Season 1, Episode 20

Fraser Explorer Tours

Today we hear from Craig & Lisa at Fraser Explorer Tours about why the remarkable Fraser Island should be on your holiday to do list when visiting the Fraser Coast.

Benjamin Starr gets the low down on the best that Fraser Island has to offer and learns more about the magnificent beaches, lakes and local wildlife.

Hosts & Guests

Benjamin Starr

Craig and Lisa

Read the transcript

Benjamin Starr: Okay were driving our own adventure today, we’ve got two celebrities. We’ll brush with fame and royalty. Craig and Lisa how are you?  

Craig: Yeah good thanks.

Lisa: Great.

Ben: Fraser Island do you like building sand castles?

Craig: Ha ha ha ha. Nah I don’t like sand castles much at all but I like driving around on them.

Ben: Tell me about Fraser Island, for people that have never been there. I’ve heard of it, I haven’t been there. Why should we go there? 

Craig: It is the world’s largest sand island, it’s a World Heritage listed site. It’s a part of the Great Sandy National Park as well and it’s just the incredible natural  landscape that has wild life coming out of its ears.

Ben: When you say sand it’s not like built on rock, it is sand, the whole thing?

Craig: Yeah literally 99.9% of the sand are three rock around crops which are of  volcanic rock. Okay. But it’s  literally sand.

Ben: So is that’s what sort of holds it together?

Craig: Yeah, yeah kind of. Moreton Island, Stradbroke Island has got similar sort of foundations and is formed the same way but we are twice the size of those.

Ben: Really! And tell me what what’s it like when you go there.  Is there bushland that grows on   it?

Craig: Yes it’s quite a remarkable  landscape it ranges from small scrubby bush wet land into a beautiful wet eucalyptus forest, rain forest and  on to the beaches. Particularly on the eastern side of the island it’s  the coastal dune vegetation that most people are familiar with.

Ben: So listen why should people go there on their holidays if they are coming up here. Why would just say go and have a look at Fraser Island?

Lisa: I think it’s just a such a unique destination. So we have, as Craig mentioned, these amazing rain forests and vegetation and then the chance to see animals in the in the wild doing their thing.

Ben:   Now it dingoes live there. I’ve read something about dingoes, they are protected over there aren’t they?

Craig: Yeah absolutely!

Ben: Why are they protected?

Craig: They are one of the purest dingo in Australia.

Ben: Oh really?

Craig: They are in their natural environment. They have been there for four thousand years.

Ben: Right. So dingo’s weren’t introduced by man a were they? 

Craig: Well the local indigenous the Butchulla. They were brought over to the Island by the Butchulla, but they are pretty good swimmers, there is not much land there is not much to see between the bottom of the Island to the main land, so they swim across there still frequently.  

Ben: Are you serious! Gosh. And they’re all ferocious?

Craig: Ha ha ha. 

Ben: Are they ferocious or not?

Craig: No they are wild animals so.

Ben:  So, they keep away from you?

Craig: Yeah there is a a bit of and unpredictability there but its just about being a responsible visitor to the island and National Parks have a really good program about it.

Ben: So if people coming up to the coast here; what’s the best way to see Fraser Island because I I don’t think it’s probably the way to do it by yourself, I think it’s better to do it with someone that’s organizing these tours because you are going to take us to the best adventure of it. So how do we do that? Do we go to the website?

Lisa: You can go to our website so or you can also if you’re staying with Ingenia property here in Hervey Bay, they have a set up tours desk.  So you can go down and see the staff who have generally been over to the Island and we would recommend  our first tour which is basically a one day tour. So short for time get over and back and see the main sights with the a guide that has basically all the knowledge in the world to tell you what you’re seeing.  And if you have a little bit extra time definitely encourage you to do the two day tour. 

Ben: Right okay and the two day tour takes you further  up into all the other areas.

Lisa: So up to the beautiful champagne pools.

Ben: So tell us about what happens on one of the tours.  

Craig: So basically we pick up people in town we have a courtesy shuttle that goes out to the barge. It’s about a  thirty five to forty five minute journey across to the Island.

Ben: Yep.

Craig: And then on the island we have four wheel drive buses.

Ben: Oh okay.  

Craig: For up to forty seats, very large vehicles, and then  we start off the tour.  Depending on the tides of course you might visit the rain forest first  and then Lake Mckenzie – beautiful Lake Mackenzie.

Ben: Yeah. There is a lake there?

Craig: Oh there is over a hundred lakes. 

Ben: It’s hard to factor in that its sand and it’s like a normal. You would sort of think it would get washed away.

Craig: Absolutely and and the lakes are all fresh water so pristine.

Ben: Wow!

Craig: Pristine environment.  

Ben: So it can you stay on the island or not?

Craig: Yes so you can stay at Kingfisher Bay Resort on the Western side of the Island which has a barge straight to it, or  Eurong Beach Resort where our two day tour stays as well.

Ben: What’s a tour worth if you gonna do the first day tour – the one day tour.

Lisa: So the one day tour is $219 an adult and that’s a full day tour including an awesome  buffet  lunch  over at Eurong Beach Resort. and that’s probably the, the highlight I guess for some people,  especially the backpackers  tend to love  a buffet when they have been living on two minute noodles for a couple of weeks.

Ben: Yeah, yeah and then you will spend the whole day there. Do people get to go swimming?  Or you don’t go swimming?

Craig: On the beach at Eli Creek yeah which is beautiful fresh water coming out of the island.

Ben: Yes.

Craig:  And you go for a bit of a swim or paddle there.

Ben: Yeah.

Craig: And then Lake Mackenzie as well which you  can get fully immersed in. 

Ben: And eco-tourism is a big thing over there isn’t it. I mean you know protecting it all. So what sort of measures are in place? I imagine the government’s really strict with stuff.

Craig:  Yes. So we are an eco-accredited organization as well.   We have  policy of leave no rubbish behind. So we leave out garbage bags at all those facilities  at all the resorts and the buses. You are not using  sunscreen in the  lakes. within reason.  Put it on  after a quick swim and just those sorts of  things.  Recycled water, power treatment plants just leaving that is minimal impact as possible.

Ben: Is there a like a reef there  as well. Like is it like coral reefs around it or?  

Craig: Not actually around Fraser but off the top of Fraser, Lady Elliot is not too far away its only 150 kilometres.

Ben: So I imagine if you went  over there by yourself doing a self-drive thing, it’s pretty desolate?

Craig: Yeah absolutely! 

Ben: You know.    What are some of the things that you have to look out for. I mean what, what are some of the dangers you’ve got to be aware of  over there?

Craig:  It’s  probably inexperienced driving,  just um to taking care over there, tyre pressures, making sure you can get yourself out of sticky situations.

Ben: Yeah. 

Craig: The sand on the beach can get really really soft. Depends on tides, so national parks encourage  people not to drive on the beach either side of high tide.

Ben: And that could happen in a four wheel drive, you get bogged, in the next minute the water  comes in and you’ve got to get out of there.

Craig: It happens quite a lot more frequently in cars than buses.

Ben: I bet you it does. So these are some of the pitfalls you have to be aware of?

Craig: Yes right, yeah. 

Ben: Just because you got a four wheel drive doesn’t mean you’re an expert at it. 

Lisa: Exactly! You know if you are going to do a quick hire doesn’t mean you are an expert. If you can’t read the land your driving on you can run into all sorts of trouble.

Ben:  Now tell us about your brush with royalty.

Craig: I drove Prince Harry from the airport to the barge.

Ben: Yeah and what was he like as a person?

Craig: Yeah he is really nice. He seemed really down to earth. He shook my hand and I said welcome to Queensland and off we set.   

Ben: You were you’re telling us he went on some sort of tour and he was looking at all the water and stuff.  Do we get to experience that if we go on one of your tours? 

Craig: Yes from the barge you’re arriving on the island yeah it’s a nice welcome. There is sometimes sting rays in Wanggoolba Creek and I’ve seen dingos swimming across the creek. Yeah, he was a nice guy. He hopped out  of the car a couple of times.  He got a photo of a dingo which is good for them.

Ben: That’s good. So he didn’t opt to go on the bus, he went for the…

Craig: Ah no, he decided to hop in the car.

Ben: Fabulous so a full day tour  would start at what time in the morning? If you are going to go on one of the tours  what time do you get picked up?

Lisa: So pick-ups start around Hervey Bay round about seven am.

Ben: Yes. 

Lisa: And we do most  properties or locations around the bay.

Ben: And then you’re out for the whole day?

Lisa: Full day So real value for money. You get back around about six seven o’clock at night.

 Ben: Fantastic it sounds like an amazing,  amazing trip. What other things can you do for people like school groups stuff go over there as well I imagine?

Craig: Yeah we get a lot of the local schools. Sunshine Coast schools as well.  A lot of  tour groups come in over from Europe, China, America all around the world.

Ben: Okay so people driving up now listening to us now they are planning their holidays, they definitely need to go to  Fraser Island.   What are two other things that they should see while they’re here,  because you can’t see everything?

 Lisa: Definitely, if it’s the season  then go  out on a whale watch adventure,  get out there and see the whales.  And even our Hervey Bay Esplanade – quite amazing. Hire a couple of bikes or bring some  if you have them and you can ride nearly, I think it’s ten-fifteen kilometers from one end of Hervey Bay to the other all along the coast, so it’s quite beautiful.

Ben: Well look guys thank you very much for your time.

Ben: And Lisa and Craig will help you and get you over there and, and you’ll have a great day. There are one day and  two day tours, and if the family don’t like you can always probably  just stay there.

Lisa: Not a bad place. 

Ben: No well that’s it! Thanks for joining us today.

Craig: No worries, thank you very much.

Ben: There we go, we are Driving Our Own Adventure with Ingenia Holidays.         

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