Giant sand dunes and satinay trees

Fraser Island is a yellow, blue and green paradise of sand, freshwater lakes and dense forest. I have been learning about all of the weird and wonderful wildlife they have here (as I write this I am listening to micro-bats clicking for insects), but I only have time for a very brief update today as internet is very limited, therefore I’ve mainly just stuck some photos in. I will bore you with my newly acquired knowledge next time I have proper access. The photo above is of me having a dip in the alleged age-reversing crystal-clear freshwater of Lake Mackenzie – stunning.

An unfortunately blurry photo of a dingo – I was very lucky to see it though as there are only 200 on the island and this one happened to pass through the car park just as I nipped back to drop my bag off – only myself and the driver saw him… The dingos on Fraser Island are the purest strain of wild dingos in Australia. They are taken seriously as a threat to humans, particularly small children. At the moment it is the mating season therefore they are more aggressive than usual, and more likely to attack. We were warned not to run, if attacked, but to ‘respond fiercely’. But he looks so cute…

The smooth-barked apple tree – a fascinating species that sheds it bark as the tree grows, much like a snake would, hence the ‘bald’ appearance.

Another giant of the forest, the satinay tree – this is almost endemic to Fraser Island (found in one other place) and has been heavily logged in the past and its timber used all over the world, notably in the London Docks and the Suez Canal. The reason for this is that it has a turpentine scented sap that repels marine borer insects, and is therefore great for submerging in water.

The island’s interior has many of these ‘sand blows’ – basically vast areas where sand has blown across the island and collected in one place. The colour of the sand changes depending on how old it is, and how much organic matter it has picked up. White sand is the newest; golden sand, like that above, is probably a few hundred years old.

A tacky tourist snap on Seventy Mile Beach. The surf looks so inviting but we have been categorically instructed not to enter the sea due to the various dangers of severe rip currents, sharks, sting-rays, blue-bottle jelly-fish… It seems that most Aussie wildlife is out to get you in some way.

I’m staying overnight on the island tonight (I am currently recovering from an ‘all you can eat’ buffet – danger, danger at the best of times, but even worse whilst afflicted with the backpacker mentality of exploiting all meal opportunities as if they were your last). I’ll bring you more tales of adventures on Fraser Island (sounds like an Enid Blyton book – or Gnid Blyton, as one of my sisters thought she was called), hopefully tomorrow… It is a truly remarkable environment – I finally feel like I’ve left the real world behind in Australia, not an easy feat on the popular east coast tourist trail.

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6 Responses to Giant sand dunes and satinay trees

  1. SusSis says:


  2. Tristan Norton says:

    hey Becky! Seeing as you’re on Fraser island you must have stopped off at Inskip Point right? If you have time, look for Black-breasted buttonquail in the forest at the end – one of the world’s rarest birds right there! They will be scuttling around in the deep leaf litter – you should be able to see little depressions in the litter made as they scratch around. Watch out for the goannas though…

    Very very jealous! Amazing spot you’re in – keep having a ball!

    • beckymayhem says:

      Hi Tristan – good to hear from you! I can’t believe that – I passed through Inskip Point only this evening, completely oblivious to the presence of one of the world’s rarest birds. Damn! Saw some lovely birds on the island though – the huge white-breasted eagles and brahminy kites were my favourite…

  3. charl says:

    which sister was it ( Gnid?!)…was it me???
    Loving the bikini shot becks – sizzling!

    • beckymayhem says:

      Welcome to blog world, Charl – good to have you on board! 🙂 It was Suis, who thought it was Gnid, because of her illegible signature on the front of all the books… Love your paranoia that it was you! xx

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