Hiking on Fraser Island – Day 5

Day 5
Our last day on the island dawned clear and cool.  We got up early as this was to be the longest walk of the hike, about 24km with our packs.  The planned route took us from Central Station to Basin Lake, then Lake MacKenzie, then along an old tramway to the remains of MacKenzie’s Jetty.  From there we could choose whether to walk along the beach or along the forest trail to Kingfisher Bay.  Our booking was for 5:00pm on the ferry, so we had a deadline to meet.
Breakfast consisted of the last of our oatmeal sachets and condensed milk tube, washed down with hot Milo.  By this time, we were getting low on food, but there was enough to allow us morning tea and lunch.  Afternoon tea would have to wait until we got to Kingfisher Bay, so there was an added incentive to keep going.  If we arrived early enough, we could have a proper afternoon tea at the resort!  The tents and sleeping bags were rolled up for the last time this trip, the water bottles topped up and sterilised, and we were on our way just before 7:30am.
The first part of the walk took us via Wanggoolba Creek, a crystal clear creek that flows past the Central Station campground.  There were various relics of the timber logging days, such as a derelict loading ramp, a glass-topped petrol bowser, an an old engine block.  From Wanggoolba Creek, we ascended a long ridge until we arrived at a breathtaking scene – Basin Lake in the morning sun without a ripple on its surface.  There was no-one else there, so it was peaceful.  We could easily have spent an hour soaking in the beauty of the place, but the remaining 21km of our hike and the ferry deadline spurred us on.
Basin Lake
Lake MacKenzie was only a short walk from Basin Lake, about 35 minutes. This was where we began to see other people by the busload.  Lake MacKenzie has pure white sand and clear blue water, and amazingly looks exactly like on the postcards of Fraser Island.  In fact, I’d say it looks even more beautiful in reality than it does on a postcard or in a photo.  We had planned to spend some time there, but the water proved to be more chilly than expected.  A photo taken by a helpful tourist was enough, before we gladly exited the water and donned our boots again to continue the hike.  After morning tea of course!  It is important to get the priorities right.  Morning tea consisted of our last packets of 2-minute noodles, and some left-over muesli bars.
Laura, Claire & John at Lake MacKenzie
Our hiking map showed that the trail followed around the western and northern shores of Lake MacKenzie, before heading due east for a couple of kilometres.  Only when it met up with the trail to Lake Wabby did it veer back towards the west and MacKenzie’s Jetty.  On the other hand, a vehicle track cut due north from Lake MacKenzie, only requiring a 500m detour to the south-east to connect with it.  This track ended up joining with the walking trail we wanted to be on, and saved over 3km of walking.  All we had to do was miss seeing the sign that said “No Pedestrian Traffic” and we were on our way.  At one point we had to scramble off the track as a huge 4WD tour coach took up the whole track, but otherwise we had it to ourselves.

Taking a short-cut via a vehicle track near Lake MacKenzie

The longest section of the day’s walk was from where the vehicle track rejoined the walking trail to MacKenzie’s Jetty.  It was hotter than previous days too, as the vegetation was shorter and we had more direct sunlight on us.  However, the packs were lighter, we were fitter, and we had become accustomed to walking, so it was a pleasant hike.  Also, the gradient of the trail was gentle as it followed old tramways used in the old days for logging.  This all added up to us making better time than expected, so that we arrived at MacKenzie’s Jetty soon after midday.

MacKenzie’s Jetty

 At this point, we had a choice about which way to go.  The beach route was shorter, but involved walking through sand, while the longer forest trail was firmly packed but quite a bit longer.  After testing a bit of the beach walk and finding the sand firm near the water’s edge, we chose the beach route and set off on the last leg of the hike.  The sand was soft and hard to walk on in only a few places, so it was a good choice.  When we were in sight of the jetty at Kingfisher Bay, we has a ceremony to say farewell to our hiking sticks which had helped us with 5 days of hiking. 

Trekking the final leg to the ferry at Kingfisher Bay

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: