I got a good night sleep although I did wake up at some crazy hour to hearing a dingo (i think) pushing on the gate to the fenced camp ground. It must of smelt my food.
The sun rose from the other side of the lake and it looked amazing. Lake Boomanjin is the largest perched lake in the world covering 190 hectares (470 acres)! The fog lifting from the surface blending with the yellows and oranges glowing from the horizon, was just beautiful. I layed in bed and watched the intensity of the colours slowly increase.
The temperature for riding was now cool and pleasant so I promptly packed up camp and got going by 7:15am.
The track continues down past the lake and across a fresh water creek feeding it.
I passed this tree at the lake and the photo opportunity reached out and poked me.
The track headed back into the bush. The vegetation started changing slowly, getting thicker and greener with more shade as the trees got taller.
As you can see the ground can get a very thick layer of leaves and sticks. This on top of sand made it really tough riding. Stopping for photos, food etc, the going was a lot slower than what I had envisioned. It didn’t concern me too much, after all I was here to enjoy the journey. Just meant I had to change plans. The beauty of bikepacking is you can travel with flexibility as you basically have your house on board.
Here is a short 11 second video on a climb. Best to turn the sound up.
Mid-morning I arrived at ‘Central Station’. Central station was once an old logging village from the 1920s to the 1950s. The felling of trees was allowed on the island back then. It once had 30 houses and a school for the logger’s children. It is now a beautiful picnic area spread out around the old buildings reflecting the past history.
There were big four-wheel drive buses turning up with large groups of people in tour groups. It was too much for me, I needed to get away and back to the bush, or now rainforest.
Central Station sits on the Wangoolba creek. I rolled down the man-made viewing platform beside the creek and across a bridge. This creek is breathtaking. The water in this creek is filtered naturally by the sands and is crystal clear. This is the water the village used in it’s logging days.
Basin Lake is only 2.8 kilometres from Central Station so it wasn’t long before I reached it. You had to walk (or ride) to this lake so of course there was no one around! Basin lake is one of the best examples of a black water perched lake. It covers an area slightly larger than a football field and is eight metres in depth.
Did you know, Fraser Island has over 100 lakes? pretty cool aye?
The sun was hot and the water looked so inviting. I didn’t really want to get my riding clothes wet and I knew if anyone was coming I would here them walking down towards the lake. So off with the clothes… The water was sensational! Very nice after two days of sweating without a shower.
Each lake at Fraser Island has a different colour to it. Lake Boomanjin is red and this lake is green. I think the Butchulla people gave this island the perfect name (K’Gari meaing paradise).
Lake McKenzie is another 4 kilometres along the walking track. So soon I arrived there. You couldn’t see the lake from the fenced off camping. It was now only 11:30am and I had only travelled 22 kilometres. Do I push on and make the next campground, or call it a short day and enjoy an afternoon of relaxation? I better go check this lake out before making any decisions I pondered.
I rolled down the path towards the lake. The path splits, the right being a lookout, the left the beach. I’m just looking so I went right. The lookout is really just a wooden platform about 2 metres high. enough that I couldn’t see over. I parked the bike and walked up the steps. When I saw Lake McKenzie for the first time in this perfect weather, I was absolutely blown away. Honestly, I have never been so taken back and amazed at any natural landscape view as this. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I started to giggle to myself in disbelief.
…and here is a video to show you how amazing Lake McKenzie really is. Sometimes photos are just not enough!
I’m not going anywhere!!! I went back up to camp, set it up, had a bite, returned to the lake and swam for the rest of the day! I have never been to such an incredible looking place.
While swimming I got into a chat with a tour operator. He told me about four cyclists he saw on the eastern beach heading north and asked if I knew them. I didn’t know of anyone who said they were coming over so I didn’t think much more about it. Upon returning to my camp I was greeted by four cycle tourers on skinny tyred touring road bikes! They were very friendly and amazed at the fat tyres on my bike. They couldn’t pedal on any soft sand so they hitch hiked it to lake McKenzie.
We ended up playing board games and cooking up a big feast of pasta with tuna. It was lovely to meet and mingle with others.
560 metres of elevation gain on super soft terrain actually made it a very hard 22 kilometres. Legs were certainly feeling it.