Incredible things happen when lakes form above sea level. The reason for this is due to the pure rainwater that's collected with no sea-level water to pollute it, creating pure freshwater. One of these examples can be seen in Lake McKenzie, which is located on Australia's Fraser Island.

While the island has had a bit of a reputation for dangerous swimming in the past, this lake poses virtually no threats to its visitors. The purity of the lake prevents more threats than one might realize, and a fortunate side effect? The lake is one of the cleanest, and clearest, in the entire world.


If that doesn't sound like perfect swimming conditions, then we're not sure what is.

How Is Lake McKenzie So Clear?

The science behind the beautiful, clear water that is Lake McKenzie is really quite fascinating. The key to understanding it is knowing that the lake sits roughly 100 meters above sea level, which means there's no access to the ocean or any surrounding waterways. Its elevation allows pure rainwater to collect in its basin, through a process that causes it to be a 'perched lake.' When rain falls from the sky, it falls in its purest form over Fraser Island, meaning it's free of salt and pollutants that cause other lakes to be discolored or dark.

However, this also means that the lake water itself has a higher acidity level than most which prevent any kind of wildlife from living in it. This is why visitors to the lake won't find fish or small organisms as they would in other lakes around Australia, and with no prey, there aren't likely to be any other animals roaming around the lake, either. In short, the lake's waters are 100% too pure to allow any kind of life to thrive within it. Save for the smallest, most microscopic of organisms, the lake is devoid of any naturally occurring or migrating marine life.

As far as the sand on the beach, this is yet another unique feature that gives Lake McKenzie such an incredible, ethereal appearance. The sand itself is crushed silica which means it's smoother and softer than typical sand, which is mostly crushed shells and pebbles. This pure white sand is what gives the appearance of the lake's lightly-colored, crystal-clear water, as well.

Related: Stunning Lesser-Known Beaches In Australia Way Better Than Bondi

The Historical And Spiritual Significance Of Lake McKenzie

For starters, Fraser Island is known as the largest sand island in the entire world. This, alone, is one unique reason to visit its beautiful shores. The island itself has been inhabited by the Aboriginal people for the last 5,000 years or so, and it was discovered by James Cook in the late 1700s.

  • Fun Fact: The island was nicknamed 'K’gari,' which translates to 'paradise.' The island was named by the Butchulla people, who believed that it was created by the goddess K'gari, and thus called Lake McKenzie 'Boorangoora.'

Lake McKenzie is a World Heritage spot, so it's worth visiting for both its stunning beauty and historical status. This title allows the lake to be protected land and also helps maintain the conservation efforts that go to keeping it as pure as possible.

Swimming In Lake McKenzie

Surprisingly, visitors are allowed to swim in this pristine lake, and it's also one of the most popular activities there. Its calm, clear water is absolutely perfect for casual laps, and it's the perfect way to cool off during a hot Australia day.

Since the sand is made up of silica, it's believed that it also has natural exfoliating properties that are beneficial for the skin. With its freshwater composition, swimmers won't need to worry about accidentally swallowing saltwater or having to deal with the hassle that comes with swimming in ocean-like conditions. Its purity levels have also given it the title of one of the cleanest freshwater lakes in the entire world.

  • Note: The only immediate threat that Lake McKenzie faces is potential pollution from things such as sunscreen, lotion, and any makeup that a swimmer might wear at the lake. In order to prevent this and further ensure the life of Lake McKenzie, visitors should consider finding marine-safe sunscreen and foregoing any lotions or makeup.

Visiting Lake McKenzie

Those who wish to visit Lake McKenzie will be happy to know that the process is fairly straightforward. A barge or ferry must be taken from the mainland to the island; from there, visitors will need to take a taxi to the Great Walk, which is a short distance from the lake itself. Those who wish to experience the entirety of Fraser Island can also stay the night at one of its numerous campsites.

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