Fraser Island Cleanup 2014

Day 1

The morning started with an early 2am wake up alarm. With all our packing and pre work done all that was left to do was have a coffee and jump in the vehicles.

We meet up with the majority of the group at the Ettamoga pub with just Ozzycouch left to arrive which he did about 5 mins later. I handed out every ones stickers and camping tags while we got all the paperwork for the registration sorted. All hat done we jumped in the 4wds and headed up the Bruce to Gimpee where we would leave the Bruce and push towards Rainbow beach.

Arriving in Rainbow beach around 7:00 we had plenty of time for some last minute supplies and to fill up with fuel. Normally we would be paying our barge fares here but someone had forgot to tell the people at the Shell servo that there would be about 200 4wds popping in this morning to head over for the cleanup. She said she knew nothing about it so we said that we would pay on the barge.

Heading off to Inskip Point it was not long before we had the air out of our tyres and sand beneath them. Onto the Manta Ray barge there was no waiting as the barge was sitting there and waiting for a few more vehicles before departing for Fraser. With all us loaded we were off and it was only then that it felt like we were truly here for another great time.

Once on the island we were not sure if we would be able to make it around Hook Point as last year there was very little sand but it seems that in the 11 months since we had been here mother nature had deposited mega tons of sand back to the beaches which made our run a dream. Scooting past hook point it was no time till we hit Eurong and stopped at the Water fill point near the Police station. Water jerry filled we continued to Cornwells Break where we were meeting Nola from 4wd Queensland to hand in out cleanup registration forms. At Cornwalls and no sign of Nola, I got on the telephone and found out she was running late and was just passing Dilli Village. We hang around for 15mins or so and in no time we saw the Camper topped troop carrier.

After grabbing a ton of garbage bags and some nice thick gloves, we were off again. It was amazing to see the difference one year had made to the beaches.. Last year we had to take every bypass road and do the Poygan rock crawl traffic jam. This year it was a complete opposite with the beach fully recovered and hard wide sand all the way. We made awesome time up and after a quick stop at the Mahino ship wreck we hit Indian Head and traversed the track joining 75mile Beach to Berebarree Beach. Swinging past the Champaign Pools we were on the inland track which heads to Orchid Beach but we were turning off to the right and up over a small hill to Waddy Point Top camping area.

We were assigned the group camping area right down the back which has vehicle access and easily fit all of us in. But after getting there I noticed that there was no fire ring. I told every one to hang five while i went to find a ranger.. Just as i was opening the vehicle gate to exit the dingo fenced camping area, the rangers were pulling into their station. I waved them down and asked them if they could bring a fire ring in for the group area. They said that there were on more rings and whatever was in there is it.. Apparently people had been breaking the concrete fire rings and they were not replacing them. So i asked if we could move into some of the camper trailer areas and they said it was fine as they have very little bookings for the weekend. Happy with that i knew of a nice big area right opposite the shower block. We all moved into that area which was perfect for us and we all made claim to a spot. First thing for me was to unload the trailer load of wood i carried up in my new trailer. With plenty of help we had the wood stacked and i could proceed to setup my camp.

With camp established Ozzycouch decided to do a run back to Champaign Pools for a look and a swim. Jas and Bec had a nanna nap while us oldies relaxed and took in the serenity. A few hours passed and I started chopping up some of the firewood so Bruce could use his flint. After he had made some fire we all thought Chris Ozzy had been gone a while. It wasn’t until he got back and explained why he had been so long and it wasn’t because of the scenery. The old Vit has decided not to start and it was some time until someone gave him a hand to get it going. Trying to jump start it didn’t help so he had to get a tow to clutch start it.. So when he got back to camp it was tools out to try and figure out why the Vit had gave up the ghost. Turned out it was a compination of things with the Battery being dry and a loose starter solenoid. After raiding my random bolts collection, using some of the distilled water i had we got the Vit in some sort of running order we rand the engine for five minutes to see if it could start but all we got was a click click click.. We still had the hope the next day’s drive would charge his battery enough for it to recover. A few hours later Chris walks over and turns his key and what do you know the Vit started. With all us amazed we let that one go.

Pouring heaps of wood onto the fire in hope of having enough hot coals to cook a roast we all started cooking what we had for dinner and sat around the fire enjoying the company and the usual campfire stories.

Day 2

Saturday started with a nice fried breakfast with plenty of Eggs on offer from Bruce.. After breaky we headed for the cape. A 40km drive up Orchid & Manann beaches with Ngkala Rocks to traverse we would have to make the most of the tides as sometimes Ngkala can be impassable at higher tides.

So at about 8:30 we hit Orchid Beach at Waddy Point driving past the bottom campsites there were only a few campers there and about half a dozen vehicles with boat trailers who had obviously launched their boats at sparrow fart that morning.

