Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Fraser Island
Awe-inspiring Lake McKenzie is possibly one of the world’s most beautiful lakes. It is also one of the world’s least polluted and a swim in the crystal-clear freshwater will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
The lake is a “perched lake,” meaning it sits atop a sand dune where the sand and humus underneath have bonded into a concrete-like base. The lake isn't connected to streams or the ocean, which means all the water is pure rainwater. The sand also acts as a filter keeping the water clear, and makes for an amazing experience when relaxing in the lake.
Fraser Island is home to forty of the world’s eighty perched lakes, and like the many other freshwater lakes on the island, Lake McKenzie relies solely on rain for replenishment.
The sand surrounding the lake is pure silica so you can wash your hair with it or exfoliate your skin, perfect if you’ve been camping for days. There are a lot of delightful picnic areas and stunning beaches around the lake, which makes it perfect for an afternoon trip or a multiple day excursion.
A popular tourist attraction, Eli Creek features a serene beauty with its crystal clear fresh waters and pearly white sand bottom. With over four million liters of water pouring from its mouth every hour, it is one of Fraser Island’s largest freshwater streams. Along with its beautiful beach location people enjoy visiting Eli Creek for a relaxing float down its pure waters. Its gentle current makes it a safe option for both adults and children. For those not interested in getting wet a scenic boardwalk allows you to walk around the creek on land.
As Eli Creek is located along Seventy-Five Mile Beach, visitors to Eli Creek can enjoy other attractions onsite. Along with off-roading, fishing and sunbathing there’s the onshoreMaheno wreck, which was once one of the fastest ships in the world and was used by the Australian Airforce for target practice during WWII. Additionally, the Champagne Pools provide safe saltwater swimming in an enclosed natural rock pool with foaming Champagne-like bubbles when the waves crash. Make sure to also go to Indian Head to see the many sharks, dolphins, stingrays and fish swimming through the water.
Central Station, once the central hub for the forestry department on Fraser Island, is a stunning and lush rainforest area located on Wanggoolba Creek of Fraser Island - one of the most scenic areas on the island!
Since the logging industry's departure in the late 1950s, Central Station is a popular picnic and camping spot for tourists with an information center which provides a history of the island and tips on the flora and fauna in the area.
Home to many specifies of plants, Central Station houses the massive Angiopteris ferns, which has the largest fern fronds in the world. Giant satinay and kauri trees also grow around the forest
The massive kauris have a soaring trunk and branches only start at the very top; these trees were prized as masts in the days of sailing boats. Satinay trees are regarded as biological marvels since the sand they grow in contain very little nutrients.
The area around Wanggoolba Creek not far from Central Station is one of the loveliest swathes of rainforest. There are paths in the surrounding rainforest where you can get up close to the palms and learn about the creatures and plants that inhabit the area.
This stretch of soft white sand is aptly named 75 Mile Beach due to the fact that it’s 75 miles (121 kilometers) long. Running along majority of Fraser Island’s east coast, the beach offers a number of experiences, although swimming is not advised due to the high number of tiger sharks. That being said off-roading and fishing are popular pastimes on the beach, as is visiting its many attractions. If you are wanting to swim safely there are the Champagne Pools, natural rock pools that feature frothy Champagne-like bubbles when waves crash over the rocks.
Additionally, Indian Head is a rocky outcrop popular for watching stingrays, fish, turtles, dolphins and sharks in the surf. Visitors can also visit theMaheno Wreck, once one of the world’s fastest ships and used for target practice by the Australian Airforce in WWII. After a bad storm in 1935 it was pushed to the beach’s shore as it was being towed to Japan to be scrapped. And no trip to 75 Mile Beach would be complete without experiencing Eli Creek, a crystal clear freshwater creek where you can enjoy a relaxing float. Something else interesting about 75 Mile Beach is it’s not just used for recreation, but also as a highway and runway, as the hard-packed sand makes for great off-roading and planes often land here.
The rainbow layers of sand that make up The Pinnacles are a spectacular site on the east coast of Fraser Island. They are one of the reasons why Fraser Island has UNESCO World Heritage listing.
Over the last 2 million years sand has been blowing onto the island and formed fascinating geological sites such as the “perched” lakes, the remarkable dunes and these colorful cliffs. The cliffs change in color throughout the day and are particularly startling early morning and sunset when the reds become beautifully vibrant. The Pinnacles get their color from the iron compounds in the silica sands that are blown across the island.
The traditional owners of the land tell a story about a wife running away with the rainbow man and her hunter husband deciding to kill her with a boomerang. He throws the boomerang but the rainbow man stands in front of the woman to protect her, the boomerang hits the rainbow man and he shatters into a million pieces that cover the dunes and become the Pinnacles.
Magical, enchanting and serene are just a few of the adjectives people use to describe Wanggoolba Creek. A fresh water creek containing crystal waters cascading through lush rainforest over white sugar granules, you’ll be amazed at how fertile an island made of sand can be. In appearance Wanggoolba Creek is similar to Eli Creek, however, has a much less touristy vibe, retaining an air of peace. Those who enjoy biology will be interested to know the spot contains a beautiful and rare King Fern or Giant Fern.
Feeling stressed or need to relax? Wading in the creek’s still and lucid waters is said to have calming effect. Another option is to enjoy a leisurely hike along a walkway around the creek’s perimeters, a favorite for photographers. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the scenery, and stop in the visitor center to learn more about the area.
