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Fraser Island - What to do in a day

When exploring Australia, Fraser Island is a destination on the hit list of many travellers. The world's largest sand island is located on the East Coast, 350km north of Brisbane and only accessible via ferry. There are a few hotels on the island, but many visit just for a day trip. I would recommend staying overnight, but if one day is all you have, here's the top spots to check out...

1. Lake McKenzie

Absolutely breathtaking natural beauty. The lake is located in the Great Sandy National Park, is 1,200 metres long, and up to 930 metres wide. Classed as a perched lake with a maximum depth of 5 metres, that's topped up regularly throughout the year via the rainfall.

The sand around the lake is pure white silica and the actual water is so pure, that it's not possible for many species to call it home. Lake McKenzie is classed as a beach, and often regarded as one of the top 10 beaches worldwide. Why not make use of the sand? With a texture so fine, it's perfect for exfoliating your body, and also polishing your jewellery.

2. The Maheno Shipwreck

The Maheno is the most famous shipwreck on Fraser Island and located 10km north of Happy Valley. The ship arrived at it's burial ground in 1935 following a cyclone, and is now slowly deteriorating on the salty shore. The wreck itself is an open area, so no entrance fee or restrictions are in place, although there is a warning sign advising against climbing onto the wreckage.

A little bit about the history of the ship... It was original a New Zealand liner, but was sold to the Japanese for scrap, and was en route back to Japan when the cyclone hit. Once the shipwreck settled, there was actually an open auction for as many parts that could be sold.

the shipwreck is very impressive and a great spot for budding photographers. Be sure not to miss it!

3. Eli Creek

The largest freshwater creek on the island, and located only a short distance from The Maheno Shipwreck. A lovely green and tranquil area, perfect for a cool dip in the water and to escape the sun, as there are plenty of shaded areas due to the green forestry. The science buffs estimate that 80 millions litres of natural water flows from the creek into the sea every single day.

Definitely worth a stop due to it's close proximity to The Maheno, but if you're short on time and can only squeeze in so much, then choose Lake McKenzie over Eli Creek.

Additional Info

  • How to get there - From Brisbane travel north on the Bruce Highway to Maryborough, follow tourist signs to Hervey Bay

  • Ferry & Barges -Barges and ferry services run daily from River Heads (20 minutes south of Hervey Bay)

  • Biggest Problem - The vehicle you use to visit Fraser Island. Every day, dozens of vehicles get stuck in the sand

  • Tour Company - Fraser Island Discovery would be my recommendation based on cost and service

  • Additional Stop - Pile Valley, the only rainforest in the world that's self-surviving in a desert environment

  • Short on time - Make Lake McKenzie your number one stop


Fraser Island as a World Heritage Listed Site and offers absolutely stunning beauty with breathtaking views. Incorporating Fraser Island into your Australian adventure is an absolute must. If staying overnight isn't possible, then just be sure to catch an early ferry and fully maximise your day there. I chose to do a tour with Fraser Island Discovery and couldn't fault them. Very knowledgable guides who go out of their way to make sure you absorb all the best spots the island has to offer.

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