Latest COVID-19 impacts—Qld national parks, state forests and recreation areas. Check the latest information and updates.
Central Lakes scenic drive
Explore lush tropical rainforest and towering woodlands on the way to world-famous Lake McKenzie and picturesque Lake Wabby.
- Journey type
- 4WD, trail bike, scenic drive
- 27.2km one way A path where the start point is different to the finish point
- Time suggested
- Allow 3hrs driving time
- High clearance 4WD
- Lookout (natural and constructed)
- Toilets (non-flush)
- Scenic drive
- Trail bike riding
- Photo credit: © Lise Pedersen
- Photo credit: Adam Creed © Queensland Government
- Photo credit: Rob Cameron © Queensland Government
Setting off from the Central Station day-use area your first stop will be in the cool respite of Pile Valley with its towering satinay trees.
Heading north you’ll soon see the dazzling white sand and crystal blue waters of Lake McKenzie. Stop here for a picnic, swim or kayak before heading inland.
The short detour to the Lake Wabby lookout walk is well worth the view of the Hammerstone Sandblow engulfing the barrage lake. If you’re keen, continue down the steep slope to the lake on the Lake Wabby walk.
Back on the main drive, take in views over the Stonetool Sandblow before arriving on the Eastern beach.
This park is part of the Fraser Island World Heritage Area, famed for its exceptional natural beauty, outstanding examples of coastal dune landform development and evolutionary history.
Getting there and getting around
The Central Lakes scenic drive is on K'gari (Fraser Island), 15km off the coast of Hervey Bay and about 300km north of Brisbane.
- The scenic drive links the Central Station day-use area and Cornwells Road on the Eastern Beach scenic drive, 6.6km north of the Eurong township.
- This scenic drive is not suitable for trailers.
Getting to K'gari
You can get to the island by high clearance 4WD, on foot, by plane or with a commercial tour.
Check the K'gari (Fraser Island) conditions report for the latest information on access, closures and conditions within the recreation area.
- Subscribe to the RSS feed to receive automated updates. (About RSS feeds).
- Your high clearance 4WD must have low range functions.
- Remember all vehicles must be registered, drivers must be licensed and all Queensland road rules apply, even on beaches.
- Read 4WD with care for important information on 4WD safety and minimal impact driving.
- A vehicle access permit must be purchased. Display the permit on your windscreen before driving in the recreation area.
From Inskip Point (15mins from Rainbow Beach)
- At the end of the bitumen on Inskip Point Road, reduce tyre pressure, engage 4WD and drive 500m onto the beach.
- Drive onto the Manta Ray barge for the 10–15min trip to Hook Point on the southern tip of K'gari (Fraser Island), and the start of the Eastern Beach scenic drive.
- Bookings for this barge are not required.
From River Heads (east of Maryborough)
- Travel 10.6km along River Heads Road to the Fraser Island Barges landing area.
- The trip to Wanggoolba Creek on western K'gari (Fraser Island) takes 30–45min.
- The trip to Kingfisher Bay on western K'gari (Fraser Island) takes 50mins–1hr.
- These barges run at fixed time and bookings are essential.
- Walkers can board a vehicle barge to the island (details above) or arrive by plane.
- Flights leave from Hervey Bay and Maryborough.
By private vessel
- Access K'gari (Fraser Island)'s sheltered western coastline by private vessel. The eastern coastline of the island is extremely hazardous and exposed to very rough ocean conditions.
- Launch your boat at one of the many boat ramps on the mainland between Tin Can Bay and Burnett Heads. There are no boat ramps on K'gari (Fraser Island).
- See Maritime Safety Queensland's Beacon to Beacon Guides for the Great Sandy Strait and Hervey Bay for detailed navigational maps.
- The waters adjacent to Fraser Island are in the Great Sandy Marine Park.
- If you're heading out on the water make sure you know your zones so you can follow the rules.
- Read boat and fish with care for tips on boating and fishing safety and caring for parks.
- You can join a range of tours that leave from a variety of centres.
- For tourism information for all regions in Queensland, see Queensland.com, and for friendly advice on how to get there, where to stay and what to do, find your closest accredited visitor information centre.
There are several wheelchair-accessible facilities on the Central Lakes scenic drive. Obstacles and sandy car parks and approaches at some of the facilities may mean that assistance is required.
You will find wheelchair-accessible:
- toilets at Lake Wabby lookout walk, Central Station day-use area, Lake McKenzie day-use area and Central Station camping area.
- picnic facilities at Central Station and Lake McKenzie day-use areas.
- Bring your own drinking water or fill up your containers at the Central Station day-use area. The water is treated.
- Use water wisely and report damaged or leaking taps and tanks.
Before you visit
Central Lakes scenic drive is open 24 hours a day.
Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.
For more safety information see:
- K’gari (Fraser Island) RESTRICTED VISITOR ACCESS due to fires 27 November to 13 December 2020
- Temporary closure of Beach camping zone 4 (Guluri, Eli) and 5 (Maheno, Wahba) due to increased wongari (dingo) activity 10 September to 14 December 2020
- K'gari (Fraser Island) Total Fire Prohibition 30 November to 7 December 2020
- Local fire ban in place for protected areas in Fraser Coast, Gympie, Noosa, Sunshine Coast areas 30 November to 7 December 2020
- Dingo (Wongari) Seasonal Information - Summer Season 1 December 2020 to 4 March 2021
- Warning - Marine stingers K'gari (Fraser Island) Great Sandy National Park 01 November to 31 May 1 November 2020 to 31 May 2021
- Beware crocodiles
- Be dingo-safe
- Beware marine stingers (jellyfish)
K'gari (Fraser Island) conditions report Updated 30 Nov 2020
Critical information for your safety is included in the conditions report—always check it before you visit.