… and put up a parking lot.
So sang Joni Mitchell about beautiful Hawaii in her 1970 song ‘Yellow Taxi’.
That describes a bit of how I feel about Fraser Island. Going there and catching fish, enjoying the camaraderie of friends and the break from the home domestic regime was good; a rare experience to be treasured.
Fraser is a world heritage listed site: a 75 mile long sand island, girdled by wide sandy beaches and a sea full of fish. The middle bit is covered by Casuarina trees, natural bush, clay cliffs, sand dunes and freshwater lakesStreams and rivers of cold, clear, beautifully pure water flow over the beach to the sea every few miles. And dingoes prowl the edges of camps.
Fishermen flock there especially from July to September: the tailor ‘run’. Shoals of that lovely swift, fierce, tasty fish spawn there in their thousands. Whales sail by, spouting and breaching; few boats are seen. It is not too difficult to catch a fish. The beaches are wide, one can camp almost anywhere at the back of the beach and the sand will yield clams and bloodworms for bait.
Here’s the rub: fishermen and campers love powerful 4×4 vehicles and many spend preceding months perfecting these mechanised marvels. They congregate in groups and tear up and down the beaches on the firm sands at low tide looking for good fishing or camping spots at speeds of 80 to 100 kph! This is an almost continuous stream. Some tow trailers laden with camping and fishing gear. They are joined by special high power buses for backpackers who descend on the viewpoints in droves, before boarding and resuming the charge up or down the beach. At certain spots the sand is demarcated for landing strips for light aircraft which arrive in flights, full of sightseers.
I suppose that it is a symptom of modern-day life and I am flailing against a hurricane … but I don’t know if I wish to return there.
My fishing reputation was enhanced by catching one of the biggest tailor (about 2 – 3 kg) and a few Dart which are a lovely fighting fish; surprisingly tasty too!