Lake Wabby Swimming Hole
Great Sandy National Park, Fraser Island, QLD, Australia
The deep green water and bright white sand dunes of Lake Wabby make for a startlingly beautiful contrast in the southern half of Fraser Island. Unlike the majority of Great Sandy National Park lakes, Lake Wabby’s waters come alive with 12 species of fish, including the rare honey blue-eye, which dart between your fingers in this secluded locale. Touching your toes to the silky sand below the water will be difficult in some spots—at 11.4 metres, Lake Wabby is the deepest dune lake in Fraser Island. An early morning walk or drive through the lush rainforests and steep sand dunes will take you to the lake ahead of the crowds. This gives you time to see mist rise up from the lake’s surface and maybe a couple of dingo paw prints in the sand. One way to access this spot is from Lake Wabby Lookout, which has breathtaking views over Dulingbara and Hammerstone Sandblow, the lake, and even the sparkling blue waters of Coral Sea. The westward spreading sandblows will swallow Lake Wabby within the next century, so it’s best to swim now before it disappears. The delicacy of the Lake Wabby 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). The hike access trail is located 4.3km North of Eurong near One Tree Rocks camping area. Lake Wabby is 2.4km from the carpark and will take 40 minutes to walk.
For a shorter 1.5km hike, drive past the One Tree Rocks access to Cornwells Break road. After about 7km turn left and within 500 metres you will arrive at the Look Out Car Park. The walk to Lake Wabby lookout is 450 metres from the carpark and another 1.5 km to reach the lake itself.
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 about 15km. This will take you to the intersection of Cornwells, Cornwells Break and Bennet Road. Turn right onto Bennet Road and follow for 7km turn left and within 500 metres you will arrive at the Lake Wabby Lookout carpark. Follow the instructions for the 1.5km walk once at the lookout.
Difficulty of access: 5/10 – For the longer hike, most of the path is well-defined and firm sand; however, there are sections of soft sand which can make walking slow, especially for children. The shorter walk zig-zags through the forest but is well-defined. Exposed roots and rocks will slow inexperienced walkers, and the final climb up the sand dune to Lake Wabby is soft and steep – but the reward is worth it!
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, though taking an inland track is not necessary to visit Lake Wabby.
Opening Times/Seasons: Lake Wabby is open year-round.
Facilities Nearby: There are toilet facilities at both car parks.
Other Activities: Only swimming and hiking is allowed at the lake. Younger visitors often bring body boards to slide down the dunes, though injury has occurred as a result of this activity and is not recommended.
Other Places of Interest Nearby: Because Lake Wabby is within the Great Sandy National Park, there are a variety of beautiful sights to be found nearby. Central Station was originally established as a forestry camp. Now you can walk through the beautiful rainforest and learn about the development of the island and its various flora and fauna. There are also picnic areas and a short boardwalk around Wanggoolba Creek and through the rainforest. Further away is the Maheno Shipwreck, which crashed into the shores of Fraser Island 111 years ago, and adds an eerie yet yet interesting touch to the otherwise pristine scenery of 75 Mile Beach. Further north are The Pinnacles, an eye catching attraction for everyone to see. Red and yellow sand cliffs formed when minerals leached through the sand and became exposed on high sand dunes.
Wildlife: There is a variety of small fish in the lake, abundance of bird life and dingoes roam the area freely.
Where to Camp: There are 35 camping options on Fraser Island, some with dingo deterrent fencing, and several are in the Eastern Beach, which is very close to Lake Wabby.
Nearby Towns: A ferry ride off the island will take you to several towns with shops and restaurants. To the west is popular Hervey Bay.
Comments: Lake Wabby requires high energy levels and good spirits to reach, but its limited life make it a very desirable swimming hole to visit whilst on Fraser Island!