Lake Eacham, Crater Lakes National Park

Lake Eacham, Queensland 4884

Set on the sprawling Atherton Tablelands in a volcanic region near Cairns, Lake Eacham is a World Heritage listed landmark proffering a rich history that spans back thousands of years.

Lake Eacham

It has a range of adventurous outdoor activities combined with mesmerising wildlife spotting opportunities.

How Lake Eacham Was Formed

The lake itself dates back more than 12,000 years, when it first started to form via molten magma which rose from the centre of the earth and heated the surrounding water table. As a result, steam that was trapped underground escaped, creating massive explosions and causing massive cracks to appear in the ground. Over a period of hundreds of years, water began filling in the cracks and craters made by the explosions and the trees that once flanked the area began to grow back creating the peaceful landscape seen there today.

No streams flow into or out of the lake, meaning the water level only rises when there is heavy rainfall and only disappears through evaporation.

Lake Eacham Today

It wasn’t until 1888 that the scenic beauty of Lake Eacham and its surrounding were fully appreciated, and the lake, as well as a narrow stretch of rainforest close to its shoreline, were dubbed a scenic reserve.

For more than 50 years following that, the lake was used as a scenic reserve by visitors, with boating and water sports available for fun-seeking holidaymakers. In 1934, the local government declared the lake and its surroundings as a protected and managed National Park.

Things to Do at Lake Eacham

  • Swim

    What better way to enjoy Lake Eacham than by plunging into the crystal-clear waters? Either race off the ramps, dip your toes in the water or dive down into the cool water. The clear blue water is calm and steady, perfect for those looking for a break from the ocean currents and waves. Visitors even bring floatation devices to use to go deeper into the lake. There are plenty of steps, ramps and ladders provided around the lake. As well an ample number of grassy spots to sunbake and dry off at after your swim.

  • See the Wildlife

    There are plenty of other ways to enjoy the scenery at Lake Eacham without having to dip your toes in. As exploring the lake’s surrounds is just as entertaining. The borders of Lake Eacham are a vivid green, bursting with unique plants of all shapes and sizes. Due to the large expanse of rainforest, that surround it, animals are abundant. With several species found in and out of Lake Eacham, home to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. For the lake residents, saw-shelled turtles and various fish are common sights, usually roaming on the surface of the water before heading back down to the darkness. Reptiles are another typical dweller, with both water and forest dragons roaming about. Kangaroos, possums, and bats all hang about the forestland, and can easily be seen when visitors walk around the many paths scattered about. Lastly, birds are the kinds of the area, with over 180 different species recorded to call this region their home. Bringing herds of bird watchers to the lake every year.

  • Soak up the Sun

    Not in the mood for a day jam-packed with activities? Visitors who are on the lazier side shouldn’t fret, as taking in the beauty Lake Eacham doesn’t have to involve a lot of fitness. Simply sitting in the soft grass or setting up on the many tables and benches can give you front-seat views of the scenery. Numerous viewing decks promise exceptional views, as well as a number of quiet hidden spots for those wanting to escape the crowds. Fully immerse yourself in the region, patiently waiting for the wildlife to come to you as you slowly soak up the sun!

  • Enjoy a Walk

    Whether you’re after a morning-long trek or a simple half an hour journey, the Lake Eacham’s walks are for you. With the forest fringing the lake, man-made walks weave through the thick where visitors can see the scenery up close and personal. As you go, listen out for unique birdsongs that flow through the air, and keep your eyes peeled for the local fauna hanging out in the bushes.

  • Learn about the History

    For younger members of the family, there is a fun walk that incorporates facts about the local animals and fascinating insights into the history of the lake and its surroundings. With Aboriginal stories covering the region, being one of the home bases for the local tribes back in the day. The forest region was named ‘open scrub’, suggesting these vast forest tablelands have only been around for 7600 years or so. Before trekking out to the natural beauty, take some time to learn about these ancient residents of Lake Eacham.

  • Tuck into a Picnic

    After spending a morning discovering all the area’s hidden treasures, refuel amidst the lush greenery. Picnic tables, shelters, toilets, and barbecues are all provided along the borders of the lake, guaranteeing you a beautiful view to go with your lunch. There are also two viewing decks offered that plenty of people rest at while tucking into their snacks for the day. If you’ve had enough of nature, head to the nearby restaurant named Altitude Café, which serves delicious food all day.

  • Kayak and Canoe Around


    Although motorised boats are prohibited at Lake Eacham without a permit, canoes and kayaks are welcome every day.  Simply head to the boat ramp and gradually slide into the deep blue water. Slowly cruise through the still water, and spot the marine life and seeing the lake from a new angle.

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