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Long-Distance Walks with Mark Moxon

Fraser Island: Day 2: Lake Benaroon

A dingo raiding a tent at Central Station
A dingo raiding a tent at Central Station

Day 2 was when I saw my first dingo. Every silver lining has its cloud and every politician his perversion, and it seems that every Queensland island has its problem child: on Hinchinbrook it's the rat, and on Fraser it's the dingo. Dingoes are wild dogs, and the ones on Fraser Island are thought to be the purest breed left, due to isolation from interbreeding with other dogs.

Into the Bush

Lake Birrabeen
Lake Birrabeen and a local inhabitant

I decided to take the walking as it came, and headed south from Central Station and through the centre of the island to the first of the many freshwater lakes that dominate the geography of Fraser Island. The walk took me through more gum forest, with patches of rainforest, and I discovered a tree that was new to me, the scribbly gum. Like most gum trees the trunk is pure white, but the scribbly gum gets its names from the zigzag shapes all over its trunk, which are formed by burrowing insects. On first inspection it looks like some artistic vandal has come along with a sharp knife and scribbled on the trunks, in much the same pattern as you make when trying to get a stubborn biro to work, but after a while you notice the variety in the work, and it's quite hypnotic. Combined with the hiker's high – a condition that combines the exhaustion of hiking with the meditative hypnotic effect of regular plod-plod-plod, and which sends you off into a whole new plane of thought as you trudge through the bush – it proved quite a pleasant experience.

Lake Benaroon
Lake Benaroon
An umbrella inside a tent
The umbrella that saved me from a soaking at Lake Benaroon