+61 7 4128 4479

The Different Lakes On K'gari (Fraser Island)

Updated Tue 07 Mar 2023

K'gari (Fraser Island) is famous for many things, one of them being its lakes! The world's largest sand island is home to over 40 lakes, many of them with their own unique ecosystems and wildlife. For example, perched lakes are a unique natural phenomenon, and K'gari is home to over half of the world's perched lakes. 

Almost every traveler has heard of Lake McKenzie, the island's most famous lake! But there are many more stunning bodies of water on K'gari that are worth checking out. Let's dive into the different types of lakes on K'gari so you can further understand how unique and fascinating this island is!

Lake Mackenzie

The Different Lakes On K'gari (Fraser Island)

K'gari (Fraser Island) is home to 3 main types of lakes: perched lakes, window lakes, and barrage or barrier lakes. Each type of lake is special in its own way. Whether you're visiting K'gari on a guided tour or you're driving yourself around the island, you're sure to visit at least one or two of these magnificent lakes on K'gari!

Lake McKenzie

Perched Dune Lakes

Perched dune lakes are some of the most fascinating lakes on K'gari. These lakes are formed in natural depressions on large sand masses. Vegetation such as leaves, branches, and other organic matter gathers in the lowest part of these natural depressions. Over many years a combination of water, minerals, and decomposing organic matter cement this material, forming a hard crust or a natural pool. 

This crust will be in the shape of a bowl beginning from the lowest point in the depression and running up the sides. Rainwater eventually fills these bowls up, creating a perched dune lake! The rainwater is filtered through the surrounding sand, leaving crystal clear, pure water. Although sometimes the water is stained different colors by tannins when the rainwater flows through the surrounding vegetation. 

Examples of perched lakes on K'gari are Lake McKenzie, Lake Birrabeen, and Lake Boomanjin. Lake McKenzie is regarded by many as the most beautiful and spectacular. It certainly is the most popular lake on K'gari! During peak season you will find hundreds of people from all over the world enjoying a refreshing swim in the cool turquoise waters. The lake is surrounded by glistening white sand which makes its blue colour even more spectacular. 

Lake McKenzie

Barrage or Barrier Lakes

Another type of lake you may see on K'gari (Fraser Island) is a barrage, or barrier lake. These lakes form when a sand dune is blown by the wind up into a valley, blocking a stream from entering the ocean. The stream builds up behind the sand dune, growing deeper and deeper and eventually forming a lake.

Lake Wabby is the most well-known barrier lake, and it is the deepest lake on the island at 11.4 meters deep! The depth of these lakes means they will look a bit different from perched lakes such as Lake McKenzie. For example, the water in Lake Wabby is a deep emerald green colour due to algae, and you can even find fish living in this lake.

The sand dune that formed Lake Wabby is called the Hammerstone Sandblow. Because sand dunes can shift and change over time, the existence of Lake Wabby is limited. The active sand dune will continue to move inland over the years, eventually engulfing the lake completely. This may be at least 100 years away, but you should still plan a visit Lake Wabby to see this spectacular place while it still exists!

Lake Wabby

Window Lakes

Window Lakes are like a combination of a perched lake and a normal lake. They fill with both rainwater and groundwater, but they do not connect to the ocean. K'gari is home to a number of unique window lakes, with the most famous one being Basin Lake.

The window lakes on K'gari are created when the earth's surface dips below the standard water table, exposing the liquid below and creating a pool. Rainfall contributes to the pool and continues to fill it, creating a lake composed of rain and groundwater. The result is a window lake, named because it is a window to the water beneath the surface. There are some more good examples of window lakes around Kingfisher Bay Resort!

Basin Lake

To see these incredible lakes for yourself, book a tour to K'gari!

Chat with our local travel experts online or call us at +61 7 4128 4479 if you need help planning your trip!

Click To Chat


  • Can answer all your Fraser Island questions
  • We will build you exclusive packages to save you money
  • Our experts are all experienced locals
  • Live chat with a real person

Quick Enquiry

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.