Have you ever booked a romantic escape, dreaming about sunny beach days and floating in clear blue water but then right before you go, the weather man tells you it will be pouring with rain all the time? If yes, what did you do - go, cancel or reschedule your trip? Our romantic escape to Fraser Island was booked for a few days (15 to 17 October 2017) in springtime which is from September to November and recommended as a great time to visit as there is little chance of rainfall. Unfortunately, the weather forecast for that week predicted rain for the entire time we would be at the island. I kept thinking it couldn't possibly rain ALL the time and surely the sun would peek through every now and again for us to enjoy some pool time in the sunshine!?
Friends recommended I reschedule our trip if I could as they felt that Fraser Island is one of those destinations that is definitely better enjoyed in the sunshine, but this was not an option for us as per the terms and conditions of our booking. Not to worry I thought, I've booked numerous trips even in the rainy season to save on travel costs, knowing that there's the possibility that it could rain for days during our time away, but *touch wood*, we've always been really lucky with the weather! As it turned out, we weren't so lucky with the weather this time - rain was pouring all 3 of the days we were there for my birthday! Packing for your rainy trip: I packed an umbrella each for hubby, thinking that would be enough but the wind inverted my umbrella a few times and it eventually broke. I recommend instead, packing waterproof jackets with hoodies and even waterproof long pants and socks if you can (as it gets cold when it rains), a jumper and closed shoes.
The start of our rainy road trip to our romantic Fraser Island getaway
We set off on a rainy road trip at 7.30am to the Mainland Reception of Kingfisher Bay Resort, located in River Heads, Queensland Australia - just over 3 hours drive from our hometown Brisbane. If you are heading there yourself and don't have your own car, we recommend renting a car through rentalcars.com which we love to use as it compares rental car prices between car rental companies. Arriving at the mainland office of Kingfisher Bay Resort, the staff were very friendly and welcoming. Checking in was easy!
We paid to leave our car in a secure spot at the Kingfisher Bay Resort mainland office as we weren't planning to drive on the island. After doing a bit of research, we found there's much more to driving on a sand island than just driving on a normal road and decided we weren't ready for it - we chose to do a bus tour to the main attractions instead (more on that later).
You can only drive on Fraser Island with a 4WD vehicle which can be transported to the island by ferry - you can book this in with Kingfisher Bay Resort before your trip. Our ferry was scheduled to go to the island at 12.30pm so with time to spare, we decided to have some pizza at the cafe behind the office which had beautiful ocean views.
Soon enough, we got onto a bus that took us to the Kingfisher Bay Resort ferry and left the mainland at 12.30pm sharp as scheduled - it was about a 45 min ferry ride to Fraser Island.
The Kingfisher Bay Resort ferry that took us to Fraser Island
The ferry is fitted with comfortable chairs and the beautiful views can be seen from any of the large windows all around. We felt the upper level of the ferry had the best views (but not soft seats).
In the middle of the ferry is a fully licensed bar or "saloon" as they called it where we bought a chocolate cupcake (as a mini birthday cake!) and some soft drinks.
Arriving at Fraser Island:
It was love at first sight when we arrived at Fraser Island!
Even on a rainy day with grey skies, Fraser Island was picturesque with its beautiful mountain views and water colors! Walking off of the ferry, we were guided onto buses going to Kingfisher Bay Resort.
On arrival, guests were told the basics of where to find what in the resort. We also received a resort map and keys to our accommodation which we couldn't wait to go to after driving in wet conditions for so long!
We booked a standard room and ended up in room 204 which had a view perfect for nature lovers and a cute seating area for two on the balcony!
Our room at Kingfisher Bay Resort
There was no bath but the shower was a generous size. At first it seemed people passing by could look into the large bathroom window but then we realized they wouldn't be able to because of the way the accommodation had been designed - it was just a nice feature, not a peephole :D I had planned to go for a swim in the outdoor pool after settling in but didn't feel like being cold as it was still raining. There is one undercover Jacuzzi with warm water but it was already occupied by a family.
