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The Maheno Wreck on K'Gari / Fraser Island

Home > Sunshine Coast > Adventure | Animals and Wildlife | Beaches | National Parks | Photography
by Meg Forbes (subscribe)
Meg Forbes is a mum, freelance writer, and photographer living in the Redlands, South of Brisbane. https://www.instagram.com/megforbesphotography/
Published July 30th 2020
A fascinating piece of history on beautiful 75 Mile Beach
The Maheno Wreck on K'Gari / Fraser Island, is arguably one of Australia's most famous shipwrecks. Beautiful K'Gari, home to the Butchulla Nation since time immemorial, is a popular destination for domestic and international tourists, and the Maheno sits in an easily accessed position along the stunning 75 Mile Beach.

The Maheno Wreck on beautiful K'Gari
The Maheno Wreck on beautiful K'Gari


The SS Maheno was an ocean liner that belonged to a New Zealand company (Maheno, ironically, means "island") that was sold to a company in Japan who intended melting it down for scrap metal. However, while it was under tow in 1935 on the way to Japan, a seasonal cyclone developed causing the tow chain to snap. The SS Maheno then drifted until she washed up on K'Gari where the small crew were unable to refloat her.

The Maheno Wreck has called 75 Mile Beach home since 1935
The Maheno Wreck has called 75 Mile Beach home since 1935


Since then the Maheno Wreck has become on of K'Gari's icons and a popular tourist destination. Although visitors are asked not to climb the Maheno Wreck, it is possible to walk right around her when the tide is out.

There is unrestricted access to the Maheno Wreck, with visitors asked not to climb on her
There is unrestricted access to the Maheno Wreck, with visitors asked not to climb on her


This freedom to move around this large and interesting shipwreck allows visitors to explore and photograph her from many different angles.

The Maheno Wreck is often fully exposed at low tide, allowing visitors an unusual opportunity to photograph a shipwreck from all angles
The Maheno Wreck is often fully exposed at low tide, allowing visitors an unusual opportunity to photograph a shipwreck from all angles


Over the years the Maheno Wreck has truly integrated into the environment, as this Pacific heron (white morph) demonstrated by using it as a fishing platform.

After lying in this position for so many decades, the Maheno Wreck has truly integrated into the environment
After lying in this position for so many decades, the Maheno Wreck has truly integrated into the environment


Wongari (dingoes) are also frequently seen around the Maheno Wreck, and are especially interested in fishermen and their bait. Wongari should never be fed, and families with young children should keep them nearby at all times. If visitors have a negative encounter with a wongari they are asked to report it via:

email: dingo.ranger@des.qld.gov.au
phone (07) 4127 9150
or call 000 if the interaction results in an emergency

Wongari are frequently seen around the Maheno Wreck
Wongari are frequently seen around the skeleton of the Maheno Wreck


Visiting the Maheno Shipwreck:

Visitors to K'Gari have the choice between catching the Manta Ray Barge from Inskip Point, or the Kingfisher Ferry Service from Hervey Bay. Visitors using either of these barge services will need a four-wheel drive to move independently around K'Gari and to access 75 Mile Beach on which the Maheno Shipwreck lies. The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service provides a map of K'Gari here.

A visitor map of K'Gari (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service)
A visitor map of K'Gari (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service)


Alternatively, visitors can choose to join a guided tour that will allow them to simply enjoy the World Heritage scenery of K'Gari while a guide takes care of the driving. Drop Bear Adventures run ethical and culturally respectful tours of K'Gari that include visits to the Maheno Wreck as well as other popular K'Gari destinations.

A four wheel drive vehicle is needed to visit the Maheno Shipwreck, with guided tour options avaiable
A four wheel drive vehicle is needed to visit the Maheno Shipwreck, with guided tour options avaiable







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Why? The photogenic Maheno Wreck provides visitors to K'Gari with interesting heritage to explore
When: Daylight hours, best around low tide
Phone: 13 74 68
Where: 75 Mile Beach, K'Gari / Fraser Island
Cost: Free
Your Comment
I love your photos Meg.
by May Cross (score: 3|7889) 289 days ago
Beautiful photos and article Meg. It's a common subject for photos, but I never tire of looking at them. It's an old wreck, but it will outlast me. Neil.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|2346) 288 days ago
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