This beautiful crater lake is a picnicker’s paradise. The large grass area on the lake front gives stunning views of the water and is the perfect spot to settle down on a rug, unpack the hamper and relax. There’s lots of picnic tables if you would prefer and day use barbecues. If you are feeling more active there’s a 3km circumference track through the rainforest or you can swim in the clear, cool waters of Lake Eacham, or kayak or paddleboard. A pontoon has been thoughtfully provided to dive off into the deep blue/green waters. No motorised craft are allowed on the lake so the only sounds are people enjoying themselves.
The Atherton Tablelands are dotted with waterfalls great for picnics but Malanda Falls fulfils the checklist for a great picnic space: lots of flat grassed areas. Check. Beautiful backdrop. Check. Easy swimming. Check. This may be the only waterfall with a heritage listing – it used to be the town of Malanda’s official swimming pool, hence the lawn terraces and special status. The North Johnston River tumbles over old basalt flows here making for a picturesque picnic spot – there’s even a sandy beach for the kids to dig around in. Barbecues are nearby. There’s an information centre and lots of trails through the nearby Malanda Falls Conservation Park – once you’ve had a post-prandial snooze of course.
The pace at Lake Tinaroo can be a bit faster than other places found on the Atherton Tablelands with lots of boats and activity. But the intricate shore line of this vast dam means if you want to find a peaceful place to picnic away from the crowds you can. Otherwise join the fun. Home to sailing, water skiing, fishing, red clawing, birdwatching and walking, Tinaroo is a weekend getaway for many locals and a big drawcard for visitors. Lake front cricket or a kick around is popular here and there’s plenty of room, especially at Tinaroo Reserve near Yungaburra or head along Tinaroo Falls Dam/Danbulla Rds for a more secluded picnic possie.
If you want a side order of views with your picnic fare then Hallorans Hill is the place. Just a short drive or a 30 min walk out of Atherton this lookout has amazing views right across the Atherton Tablelands. Old volcanic craters, dairying and horticulture land, remnant rainforest, Lake Tinaroo, townships and the Great Dividing Range – in a 360 deg layout before you. There are picnic tables, barbecues, a playground, walking tracks and some modern sculpture to get you thinking. But picnics are for chilling and taking in the great outdoors, which Halloran’s Hill has plenty of. Put down the phone, lie back on the grass and take in Mother Nature at her picture-perfect best.
Davies Creek National Park and Dinden National Park
Detour off the Kennedy Highway between Kuranda and Mareeba and you’ll find a couple of spots to recline and relax to a soundtrack of bubbling fresh water and birdsong. Both Davies Creek and Emerald Creek have waterfalls, walking trails, picnic tables and restroom facilities. The road in is unsealed but picnic goers will be recompensed with dramatic scenery, clean fresh creeks, gorgeous swimming holes, big granite boulders – all sequestered away from all the everyday hustle and bustle.