Riding along Fraser Island.
Setting up camp on Fraser Island.
Seeing Fraser Island made easy on horseback.
Canter along the shores of Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world, and all on horseback.
Fraser Island, measuring 120km by 15km, is the largest sand island in the world. The foliage-covered sand bar was included on the World Heritage List in 1993, and its northern end is protected as the Great Sandy National Park.
Much of the island is thick with forest, and has several unique plant species. Swimming in the sea around the island is not a good idea as there are man-eating sharks. If they don't get you, the undercurrents probably will. Luckily, there are around 200 lakes, some of them quite superb for swimming.
There are no paved roads, but you can drive a four-wheel-drive there. Horses are permitted, but not en masse. Lyn Tainsh and her niece Terri own and run Clip Clop Treks on Fraser Island. They have 28 horses and have been operating for almost 20 years. Their permit only allows 12 horses at a time, 12 times a year, giving nature time to replenish, so the island remains unspoilt. It also means the treks are pretty exclusive as they strictly take only 120 riders a year on tour.
Riders with little experience are accepted, but they do recommend a few lessons first. Clip Clops are most suited for intermediate to experienced riders, as you are in the saddle for five to six hours each day.
A large, barge-type ferry transports people, horses and four-wheel-drives. Each rider stands with their horse for the 20-minute trip, and the horses wear booties to prevent them slipping.
Clip Clop provides two-man tents, horses, saddles and food. All you need to take are your personal belongings and sleeping bag. Please be aware you must use environmental soap.
When you reach the campsite at the end of the day, you can help set up camp if you wish, but there is no pressure to do that. Tents are usually set up away from the campfire for privacy. Bathing is done in the river, or you can boil up some water and use a tarpaulin to make an enclosed shower area.
A campfire is lit and a marquee set up for the evening meal, and the horses are enclosed by a portable electric fence. They are unsaddled, washed down and rugged. Then they are hobbled and fed special food from a nosebag so nothing foreign falls on the ground.
The following morning after breakfast, the horses are saddled up again and away you go to explore more of this interesting and unusual island.