Country: Australia by Lisette
Queensland has many islands, such as Whitsunday Islands, Dunk Island and Great Keppel Island and Fraser Island. Everyone that I speak to tells me I absolutely must, must!, go and see the largest sand island of the world for myself.
The coloured sand cliffs seen from the 75 Mile Beach Highway are sublime; I have never seen anything like this! The cliffs truly look like rocks in all shapes and forms; it took me a while to realize that the guide was talking about the same cliffs when he referred to the sand cliffs. Tourists are not allowed to come very close to these cliffs; it’s a World Heritage Site, in a concerted effort to preserve the cliffs by the rangers and the Aborigines.
This island had a rich Aboriginal culture for the Butchulla people lived here. It was -and still is- a sacred place where many rites and rituals took place. It saddened me greatly to learn that the Aborigines were first forced to retreat to the island (safe from local settlers that had limited bush skills), and then were ousted from this island 1904 when the mission was closed. Even until today, no people of Aboriginal descent live on this island.
I loved the walk through the dunes to Lake Wabby. Because the sand is continuing to move it’s uncertain if this lake will be here in another 80 years. What happened is that moving sand dunes blocked a watercourse hence a lake is formed. Lake Wabby is beautiful though I felt a little uncomfortable. This is an initiation ceremonial site and forbidden for women. As tourism is deemed more important to the local authorities we were told about this as an interesting ‘fact’ while we were desecrating the site. Not sure why I still feel a little shocked after so many years, should be used to this attitude that is found all over the globe.
We left the lake via a trail in the rain forest; the diversity in nature is stunning. Next stop was Lake McKenzie, a dream spot. This lake is created with pure rainwater and is crystal clear and the most amazing blue ever seen. The beach reminded me of Whitehaven, heavenly.