These lyrics from Weezer’s “Island in the Sun” accurately describe my Spring Break. It’s always difficult, yet fun, to plan out activities for that week. For me, having been abroad, staying at my house in Brisbane was not the number one option. While friends and neighbors were going to New Zealand, Thailand, Fiji, or Bali, I chose to go to Fraser Island with my ecology class.
What’s Fraser Island, you ask? Why, it’s only the WORLD’S LARGEST sand island. I can tell that you are super impressed by this but Fraser Island is pretty impressive. Despite consisting solely of sand, this island supports a variety of vegetation, birds, reptiles, rodents, and mammals. When was the last time you saw a fifty-foot tree growing in sand and not soil?
Because I went here on a class trip, for me, the entire week was not all fun and games. Half of the day was spent doing field work, i.e. collecting data for a report due later in the semester. But the other half of the day was spent relaxing at one of the many beautiful lakes on the island.
Before stepping on to the island, visitors are reminded to be cautious of the wild dingoes that live there. While the dingoes are used to human presence, they should not be approached or fed.
We had to board this barge to cross over to Fraser Island.
Lake Birrabeen was the first lake we visited and made a great first impression for what the rest of the trip, relaxation-wise, would be like. The water was clear and refreshing but rippled from splashes from a game of keep-it-up.
This gorgeous burnt-orange-colored dingo posed for pictures near where a few of us were standing.
After a long hike identifying trees in the forest, we arrived at the most exciting lake: Lake Boomanjin. The water is clear but tinted red. The entire lake is reddened by the leaves that fall in, which contain a natural tannin similar to tea leaves.
We saw many, many different species of plants, including this Scribbly Gum, which gets its name from the scribbled trails that larvae make in the bark.
Of course big spiders are lurking in the forests. This is Australia.
A sand island wouldn’t be complete without a sand dune.
This is a strangler fig, which is also pretty cool.
There are plenty of beaches, lakes, and sand dunes on Fraser Island but there are also rainforests. Who knew that rainforests could survive in sand and in Australia?
Lake McKenzie was by far the most beautiful lake that we saw. One of the TAs took us to a special spot away from the other tourists. It was like we had our own little private beach on an island in the sun. The water was crystal clear and the sand was so white. It was a great way to spend the last afternoon on Fraser Island.
Although Fraser Island was one of the less adventurous Spring Break options, it still was a great option and I wouldn’t change it for a thing. I went somewhere that not many people can say they’ve visited, and those kinds of experiences are part of what studying abroad is about.