Beyond the Beach

Looking for something a little different for your next holiday? Tired of holidaying with the masses and fighting for the best spot on the beach? If this is you, it’s time to swap the sand and salty sea for crystal clear fresh water, fringed with ancient rainforest, eucalypt or paperbark trees and breathtaking mountain views. This is the scene that awaits you at some of the most spectacular swimming lakes and waterholes on the Atherton Tablelands.

Better still at most of these places you can even enjoy your favourite beach activities including swimming, canoeing, windsurfing and sailing. Everyone has their own idea of what is the perfect lake or swimming hole, but here are five top swimming holes on the Atherton Tablelands that may just surprise you…so come on in for a dip – the water’s lovely!

  • Lake Eacham – Flying under the radar and coming in at number one is Lake Eacham. This ancient volcanic lake was formed around 12,000 years ago and is quite simply spectacular. With no other source of water, other than rainfall, it took several hundred years to fill this giant crater. The water is so blue and clear you can see your feet and this is one lake you may never want to leave. Steps leading into the water, which provide easy access for families, elderly and for those that may not want to walk over sharp rocks, as well as picnic tables, toilets and a lawn area for sunbathing, make a visit to Lake Eacham very comfortable. Ssshhh, don’t tell the locals – the secret is out!
  • Davies Creek (about 10 minutes west of Kuranda) – Granite outcrops, open eucalypt woodland and clear, flowing streams are the striking features of the Davies Creek National Park. On the drive in, you could be forgiven for thinking there couldn’t possibly be water anywhere nearby, but your journey (conventional vehicle ok although the road is not sealed) will be rewarded with a magnificent waterfall cascading over huge granite boulders. Relax on the sun-warmed water-sculpted rocks near the creek or paddle in its cool clear waters.
  • Chillagoe Weir – Easily accessed by conventional vehicles via the Wheelbarrow Way, Chillagoe is a genuine outback town with fascinating attractions and abundant wildlife. Most people know Chillagoe for its ancient limestone bluffs and caves that can be explored or its old smelter, which is testament to the town’s mining history. However, a visit to the town’s weir offers an authentic, country experience straight out of a “Banjo Patterson” poem. With shady paperbark trees at the water’s edge, picnic tables and a soft, sandy bank, the Chillagoe Weir is the perfect place to cool off after a day exploring and if you are lucky, you might just have the place all to yourself.
  • Millaa Millaa Falls – No list would be complete with Millaa Millaa Falls. Plan to spend a bit of time here and if you are true waterfall junkie, then make sure you take in the entire waterfall circuit. While not as well known as its famous counter part (Millaa Millaa falls), Zillie, Ellinjaa, Pepina and Mungalli are all as equally spectacular and have water running year round.
  • Lake Tinaroo – If fishing, water sports, hiking, canoeing, bird watching, swimming, sailing or stand up paddle boarding are for you, then a visit to Lake Tinaroo must be on your to do list. With over 200km of shoreline, Lake Tinaroo is approximately ¾ the size of Sydney harbour. Recreational fishing is very popular with ample opportunity to snag a barramundi, sooty grunter, sleepy cod, mouth almighty, archer fish, spangled perch and many species of crayfish, including red-claw and yabby.

So there you have it, five equally spectacular waterholes traversing the entire Atherton Tablelands region. Now where’s that cozzie…

Lake Tinaroo


Chillagoe Weir


Lake Eacham


Posted by Bronwyn under Tablelands News | Posted on 19th Jan 2017

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