Spend three weeks (give or take) on Fraser Island, and you start wondering… what’s does the other side of Lake McKenzie look like? How different is the scenery at the northern tip, beyond Indian Head? And how far up Eli Creek can you go? Everyone who visits Fraser Island strolls up the board walk and floats back down the few hundred metres in the creek. The water is beautiful – 80 million litres of it flow from the creek into the sea every day – and the float is great fun, but once we had done it a few times, curiosity got the better of us and we decided to venture further afield. Having heard rumours that there was a hidden lagoon inland (there isn’t), we wanted to go up Eli Creek to discover its hidden secrets (they are: sticks, stones and spiders; lots of spiders).
There are no hiking trails along Eli Creek. We climbed up the adjacent sandblow and soon discovered that we would have to make it to the other side of this dense piece of nasty scrub.
None of us emerged unscathed (more on that later), but were thrilled to make it to the other side.
Then the search for the inland stretch of Eli Creek began. It is surprisingly hard to find a flowing creek when it’s obscured by thick scrub, tall trees and a disorientingly meandering sand dune that rises and dips unexpectedly.
We were close to resigning ourselves to our fate: a life in the bush or at least a night in the forest, when we finally found the elusive Eli. Hey Mate, so good to see ya!
Needless to say, this was not the end of our travails. Somewhat predictably, the part of Eli Creek that no human ever sets foot in is completely overgrown, so getting back wasn’t just a matter of leisurely drifting down, as we had envisaged. Once we got closer and started hearing the familiar shrieks of happy backpackers, civilisation started looking pretty attractive once again!
Going up Eli Creek was great fun and although we were never more than a couple of kilometres from the throngs of tourists gathering at the mouth of Eli Creek, it felt like the wilderness adventure of a lifetime. Nonetheless, next time I go hiking on Fraser Island, I’ll stick to the walking trails… In years to come, we’ll always have these memories – and the scars to prove we went farther up Eli Creek than any pom before us.