The Three Island Hop

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Updated: June 19, 2020

Sean Scott grabbed his family, his camera and his new LandCruiser and spent a few days loving life.

Having grown up in south-eastern Queensland the sand islands of North Stradbroke Island, Moreton Island and Fraser Island have always been go-to destinations. It’s where I cut my teeth in becoming an off-road enthusiast some 25 years ago in my four-cylinder Holden Jackaroo.

Fast forward a few decades and I thought it would be the perfect destination to break in my new, custom-built, off-road photography truck: the epic, 79 series dualcab LandCruiser.

I was lucky enough to have worked with Toyota Australia for the previous two years and had done two laps of Australia. For the first lap I had the comfort of a brand new 200 Series Sahara LandCruiser and it was a beautiful car to drive. The following year I had the Toyota 76 wagon, and I was so glad to be able to test out both vehicles on such big drives. I loved the 79s and 76s, but a lot of people told me I would hate the roughness of the trucks on such big drives.

They couldn’t have been more wrong.

The TJM RIG

I absolutely loved the feel of the 70 Series LandCruiser and it really made me feel like I was out on an adventure. The only problem I had was those vehicles were stock-standard and weren’t tailored to my needs. So, with the tests and two laps of Australia under my belt, I decided on the 79 Series dualcab LandCruiser and I fitted it out with everything I wished I’d had on the loan trucks from Toyota.

First up was the full TJM set up.

I loved the look of the gear, and having used it on previous 4WDs the decision was easy: bullbar, side rails, snorkel, winch, compressor and recovery gear.

I also fitted the Norweld canopy and my mate Caleb from Pro Touring Concepts fitted out the truck with all the best bits. I had charging systems, water tanks, fridges… basically everything needed to be able to work and live in any location in Australia.

Going Wild

After a few months of building the truck it was time to head to my favourite three islands to give it a good testing out.

North Stradbroke was the first stop and with my family on board, I towed my caravan over there and we all got to enjoy the very first outing in the new truck. Stradbroke is close to my home at Burleigh Heads on Queensland’s Gold Coast, but once on the ferry with the mainland fading in the distance it really did feel like another world.

The beaches and gorges of Stradbroke Island offer the best spots to walk and swim and the wildlife on the island is incredible. Koalas, kangaroos, snakes, dolphins, sharks and so much more wildlife can be seen there. Every morning we drove out of camp and up the beach to a secluded lake to have breakfast. It was perfect.

Favourite

From Stradbroke Island I unhitched the ’van and headed over to Moreton Island.

Arriving on a picture-perfect day the first stop was the Tangalooma wrecks, a great spot to snorkel and check out all the sunken wrecks the Queensland government had put in place.

From there we took the main tracks across to the eastern side of the island to explore the pristine island beaches. It’s a great spot for fishing and there are loads of great campsites.

After lunch near Cape Moreton it was time to check out the lighthouse and take a swim over in Honeymoon Bay. My favourite camping spot, depending on the weather and wind, is either Main Beach or Yellow Patch on the northern side of the island.

Tight Fit

From Moreton Island we headed further north and took the ferry to Noosa where we headed up the beach to Double Island Point.

This is an incredible part of south-eastern Queensland and a magnet for 4WD enthusiasts. The camping on the beach there can get quite busy, but it’s an epic spot. Spending the day at the beach is a must, and once at the very northern end the choice can be made whether to stay on the northern or southern side of Double Island Point. One side or the other is always protected from the wind.

Depending on the beach conditions and the tide you can then head up to Inskip Point via either Rainbow Beach or the inland track at Freshwater Beach.

Be careful heading around via Rainbow Bay as cars have been lost there. There’s not much space to make it around.

Keep A Lookout

From Inskip Point it’s just a 10-minute ferry ride over to the southern end of Fraser Island where the world is your oyster. There is just so much to see and do there and it all really depends on what you’re after.

We had three nights and managed to get around most of the island. We headed straight to the beautiful freshwater lake, Lake Mckenzie. The water is stunningly clear and it’s an incredible spot for a swim. From there we travelled some tracks through the amazing inland rainforest and headed up to the north-western side of Fraser Island. It’s all national park, so campsites need to be booked in advance.

We spent the first night at Awinya camping spot. It can only be accessed at low tide, and there’s a shallow creek crossing, but once you’re in there it’s one of my favourite spots on the island. There’s great fishing, swimming and even a freshwater lake just behind the camp.

From Awinya we headed back over to the north-eastern side of the island and checked out the Champagne Pools and even did the mission right to the tip of Sandy Cape. This was the hardest part of drive as it meant taking on the dreaded Ngkala Rocks. They weren’t much of a problem on this trip and we got past them with no issues. The truck went well and never needed the TJM winch…except when I had to pull another driver out of a bog.

We spent the night at the cape and then headed back down the east coast of Fraser Island: Indian Head, S.S. Maheno, Eli Creek, Happy Valley…there are loads of spots to stop and see along there. The fishing is also epic on the main beach, with loads of pippies and beach worms to catch for bait. The surf is also pretty good, but there’s loads of sharks on that side of the island, so care is needed.

Passed the Test

We managed to visit all three islands in eight nights and loved every bit of it. I would have liked more time so I could do more fishing, but there’s always a next time and I am sure I’ll be back there before long.

The new truck did everything it was supposed to and never let me down once. I was able to live, work and play out of it and wouldn’t change a thing.

Words and Stunning Images: Sean Scott