Lake McKenzie, Queensland, Australia

Lake Locations:

Australia - Queensland -

Also known as:  Boorangoora

Located on Fraser Island off the coast of Queensland, Australia, Lake McKenzie’s crystal clear water and sparkling white sand combine to rank this lake among the most beautiful beaches in the world. Fraser Island’s beauty continues through the display of numerous lakes, complex dune systems, multi-colored sand cliffs and towering rain forests. Attracting approximately 400,000 visitors a year, Fraser Island and Lake McKenzie create one of Queenland’s most popular destinations.

Access to Fraser Island and Lake McKenzie is by ferry. Located approximately 186 miles (300 kilometers) north of Brisbane, both vehicle barges and passenger-only services carry visitors to Fraser Island. Departure points from the mainland include Rainbow Beach, River Heads and Hervey Bay. Depending on departure and arrival points, the trip takes approximately 30 minutes to one hour. Fraser Island’s few resorts also offer transportation for the convenience of guests.

Running 75 miles (120 kilometers) long and up to 14 miles (22 kiliometers) wide, Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. The Aboriginal people who have inhabited the island for at least 5,000 years call it K’gari (meaning paradise). Captain James Cook first sighted the island in 1770 but found it too barren and sandy to pursue a landing. In 1836 the ship Stirling Castle struck the adjacent Great Barrier Reef, leaving survivors stranded on what was then called Great Sandy Island. Today the island is named after the ship captain’s wife, Eliza Fraser. The island remained fairly isolated until the multi-colored sand and dense forests attracted the first industries. First timber then sand mining existed on the island from 1863 until 1991. Now most of the 710 square mile (1,840 square kilometer) island, including Lake McKenzie, is protected as Great Sandy National Park and is listed as a World Heritage site.

Lake McKenzie, named Boorangoora by the local Butchulla people, sits toward the southern end of Fraser Island. It is considered a “perched lake,” formed when a wind-blown depression in the sand is rendered impermeable by the build-up of layer upon layer of decayed organic material. Fraser Island’s substantial rainfall (up to 71 inches or 1,800 millimeters per year) balances with evaporation to keep the lake’s depth at just over 16 feet (5 meters). According to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, there is no known connection with the regional aquifer. Management of the 321 acre (130 hectares) lake is handled by the Queensland Department of Environment, National Parks and Wildlife Service. In 2010 the park service addressed visitor impact on Lake McKenzie’s blue water and fine white sand by implementing a major redevelopment project. The plan encourages visitors to move beyond the wide beaches at the northern shore to spread the usage along the four mile (6 kilometer) shoreline. New designated viewpoints, limiting the number of visitors, improved parking, and restored vegetation will help preserve Lake McKenzie for future generations; new picnic facilities, dingo fence protection, and restrooms improve conditions for today’s lake users. In an effort to protect the lake and shoreline, motor boats and jet skis are prohibited.

Lake McKenzie is best known for its swimming and sun bathing opportunities. The water’s purity, acidity and low nutrient levels make it a poor fish habitat. Freshwater fish that do live in Boorangoora, or any Fraser Island lake, are protected so fishing is not permitted. Species found on the island include eels, herring, catfish, hardy heads, rainbow fish, blue-eyes, perch and gudgeons.

Lake McKenzie is one of over 40 permanent lakes on Fraser Island. Of the few dozen perched lakes known to exist worldwide, Fraser Island holds about half of them. Three perched lakes (Birrabeen, Boomanjin, and Garawongera) all lie within 3 miles (15 kilometers) of Lake McKenzie. At nearly 494 acres (200 hectares), Lake Boomanjin is the largest perched lake in the world. Two other types of lakes are found on Fraser Island. Barrage lakes are formed by sand dunes that block waterways as they blow across the island. Window lakes occur when the bottom of the lake sits below the island’s water table exposing a pool of groundwater. Fraser Island lakes that are fed by creeks as well as rainwater also appear in a variety of colors, depending on the surrounding landscape.

In addition to sand and lakes, Fraser Island is home to a complex ecosystem. The landscape varies from creeks criss-crossing the island to swamps and wetlands; dense rainforests; wallum forests made of eucalypts, banksias, acacias and grass trees; mangrove forests; salt pans; and sand dunes rising more than 656 feet (200 meters) above sea level. Circling much of Fraser Island, the Great Walk offers visitors a unique opportunity to view scenery and wildlife along a 56 mile (90 kilometer) walking trail. The entire walk can take six-to-eight days to complete as it passes by Lake McKenzie, ocean beaches, shipwreck remains and native wildlife habitat.

Fraser Island is the only place on earth where rainforest trees reach heights of 230 feet (70 meters) while thriving on towering sand dunes. Over 25 species of mammals and 230 species of birds live among the water, trees and sand. Echidnas, bats and one of Australia’s purest strains of dingoes are listed among the mammals. Kingfisher, white-breasted sea eagle and brahminy kite are birds that can be found throughout the island with the rare ground parrot gracing the Wallum heath lands.

In addition to the beauty of Lake McKenzie, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park lies off the northern end of Fraser Island. Listed as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef covers an amazing 1,600 miles (2,600 km). Water enthusiasts can enjoy scenic boat charters or kayak, snorkel, and scuba dive for close encounters with sea life living around the world’s largest coral reef.

An extended stay is recommended to fully appreciate the beauty of McKenzie Lake, Fraser Island and surrounding reef. Accommodations are available to meet every taste and budget. Both park and private campgrounds are found on Fraser Island. Some sites offer gas barbecues or fire rings. Campers are reminded that soaps, toothpastes and lotions should never enter lakes or streams, and rubbish must be taken off the island when they leave. Beach camping is permitted in designated areas. Camping permits are required and should be purchased in advance.

With the growth of eco-tourism drawing visitors to Lake McKenzie and Fraser Island, you will find an excellent selection of vacation rentals, resorts and real estate properties among the townships of Happy Valley, Eurong, Eastern Beach, Cathedral Beach, Kingfisher Bay, Orchid Beach and Dilli Village. Select your accommodation amid the trees, dunes and beaches on an island so extraordinary it was named K’gari – Paradise.

Things to do at Lake McKenzie

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Kayaking
  • Snorkeling
  • Scuba Diving
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park

Fish species found at Lake McKenzie

  • Catfish
  • Eel
  • Perch

Lake McKenzie Photo Gallery

Lake McKenzie Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 321 acres

Shoreline Length: 3 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 328 feet

Maximum Depth: 16 feet

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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