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This small national park can be located on the southern Atherton Tablelands, south-west of Cairns. It consists of two separate sections: Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham. Both are popular with tourists who come to view the beautiful lakes and to walk in the forest. The area is also popular with birders looking for Wet Tropics endemics and many other rainforest species.
Numerous mid-elevation rainforest species can be seen here, including several of the endemics, as well as some wetland species. These include: Australian Brush Turkey, Wandering Whistling Duck, Hardhead, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Great Crested Grebe, Little Black Cormorant, Little Pied Cormorant, Australian Darter, Australian Pelican, Pacific Baza, Whistling Kite, Black Kite, Grey Goshawk, Eurasian Coot, Dusky Moorhen, Superb Fruit Dove, Rose-crowned Fruit Dove, Wompoo Fruit Dove, White-headed Pigeon, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Pacific Emerald Dove, Double-eyed Fig Parrot, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Australian Swiftlet, Rufous Owl, White-throated Treecreeper, Bower's Shrike Thrush, Little Shrike Thrush, Large-billed Scrubwren, Yellow-throated Scrubwren, Brown Gerygone, Pale Yellow Robin, Grey-headed Robin, Chowchilla, Eastern Whipbird, Golden Whistler, Grey Fantail, Rufous Fantail, Barred Cuckooshrike, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, White-eared Monarch, Pied Monarch, Spectacled Monarch, Black-faced Monarch, Macleay's Honeyeater, Bridled Honeyeater, Lewin's Honeyeater, Dusky Honeyeater, Eastern Spinebill, Mistletoebird, Olive-backed Sunbird, Metallic Starling, Tooth-billed Bowerbird, Spotted Catbird, Victoria's Riflebird, Red-browed Finch, and Welcome Swallow.
Birds you can see here include:
The rainforest around both Lakes is rich in wildlife and many non-avian species can be encountered here.
Mammals: Many of these are nocturnal, but can be viewed when spotlighting or if staying at Chambers (see below). These include Platypus, Red-legged Pademelon, Musky Rat Kangaroo, Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroo, Herbert River Ringtail, Lemuroid Ringtail, Coppery Brushtail, Green Possum, Sugar Glider, Striped Possum, Long-nosed Bandicoot and Giant White-tailed Rat.
History and Use
Both Lakes Barrine and Eacham are water-filled calderas formed as the result of volcanic activity thousands of years ago.
Crater Lakes National Park was created in 1994 to consolidate the two smaller national parks that independently protected the two lakes. Those two national parks were established to protect these small isolated fragments of rainforest and are completely surrounded by farmland, although efforts have been underway for some time now to create a vegetated corridor linking them together.
The national park now also lies within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
Areas of Interest
The lakes themselves offer an opportunity to observe a variety of water birds. The surrounding rainforest is of considerable interest to visiting birders and can be watched from along the roads through the national park and on trails that circumnavigate both lakes. There is also a shorter circular walking trail at Lake Barrine that is especially rewarding for tracking down Tooth-billed Bowerbird singing on bowers.
The gardens between the car park and teahouse at Lake Barrine can be very rewarding for various honeyeaters coming to the flowering shrubs. A variety of other rainforest species can be more readily observed here too, as indeed they can also from the car park at Lake Eacham.
A short way down the main trail around the lake can be found two gigantic Bull Kauri which are an attraction in themselves due to their size.
Access and Facilities
The National Park is located on the Southern Atherton Tablelands to the east of Yungaburra township and about 60kms up the Gillies Highway to the south-west of Cairns. There are sealed roads to and through both sections of the park and parking facilities at both lakes.
In addition, Lake Barrine has a tea house situated in a beautiful spot on the Lake itself, and serves lunches, snacks and drinks. There are also toilet facilities here and a gift shop. An interpretative contour map of the Lakes is found by the entrance of the tearoom. The trails lead off the car park a short distance away.
Boat tours are available at Lake Barrine and visitors are allowed to swim in Lake Eacham.
Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodge is the main accommodation in the near vicinity and is popular with visiting birders. It is located near Lake Eacham. For contact details and bookings, see below.
Lake Eacham Tourist Park is an accommodation option for the more budget conscious. It offers cabins and camping facilities. It is located about 1km from Lake Eacham. For details and bookings, see below.
Further information can be found at the Queensland government National Park website:
And for accommodation, there are two main options in the near vicinity: