Lake Eacham; my favourite place in Australia
Jake and I rented a car in Cairns and spent 3 days exploring the Daintree rainforest and the Atherton tablelands. Across the three days we visited many sites including Granite Gorge, Babinda Boulders, the Waterfall Circuit and the Crater Lakes National Park. All of these sites were awesome but my favourite was the Crater Lakes National Park featuring Lake Eacham. We visited each site just once apart from Lake Eacham. A testament to how much we loved it.
Lake Eacham, previously named Yidyam and Wiinggina, is part of the Crater Lakes National Park. Science will tell you the park and its associated lakes were created over 12,000 years ago by volcanic rumblings but local aboriginal lore tells a different story. The aborigine people believe that the lake was created by Yamini, a giant rainbow serpent, who was angered by two young boys destroying the forest that originally stood in the place of the lake. Yamini was so angry at the destruction he turned the area into a lake and in the process drowned the two boys. Lake Eacham is so peaceful it’s hard to imagine either of these origins occurring.
Lake Eacham is the principle lake of the Crater Lakes National Park. As well as being a beautiful swimming spot it’s used for camping, canoeing and bush walking. The walk around the lake takes about 45 minutes. We didn’t do the walk because we didn’t know how long it took but we did go for a swim and it was fabulous. We visited the lake on two occasions. On the first visit the the sky was grey and we almost had the lake to ourselves. Our only company were a group of rowdy teenagers who were climbing the trees over looking the lake and jumping off the branches like they were diving boards. It looked like fun but my tree climbing days are behind me! The day was cold by Queensland standards and we thought twice about getting in the water. We eventually jumped in and the water was beautiful. We enjoyed it so much we agreed to visit the lake again the next morning.
The following morning was sunnier and we shared the lake with about 10 other people. The others did a variety of activities including canoeing, picnicking on the banks and take selfies by the platoon. Despite there being other people around when I swam out into the centre of the lake I felt like I was completely alone. It was peaceful and I was relaxed despite being in a great deep crater of water. It was right there in the middle of this beautiful lake that I decided it was my favourite place in Australia, maybe even the world!
After Lake Eacham we visited neighbouring Lake Barrine but we were underwhelmed. While Eacham feels peaceful, isolated and serene; Barrine feels touristy and twee. It actually felt very British, not an unfamiliar feeling during our time in Australia. Lake Barrine features a cute coffee shop, a tourist ferry and a family of ducks. I felt like I was in a royal park in the UK not the Australian wetlands. Add to this that Jake was feeling sick and our visit was short. Before we left we did peruse their huge display of leaflets and found one that gave us discount for Coffee Works where we intended to visit later that day. A short visit saved us $10 so it wasn’t a complete waste of time. Our visit to coffee works was also a success and definitely deserves a post of its own but that’s for another day!