The Volcanic Crater Lake Eacham
Only 10 minutes’ drive from the Curtain Fig Tree (Yungaburra QLD), in the Crater Lakes National Park Cairns, is the serene Lake Eacham Australia… Boasting of pristine blue waters, fringed with dense lush rainforest and home to many small animals, this National Park is ideal for birdwatchers, bushwalking, swimming and canoeing.
Around 10,000 years ago the molten magma from the Earth’s Mantle began to rise towards the crust of the Earth, heating the water that was trapped underground… This caused steam to exit the grounds in the Tablelands area, followed by cracks in the ground, until the pressure builds up so much it let off some massive explosions, today these are maars known as Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine.
Lake Eacham is an enclosed catchment, a volcanic crater filled with water and no exit to nearby rivers, creeks or streams, with the water levels changing approx four metres between the seasons, with evaporation and seepage.
The Atherton Tablelands Lakes are a part of the World Heritage Wet Tropics Rainforest, owned by the Traditional Rainforest People of the Ngadjonji Aboriginal Tribe.
Today visiting this beautiful blue crater lake near cairns, you can enjoy a scenic 3km circuit trail around the lake with excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife like the musky tree-rat kangaroos, water dragons, song birds, saw-shelled turtles, freshwater fish, flying foxes, frogs and plenty more… The walk takes a maximum of 1 hour, if you are a fast walker you can probably walk around it in about 30-40minutes comfortably.
It’s believed to be over 65 meters deep, in some areas of the Lake, but if you are not a strong swimmer don’t let that put you off, as there is many shallow areas where you can stand in the water freely and enjoy a refreshing swim or snorkel near the water’s edge, via the steps, or ramp at this popular lake in Queensland.
For those more comfortable with swimming, Lake Eacham has a viewing platform near the picnic tables, then out from that they have a pontoon with a ladder into the deeper water.
Fishing is prohibited at Lake Eacham as well as the use of any motorized water sports, domestic animals, feeding the wildlife and camping.
There are bins, toilets, picnic area, BBQ areas available to the public. You are asked to respect the land and nature, leaving nothing but footprints, taking everything, you came with, photos and memories only.
Warren Cannendo the Traditional Rainforest People of the Ngadjonji Aboriginal Tribe tells his story of Bana Wiingina (Lake Eacham) as follows
“Two young fellas were trying to spear that wallaby, but they missed and hit a flame tree. That’s a sacred tree. The young fellas not supposed to be out hunting, they weren’t initiated. Their elders told them to stay put, not go out hunting, but they didn’t listen…
When they pulled their spear out, part of a grub came out with the spear, which was a witchetty grub. They started cutting down that tree to get more grubs. When they cut down that tree, the ground began to shake. Those two fellas had made Yamini (rainbow serpent) angry.
Then the sky turned orange, then all these people back at the camp, the earth went from underneath them, sucked them in, whoosh, they all got drowned. Where they were camped became Bana Wiingina”
Lake Eacham is known to have one freshwater crocodile.
Freshwater crocs are generally quite small in size, this one is currently (Jan 2020) smaller than 1.5m.
Unlike their large Australian relative the Saltwater Croc, Freshies have a small narrow nose, small teeth and only hunt small things it can swallow whole like frogs, small birds, insects, small fish etc.
It is important to note Freshwater crocs are considered to be timid and not a threat to humans unless it feels the need to defend itself from interferance or distrubance directly to it (no chasing or touching it).
Freshwater crocs generally don’t like much noise, the likely hood is if it see’s you, it would be more afraid of you and probably head in the other direction as we are a lot bigger then he is and a lot noiser then he likes.
No incidents have been reported in relation to this crocodile with humans.