Cyclone positive: Weather 'resets' Fraser Is landing strips

FOR Air Fraser Island pilots, destructive winds blown in by Cyclone Oma actually helped business.

The reshaping of the eastern side of the island's beaches has cleared the previous build-up of soft sand which made landing the local company's light aircraft difficult.

"It was like hitting the reset button," pilot Ryan Schwenke said.

"It's left the beaches in almost perfect condition for us and cleaned the high tide landing area we were having trouble with.

"The only problem now is some exposed rocks up near the Happy Valley landing area and some debris."

Fellow pilot Josh Phillips said the company was only out of action for a few days.

"It's quiet season and there wasn't anyone here so it didn't affect us too much," he said.

"The inland tour buses were back operating without the beach component but that didn't help us very much."

 

Fraser Island - cruising down Eli Creek.
Conditions didn't keep the backpacker tour groups from enjoying a cruise down Eli Creek on Saturday. Alistair Brightman

Tourists flood back

NOT to be kept away from the call of adventure, tourists are beginning to filter back through to well-known attractions.

Holidaymakers were captured by the Chronicle floating down Eli Creek and snapping unique photos of the recently changed Maheno. A partial section of the rear of the iconic shipwreck site has been broken down in the storms.

 

Fraser Island - negotiating the rocks on the southern side of Poyungan Rocks.
A four-wheel drive Toyota Prado negotiating the steep incline leading to the coffee rock exposed on the southern side of Poyungan Rocks. Alistair Brightman

Others were more hands-on in their tackling of obstacles and provided some unexpected comedy for onlookers as they tried to pass the exposed coffee rock near Poyungan Rocks and Yidney Rocks.

For some it was a struggle to get lower-set vehicles up steep sandy inclines, while others simply gunned their motors and bounced up the cliff face.