It all started with a Jeep Cherokee, Eli Creek and a $270 bottle of whiskey. A few years later i found myself living in Paradise, hoping that it would never come to an end, unfortunately it did, just like the whiskey.
When I first heard about Fraser Island and Rainbow Beach I was in Brisbane looking for work, amongst the other thousands of backpackers. Me and my best bud Charlie were looking online when we came across work on the island. Knowing that the job had probably been snapped up quickly we sent off our CV's anyway along with several others to various companies.
Eventually i picked up a door to door sales job, mainly paid on commissions from sales. I was given the job amongst 20 other people, we all had our sales training in an office room in the middle of Brisbane. Right about the moment they were talking about walking long hours in the beating sun; so be sure to have sun cream and plenty of H2O, I got a text from Charlie. "We got the job on Fraser."
The next day we were on the road hightailing out of Brisbane with smiles on our faces and a 4x4 full of a few weeks provisions. However the universe had different plans for us as we soon found ourselves broken down in the middle of Harbour Bridge, now if any of you have driven across said bridge, you'd very well know its not the best of bridges to break down on. Especially when your only rescue is an automated robot on the phone, which still can't find your location. Luckily as quick as we'd broken down a friendly Aussie bloke pulled up in front of us and offered to tow us off the bridge.
A Few days later after having been through quite the journey trying to get the Jeep up and running, we were finally on the road towards Fraser. We dropped our friend off in Rainbow Beach at Pippies Beach House and shot off to catch the last ferry of the day. Being 19 I'd never done any driving on sand but didn't think much about looking into Fraser Island, thinking id be at Cathedral beach in no time settled into my dreamy Island life job. Asking the ferries deck hand where it was on the island I soon found out that it was a 80km (50miles) drive up the beach! Completely unaware of actually how vast the island was and what it had in store for me, I started the drive.
Before we knew it we were racing some Aussie guys across the sand, little did we know we were also racing the tide, as the longer we left it, the wider the mouth of Eli Creek got. We said goodbye to our fellow racers at Happy Valley and asked some locals how much further we had to go, they said we were about 15kms from Cathedrals, however watch out for Eli. Not knowing that Eli was a fresh creek pumping out a whopping One to Four Million litres of fresh water every hour, we headed on our way.
Finally we came face to face with the beast, and attempted finding a track over around the side but soon found ourselves stuck in soft sand at the top on the bank, there was only one way out and that was to dig the embankment away and drive down directly into the creek and across to safety. All went to plan but the creek crossing part, the Jeep sunk rapidly under the fast flowing water and we were soon bottomed out a rock.
With both of us panicking not knowing what to do we saw some headlights approaching. Some fishermen rocked up, and immediately started laughing at our misfortune telling us to get all our belongings out before the tide rose any higher to claim what it hadn't already. Amidst the rush and shock of sinking when we were so close to our final destination, the dingos also decided that it would be a good time to steal half our belongings as we carried our bags back and forth from the jeep to the embankment.
After spending the night with nothing more than a thin tent skin between us and the dingos we arose to waves crashing over the roof of the jeep. We sat there in despair wandering if we'd still have our job offer, having yesterday being the deadline for us to arrive. Eventually after 6 hours of being the newest tourist attraction on Fraser beach, rescue arrived from Cathedral Beach and towed us up to where I thought I'd be spending the next 6 months of my life, not the next 3 years!
After working for 6 months on the island, and saying goodbye to Charlie a few months earlier as he decided to travel a little more and go home to uni, I decided to leave the island and explore more of Australia myself. I got all the way up to Cairns, travelling with an amazing group of people, seeing many beautiful places along the way. Swimming in crystal clear fresh water, jumping into some amazing plunge pools and exploring beaches all along the coast, but I still couldn't stop thinking about Fraser Island and all the nature and beauty that it had to offer. I decided I had to go back and find a way to make it my home.
A year later I had an amazing job working for Pippies Beach House, they run 4x4 guided tours out to Fraser Island, showing people the beauty it bestows, along side good tunes and plenty of goon. All the tour Guides treated the island as their home and made the tours extra special and worth every cent. I did a little bit of everything over my time working there from reception work, to housecleaning, we had an amazing team of people running the show. Living in rainbow beach gave me access to the island, it was my backyard, the perfect playground.
Fraser Island was bursting with life all year round, the Humpback Whale migration from late July to November and turtle hatching from January to late March. Wild Dingos roamed the island night and day looking for food scraps left behind from the ocean or the occasional naughty tourist. There are species of turtle and fish found in the lakes there that had never been discovered in any other lakes in the world. It was its own source of energy, one big breathing, living land mass. K'gari. That's her true name given to her by the aborigines, it means paradise.