Crater Lakes National Park
Part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, this national park surrounds two lakes, Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham. These are volcanic craters formed millions of years ago by massive explosions of superheated groundwater. Layers of sediment on the ﬂoor of Lake Barrine have revealed pollen samples from ancient vegetation. The lush rainforest that surrounds this lake is characterised by well-developed buttressed trees and an abundance of large strangler ﬁgs. Kauri trees found here are almost identical to fossil kauris found in 300-million-year-old rocks. In comparison, the rainforest around Lake Eacham has strong vines, woody epiphytes and only a few buttressed trees.
Wildlife species include the musky rat-kangaroo, Boyd’s forest dragon, the scrub python (amethystine), over 180 species of birds, and a variety of butterﬂies including the brilliant blue Ulysses. Saw-shelled turtles and eastern water dragons inhabit the lakes.
Recreational activities include bushwalking, picnicking and swimming in Lake Eacham. A 40-minute cruise around Lake Barrine can be booked at the teahouse on the lakefront. Both lakes have picnic areas with shelter sheds, tables, water and toilets; Lake Eacham also has gas barbecues. Visitors can also walk around the lakes; allow 1 hour for the 3-kilometre Lake Eacham circuit and about 2 hours for the 5-kilometre Lake Barrine circuit. Both circuits are wheelchair accessible, with assistance. There are self-catering cottages in the rainforest near Crater Lakes, and accommodation at Mareeba and historic Yungaburra.
Location and access
70 km south-west of Cairns; 8–12 km east of Yungaburra off Gillies Hwy
NPRSR 13 7468
Malanda Falls (07) 4096 6957
Atherton Tablelands (07) 4091 4222