only rainwater, is not fed by streams and doesn’t flow to the ocean.
The sand is pure, white silica and Pete advised us that it was perfect for buffing your rough skin. Three generations of European tourists stripped to their bikinis and got down to scrubbing … as did DD and I in between experimenting with my waterproof camera.
And, throughout the day, Pete provided excellent commentary on the fascinating history of the island, including how it was named after an ornery shipwrecked captain and saved from devastating logging by a stubborn bloke from Maryborough, who even survived having his house burnt down during his controversial quest.
Love a bit of history.
Actually, we loved every minute of our visit to Fraser Island, it was the bulkest of fun.
At the end of the day, we perched on the balcony of the ferry back to Hervey Bay, sipping ciders in the late afternoon sun and feeling pretty zen about life.
Back at our hotel, we grabbed fish and chips from the takeaway next door and relaxed out on the balcony of our holiday apartment, marvelling at how just four nights away felt like so much longer … in a good way!
And then it was back to the real world, with kids to be collected from after school activities, laundry to be done and Christmassy stuff to be sorted.
I was still in a bit of a dream though and completely forgot to wake the youngest yesterday for final band rehearsal … which included free donuts … boy did I cop a guilt trip!
And now SCHOOL’S … OUT … FOR … SUMMER!
Though mama still has a bit of work to do before her office doors shut.
Here are some happy snaps from the tail end of our trip: