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About Lake Eacham

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Getting there and getting around

Lake Eacham is on the eastern part of the Atherton Tableland, about 68km or just over one hour's drive from Cairns via the Gillies Highway. The Atherton Tableland is also accessible via the Kennedy Highway from Cairns, the Palmerston Highway from Innisfail or the Mossman–Mount Molloy Road from Port Douglas.

There is a restricted access area (PDF, 187K)between a section of the Lake circuit track and the lake. This area is signposted. For your safety, visitors must remain on the formed walking track. Entry to the restricted access area is prohibited.

Wheelchair accessibility

The Lake Eacham toilets and some tracks and boardwalks are wheelchair-accessible with assistance.

Park features

Lake Eacham is a clear, blue lake. Photo: Tamara Vallance.

Lake Eacham is a clear, blue lake. Photo: Tamara Vallance.

Lake Eacham is a clear, blue lake surrounded by lush rainforest. Walking tracks through the rainforest provide secluded forest-fringed views of the lake and excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife.

In geological terms, the lake is a maar—a volcanic crater formed by massive explosions from the superheating of groundwater. The crater has filled with water, forming a lake 65m deep. A number of rainforest communities can be seen along the 3km track encircling the lake.

Over 180 bird species have been recorded from the rainforest and you may be lucky enough to see one of the few species of marsupial active during daytime—the small musky rat-kangaroo.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Camping, including sleeping in campervans and vehicles, is not permitted within the national park. 

Other accommodation

There is a range of holiday accommodation near Lake Eacham and in and around Yungaburra, Malanda and Atherton. For more information see the tourism information links.

Things to do

Forest-fringed views from the Lake circuit track, Lake Eacham, Queensland. Photo: Tourism Queensland.

Forest-fringed views from the Lake circuit track, Lake Eacham, Queensland. Photo: Tourism Queensland.

Have fun on the Lake Eacham children's walk. Photo: Tamara Vallance.

Have fun on the Lake Eacham children's walk. Photo: Tamara Vallance.

Kayaking on Lake Eacham. Photo: Terry Vallance.

Kayaking on Lake Eacham. Photo: Terry Vallance.

Please use the water access points when entering the water. Photo: Peter Nieves, Queensland Government.

Please use the water access points when entering the water. Photo: Peter Nieves, Queensland Government.

Walking

Lake circuit track (easy to moderate)

Distance: 3km return

Time: allow 1hr walking time

Details: A pleasant walk around the lake, this track offers secluded forest-fringed views of the lake and excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife. Read the signs and see the rainforest and its inhabitants through the eyes of the Aboriginal Traditional Owners. Hazards such as exposed rocks and tree roots, obstacles and loose gravel make the track unsuitable for jogging.

There is a restricted access area (PDF, 187K)between a section of the walking track and the lake. This area is signposted. For your safety, visitors must remain on the formed walking track. Entry to the restricted access area is prohibited.

Lake Eacham children’s walk (Grade: easy)

Distance: 1.4km return

Time: allow 1hr walking time

Details: Wriggle like a snake, stamp on pests and hunt for dragons on this fun walk through the Lake Eacham rainforest. The track is suitable for prams, but is steep in places.

Cycling

Ride through Lake Eacham on Lakes Drive, a sealed bitumen access road. The road is narrow and winding. Expect to share the roads with pedestrians, vehicles and other cyclists.

Bicycles are not permitted on any of the walking tracks or boardwalks.

For more information, see cycling.

Picnic and day-use areas

Picnic tables, shelters, toilets, and barbecues are provided and two viewing decks offer uninterrupted views of the lake and its inhabitants. Visitors are encouraged to place their rubbish in the bins provided and to refrain from feeding the wildlife, including the fish and turtles.

Canoeing and kayaking

Non-motorised boats are welcome at Lake Eacham and a boat ramp is provided for easy access. Take care on the ramp—it can be slippery.

Swimming

Enjoy a cool dip or snorkel the edges of Lake Eacham. Steps, ramps and ladders have been provided. Do not jump or dive from viewing decks, the pontoon, concrete blocks, lake edges or overhanging vegetation. Be aware of submerged objects and other swimmers. Commercial diving is not permitted.

Fishing

Fishing, including the use of lines, traps and nets, is prohibited in Lake Eacham. Penalties apply.

Viewing wildlife

Wildlife is abundant in and around Lake Eacham and several species are endemic to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Saw-shelled turtles and eastern water dragons are common lake residents while over 180 bird species have been recorded. Musky rat-kangaroos are active during the day and are often seen from the walking track.

See the description of the park's natural environment for more details about Lake Eacham wildlife.

Other things to do

Visit the Rainforest Display Centre at the Trees for the Atherton and Evelyn Tablelands (TREAT) Visitor Centre on McLeish Road. The display describes the clearing of tropical rainforest for timber and agriculture and the partial restoration of the rainforest today—particularly in linking isolated fragments. Four main vegetation restoration projects are showcased, as well as information on the benefits of tree planting and forest restoration, especially along waterways. Find out about the history and goals of TREAT and how the organisation functions alongside Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS). The visitor centre is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9.00am to 1.00pm.

Things to know before you go

Take plenty of drinking water when walking. Photo: Peter Nieves, Queensland Government.

Take plenty of drinking water when walking. Photo: Peter Nieves, Queensland Government.

Essentials to bring

To ensure you have an enjoyable visit please remember to bring:

  • drinking water
  • sunscreen, a hat and a long-sleeved shirt to protect yourself from the sun.

Opening hours

Lake Eacham is open 24 hours a day.

There is a restricted access area (PDF, 187K)between a section of the Lake circuit track and the lake. This area is signposted. For your safety, visitors must remain on the formed walking track. Entry to the restricted access area is prohibited.

Permits and fees

Permits are required for commercial or organised group activities. Contact us for further information.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted in Crater Lakes National Park.

Climate and weather

Lake Eacham lies 720m above sea level and the lower humidity and temperatures are a pleasant escape from the coastal extremes. Maximum summer temperatures are around 30°C while winter temperatures can fall below 10°C at night.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and supplies are available in Yungaburra and other towns on the Atherton Tableland. For more information, see the tourism information links.

Staying safe

Be aware of stinging trees. Photo: Tamara Vallance.

Be aware of stinging trees. Photo: Tamara Vallance.

  • Please remain on the walking tracks and boardwalks when in the forest.
  • Users may encounter hazards such as exposed rocks and tree roots, obstacles and loose gravel that make the walking track unsuitable for jogging.
  • Take adequate water when walking and protect yourself from the sun.
  • Do not jump or dive from viewing decks, the pontoon, lake edge or overhanging vegetation.
  • Take note of safety signs and distance markers.
  • Be aware that stinging trees are found alongside the tracks. Never touch this plant as it may result in a painful sting. If you are stung, and symptoms are severe, seek medical attention.
  • Treat all water before drinking.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

  • Place your rubbish in the bins provided, or take it with you.
  • Never feed wildlife. Human food can be harmful to wild animals and animals may become aggressive when fed. You may get bitten or scratched. Feeding fish and turtles at Lake Eacham is prohibited.
  • Fishing, including the use of lines, traps and nets, is prohibited in Lake Eacham. Penalties apply.
  • Camping, including sleeping in campervans and vehicles, is not permitted in Crater Lakes National Park.
  • Domestic animals are prohibited in national parks.
  • When cycling, stay on formed roads—bicycles are not permitted on walking tracks and boardwalks.
  • Cassowaries are occasionally seen at Lake Eacham. They are potentially dangerous. Avoid unnecessary risks and help protect these endangered animals by following these guidelines in cassowary country.
    • Never approach cassowaries.
    • Never approach chicks—male cassowaries will defend them.
    • Never feed cassowaries—it is illegal and dangerous and has caused cassowary deaths.
    • Always discard food scraps in closed bins, or take them with you.
    • Always slow down when driving in cassowary territory.
    • Never stop your vehicle to look at cassowaries on the road.
    See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Park management

Lake Eacham was gazetted a national park in 1934. In 1988 it was included within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, and in 1994, joined with Lake Barrine under the one name—Crater Lakes National Park.

Crater Lakes National Park is managed on a day-to-day basis by QPWS. Management of the World Heritage area is coordinated through a partnership between the Commonwealth and Queensland governments, the Traditional Owners and the wider community.

Tourism information links

Atherton Tableland Information Centre

www.athertoninformationcentre.com.au
Corner Silo Road and Main Street, Atherton QLD 4883
Phone: (07) 4091 4222
Email: athinfocentre@trc.qld.gov.au 

Malanda Falls Visitor Information Centre
www.malandafalls.com
Malanda-Atherton Road, Malanda QLD 4885
Phone: (07) 4096 6957
Email: info@malandafalls.com

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
23 November 2015