Instead, we took the shuttle bus (that drives between the different restaurants) on the resort to the jetty bar.
My favorite memory of our time at Fraser Island - enjoying champagne at the jetty bar!
There we enjoyed the chilled music, fresh air, ocean views and the free bottle of wine we got for booking this romantic escape at a good price through LuxuryEscapes.com. It was a great end to my birthday!
The Beauty Spots Bus Tour
The tour bus
After a delicious buffet breakfast of fresh fruits, sausages, eggs, bacon, hot danishes and more (included in our deal), it was time to go on the Beauty Spots Tour which I'd been looking forward to for ages as some of the spots we'd be visiting were the main reasons for my desire to visit Fraser Island.
We heard that the roads are quite rough and that the tour bus bounces harder at the back than it does in the front. Being that my partner Kobus has back problems (pinched nerves), we asked the staff if we could possibly be seated in the front of the bus - they were very accommodating with our request and we were called out to get into the bus first.
The bus was extremely comfortable, the tour guides were entertaining, informative and friendly - everything was going swimmingly. Unfortunately due to the non-stop rain, we didn't get to enjoy each of the wonderful tour stops as much as we had hoped to - we were soaking wet and cold after getting out a few times and actually felt after a while that we just wanted to go home as we were uncomfortable and not seeing much through the rain covered windows. Don't get me wrong - we would absolutely recommend this gorgeous tour on a sunny day!! But if you ask us if it is worth AUD $390 for two people to do on a very rainy and windy day? No, that's a lot of money for us! It wasn't all bad of course, we still made the best of our time there - below are our best photos and memories from our bus tour to help you decide if you still want to go ahead with it if it happens to rain while you are there:
1. Eurong Beach and the famous Maheno shipwreck
The rolling waves of Eurong Beach
Despite the rain, I chose to get out at the first stop which was Eurong beach. Walking along the beach and seeing the magnificent rolling waves, I was reminded of my favorite childhood memories of holidays back in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa where the waves are fun to jump in and full of sea foam. I haven't seen waves like that in a very long time! Nobody was swimming though, maybe just check if it is safe to swim there before you go. The historical Maheno Shipwreck was of course a fascinating site waiting to be explored!
The historical Maheno Shipwreck as viewed through the window of our tour bus
The 122 meter vessel was built in 1905 and was famous for being the first turbine-driven steamer. Later a cyclonic storm snapped the tow chain of the Maheno causing it to drift helplessly it's current resting place on Fraser Island's ocean beach*.
Walking next to the "highway" of Fraser Island to the Maheno Shipwreck
We spotted dingoes while looking at the wreck! Thankfully there were lots of clear instructions everywhere in our resort on how to behave around a dingo and our tour guide also gave us a good briefing - basically you should always face towards the dingo, stand with your arms crossed and move away slowly to name a few pointers.
A Fraser Island dingo!
Be on the lookout for more tips for dingo encounters - it will come in handy! It seems people easily mistake dingoes for friendly dogs but they are wild animals and have bitten (or worse - killed!) tourists in the past.
2. The Pinnacles Coloured Sands
The Pinnacles Coloured Sands
We loved seeing these towering, sandy cliffs with it's many many shades of naturally coloured sands - from reds, oranges, yellows and browns.
Closeup of the Pinnacles Coloured Sands
It is said that the Butchulla people (the indigenous people of Fraser Island), believed the coloured sands were formed long ago as a result of a tragic love story which our tour guide shared with us. If you want to read more about this love story, click here.
3. Eli Creek
Eli Creek on a rainy day
I had been dying to go to Eli Creek to swim in its beautiful coloured water but unfortunately for us at that stage, it was windy and raining hard. I didn't want to try and enjoy a swim with hard, cold rain in my face, already blurring my vision and then have to sit on the bus for hours to go in wet clothes (the tour is about 8 hours long).
