Freelance journalist Antal Roos is currently travelling up the East Coast of Australia and shares her experience at Kingfisher Bay Resort, Fraser Island – May 2010. Antal regularly blogs on http://chicasontheroadcom.blogspot.com/
After ten months of travelling around the world, I must confess that some things get old. A waterfall will never be as impressive as the Iguazu Falls, no historic site will ever top Machu Picchu, and it’s hard to beat a city like Buenos Aires. Still, there is one thing that will always trigger me, and that’s an island. I’ve seen some of the most beautiful ones in the world, such as Tortuga Island in Costa Rica, Caye Caulker in Belize, Isla Mujeres in Mexico, and Ilha Grande in Brasil. All of them had their own special character and attractions, but I was told that none of them can be compared to Fraser Island.
I’ve heard the big stories from backpackers, who have all done a self-drive tour on the island, camping on the beach, drinking goon, getting eaten alive by mosquitos and having sleepless nights because of the dingoes. This probably sounds very attractive to most young backpackers, but to me, it didn’t. I decided to do something completely different. I was going to spend my days on Fraser in the Kingfisher Bay Resort. A resort that stands out because of their eco philosophy. Modern, but still one with nature. A combination that sounded a bit strange to me at first, but the first glance I got from the resort, as the ferry anchored at the jetty, was a real eye-opener. The green painted, wooden buildings totally blended in with the landscape, and the oddly looking roof of the main building rose just a little bit over the canopy of the trees. I couldn’t wait to see it from up close.
When I got to the main building, the first thing I noticed was the architectural design. Industrial shapes are combined with wood and tent-like structures, which almost give you the idea that you are walking into a modern greenhouse-slash-circus tent. Later on I was told that because of this design the main building hardly needs any air conditioning because it keeps itself cool. The interior design is stunning, everything you would expect from a classy resort, but you can still see the eco philosophy shine through as you are surrounded by beautiful plants and birds are regular visitors to the reception area. This goes for the rest of the resort as well as I noticed on the walk to my room. The hotel buildings are built at least half a metre of the ground, to make sure nature can still go its course, and they are surrounded by swampy areas, lots of plant and trees, and many boardwalks. These boardwalks are very well lit, but these lights are pointed down so that they don’t interfere with the nocturnal life around the resort. If you take a walk on these boardwalks you’ll be surprised by the sound of nature that surrounds you, no noises of cars or loud music, just singing birds and quacking frogs.
When I got to my room I was impressed by the beautiful view. I could oversee the swamps with the rare window lakes, and looked out over the ocean, with a stunning view of the jetty. After I had settled in, I spend some time in and around the heated pool and spa area. Not too long after that it was time to go and watch one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world (so they say). I could have watched the sunset from my balcony, but I decided to walk down to the beach and have a drink at the Jetty bar, just down at the end of the jetty. It was absolutely breathtaking.
After that, I had dinner in the Sand Bar, located just a couple of minutes away from the main building, where you can swim in some saltwater pools, have a nice bistro lunch or dinner and dance the night away in the bar area. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to all of this, because Ranger Emilio was awaiting me with some of the many Ranger Talks and activities that are offered by the resort. I was going to participate in de Dingo Talk, the Fraser Island presentation and the Ranger guided night walk. All of these were very interesting and informative, and they were a good preparation for my Beauty Spots tour the next day. The resort organizes these activities to inform their guest as much as they can about their surroundings, and to make them aware of the beautiful but sometimes dangerous flora and fauna. I learned what to do when you come face to face with a dingo and which snakes will kill you within two hours and which ones are actually quite friendly.
My second day on the resort I started my day with breakfast in the Maheno restaurant . This is also a cocktail bar, you can enjoy an a-la-carte lunch and it’s famous for its seafood buffet dinner on Fridays and Saturdays. After that I went on the Beauty Spots Tour. Ranger Steve was our guide for the day and he was going to show me, and 21 other guest, all the beauties of the Island in a 4×4-wheel drive coach. The rugged terrain made the bus ride into a rollercoaster ride from time to time, which made it extra exciting. We spend our day visiting the most beautiful sights on the island, walking around in a rainforest, swimming in Lake McKenzie and listening to all the wonderful stories that Ranger Steve was telling us. Lunch was provided by the Eurong Resort, one of the three other resorts on the island, and we were given tea and cookies on several occasions during the day. We were very well taken care of, and despite the rain, it was an amazing tour.
When I got back to the resort my day wasn’t over yet. I was going to participate in a Palatable Pairings course, where I was going to learn a lot about -mostly Australian- wines and how to combine them with traditional Australian dishes. My favorites were the deep-fried crocodile served with a sweet mayonnaise and a beautiful Chardonnay, and the duck with an old Australian Shiraz. My tasting senses have never been this spoiled before and the amount of information we were given was overwhelming. I enjoyed it very much! After the tasting I just had to have dinner in the beautiful Seabelle restaurant, where the Palatable Pairings was done. All the things we had tasted were on the menu, together with kangaroo, emu and a big range of vegetarian dishes. I went with the French onion soup as an entrée and had the kangaroo with baby leaf spinach, sweet potatoes and a mustard-munthari berry sauce as a main. And me and my dinner companions of course ordered a lovely bottle of Shiraz, Australians best wine. The service was excellent and the food exquisite, I couldn’t have ended my day in a better way.
After one more night in the resort, and one more morning of waking up to the sound of birds, the sun rising behind the jetty, and the smell of a new day, I got to spend one more day in the resort. I had nothing planned for the day, so I spend most of my time on my balcony, enjoying the sun and the view. I also went for a little walk on the beach and had lunch at the Sand Bar. I could have easily stayed here for another week, but all good things come to an end.
My conclusion about Fraser Island? It really is something special. Fraser is not your typical tropical island, it has so much more to offer then most of the other islands that I’ve visited. The fresh water lakes and creeks are something you won’t find anywhere else and there are so many different activities you can participate in, you’ll never get bored.
I’ll be going up North now, off to visit my next island, Great Keppel Island. I don’t think it is going to be easy for this island to impress me after Fraser, but I’ll try to give it a fair shot!
Antal Roos 21 may 2010