Cruizin up the beach we hit Ngkala rocks which is renowned for getting vehicles bogged on the bypass track. Only a few days prior I was watching some Youtube Vids of several vehicles having extreme trouble in the soft sand on the traverse track. Being the lead vehicle and the Heaviest at close to 3T I squeezed through the cut out in the coffee rocks with a bit of a hole and a small stepup I was onto the soft sand. In 4H I made my way up and around with no problem at all and I signalled to the rest of the NBS crew that its all good to come through. I believe that 2 Vitaras didn?t even bother engaging 4wd. The track did have deep wheel ruts but the sand in the ruts was firm and really no issue at all.

Back on to the beach and we had about 20km to Sandy Cape. About 30mins and we were at the most northern point of the largest sand island on the planet. At the cape we all stopped to take in the amazing view and contrast of the surf as one side is rough and the other side is crystal calm. With a quick group shot on the cards we all lined up the vehicles and got some great shots with the surf in the background.

We then headed down the west side towards the Sandy Cape Lighthouse for a look. The calm beach on our right was so beautiful and a real treat. At he entry to the Lighthouse we parked up and then most of us decided to go have a look at the WW2 bunkers but Ozzycouch went up the 2km steep hill to the Lighthouse to take some happy snaps. We reached the bunkers which were about 600m in under an awesome rainforest type canopy. With my new Canon DSLR I went snap happy grabbing some real nice shots of the scenery. At the bunkers there isn’t much left barr a few sandbags and some pots and pans. Amazing how the island had reclaimed the area in such short time.

About a hour and a half and we were back in the vehicles and heading down the Eastern beach. It was no time before we were back at Orchid Beach for a lunchtime beer and a smile. We had to swing past the tip as the garbage Bruce was carrying all morning was getting a bit on the nose.. Bec was not feeling well so Jas took her back to camp and we would catch him on the way back from the tip. We all joined back up and headed for the ‘Secret Spot’ i’d found last year. About 40mins drive and through one stinky water crossing full of mozzys which conveniently ended up in my Poo Troll because I had wound down windows, & we were on the most beautiful beach on the whole island if not Australia. You could spend days there and not be able to take in the beauty. A few hours passed and we had to get back to camp as Bec was there on her own and we wanted to get back before dark.

We got back to camp just on dusk and everyone got ready for another awesome night around the campfire talking about the days events and doing a bit of star gazing.

Day 3

The day started with perfect weather. For the Cleanup we had been allocated the Beaches between Waddy Point and Middle Rocks then over to the Champaign pools and down the beach to Indian Head. We started at Southern side of Waddy Point and made our way toward Middle Rocks. The beach is prohibited for vehicles but we were special and able to drive it for the cleanup. We had that stretch in about 40mins and we joked about doing some rock crawling over Middle rocks to the other side but we had to head back past Waddy and on to the inland track heading over to the Champaign Pools. Parking at the car park we grabbed a heap of bags and walked down to the beach and worked our way back north to Middle Rocks. There was some rather large items that were too big to be carting back up the stairs to the vehicles so we piled into a corner out of sight of the tourists and would inform the organizers where they were. On the way back up the stairs and onto the timber boardwalk we got some claps and appreciation from some of the tour guides who were walking a heap of back packers down to the pools. I was lucky enough for one of my many bags to break open with only 50 meters to go to the car park spilling crap all over the boardwalk. Fortunately there wasn’t too many people and I had a spare back and had it cleaned up fairly quick. Back at the vehicles we all loaded our bags into the trailer which was now quite full. Nola from 4wd QLD popped into the car park and offed us some water and appreciation of our efforts. Down to the beach and onto Indian head with us seasoned Fraser Is cleanupers we had our system down and we were done by lunch time.

Back at camp for some lunch and we all agreed that the rest of the day was best spent back at the secret spot. So we all piled into the vehicles and headed back over to the bay. With the weather turning it on it was perfect for a swim while Ozzy throw in a line to try to catch some fish. Heading down for a swim I spotted a school of bait fish being rounded up by something. I told Ozzy to throw in his line in and with in a few seconds he was on and pulled in a decent sized Dart which he said was the first fish hed caught in Australia that he could eat so he was stoked.. Jas, Bec and I lazed in the water with a heap of bait fish swimming all around us but with several attempts to catch them buy hand I really had no chance. For anyone who hasn’t been to this secret spot you really are missing a part of the island which is sheer bliss. We had a pretty mean setup with three of the vehicles arranged with all out awning out everyone sat back and took in the moment with nibbleys and chips and maybe a few beers we where all content and decided to stay and watch the sun go down. Sharon had a bit of fish and managed to catch a puffa fish but she was just happy to be there and enjoyed every minute of it.

With the sun going down and one of the most spectacular sunsets we took plenty of pics and then packed up our awnings and headed back to camp where we got our fire going. For most of the members this would be their last night on the island but for me I was staying until Friday.

Day 4

Morning arose and the reality of going home is never a good feeling when your at such a beautiful place but for Bruce, Shaz, Jas, Bec and Ozzy it was packup time. Ozzy was keen to get going and head into Lake McKenzie and take some happy snaps. Everyone else took their time packing up and left around 10am. Bruce, Shaz, Jas and Bec stopped in at Eli Creek for a quick swim in the cold water.