Club 4X4 Takes On the Fraser Island Clean Up 2023
It was a privilege to be a part of The Fraser Island Clean Up this year – a great initiative ran by the 4WD QLD Association. The event is held annually over a weekend, organised …
It was a privilege to be a part of The Fraser Island Clean Up this year – a great initiative ran by the 4WD QLD Association.
The event is held annually over a weekend, organised by club members in collaboration with Queensland Department of Environment Science (DES), Queensland Parks Wildlife Services (QPWS), Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) and event sponsors like Club 4X4.
Trekking out to the beautiful K’gari Fraser Island, all volunteers spent the weekend together collecting marine debris and rubbish left behind from tourists, leaving the island better than they found it. We are thrilled that we got to be a part of such a fantastic and work alongside some amazing people.
So, let’s recap the trip…
Club 4X4 used this event as an opportunity to really immerse themselves in the 4X4 adventure lifestyle. After a long drive from Sydney with a stopover at Byron Bay, Sara and Xenia caught up with the rest of Club 4X4 team on the Sunshine Coast to finish packing our new Ford Ranger & Everest. We loaded up our camping gear and chased the sun through the afternoon to make it to Rainbow Beach in the hope to catch the last barge of the day.
Before boarding, we made sure to lower our tyre pressures appropriately for our entry onto the sand from the barge. Deflating tyres was the first (of many) valuable lessons learned by a lot of the team who didn’t have any sand-driving experience. Despite two faulty deflators holding us up, we deflated the tyres to 16 PSI and made it to the barge just in time to be greeted by a mesmerising sunset.
Once we hit the soft sand on Fraser, the pink hues of the sunset lit up the horizon – simply stunning. And with all the stress of racing against the clock behind us, we were finally excited to enjoy the next couple of days, being so remote in such a beautiful place. We headed straight to K’gari Beach Resort in Eurong and enjoyed our last night of civilisation before the event kicked off.
After a bright, and early wake up, we caught up with the Fraser Island Clean Up Team (FICU) and had a great chat with one of the organisers, Lisa Lingard, about the event. We then checked the Club 4X4 team into the official event and waited for the last few members of our convoy to join us from the Sunshine Coast.
Once the rest of team had arrived and were ready to go, we departed Eurong and headed North up the island to our camping spot at Dundubara. Our trip up the island was another incredible beach drive, and another first for so many of the team. We were blessed with beautiful weather, worn-in beach tracks and had a comfortable, scenic cruise up the island. By lunch time, we had reached our camping spot in Dundubara, set up our swags and tents and made some salad wraps.
We used our free afternoon on the Friday to take a scenic drive to Knifeblade Sandblow lookout, the largest sand blow on Fraser Island. The contrast in scenery as soon as we headed inland was incredible… dense bushland and narrow sandy tracks offered a bumpy drive, and the birdlife was loud and clear. Heading back to camp in the evening we enjoyed our first night at camp with a communal dinner.
On Saturday morning, we started the day early and headed up to Ngkala Rocks to catch up with the Caloundra 4WD Club. Heading up past Indian Heads, we geared ourselves up for a rocky ride through the Ngkala Rocks – a track that is not for the faint hearted or an inexperienced 4WDer.
The Club 4X4 team was keen to give it go with a couple of experienced 4X4ers in the group, Dave and Steve, navigating through the rocks on the way up. On the way back, Georgia and Sara had a go and took us back across Ngkala.
Our new Club 4X4 Insurance vehicles made for smooth sailing up the beach. We’re running a Ford Everest and Ford Ranger which tackled both the rocky sections, soft sand and cuttings with ease. With our Diff Locks engaged and in low range, the Fords made for an extremely comfortable ride, despite the bumpy terrain.
The clean-up had well and truly started on the Saturday morning as we headed back down the island from Ngkala Rocks. A long queue of vehicles had lined up to get through Ngkala and start their clean-ups at the top of the island. High-vis vests were now dotted across the beach busy collecting rubbish.
Later in the day we were greeted by MR 4X4 Pat Callinan, whom we had the pleasure of inviting along on the trip, Pat worked alongside our team to clean our designated 6km stretch of the island, stopping every 1km to clean, and then following the Caloundra 4WD convoy to the dump point station near Orchid Beach.
In 2022 and 2023, an average of 8 tonnes of rubbish was collected on the island. The most common foreign objects that we found on the beach included water bottles, fishing gear and fragments from ships that had washed up from the ocean.
“Everything is weighed and around 20% of what we collect is broken down into all its categories. Anything you could name, we have a category on our database,” says Bernadette Davis, ambassador for Tangaroa Blue Foundation.
Bernadette continued to explain that “If all we do is clean up the beach, that’s all we will ever do… We need to look at what we find and trace it back to the source. We can then stop it through education or infrastructure changes.” Tangaroa Blue has the largest database in the southern hemisphere and is used by all levels of government and research.
All-in-all, it was so inspiring to see the amount of teamwork that went into to organising, setting up and pulling off such a massive and impactful event. Everyone’s spirits were high over the weekend, and whilst the amazing weather played apart, it was mainly a result of working alongside like-minded individuals, immersed in nature and making a real difference.
After an eventful day cleaning the island, we rewarded ourselves with a trip to the west coast of the island to Wathumba Creek. Sam enjoyed a throwing a line in, and the team relished a few beers while watching the sunset. As the sun was setting, we were visited by a curious Dingo who was enjoying the quieter side of the island.
To wrap up the event, 4WD QLD Association held a finale night with a raffle and communal dinner that was cooked up with huge camp ovens over the hot coals. It was a great chance for the Club 4X4 team to chat and get to know some of the Club members and volunteers. Whether you tour Australia or just 4X4 and camp over the weekends, it’s critical to preserve the ecological integrity of our environment so that future generations can experience and appreciate it for years into the future.
We are excited for next year’s Fraser Island Clean Up already and hope to see a bunch of you there! It feels great to make a positive impact and help preserve our beautiful backyard.