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Part 1 - Fraser Island & Rainbow Beach


  • Airlie Beach --> Rainbow Beach (14hr 50min)

So it all started the day before my Fraser Island trip in Rainbow Beach. As soon as I got off the overnight bus in Rainbow Beach I met Shabs and Savannah. We were fast friends,, we started by going to the hostel and dropping our luggage off before heading into town to a cute coffee shop for a bite to eat after a long night.

We sat for a while just talking and getting to know each other before we headed to the numerous gift shops to buy anklets, and other random items. Shabs wanted to find the rainbow steps so we headed down to the beach on a mission to find them and scope out Rainbow Beach before we left for the island the next day.

We found the steps, and headed back to the hostel to check in and freshen up. I needed a nap, for the life of me I cannot sleep on public transport, whether it be cars, buses, trains or planes. Which is really really annoying to be honest.

We managed to reconvene later that evening and went for some dessert before we had to pack for the next three days. I forced myself to pack lightly, very lightly, which in the end I was so grateful for.

Day 1

I was woken up by my alarm at 5:45am and surprisingly felt fresh and ready to head out for the day which made everything a little bit easier. As I sat down with Shabs and Savannah for breakfast I met someone they’d been sharing a room with, Danika or Dani as I call her. Turns out she is from a village about 20 minutes away from me at home, typical right? We fly to the other side of the planet and there is someone I could have potentially met at home.

There were 4 different cars in our little convoy for our trip. Shabs and Savannah were in the same car and Dani and I were also in the same car. When it came to deciding who would be the first to drive nobody managed to pluck up the courage, it was going to be difficult and new for all of us driving across sand, we all just stood and stared at each other hoping someone would volunteer.

I offered to drive first despite also being extremely nervous about it like everyone else but I trusted by own abilities and knew I would be really careful, hopefully watching me do it would reassure everyone and give them some confidence in themselves, which I think it did in the next few days. I knew I had the emotional capacity to deal with it, I do have some faith in myself it turns out. Everyone who drove did such a good job and we were all so supportive of each other constantly giving advice and letting each driver know they were doing really well.

Getting to the ferry and across to the island was the easy part, we connected to the music and got some bangers on, but from there to the town it was probably one of the most challenging things I have done in the past 8 months.

The white fluffy sand for lack of better term was an bitch to drive through, the tyres had little to no grip at so with a slight turn of the wheel you’d be sliding. It would have been very easy for the car to flip or something to go wrong, good job there were safety videos.

I think all that yoga I did paid off because the breathing techniques and self-reassurance I used were the only thing keeping me from freaking out, and if I freaked out the whole car would have. Safe to say that first drive sent my cortisol through the bloody roof. Realistically everything was fine, I am an experienced driver and the others in the car were constantly hyping me up.

By the end of the first part the reality of being car 4, the last one, had set in. Car 3 was taking there time with the waves, we weren’t allowed to get the tires wet so we had to avoid them, this meant that I had to stop and wait for them to go back out and was ultimately falling behind the convoy.

Also driving through the cars tracks was really difficult as it was hard to control the grip of the tyres, so naturally I ended up giving up and setting my own tracks, going closer to the waves and the wet sand where it was easier to drive. I was behind anyway and nobody else was on the beach, I just had to be mindful of the waves and not get the tires wet.

After the initial scary part, it was actually really fun as we were all singing and had the windows open.

Once we got to the little town we all grabbed a coffee and made the most of having some signal as we wouldn’t for the next few days, we were off the grid. It was clear after the first drive that the others were a lot more confident and were excited to drive now which was really nice to see.

Our first destination on the island was Lake McKenzie, it was nothing short of stunning. The sand was white as snow and the water went from a bright crystalline blue to a deep navy as it got deeper. The water was extremely cold and was so clean, we managed to get some really good photos here which I will put below.

This was where I first met Ole, I asked him to get a photo of the girls and I, then ultimately ended up dragging him into them as well. Turns out he was German and from somewhere near Hamburg? Ole don’t kill me I genuinely can’t really remember but I feel like that’s right. I had noticed him the day before but hadn’t spoken to him yet, he ended up being kind of hilarious, Dani and I learnt he rarely smiles and is honestly one of the best friends I made on this trip, along with Dani, obviously.

We had a solid group of friends going at this point, Savannah and Shabs got on like a house on fire which was heart-warming to see as they were just so different and bounced off each other great.

After the Lake we went for lunch at a little forest area called Central Station, we went for a little walk before settling down and having a few wraps. The food on the entire trip was amazing by the way, it was all so good and I am convinced I didn’t spend a second feeling hungry. We then headed to where we would be camping, I don’t know why my expectations were so low but the whole site was so nice! The toilets and showers were super clean, the tents were more than big enough and under cover, plus we even had a bonfire area.

Dani and I decided to share a tent and got it all set up before we all went to see the sunset at the sand dunes close to the camp. The walk absolutely killed my legs, they hurt like hell, but it was so worth it, the views were unreal.

Dani, Ole and I headed there together, and I finally felt like we were getting to know each other properly and I really liked them. There wasn’t much of a sunset at the dunes due to a few clouds yet it still managed to be an amazing experience. We spent a good while up there before it started getting dark just talking, once we had headed back to camp the three of us sat by the bonfire, had a few drinks, and laughed at Shabs and Savannah attempting to escape being tied together.

We didn’t really drink the first night but Dani, Ole and I did venture down to the beach in the dark, in a triangle formation with Ole at the front with a dingo stick, which was kind of hilarious. Once we got down to the beach we stood next to each other and just marvelled at the sky above us. I had never seen stars that bright and clear before, you could see right out into the galaxy. In that moment it felt like we were witnessing something truly beautiful together and is one of my favourite memories from the trip.

After that surreal moment the childish antics kicked in. The dingo stick broke and the other two started fencing each other which quickly morphed into some hilarious Harry Potter final battle re-enactment, it had me cry laughing in the end. Who would have guessed we were in our twenties.

I was thinking about just how fun and childish we can be as travellers, it almost feels healing. The only responsibility we really have is to keep ourselves alive, having that kind of freedom along with others in that same situation lends to a really therapeutic type of behaviour. I always worried I was too responsible or uptight about certain things and on this trip, I think I have finally realised that I can just relax and have fun without having to think too much. We were on an island, with no cell service or wifi, just each other, it felt like being a child again and going out to make our own fun.

It was such a simple experience but one that I reflected and gained a lot from, watching those two run around after each other in dark like fools under a beautiful night sky.

Dani and Ole, whilst constantly teasing me, have never made me feel ashamed of some of the things I like or I am interested in and have really helped me gain confidence in being unapologetic about who I am.

Once we returned we sat by the fire and enjoyed each others company before heading to bed for an early night.

That was part one of my Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island entry! It is a little long but when I originally journaled the experience, I wanted to capture all the details as it was a memory I intend to cherish. It also gives a little bit of insight into some reflection I have done recently. I hope you enjoyed this entry be sure to look out for the next one!

Stay happy and healthy as always,

Sami x


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