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Atherton Tablelands: Lakes, Snakes and Green Wally!

Filed in: Cairns, Queensland 6
Atherton Tablelands: Lakes, Snakes and Green Wally!

The Evergreen Atherton Tablelands

Time to escape humidity of the Cairns region and discover the Atherton Tablelands.

The Atherton Tablelands averages a height of 700 metres above sea level, giving lower temperatures, cooler nights and only a one hour drive from Cairns.

Furthermore this wonderful mix of rainforest, wetlands and savanna is home to wildlife such as tree kangaroos, wallabies and even platypus!

The Atherton Tablelands Volcanic Earth

Many years ago volcanoes poured lava into an old valley forming the  Atherton Tablelands over millions of years.

It has been 10,000 – 20,000 years since any lava flowed here but aboriginal people did experience some huge explosions creating what are now stunning crater lakes.

Volcanic Crater Lakes of the Atherton Tablelands - Lake Eacham | Credit: @Queensland
Volcanic Crater Lakes of the Atherton Tablelands - Lake Eacham | Credit: @Queensland

Crystal Clear Crater Lakes

The crater lakes of the Atherton Tablelands are now known as Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham.

Both lakes are very similar but offer very different activities.

The 80 year old Lake Barrine Tea House - The Atherton Tablelands
The 80 year old Lake Barrine Tea House - The Atherton Tablelands

Tea & Wildlife at Lake Barrine

Lake Barrine offers a very relaxing visit to admire the bird life within the 80 year old heritage tea house  offering traditional afternoon tea including delicious scones and cakes. Delightful if you are not vegan!

Views across the 10,000 year old aqua blue lake and pristine rainforest are picture perfect.

Giant amethystine python on a Lake Barrine rainforest cruise - The Atherton Tablelands
Giant amethystine python on a Lake Barrine rainforest cruise - The Atherton Tablelands

Lake Barrine Rainforest Cruise is world famous for it’s unique, informative and relaxing tour around the volcanic crater lake.

Amethystine pythons lie on the reed beds around the lake edges, basking in the sun. Reaching up to 5 meters in length, are an incredible sight unless you have a phobia of snakes!

Other wildlife include freshwater turtles, water dragons, bird’s and if you are lucky platypus.

Tours operate at 9.30am, 11.30am and 1.30pm.

Take a Dip! Lake Eacham crater lake - The Atherton Tablelands
Take a Dip! Lake Eacham crater lake - The Atherton Tablelands

Swimming at Lake Eacham

After spotting snakes at Lake Barrine, it’s time for a refreshing swim at Lake Eacham.

We discover a sign, a freshwater crocodile may inhabit this area… apparently they are not dangerous so we jumped in and joined the locals! 

Thankfully no snakes or crocodiles came to inspect our edibleness.

If swimming is not for you, Lake Eacham offers shaded BBQ areas and a fascinating 3km walking circuit around the lake.

Tina looking up at the breathtaking Curtain Fig Tree near Yungaburra - The Atherton Tablelands
Tina looking up at the breathtaking Curtain Fig Tree near Yungaburra - The Atherton Tablelands

A Tree Huggers Dream

For the nature lovers, two Magnificent trees  to visit are Cathedral Fig Tree and Curtain Fig Tree.

Additionally Curtain Fig Tree even has it’s own national park to protect the endangered mabi forest

Walk the elevated boardwalk and witness this incredible tree for yourself.

The upper part of the Cathedral Fig Tree - The Atherton Tablelands
The upper part of the Cathedral Fig Tree - The Atherton Tablelands

Cathedral Fig Tree is over 500 year old and one of the most spectacular fig trees you will ever see. 

Furthermore, is the best place to admire early morning bird ‘singing’ in the Atherton Tablelands.

Staying at the eco-certified accommodation On The Wallaby Lodge - The Atherton Tablelands
Staying at the eco-certified accommodation On The Wallaby Lodge - The Atherton Tablelands

Green Wallaby Eco Lodge

After a full day exploring, a perfect place to stay is On the Wallaby Eco Lodge. 

The only officially recognised eco-certified accommodation on the Atherton Tablelands, also nicknamed Green Wally.

On the wallaby is laid back with a friendly atmosphere. This amazing team aim to be the “Greenest Lodge in the World.” From Solar powered amenities to home grown herb and veggie gardens to help yourself!

Located in the peaceful village of Yungaburra, you can enjoy your evening platypus spotting, night canoeing or relaxing at the lodge.

Spotting Platypus at Petersen Creek in Yungaburra - The Atherton Tablelands
Spotting Platypus at Petersen Creek in Yungaburra - The Atherton Tablelands

Platypus Spotting

One of the best places to find platypus is at Petersen Creek in Yungaburra.

A small car park is just 2 minutes walk from the platypus hide and viewing area. 

We were lucky enough to see four platypus during sunset. (The best time to see them) One platypus even started feeding in the reeds just in front of us! We felt extremely lucky to see one so close.

Night sky at Lake Tinaroo - The Atherton Tablelands | Credit: Karon Bell Photography
Night sky at Lake Tinaroo - The Atherton Tablelands | Credit: Karon Bell Photography

Night Canoeing

A worthwhile activity with the Wallaby Crew!

First of all the night sky is phenomenal, the stars are so bright, you can even see the Milky Way.

It wasn’t long and the abundance of wildlife became apparent. Wallabies and Padymellons bouncing along the grassy shoreline, and Eastern water dragons hiding from snakes on old tree branches.

While night canoeing we spotted ringtail possums - Atherton Tablelands
While night canoeing we spotted ringtail possums - Atherton Tablelands

Further down the lake we encountered a Long Nosed Bandicoot, two Ringtail Possoms and even an Amethystine Python on the hunt for water dragons.

The highlight of the evening was Tree Kangaroos! Yes, kangaroos that live in trees. 

Unfortunately they are extremely endangered due to habitat loss, so we were extremely lucky to see four Tree Kangaroos and a joey!

Overall, an incredible adventure and we highly recommend it.

Follow John Paul:
Travelling is life, life is travel! Seeing is believing so follow my antics as I pursue the wonders of the world and delve into Mother Natures very secret offerings. Oh, and I help people organise wonderful trips to Australia! Find me at www.treehuggertravel.com.au for the best in eco-tourism Down Under

6 Responses

  1. […] the Atherton Tablelands or head to the coast and discover the Great Barrier Reef and […]

  2. […] perfect place for us to unwind after our epic road trip of rainforest, waterfalls and Tablelands […]

  3. […] Platypus, eastern water dragons and saw-shelled turtles live in the river, so if you have time to hike down, it’s definitely worth it..  […]

  4. masonite
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  5. Russell And Bromley
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