Friday, April 27, 2012

Fraser Island Continues: Maheno Wreck, Eli Creek, and a Hike

One of Fraser Island's most famous landmarks is not a natural one--it's the Maheno Wreck.  Built in 1905, the SS Maheno was used as both a luxury passenger ship and a hospital ship during World War I.  In 1935,  the ship began a journey towards Japan to be used for scrap metal when it was caught in a cyclone and washed up on Seventy-Five Mile Beach, the eastern shore of Fraser Island.

I could have sat there all day, watching the waves rush through the hulking shell of rusted metal.

As we drove along the beach at 70kph with the windows open, I heard a recurring series of popping noises.  It was quite some time before I realized that we were driving over hundreds of Portugese Man O' War (also known as blue bottles) that were washed up along the beach.  Their bodies have a air-packed bubble that were no match for our Land Rover tires, and after I pointed out what was happening to the boys, they were decidedly gleeful each time we heard a string of the popping sounds.
Blue bottles on the beach (source)
We ventured along and saw some rock formations with gradations of color.  While it's certainly no Bryce Canyon National Park, the reddish tones in the sand were beautiful.

Eli Creek, the longest creek on the eastern beach that pours a couple million liters of fresh water into the ocean every hour, was a fun place for the boys to boogie board and wade.
I will remember Eli Creek as the place where the clouds parted, and I'm pretty sure I heard angels singing, when  a kind family we were camping near offered to charge my iPhone with their car charger.  I am forever indebted, as it allowed to me continue to photograph our experience on the island.

For our last day on Fraser, we left the 4x4 sitting idle and hiked from Central Station to Basin Lake.  At 5.6km return, we just upped Kenyon's longest hike by a couple kilometers and he did great; I love being able to cover longer distances as the kids get older.  Of course, there are days where I can't coax Kenyon to walk to the corner without him collapsing limply on the ground, sobbing--but on this day, 5.6 km was a breeze.
It didn't hurt that the hike was awesome, with mangled strangler figs, palms and ferns aplenty.

Alex the Buddha

As we packed up camp and said prepared to say farewell to Fraser Island, Jackson spotted this little guy on his tent and scooped it onto a stick for a picture.  He only had 6 legs but seemed to do just fine.  The boys also futilely attempted to grab a goanna; Sam encouraged them as I mentally calculated how many hours away we were from a hospital.  Luckily, they didn't even get close before it darted further up the tree.

We got back to the mainland, more than eager for a night at a hotel.  We bathed, washed clothes, ordered room service, watched a movie, and Sam and I sat in the bar and had a drink (yes, friends back home--Sam actually had a drink, too!).

Fraser was awesome, and now we had to start making our way back home with our stores of books on tape (and my patience for car noise) growing thin.


  1. Love LOVE your photos! Seriously beautiful!

    Good luck on the return trip...

  2. Annie, these pictures are AMAZING!!! Are these mostly iphone pics? Oh I know what you mean about that ship. I want to close my eyes and hear the waves beating against it; it was gorgeous.

    Halfway through your adventure and look at all the extremely cool things you have done. You guys are so cool.

  3. Summer--yep, I only had the iPhone and it did a great job. Supposedly the newer version of the phone has a superior camera, but I found mine to work fine for our needs.

  4. Summer--yep, I only had the iPhone and it did a great job. Supposedly the newer version of the phone has a superior camera, but I found mine to work fine for our needs.