The world heritage listed naturally occurring sandy goodness that is Fraser Island , gave us the 4×4 challenges we were after.
Our originally planned ten day trip cut short due to work, even though we wish we could be full time off-road adventurers (don’t we all) a home to live in and food on the table needs funding!
So in planning we squeezed the many sights including a run to the very tip into seven days! Filled with enthusiasm committed to our adventure we packed, persisted and even bought our first roof rack for the jeep from ARB Capalaba the crew there were a great help with fitting the backbone system and pioneer tray to suit the wranglers specs.
The roof rack is fantastic not having one before it took some trial and error loading it up before we went but we got there giving us the space we needed to make the bouncy sand drive comfortable for the surely teen and the excited 8 yr old accompanying us. We stopped a few times to make sure everything was still secure and safe on our highway run to rainbow beach no worries every thing in place but then once we hit the island it wasn’t as easy.
We have done a lot of beach driving but with the weight shift in a loaded car and the cut up beach it was a big eye opener, feeling a few hairy moments as we arrived at high tide on to Fraser Island from the Barge at inskip point we made the choice to go the inland track to out first camp at central station.
Our sights to see we’re already being ticked off, wanggoolba creek surrounding the old logging station , the loop drive through the valley of the giants where huge tallowwood trees reach endlessly to the sky enjoying the challenge and excitement of driving of super soft sand and stretches of intense corrugation and then we heard it the slide the rattle and the bang .
The ratchets had loosened and the load had slide in every direction ! A few tense words some swallowed pride the jerry can and table no longer on the roof the team was out of the car to solve the problem. Re packing and re tying individual items using anchor points then using cross directional strapping front to back ,side to side to secure the load as a whole from movement we made it to camp.
Over the next six days we experienced the Stunning Lake Mackenzie the phenomenon of a perched lake meaning it is entirely of rain water and does not source from a stream or flow to the ocean. Eli creek the fresh water stream dumping millions of litres of fresh water into the ocean each day. Maheno wreck, an ocean liner washed ashore by a cyclone in 1935 Indian head ,champagne pools, ocean lake, south waddy point , happy valley, Nagala rocks then finally the very tip and the drive around the sandy cape itself was magnificent!
This was not our first trip to the island and won’t be our last stoked now to have driven Nagala rocks and had a beer at Tip. I tell you what though wears so great full for being well prepared with recovery gear, winch ,compressor and taking our time adjusting our tyre pressures to suit the tracks we had a challenging and satisfying holiday but we ran into quite a few that were not having such a good time. So in true off-road spirit we helped, we shared and we have some tips!
1.Research your destination and current track conditions (fires/flooding 2 tracks were closed for these reasons leaving us to make last minute changes)
2.Pack your recovery gear for Fraser sand moves tracks constantly change and a shovel and a rope are not sufficient recovery equipment
3.Water ! Take a large water storage unit with you as refilling stations for drinkable water are not readily available being stuck on the hot sand with water is deadly
4.Know your tyre pressures and there purpose we took our tyre pressure down to 15 psi the sand is soft and cut up yes you may have to go a bit slower but your not gonna get into as much trouble (we did nagala rocks pass at just under 10psi ) after digging and winching out in the first fifty meters we then made it all the way through.
5.Lucky last secure your gear after our crash bang early in the trip we noticed jerry cans and large plastic containers scattered on the beach, trash we are hoping not dumped on purpose as on the soft bouncy sand things move come unstuck and fly off before you even notice the places we all love to drive are worth the extra thought to check your load so our rubbish doesn’t destroy them .
Wishing you happy safe and ridiculously outrageous adventures.
Article & images by Nicole Gross