By Michelle Gilmore
As of last week, visitors can take advantage of one of the most experienced Fraser Island tour guides right here in Rainbow Beach, now starting a locally operated tour.
Sunrover Fraser Island 4×4 Tours offer a small personalised tour with local knowledge and stories. Mick Findlater has been a Rainbow Beach resident over 20 years and first visited Fraser as a 2 year old.
“We’d come up from Brisbane and used to stay at Happy Valley for most of the holidays over the years, Dad loved to fish,” said Mick.
Mick lives in Rainbow Beach with fiancé Laurel Abbey and children, Luxie-Leigh and Blake.
His older son Tristan visits for the holidays. Mick and Laurel are looking forward to their own wedding this month near the lookout.
Mick identified a gap in the tourism market, “There is a need for the area to have our own tour, as the town has grown and most people are choosing to go to Fraser via Rainbow Beach.”
With 17 years in the industry, from 4wd rental, organising self-drive tours, tag-a-long tours, tour guiding and most recently, tour co-ordinator at RB adventure company RBAC , he is launching his own service.
“I want to be the first bus on Fraser Island and the last one off so customers get a full day of Fraser Island, and they can experience what a wonderful part of the world we live in.”
Mick has accreditation as a tour guide, tour operator and his Certificate III. “I was trained by the best of the old school of Sid Melksham’s tour guides in the art of tour guiding whilst driving some of Australia’s biggest off-road buses.”
Locals may remember the old Fraser Island tour buses Mick used to drive around town, including their famous Australian Explorer, the pride of the fleet.
He earned the nickname, “Beach Master” by the Rainbow Recovery boys, as he was renowned for manoeuvring vehicles through difficult driving situations.
Lake Mackenzie is Mick’s favourite spot on Fraser – “I have heard a lot of people say it is the best lake they have seen in the world.”
He is taking customers to all the places Fraser Island is famous for, “You will swim in crystal clear water at Lake MacKenzie, bushwalk in rainforests, tube down Eli Creek, explore Central Station and enjoy a picnic lunch on the Island.” Visitors will take in the Maheno Shipwreck, Wanggoolba Creek and learn about Fraser Island’s fascinating Aboriginal history.
His 18 seater bus is fully air conditioned with opening windows so you can really experience the rainforest and beach driving.
“We are the cheapest one day tour for Fraser Island, catering for all ages and families at an affordable price.”
Mick’s first tour group in the new bus
His kids love the beach
Tour group photo provided