Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Crater Lakes National Park


What's special?

Forest remnants in Crater Lakes National Park reflect climate changes and volcanic activity over millions of years. With changing climate periods, the rainforests contracted and expanded. These changes have been recorded in sediments on the floor of the rainforest-fringed crater lakes or maars formed by volcanic activity, Lakes Eacham and Barrine. Crater Lakes National Park is in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

The rainforest around both lakes contains large kauri pines, descendants of species which dominated the tableland forests for thousands of years. Lake Eacham’s rainforests show how soil type affects the vegetation. On less fertile soils, the rainforests are simpler with more uniform trees and few buttresses. On the deeper, more fertile soils around the crater, the rainforest is more complex. The canopy is uneven and trees vary in size, have large buttresses and are covered in epiphytes like orchids and ferns.

Exploring Crater Lakes

Spend a perfect day touring the tableland and stop for a picnic and bushwalk at Lake Eacham or Lake Barrine. Both picnic areas have toilets, shelter sheds, picnic tables and tap water. Lake Eacham has gas and wood barbecues and Lake Barrine has a kiosk. A lake cruise operates at Lake Barrine.

Look for saw-shelled turtles and eastern water dragons around the lakes. See musky rat-kangaroos sheltering in the rainforest. Look for the colourful Boyd’s forest dragon. Go birdwatching. More than 180 bird species have been recorded in the park.

Camping is not allowed in the park but there is plenty of accommodation nearby.

Visit the information centre at Lake Eacham to find out more about the park. A self-guiding trail from the ranger station to the picnic area helps visitors explore the forest.


Take the self-guiding trail through the rainforest from the information centre or go for a walk around a lake.
Self-guiding trail, Lake Eacham 1·5km return, 40 minutes


The toilets at Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine are wheelchair-accessible. Wheelchair-assisted access is possible along the lake circuit tracks.

The rainforest safety and self-guiding trail brochures are in German and English.

Getting there

By road, Lake Eacham is 8km east of Yungaburra and Lake Barrine is 12km east of Yungaburra off the Gillies Highway.

Sources & Further reading


Journey Back Through Time
Experience Australia
Aboriginal Australia
National Parks
Photo Galleries
Site Map
                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading