In chapter two of my adventures copying international backpackers travelling the Australian east coast, I set off for Rainbow Beach, Queensland on the Greyhound from Brisbane City Backpackers; where I was basing myself for a good week and a half while working, as well as partying and enjoying Brisbane over the two surrounding weekends. I had opted for the two-night, tag-along four-wheel-drive camping tour of Fraser Island – the largest sand in the world – that left from Dingos Backpacker Resort, as it seemed to be the one most backpackers I had met did. It was also famous for being fun, despite being the same price as competing trips that offered apparently nicer food and proper accommodation.
Upon arrival at the hostel our group congregated for a briefing. Comically, there were a handful of men and mostly women. I was put in a car group with eight Scandinavian girls. Although there seemed to be a few people in the hostel (though not in our group) who were revelling that night, my exhaustion from the previous night out with workmates and then fellow travellers in Brisbane sent me early to bed – and it was probably just as well.
The Queensland weather was wonderful for late October after coming from a seemingly never-ending Melbourne winter, the banter and the music played in our lead vehicle by our driving tour guide was good, and so was the trip over all. During the day we drove around in a convoy of four-wheel-drives and stopped at various sites, which were all as beautiful as described. The good weather was also no mean feat, as it actually rains for a majority of a year’s days on Fraser Island. Our first day included time at the beautiful Lake McKenzie, where we were comically joined by some stereotypically Australian holiday-makers.
At night we cooked our own food, which was quite good; cracked open the drinks we had selected during our pre-trip briefing; and enjoyed the campfire and each other’s company. And although our group may not have been the most party-crazy of all possible groups, we did give it a fair go; and after meeting the group that was already there on our first night and hearing about some other groups (including one that got unpleasantly rowdy and had some lads kicked off), I concluded that our group was relatively fun without being unpleasant.
The next day was just as pleasant as the first, and included plenty of time to lounge by the ‘champagne pools’, and later on the sand by Eli Creek after body-boarding down it.
On the second night I brought over the other group, which had started their tour that day, to join us. Our group’s well-seasoned guide, Muzzah (who was enthusiastic to have an Aussie in the group, as Australians utterly avoid or do not know about these kinds of tours) then managed to get both groups together on the beach outside the campsite (which was fenced-off to keep dingoes out), enjoying a few drinks and the luminescence in the sand.
On the third day we headed to Lake Wabby for a swim before making the drive back to the ferry to Rainbow Beach.
Back at Rainbow Beach a few of us had dinner at the hostel and then went to find some nightlife, as the apparent ‘party hostel’ was all but dead that night. All we could find was a somewhat amusing local pub where some enthusiastic locals were dancing to a cover band, so we did what any self-respecting backpackers would and joined in.