During the night I could hear dingos walking around, deep wood on wood knocking noises and once the rainforest hit the dew point, it literally rained humidity.
After a little sleep in, I climbed out of the tent and looked around. Everything was wet including the clothes I had hanging up. I guess you get that in a rainforest!
As I packed up, my little finch friend was back flying around in circles chirping it’s head off.
At 7:30am only the smallest amount of sunlight managed to get through the thick canopy and due to the cold temperatures, I was very keen to get going and make progress. I studied the map the day before and it showed about 12 kilometres to Lake Garawongera then 7 kilometres to Happy Valley (Eastern beach). After three days of no shops, I was really looking forward to a can of coke and some greasy food.
Finally I met my first snake. I think he was out soaking up some sun. He wasn’t fazed by me, I got closer and closer and he didn’t coil up and get defensive at all. He was covering most of the skinny track I was on so I had to ride straight past his head. I think he was just happy I was moving on and not challenging him for his real estate.
As I climbed out of this valley the track dropped again only to have to go up again. If you look at the elevation graph at the bottom of this post, you can see how relentless it was, very little flats and several climbs.
My legs were pretty smashed now, so it was nice to see the shaded picnic area of Lake Garawongera mainly because it meant rest and eat time. I made myself a wrap with salami and spinach, boy it tasted good and hit the spot. I think I will be doing wraps for lunch when bikepacking in the future.
After devouring my wrap I walked down to the lake. The small beach was covered from head to toe in tourists sunbaking in bikinis (sorry guys, no photo!). The walking track continues around the lake so I walked it to get a better shot away from the tourists.
I walked back up to the picnic area and as my bike came into view I saw people standing right at it! It gave me a little heart flutter untill I noticed a lady taking a photo of a man standing with my bike! They were fascinated at the bike and were very friendly.
I didn’t get their names but they were from Czech Republic. I had to giggle when they asked me where I was from. So far I had seen bugger all Australians on the island! I had only met two since Sunday (this being wednesday) one being a tour operator. There was literally bus loads of tourists at all the famous places on Fraser Island.
I got going again, rolling down to the small beach at Lake Garawongera. I had to literally balance at low speed weaving through all the sunbaking tourists to get to the track, it was quite bizarre!
The elevations on the island had so far been hovering around 50 to 150 metres most of the time, but now I had to get over 215 odd metres before descending steeply into Happy Valley. These are far from big numbers I know, but with a fully laden fat bike and extremely soft terrain with numerous big fallen trees to lift my bike over, each and every kilometre really took its toll. The closer I got to Happy Valley the more brutal it got. Some of the climbs were at silly gradients going upwards so it was one step at a time pushing the bike.
When I rolled into Happy Valley and saw a cafe with a big verandah I felt like I had seen an oasis in a desert. My mouth watered with anticipation. Three days of bush life with only the food I packed. Even if a burger and chips was $50, I still would have bought it.
While answering three hundred questions from the cafe visitors pondering over my bike I scoffed a burger and chips down. I never eat chips without tomato sauce but today I couldn’t care less! Our good friend Eric, a veteran mountain biker, once said, “hunger makes the best sauce!”.
I filled my water bottles up with fresh drinking water and set off towards the beach. I thought to myself how awesome it has been to wake up in a thick dark rainforest and now be on a sunny beach. Fraser Island is truly a very special place.
Happy Valley is a fenced community, they do this to keep the dingos out. The road in has a special dingo blocking catle grate, or shall I say, dingo grate? It even has electrified wires in case they tip toe across. I rolled down the wooden footpath towards the beach out through the dingo pedestrian gate.
I headed south from here, I didn’t have enough food or time to now head north, I will have to come back. With the sun behind me, the gentle breeze and low tide made for perfect riding conditions. Eurong was 20 odd kilometres away, so I set off with that as my destination. The ride along the beach was just divine, I really enjoyed it and stopped to play with my camera on several occasions.
Eurong is another fenced community with a fancy resort. I rolled into Eurong and visited the general store. There was lots of people around coming and going to the resort.
I stashed another can of coke into the bike bags and skulled a chocolate milk down. I thought I could camp at Eurong but the locals tell me there isn’t any public camping inside Eurong. I was told I would have to go another 8 km down the beach to the first camp site. So off I went for another beach cruise.
After a couple of kilometres I pulled up in the shade to enjoy the can of coke before it lost its chill. It was soooo nice!
As I sat there in the shade I thought, where are these dingos!? There is so much education on the Island and so much hype. Some tourists even travel from other countries just to see a dingo! I must admit I expected to see one so I was pretty disappointed so far. Surely a dingo wants my black liquid gold!?
Few more kilometres down the beach, I saw the campground signed. No one was around and I quicky picked a nice flat spot. There is nothing like a good tree for a clothes hanger!
As I pulled all the food out of the bike bags, I kept looking around paranoid about dingos but it was just me and the birds.
I have also been advised to hang all my food in a tree just in case.
Now thats done, I went to the beach and had a quick dip. Ahhhh so refreshing! Next was relax time and soak up this beautiful afternoon. I sat on the beach dunes and watched the occasional four-wheel drive cruise past. There wasn’t many people around at all, it felt like a had the beach to myself.
What a wonderful day. I gobbled another wrap down for dinner, sat on the beach at night (no dingos!), ate chocolate and headed to bed. It was lovely to listen to the ocean while falling asleep.
Covered 49 kilometres today, the first 19 kilometres having 470 odd metres of elevation gain…