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Lake Eacham in the Atherton Tablelands

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Thu 25 May 2023

Lake Eacham is a unique natural attraction found in the Atherton Tablelands, about 70km away from CairnsBoth Australian locals and international tourists flock here to swim, kayak, or paddleboard in the calm blue waters of this fascinating volcanic lake. There is so much to learn about Lake Eacham, so let's take a closer look at this gorgeous location in Tropical North Queensland!

Lake Eacham swimming

How Was Lake Eacham Formed?

Set within a volcanic crater, Lake Eacham supposedly formed over 12,000 years ago from volcanic activity in Queensland. Molten magma from the center of the earth rose up to heat the groundwater until there was a massive explosion. Left behind after the event were two massive volcanic craters, which are now Lake Eacham and its neighbor, Lake Barrine. Both lakes are around 65 meters deep and are filled with vibrant blue water that is filled with nutrients and minerals. 

Lake Eacham

Is It Safe To Swim In Lake Eacham?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to swim in the stunning Lake Eacham! The water is extremely calm, clear, and beautiful, Not only can you swim here, you can paddleboard, kayak, or fling yourself off a rope swing. Due to the tropical climate of the Atherton Tablelands region, the water temperatures are pleasant as well. 

Despite its dramatic origin story, Lake Eacham no longer sees any volcanic activity. Travelers may be concerned that Lake Eacham itself is part of an active volcano, but that is all in the past. The lake is simply set in a volcanic crater that showcases the incredible natural history of the area. 

Lake Eacham rope swing

Does Lake Eacham Have Crocodiles?

Swimming anywhere in Tropical North Queensland may have you a little on edge due to the potential presence of crocodilesYes, there are plenty of crocodiles in Tropical North Queensland, but it's the saltwater crocs that warrant a bit of fear. Saltwater crocodiles are one of the biggest predators in Australia, and they are notoriously aggressive. However, these fiesty reptiles live closer to the coast in murky river beds. You won't find them on the Great Barrier Reef, and you won't find them in the lakes and waterfalls of the Atherton Tablelands

So does Lake Eacham have crocodiles? There is actually one freshwater crocodile that has been seen living in Lake Eacham! But freshwater crocodiles are much smaller and more timid than saltwater crocodiles. They are not threatening to humans and they tend to keep to themselves. Don't let the presence of this little croc stop you from swimming in Lake Eacham! If you do happen to spot him, just let him be. Find more info on the QLD Government website!

Lake Eacham paddleboard

Is It Worth Visiting Lake Eacham?

Absolutely, Lake Eacham is a gorgeous place to visit in Tropical North Queensland. Not only is the lake itself a beautiful place to explore, but the surrounding scenery is unbelievable. Located in the Atherton Tablelands, which is part of the Wet Tropics Area of Queensland, this region is filled with lush, tropical rainforests, magical waterfalls, and charming villages. 

After you spend some time at Lake Eacham, consider going for more freshwater swims at Babinda Boulders, Millaa Millaa Falls, or Josephine Falls. Or you can explore the quaint towns of Yungaburra or Kuranda. The entire area is breathtaking, so it's absolutely worth taking a day trip from Cairns out to the lakes, waterfalls, and villages of the Atherton Tablelands!

Lake Eacham

Check out our list of the top things to do in Atherton Tablelands for more ideas!

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