Maheno Shipwreck, Fraser Island

As the largest sand island in the world, Fraser Island has been the tragic backdrop for numerous shipwrecks over the years that have beached on its sandy shores.

In fact, a large stretch of the island acts as a living museum of sunken ships, bringing together twenty-three wrecks that have all fallen foul of the tides around it. The majority of wrecks washed up between 1856 and 1935, so there are plenty of stories to dig into while you’re exploring.

The most popular shipwreck is the Maheno, which can be found near The Pinnacles, one of the island’s most-visited attractions. Today, the wreck forms a favourite spot for tourists, offering a slice of history to those who want to learn more about the island’s fascinating past.

Built back in 1905, the SS Maheno was famous for being one of the first turbine-driven steamers. It cruised between Sydney and Auckland before it started a new life as a hospital ship in Europe during World War One.

Later, in 1935, it was bought by Japanese scrap metal makers, but tragedy struck on its way there. It got caught in the middle of a cyclone and ended up marooned on one of Fraser Island’s picturesque beaches.

Visiting the Maheno Shipwreck

The Maheno and the other shipwrecks that characterise Fraser Island make up an important part of the area’s history and remain popular visitor attractions to this day.

Now, the ship is just a rusted shell that continues to be misshapen over time by the harsh salt water off the island. Despite its worsening condition, the boat still serves as a reminder of Australia’s shipping past and provides numerous stories that date back decades or more.

Visitors are allowed to explore the Maheno as part of a tour around Fraser Island, which combines learning the fascinating shipwreck stories alongside discovering the lush landscape that’s filled with rainforests, beaches, and pretty waters.

Fraser Island remains a popular destination for those on the hunt for incredible natural scenery, and it promises breath-taking landscapes by the bucket load. And, when you visit the site of the Maheno shipwreck, you can learn about the rich history that has imbued the natural scenery for over a century. While in the area, be sure to check out the selection of other shipwrecks, too, and learn about why Fraser Island seemed to be a hotspot for shipping disasters over the years.

Other tourist attraction: