Enjoying Without Destroying - Experiencing Fraser Island
We recently arrived back onto mainland Australia having spent 2 months living on Fraser Island. We feel so privileged to have lived there, the sound of the waves hitting the beach, our daily soundtrack, and a swathe of shining dots, the sky we slept beneath.
We saw snakes, dingo's, cicada beetles and goanna's regularly; we shared our camp ground with an array of wildlife, all of which we had to get used to.
Most backpackers get a brief (often hungover) glimpse of the island via the super popular 4x4 tag-along tours. Many love it not just for the drunken antics but for the obvious beauty of champagne pools, Eli Creek, and Lake Mackenzie. Other tourists also love careering along the beaches, which are very much a highway in the busy season, setting up camps alongside the shoreline.
But unfortunately, some visitors to the island treat it like they might treat a theme park; everything there to entertain them when in reality it is place of spiritual and cultural heritage, not a playground. It's as if the natural wondrous beauty of the place comes second to the loud drunken sometimes damaging fun they all try to have whilst there. What is it about being on a remote deserted tropical island that makes anyone want to sink a carton of drink and then throw the beer cans into a bush?
Backpacker tours only really cause issues due to the high volume of people coming onto the island, every day. Groups of excited young people, all making friends and skulling a few stubbies, they are frequently told how to behave on the island, by the tour guides, many whom adore the island and treat with the respect it deserves. I'm not saying its as simple as a bit of littering or some drunken noise, but its how the tourists somewhat tarnish Fraser. However it is essential to the protection of places such as Fraser, that people are able to visit and see them, and that in turn, there are rangers patrolling and watching out for the island and its animal inhabitants. It just seems that some visitors could treat the island with more care, and not ruin it for those who want to witness its beauty.
There have been a few incidents over the years due to idiotic drunkenness, such as some backpackers who were found swinging a snake around. Not only dangerous and beyond stupid, but also, very cruel. Fraser is the home of these snakes and dingo's, they were here first; it is their one and only home, not a zoo.
The dingo's across the island are all tagged and if you approach a dingo and don't follow the guidelines on how to keep these wild animals, wild, then they will attack people, and are almost always tracked down and destroyed as a result. Don't leave food within their reach, don't allow your children to approach them, in fact, don't approach them at all. If they want to come over to see you, maintain a strong stance, keep eye contact, and don't show too much interest (or conversely, fear).
Dingo's might appear cute or like any old dog that you might approach in the street, but they have killer instinct. If you get bit by a snake or attacked by a dingo, chances are, you did something bad to begin with. Or maybe you were just unlucky. Either way, your actions in the island environment have a big impact on the safety of both you and the animals.
So basically, the easiest way to not be a douchey tourist, is to observe and appreciate the nature that places like Fraser posses, but don't interfere; don't bring selfish or brash human thinking into the animal kingdom.
I guess its a statement you can apply to so many places across the planet, that in visiting them we bring with us the things which eventually ruin the beauty we came to marvel at in the first place. It doesn't have to be that way. We just need to bring some sense, respect and thought along with us, to keep the beauty alive, not be part of its destruction.
Thanks for reading!
Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at NomaderHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!