Fraser Island can be found just off the coast of Hervey Bay and is perfect for a day trip, but you’ll want to stay longer. Scott’s go the low-down on why the hike to Lake McKenzie should be at the top of your to do list!
- Scenic nature trails
- Azure blue waters to swim in
- Wildlife sightings
Not only is Fraser Island the world’s largest sand island, it’s also home to an assortment of lakes, beaches, unique wildlife, Aboriginal culture and world heritage listed natural attractions. Protected by UNESCO in 1992, Fraser Island is a natural hub of past and present geological processes and complexities of biological evolution. Fraser Island continues to be an environmental cornerstone, highlighting the rich natural diversity that’s often synonymous with the Australian landscape.
While the island is perfectly adapted to 4WD navigation, you don’t have to own one to access the island’s best-kept secrets.
The hike to Lake McKenzie journeys you through ancient rainforest, towering bushlands and views that stretch for miles. It’s a fairly straightforward two and a half hour journey, upward through the valley by KingFisher Bay Resort and on toward the fresh, azure waters of Lake McKenzie. Lace up those hiking boots because I’d absolutely recommend this hike to anyone!
While the return hike is a full 20km in length, you don’t need a 4WD to access and enjoy Fraser Island. Although proving to be steep in some small sections, the track is well-maintained and well-marked. Self-guided walking maps for your trek are available online – they certainly come in handy.
Making an early start to arrive at the lake by 9:30/10:00am is crucial. If completing the return section, you’ll need to allow yourself plenty of time on the back end of the hike. Take breaks at each trail marker or significant trail junction along the way. If all goes well, you’ll be lakeside, admiring the beauty of Lake McKenzie in under two and a half hours. The majority of the trail is comprised of compacted sand, so sturdy shoes are a must.
Lake McKenzie is a perched lake, meaning the lake bed is made up of organic and natural matter, collected over time from the surrounding landscapes. The lake is filled purely with rainwater and isn’t fed by any other form of stream or groundwater. How cool! The layer of organic matter prevents rainwater from draining away, making it a rather unique lake form. The pre silica sand on the shoreline gives Lake McKenzie that iridescent blue colour that dreams are made of.
For those wishing to tackle the initial leg of the hike, but aren’t quite confident enough in the return section, there’s always the option to book a ranger pickup through Kingfisher Bay Resort. Organise this well in advance for your best opportunity to secure a return trip.
Safety tip! While dingo encounters are quite rare, it’s important to know that once you leave the safety of the resort fenced area, you are exposing yourself to the risk of dingo encounters. Talk to a ranger and research dingo safety before your hike.
- Dingo spotting
How To Get There
By vehicle, take the short 45 minute ferry ride from River Heads, Hervey Bay. From Brisbane, a trip to Hervey Bay should take approximately three and a half hours by car and an hour and a half if travelling South from Bundaberg. Additionally, Air Fraser runs light aircraft flights from the Sunshine Coast Airport and Hervey Bay based on your travel requirements.
- Hiking shoes
- First aid kit
Intermediate. While the actual hike itself is very straightforward, it’s the distance that may catch some adventurers off guard. Ensure you commence the hike early and return with plenty of time to spare.
Distance Covered/Elevation Gained/Duration
The entire hike is a 20km round trip (10km each way) with 143m in elevation gained. Expect the hike to take 2.5 – 3 hours one way, including rest stops.
I love lake