Whether you love a chill hike through the rainforest, paddling adventures, or you’re just a fan of beautiful big trees, this is the perfect day trip. Just over an hour’s drive from Cairns, Lake Eacham is a stellar spot for a rainforest walk with a rewarding swim at the finish line.

 

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Country on which this adventure takes place who have occupied and cared for this land and water for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Highlights

  • Walking through lush rainforest
  • Being wowed by huge Strangler figs
  • Enjoying a BBQ or picnic lunch by the waterside
  • Spending an afternoon swimming, canoeing, kayaking, SUPing, snorkelling or diving in the lake’s clear waters

Lake Eacham Let’s Go!

While there’s certainly a case for those long, challenging, rewarding hikes that take up most of a day (or several), occasionally, we may have our reasons for wanting to experience the beauty of Australia’s natural world without investing so much time or energy. But it isn’t always easy to find places that are accessible for short stints while still having that ‘wow’ factor.

Fortunately, Lake Eacham in the Atherton Tablelands is one such place. Its 3km circuit walk, which leads you around the perimeter of this volcanic crater-turned-sparkling lake, plunges you into dense rainforest from the get-go.

Read more: 10 of The Best Wild Swimming Spots Around Cairns

 

Tree Lover’s Paradise

Expect towering trees, some with green and orange epiphytes (air plants) plastered to their sides, surrounded by lush green ferns and mossy logs with colourful mushroom varieties sprouting from their sawn tops. It’s also home to as many as 180 different bird species, though you’ll need to be quick on the shutter button to capture anything swifter than a brushturkey.

 

 

Just as you start to become used to your surroundings, an enormous Strangler fig presents itself at your side, the large rope-like roots stretching down the slope to drink the lake’s water. Not to be outdone, further along the path another Strangler fig looms overhead, pulling trees together to form a large archway. Passing beneath the thick tumble of tiny roots may conjure up images of entering a witch’s lair (it certainly did for me).

 

Take a Dip at the Finishline

The walk concludes back at the lakefront after approximately an hour, though you could be excused for lingering a little while longer to take some snaps of its most impressive features. You can expect to find others already enjoying the lake’s shimmering depths, with swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and SUPing all popular activities.

 

 

You can even snorkel or dive Lake Eacham. But if you happen to spot the resident freshwater crocodile just leave it be – it’s reportedly harmless if left alone.

Read more: How To Stay Safe in Croc Country

 

 

Avoid having to rush off too soon once the hunger-pangs set in by packing a picnic to enjoy on the lawn overlooking the lake, or make use of the BBQs for a good old-fashioned sausage sizzle. With no motor-craft allowed, you’re guaranteed a relaxing afternoon to round out an incredible day. Just remember to leave no trace!

 

Essential Gear

  • Walking shoes
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Drinking water
  • Swimmers
  • Kayak/canoe
  • SUP
  • Snorkel/dive equipment
  • Picnic lunch/BBQ

Skill Level

Beginner

Distance Covered / Duration

3km / 1 hour for the circuit walk