Eli Creek and its pathway on a rainy day
We only stayed a few minutes to take photos but some people from our tour went for a quick swim regardless of the weather conditions! 4. Eurong Beach Resort Lunch
Eurong Beach Resort Lunch
After a great lunch consisting of roasted chicken, sausages, potato salad, pasta salad and more, we visited the on-site bakery for pudding. We especially loved the chocolate eclairs. Is it just me or is good food even more enjoyable in rainy weather!? I thought this 3-star resort looked great - especially the pool!
5. Rain forest walk
View from the rain forest
We skipped the opportunity to take a 2km walk through the beautiful rain forest in the rain, but enjoyed exploring the area close to the bus with our umbrellas!
Kisses in the rain!
A section of the path through the rain forest
Seeing the luscious green leaves being washed by the rain was a beautiful sight despite getting wet!
6. The stunning Lake McKenzie
View of the stunning Lake McKenzie
Lake McKenzie was absolutely my #1 reason for visiting Fraser Island and it was every bit as beautiful as I had hoped. It was still raining when we got there, so we took our umbrellas and walked down the steps to the beach. Hubby found a bit of shelter under the trees where he waited for me to be one of the crazies that jumped into the lake and I did! I couldn't resist immersing myself in the stunning shades of blue water.
The changes in water colour of Lake McKenzie
If you also appreciate lakes and ocean views with different shades of blue like this one, I recommend you read the blog Fifty shades of Blue.
After the bus tour, we walked to the Sand Bar of the resort to buy some tasty pizza for dinner. We couldn't wait to get back to our accommodation to take a hot shower, put on some fresh, dry clothes and relax in bed while watching a bit of telly.
Checking out We woke up to the sound of the rain outside, and lazed in bed a little longer as the checkout time was only at 10am. After another tasty breakfast, we got onto the ferry again which took us back to the Mainland Reception of Kingfisher Bay Resort, located in River Heads. Checking out was a breeze. Before driving home, we looked at the Facebook page Higgins Storm Chasing for any updates on floods in the area as at least one of the suburbs we would be driving through to get back home, was prone to flooding. Only one road was flooded and blocked on our way back, otherwise it was a safe and slow ride back in the rain.
What we learnt from this experience that might benefit you:
We hope to go back to the beautiful Fraser Island when it's nice and sunny and definitely think it will be worth another visit (it's every bit as beautiful as we had dreamed it was) - next time we'll book for a December stay though in the hopes that we might have less of a rainy experience! According to the resort staff though, it rains almost every day on Fraser Island, allowing the rain forest and lakes to prosper. It might be worth it then to stay for longer to increase your chances of enjoying at least one sunny day!
When I asked the hotel staff what the cancellation policy is on the Beauty Spots tour they said full charges apply if you choose on the day not to do the tour. Cancellations are only allowed outside of 48 hours to the travel date so that they have time to resell the seats.
This was our first time booking one of the deals advertised on LuxuryEscapes.com - we're excited that we now know for ourselves that their deals are legit and look forward to booking more holidays for cheaper!
We had a lovely stay at Kingfisher Bay Resort, but we have noticed that we enjoy staying at couples-only resorts more!
We initially thought the lunch and dinner prices on the menus of Kingfisher Bay Resort were quite pricey and packed snacks in order to try and save money but we ended up not eating most of the snacks we packed - really we would have been better off just buying food at one of the many restaurants in the resort as there were cheaper food options available.
It was extremely useful during this trip that my camera is water proof - it just made me love it even more! If you'd like to read more about my favorite camera that I can use in the rain with no worries at all - click here to read the blog.
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You are invited to come and share your romantic travel recommendations in the Romantic Explorers Facebook group. We'd love it if you could come and share photos from your own experiences and recommendations there or let us know: ♥ Was one of your romantic escapes affected by rain? How did you make the best of it?
♥ What was the most romantic place you've visited on a rainy day? Hope to see you there!