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Why Is Lake McKenzie So Clear?

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Fri 29 Dec 2023

Lake McKenzie is one of the most iconic natural landmarks in all of Australia. This freshwater, perched lake on K'gari (Fraser Island) is full of clean rainwater that is crystal clear and yet appears a brilliant sapphire blue from above. Lake McKenzie's pristine waters, combined with its white silica sand and lush rainforest surroundings, are what makes this destination so famous.

But why is Lake McKenzie so clear? How did this stunning lake come to be? We are going to answer all of your Lake McKenzie questions so you know what to expect at this gem on K'gari (Fraser Island)

sunset clouds reflecting in the water at Lake McKenzie

Where Is Lake McKenzie?

Lake McKenzie is located right in the middle of K'gari (Fraser Island). As the largest sand island in the world, K'gari (Fraser Island) has a unique terrain composed of ancient sand dunes and incredible towering rainforests. Lake McKenzie is a perched lake, meaning it is formed from a depression in the sand dunes and does not connect to the ocean or any other bodies of water. The hole fills with rainwater and does not contain any other groundwater. 

You can access Lake McKenzie via the sandy inland tracks on the island. K'gari (Fraser Island) can only be accessed with a 4WD. So whether you bring your own 4WD to the island, you rent a 4WD, or you book a guided tour, you can easily get to Lake McKenzie while visiting this rugged, remote island off the coast of southeast Queensland, Australia.

 aerial view of white sand and blue water at Lake McKenzie

Why Is Lake McKenzie So Clear?

Lake McKenzie is so incredibly clear because of the sand and organic matter particles at the bottom of the perched lake. These particles act as natural filters that clean the rainwater and leave it crystal clear! Because perched lakes form in a natural depression in the dunes, the compressed bottom layer is solid enough to prevent the water from leaving the pool. But the sand particles are small enough to filter the water as well. It's a truly amazing natural phenomenon!

girl sitting in the clear water of Lake McKenzie

Why Is Lake McKenzie So Blue?

The perfectly clear water that rests on top of the pure white silica sand makes Lake McKenzie appear blue from above. You get that picture-perfect, sapphire hue when you look at the lake, yet the water is crystal clear under the surface. In order to keep Lake McKenzie looking so stunning, it's important to avoid polluting the pristine waters.

Because the lake doesn't connect to any other water sources, the rainwater in Lake McKenzie will stay there forever. The sand does filter the water and keep it clean, but certain man-made chemicals in things like sunscreens and makeup may linger in the water. Be sure not to wear any harmful chemical products when entering Lake McKenzie! It's important to try and keep the lake as pure as it can be. 

aerial view of blue water at Lake McKenzie on K'gari

Is Lake McKenzie Safe To Swim In?

Lake McKenzie is perfectly safe for swimming. In fact, it's one of the best places to swim on K'gari (Fraser Island)! Due to its low PH level, marine life and plant life doesn't thrive in the lake. The waters are free from weeds and fish or insects, making them exceptionally clear and beautiful for a swim. The water is also shallow near the shore, adn it's completely calm. So even if you're visiting K'gari (Fraser Island) with young kids, they can safely splash around in the shallows at Lake McKenzie!

people swimming in the shallow water at Lake McKenzie

Tours To Lake McKenzie, K'gari (Fraser Island)

Most tours on K'gari (Fraser Island) visit Lake McKenzie because it's easily the most famous attraction on the island! You can compare tour itineraries to double-check, but most day tours and all overnight tours include a stop at Lake McKenzie. The only exception is the Fraser Adventure Nature Day Tour which includes either Lake McKenzie or Lake Birrabeen

On most tours, you'll get at least an hour to spend at the famous Lake McKenzie. Stroll on the silky white sand and spend plenty of time swimming in that refreshing, clear water. It's honestly one of the most beautiful places on the island, and in all of Australia!

Here are some of our most popular 3-day tours on K'gari (Fraser Island)!

people diving into the water at Lake McKenzie

Have more questions about visiting K'gari (Fraser Island)? Call us at +61 7 4128 4479 or live chat with our team online, we're happy to help!

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