FORGOTTEN FRASER: Veteran traveller shares island memories
WHEN Darrell Lewis thinks of Fraser Island, he remembers brumbies roaming free on the beach.
The 68-year-old recalls barely seeing another soul while camping for two weeks at Eli Creek.
It is a far cry from the Fraser Island of today, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors per year, with no wild horses to be seen.
Mr Lewis was a regular visitor to the island from 1976 until the early '90s.
Packing his wife and two young sons into a trusty 40-series Landcruiser, he would set off once a year to enjoy the serenity of the famous island.
After going through some old slides at home, Mr Lewis, who now lives in regional Victoria, stumbled across snaps from those family holidays and shared them on social media.
He said the photos reminded him of the sense of freedom that came with camping on the island.
"The fact you could just drive into Happy Valley in the late '70s and there was no one there, there was just you. You wandered up, got supplies and had to wait for the plane to come in with fresh bread," Mr Lewis said.
Mr Lewis has fond memories of the island's most iconic inhabitants.
He was devastated to hear about the recent dingo attack on two French tourists, which resulted in the death of two animals.
"The dingoes weren't a problem. They were there, you'd see them strolling along the beach, looking for something to eat," he said.
"You could hear them howling at night time, but they never approached us in the camps."
While the days of travelling on the barge with only three other vehicles and having the island almost to himself are over, Mr Lewis says Fraser is a must-see.
"Everybody's got to go once, whether they go on a tour or just go on their own," he said.