Visiting Crater Lakes safely
Getting there and getting around
Crater Lakes National Park is on the eastern part of the Atherton Tableland.
The Atherton Tableland is also accessible via the Kennedy Highway from Cairns, the Palmerston Highway from Innisfail or the Mossman–Mount Molloy Road from Port Douglas.
Lake Barrine is about 60km or one hour’s drive from Cairns via the Gillies Highway. Lake Eacham is about 68km or just over one hour's drive from Cairns via the Gillies Highway.
There is a restricted access area between a section of the Lake Eacham circuit track and the lake. For your safety, remain on the formed walking track. Entry to the restricted access area is prohibited.
The Lake Eacham toilets and some tracks and boardwalks are wheelchair-accessible with assistance.
The twin kauris walk is a sealed bitumen track and is accessible for wheelchairs with assistance. The privately-owned Lake Barrine teahouse has ramps and wheelchair-accessible toilets.
- Please remain on the walking tracks and boardwalks at all times.
- Users may encounter hazards such as exposed rocks and tree roots, obstacles and loose gravel that make the walking track unsuitable for jogging.
- Take adequate water when walking and protect yourself from the sun.
- Take note of safety signs and distance markers.
- Be aware that stinging trees are found alongside the tracks. Never touch this plant as it may result in a painful sting. If you are stung, and symptoms are severe, seek medical attention.
- Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine are both deep, open bodies of water. Take care when around the water. See water safety for more information about staying safe in and around water.
- Do not jump or dive from viewing decks, the pontoon, concrete blocks, lake edge or overhanging vegetation. The water may be shallow or have submerged hazards and injury may result from diving or jumping into the water.
- Recreational diving is permitted; commercial diving is permitted under strict permit conditions.
- At Lake Eacham, the multi-use boat ramp provides access for watercraft such as kayaks and paddle boards. The ramp is rough and slippery, with gaps that could cause injury, especially to small feet. Please limit time spent on ramp and move clear as soon as possible.
- Never feed wildlife, including the fish, turtles, eels and birds. Human food can be harmful to wild animals and animals may become aggressive when fed. You may get bitten or scratched.
- A freshwater crocodile lives in Lake Eacham. Unlike estuarine crocodiles, freshwater crocodiles are considered timid and non life-threatening to humans. Very few incidents have been reported involving people.
- This crocodile may become aggressive and cause injury if disturbed.
- Do not approach or interfere with this animal.
- Take care if swimming.
- Report any sightings of the crocodile to the CrocWatch hotline on 1300 130 372.
- Cassowaries are occasionally seen at Crater Lakes National Park. They are potentially dangerous. Stay well away and never feed cassowaries. Be cass-o-wary!
- Fishing, including the use of lines, traps and nets, is prohibited. Penalties apply.
- Motorised vessels and motorised recreational craft are prohibited without a permit.
- When cycling, stay on formed roads—bicycles are not permitted on walking tracks and boardwalks.
- Camping, including sleeping in campervans and vehicles, is not permitted within the national park.
Read staying safe and visit with care for important information about staying safe, caring for parks and essentials to bring when you visit Queensland’s national parks.
Before you visit
Essentials to bring
To ensure you have an enjoyable visit please remember to bring:
- drinking water
- sunscreen, a hat and a long-sleeved shirt to protect yourself from the sun.
Crater Lakes National Park is open 24 hours a day.
At Lake Eacham, there is a restricted access area between a section of the Lake Eacham circuit track and the lake. For your safety, remain on the formed walking track. Entry to the restricted access area is prohibited.
Permits and fees
Permits are required for commercial or organised events. View permits and fees for further information.
Domestic animals are not permitted in Crater Lakes National Park.
Climate and weather
Crater Lakes National Park lies 720m above sea level and the lower humidity and temperatures are a pleasant escape from the coastal extremes. Maximum summer temperatures are around 30°C while winter temperatures can fall below 10°C at night.
Fuel and supplies
Fuel and supplies are available in Yungaburra and other towns on the Atherton Tableland. For more information, see the tourism information links.
- Upcoming works: Childrens walk, Lake Eacham, Crater Lakes National Park 5 June to 7 August 2023