Lake McKenzie Swimming Hole (Boorangoora)
Great Sandy National Park, Fraser Island, QLD, Australia
The Butchulla people believe that K’gari Island, known as Fraser Island, was created when the goddess K’gari was transformed into the land. Lake McKenzie, or Boorangoora in the language of the Butchulla people, was said to be one of her eyes. This is one explanation for the beautiful clarity and blue color of the water. A more scientific explanation is that the high acidity levels of the water make it difficult for any organic matter to survive, though there are Fraser Island Short-Necked turtles and fish that swim around the reeds in this large lake. The shallows can get warm during summer, but further from the shore the drop off ensures more invigorating water to swim in.
Often called the “Jewel of Fraser Island,” this is one of the most picturesque locations in Australia, making it one of the most popular swimming locations on Fraser Island. The delicacy of Lake McKenzie’s ecosystem means that cosmetics such as sunscreen or bug spray should not be worn if you plan on diving in.
How To Get There: The Mantaray Ferry leaves from Inskip point and arrives at the Southern most point of Fraser Island. Information on times and prices can be found here. Once off the ferry, turning right will put you on 75 Mile Beach, which runs the length of Fraser Islands East Coast. Follow the beach to Eurong Resort (about 33km) and then head inland on the one way road towards Central Station. Once at Central follows signs to Lake Mckenzie, about 5-6km. Access to the lake from the main car park is an easy walk down a semi-sealed jungle path, with a short section of sand and final stairs descending to the lake.
The Kingfisher Bay Ferry leaves from River Heads The barge pricing information and times can be found here. Once off the barge, drive towards Cornwells Road and follow for 4km. Turn right onto Northern Road for 700m and then right again onto Bennett road. Keep left in 2.4km to stay on Bennet Road and follow to Lake McKenzie Road. Signs for Lake McKenzie will be at intersections. Total distance from Kingfisher Bay to Lake McKenzie is 12km. Access to the lake from the main car park is an easy walk down a semi-sealed jungle path, with a short section of sand and final stairs descending to the lake.
Difficulty of access: 2/10 It is a short walk of less than 100 metres from the car park to the sandy shores of Lake McKenzie.
All vehicles driving on Fraser Island must have a current Fraser Island vehicle access permit. Driving should be done cautiously and will take more time because the roads are sand. The Inland tracks are suitable for high clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles only.
Opening Times/Seasons: Lake McKenzie is open all day, year-round.
Facilities Nearby: There are hybrid toilets near the car park.
Other Activities: There is a picnic area nearby that is fenced to deter dingoes. You should also bring a snorkel and mask to spot turtles and fish.
Fishing nearby at 75 Mile Beach is a popular activity.
Other Places of Interest Nearby: Central Station is close to Lake McKenzie. Originally established as a forestry camp, Central Station is a beautiful walk through the rainforest where visitors can learn about the development of the island and its various flora and fauna.
Wildlife: Fraser Island Short-Necked turtles and fish swim through the lake waters. Over 300 species of birds inhabit the island, and dingoes freely roam the area. See here for info on staying ‘dingo safe’ on Fraser Island.
Places to Eat: On the island are several restaurants, many of which are found at the nearby Kingfisher Bay Resort, such as the Sand Bar and Bistro and the Seabelle Restaurant. More restaurants can be found within the Eurong Resort and in Happy Valley.
Where to Camp: Walkers camping is available directly at Lake McKenzie. There are 30+ additional camping options on Fraser Island, some with dingo deterrent fencing. Central Station is the closest campsite for 4WD visitors.
Nearby Towns: A ferry ride off the island will take you to several towns that have shops and restaurants, the closest town being Hervey Bay.
Comments: Though Lake McKenzie is very popular, it is worth an early rise to beat the rush and swim in the beautifully clear waters!