I am writing this entry on 19/07/06, but wanted to maintain chronological order, so have set a different date.
The last 3 days and 2 nights have been spent on the largest sand island in the world, which I have toured with my fellow group of intrepid explorers in a Toyota Land Cruiser 4 x 4, which I drove (partially)! My team, which we never did find a name for, but was unofficially Team Canada, although Pete attempted to make Team USA stick insisting it was neutral territory, consisted of two Canadians, Janel and Kelley, two Londoners, Pete and Daniel, someone from Bournemouth called Gemma, someone from Farnborough (Southerner) called Kirsten and me, Jo.
In high spirits we headed for Woolworths in convoy with 3 other trucks. We felt we won the first unoffical competition by purchasing the least food per person, this was achieved mainly by cunningly purchasing the local butcher’s ‘backpacker special.’ Then I drove us the the ferry. I’ve never really driven anything bigger than my beloved Peugeot 206 and this was a completely different beast. I was pretty certain we would end up in the water as I reversed onto the ferry.
We spent much of the afternoon off-roading through forest and cruising along the large strips of beach, stopping at Eli creek for a fresh water paddle and a wash for those of us who hadn’t had the foresight to shower before they left in the morning, which was not me. After spotting an eel in the water, Kirsten and I decided we would rather spectate from the edge.
Later we drove to Indian Head and hiked up the cliff for a spectacular view of the ocean and sand dunes. I have pictures to best describe the view.
We finally set up camp, as the sun went down, on the beach at a site called Guruman. We had a barbeque for dinner and finally we settled into our tent for the night, where Kirsten and I played cards.
It rained in the night, sleeping on the edge of the old-school, badly waterproofed tents, I got wet. Kirsten and I awoke first just before 7am to find that no other tent had steered yet. We walked along the quietly serene beach and noted the dingo tracks that ran through our camp.
10 minutes later a ranger had pulled up at our site and was reprimanding us for not clearing away the night before. It was not actually my group at fault, but it still felt like being at school and being told off my a teacher. To make matters worse, once the ranger had left, we couldn’t find the truck keys. We spent an hour hunting the sands for them and were all geared up to ring the mainland and request assistance when someone found them right in front of us on a table.
Morale was low as we headed off for the day, but after an hour or so of Daniel’s driving, which sent Gemma flying off her seat several times, everyone seemed a bit cheerier.
It began to rain once we arrived at the rather unspectacular champagne pools, so we headed for the shipwreck of the Maheno and pretty much did a drive by tour of it, whilst almost turning several dingos into road kill or should that be beach kill?
The final site of the day was Lake Wabby, which was an unexpected 2.4km walk from the carpark, but was incredible, with rainforest on one side and a huge sand dune on the other. Again, photographs are key here to illustrate the beauty.
We set up camp on the beach again, North of Eurong. It was raining heavily. We cooked copious mounds of pasta before Kirsten and I again headed for our tent, which the lads had left open and therefore was pretty wet. Kirsten was not pleased, but I tried to stay positive as I am still trying to complain less.
Strangely I actually managed a pretty good nights sleep.
On our final day we headed for Central Station, which we thought would be an interesting location. All we found there was a notice board boasting out of date messages. Lake McKenzie was our next destination and was a lot more inspiring than Central Station. The water was clear and warm and had I had more dry clothes to get into, I probably would have swam in there.
Finally it was time to head back to the mainland. After a disappointing cold shower, I was still relieved to be clean, the whole tour ate pizza and watched Crocodile Dundee, and the cold, wet weather and sand we had endured didn’t seem so bad after all.