Lake McKenzie is on Fraser Island and is perfect for a day trip – even if you don’t have a 4WD. Scott’s got the low-down on how to hike to Lake McKenzie and why it should be at the top of your to do list!

Quick Overview

Lake McKenzie trail is a 20km return, grade 4 hike located on Fraser Island in Queensland. The hike should take around 5-6 hours to complete.



  • Scenic nature trails
  • Azure blue water perfect for wild swimming
  • Wildlife sightings

Hiking to Lake Makenzie

Take the Kingfisher Bay barge to Fraser Island. Jump off the barge and continue along Jetty road to the roundabout. Turn right and stroll past some tennis courts and a shop before reaching the trailhead.

The added distance is only 2 or 3 hundred metres of extra walking. So it won’t add much time to the trip unless you get caught up in the shop…

Once you reach the trailhead, follow the trail.

Why Hike to Lake McKenzie?

If you don’t have a 4WD there is no reason why you should miss out on the island’s best-kept secret.

Not only is Fraser Island the world’s largest sand island, but 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. 


Fraser Island: Hiking To Lake McKenzie (No 4WD Required), Scott Pass, bush, people, path, trees, rainforest

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 the iridescent blue colour that only dreams are made of. 


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Fraser Island: Hiking To Lake McKenzie (No 4WD Required), Scott Pass, blue water, lake, woman, sand, rainforest

Walk There, Drive Back

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

Essential Gear

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. Additionally, Air Fraser runs light aircraft flights from the Sunshine Coast Airport and Hervey Bay based on your travel requirements.


  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Photography
  • Dingo spotting

Skill Level

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

20km round trip (10km each way) / 143m gained /  2.5 – 3 hours one way, including rest stops.