December 10, 2012

Fraser Shines In The Summer Time


November and December are always fabulous and fun on Fraser Island.  The sub-tropical climate, blue skies, perched lakes rimmed with golden sand, diversity of wildlife and summer wildflowers combine to showcase our island home to best advantage.

Now that's what we call a water tight seal!
And what an interesting few weeks we’ve had.  Regular readers may recall our lost international visitor, Fred the New Zealand Fur Seal, who made a temporary home for himself at the end of our jetty for a couple of weeks before disappearing.  We’re happy to report that Fred was recently spotted living on a houseboat at Rainbow Beach as our friends at the Fraser Coast Chronicle report.

Whilst seals are almost unheard of on Fraser, dingoes are probably our most famous residents and certainly have the ability to polarise people’s opinions.  Not everyone is lucky enough to spot one when they visit Fraser Island, but as we head into summer, the young dingoes are more independent and boisterous and the teenagers practice their hunting skills.

Recently, a bus load of guests who were out with Ranger Hayden on one of our eco-accredited tours of the island, were lucky enough to spot an old male dingo hunting a swamp wallaby on the island’s western beach.  Hayden captured the footage, which we’d love to share with you here (though some readers may find content distressing).



Hayden and his bus load of 33 international passengers from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Korea, Taiwan and the United Kingdom were on the second day of their island tour and were driving just north of The Pinnacles Coloured Sands when Hayden noticed a swamp wallaby in the water.

Ranger Hayden and his new catch phrase
"I said to my passengers: ‘Hey there's a wallaby in the water’... and they all grabbed their cameras and, as you can imagine, there was lots of excited chatter in the bus."

"I knew when we stopped, that it was unusual to see the swamp wallaby on the eastern beach (they're normally found in the swamps on the western side of the island), let alone in the water, so I immediately started scanning the dunes for dingoes and sure enough an old experienced male came bounding out of the dunes... so I leapt for my camera and let it roll."

"Whilst initially there were gasps from some of the girls in the group about watching this scene unfold, I explained that it may not be all that nice to watch, but that it was just nature in action. When we talked about it later that day, everyone said they were glad they had seen the dingo doing what nature intended."

"It's actually not unheard of to hear about this sort of hunting behaviour - where dingoes shepherd their prey to the water's edge to make it easier to catch," Hayden said. "Our fraternity of Fraser Island Tour guides can recall one instance from a long time ago where a similar thing happened - but it is certainly unusual to occur in front of a bus load of passengers."

Dingo and son spotted on tour on Fraser Island
"Add to this the fact that I've been guiding on Fraser Island for a little over six years and have only seen four wallabies in that time - and you'll start to appreciate how rare and exciting this was for me. I have never seen this before and I never expect to see it again," he said.

There’s been a little more animal action closer to the resort, but of the romantic kind!  Romance is literally in the air on Fraser Island during the summer months as our resident male frog population compete with each other to attract a mate for the season.  The bigger the male frog’s throat sac, the louder the frog song and the more attractive the male appears as a would-be suitor.

Summer is also a fantastic time for guests to visit, explore, enjoy the company of friends, fall asleep to frog song and wake to an orchestra of birds.  As we’ve headed out on our guided night walks, the early December skies have been just beautiful to look at and the northern sky has been lit up with both Sirius and Orion’s Belt. Sirius is very prominent as it is the brightest star in the night sky and only 8.6 light years away at that!

We think it’s fair to say we’ve had a cracking start to summer and look forward to sharing more eco adventures next month.  From our family to yours, have a fabulous and safe festive season.