Lake Wabby, the deepest of the Fraser Island lakes, is a barrage lake that was formed by sand dunes blocking a natural spring that fed the lake. The small freshwater lake is surrounded by forests making it one of Fraser Island’s most picturesque lakes - not to mention that its waters are colored green!
Lake Wabby differs from other lakes on Fraser Island as it supports numerous fish species due to the lack of acidity in the water. You might even catch a glimpse of turtles and catfish while you swim.
Check out lovely Lake Wabby while you still can because in a century or so this lake will be eaten up by the sand dune on its west coast that is slowly taking over the lake.
The Great Sandy National Park is a coastal national park and encompasses both part of mainland Queensland and Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island.
On the mainland. the river stretches from Rainbow Beach to Noosa Heads, its eastern border one long unbroken tropical beach paradise. Noosa Heads in the south is a popular holiday destination for Australians and hotels get busy during the peak season. Inland if you’re looking for a more nature-based holiday the Cooloola Wilderness Trail has opportunities for real bush camping at the Neebs and Wandi waterholes.
The Fraser Island section is separated from the mainland by a shallow sand reef which can be crossed by barge. The island has an incredible stretch of white beach running unbroken down its eastern coast while the interior is home to unlikely rainforests, sublime freshwater lakes and remarkable dunes.
Bundaberg is most known for its sugar cane fields, rum production and outdoor recreation. Because of its subtropical climate, sugar cane grows in abundance, which creates the bi-product of molasses for their famous Bundaberg Rum. Visitors can tour the distillery to see how the delicious product is made firsthand before sampling some for themselves.
Bundaberg is also the home to The Bundaberg Barrel, one of "Australia's Big Things," and which houses Bundaberg Brewed Drinks known internationally for their ginger beer.
Bundaberg’s subtropical weather also allows for an array of fresh local produce and ingredients, some of which include avocados, macadamia nuts, pineapples, mangoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, cherry tomatoes, watermelons, citrus and much more. In terms of outdoor recreation the Burnett River is lined with parks, while sting ray-free beaches litter the coast. From August through October Bundaberg is a great place to go whale-watching, while November through March brings Giant Turtles to Mon Repos Beach.
Bundaberg is a great starting point for visiting Fraser Island, as you can take the Bruce Highway south to Torbanlea and follow the sign to Hervey Bay. You can take a ferry to Fraser Island from River Heads, located just south of Hervey Bay. Bundaberg is part of the Fraser Island district, and essentially runs parallel to Fraser Island’s northern tip.
The Maheno Shipwreck sits starkly rusting against the pristine sands of Cathedral Beach, a majestic and haunting site. The SSMaheno was built in 1904 in Scotland and was originally a world-class luxury liner. She became a hospital ship in the Mediterranean during WW1 after which she was purchased for the run between New Zealand and Australia.
In 1935, while being towed to Japan for scrap metal, a cyclone blew her ashore onto Fraser Island. Luckily, there were only a few crew members on board, who tried unsuccessfully to free her. Since then, three and a half stories of the ship have been buried below the sand.
After being used for bombing practice during WW2, the Maheno wreck was in pretty bad shape and has since rusted away. Still, she is an impressive site and is occasionally used as a kooky, lopsided wedding venue.
More Things to Do in Fraser Island
Located along the eastern edge of Fraser Island on the popular Seventy Five Mile Beach, Indian Head was named by the famous Captain Cook upon his arrival in 1770. Visitors flock to this popular landmark for its incredible 360-degree views of the island, the ocean and some of the country’s most exotic wildlife.
Indian Head is one of only three rocky outcrops on the island, and while camping is not allowed here, the area’s towering peaks attract plenty of travelers. On clear days visitors can look out across some 75 miles of beach and may even spot whales, sharks, dolphins and sea turtles from atop Indian Head.
For those wanting to experience a beautiful Australian sunrise, Fraser Island is a top destination, specifically Waddy Point. Located on the northern edge of Fraser Island, this scenic cove is popular for those who want to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors as well as active pursuits like fishing, camping, surfing, body boarding, swimming, boating and hiking to attractions like Lake McKenzie, Conner’s Corner or the Champagne Pools. Photographers can enjoy the bayside views of Sandy Cape and Fraser Island’s only lighthouse, while wildlife enthusiasts can see stingray, fish, sea turtles, sharks and a variety of birdlife.
Because of its secluded location visitors can partake in outdoor recreation or beach solitude away from the island’s more touristy offerings. For those looking to stay overnight at Waddy Point but don’t want to camp you can book a room at the Waddy Lodge Fraser Island. The accommodation sits right on the water and operates under an eco-friendly philosophy, meaning solar power and no television, phone or computer so you can truly experience nature.
Travelers may flock to the shores of popular Lake McKenzie, but those who head to Fraser Island agree that the quieter Lake Birrabeen is truly among the top spots here. Its clear blue waters and sandy beaches are rarely crowded, offering visitors the atmosphere of a private beach in a public place. Several picnic tables dot the shores of this hidden gem, where swimming and standup paddle boarding prove popular activities. Visitors can hike to the top of nearby sand dunes for spectacular ocean views, too. The lake’s pristine waters, silent shores and remote feel make it the perfect place for weary travelers to unwind and recharge.