The Lake Eacham Tourist Park is quite small with only 8 powered sites, 6 cabins and some grassed area for tents and campers. Being on the edge of the rainforest, there is loads of bird life which come in at 3:50 every afternoon in time for the 4pm feeding. The Park is very quiet, tranquil and friendly, much nicer than the large caravan parks and we feel very fortunate that we found their brochure while camped in Normanton.
Our first day there we visited Lake Eacham in the Lake Eacham National Park, we saw some of the fish life, but could not find any Snapping Turtles or Platypus.
We continued on to Lake Barrine in the Crater Lakes National Park, here we found 2 Bull Kauris, which are over 45 metres tall and 6 metres in girth. These trees are the largest of Australia’s 38 conifer species and are predicted to be over 1000 years old. We purchased our tickets for the Lake Eco Tour, then lined up with the resident ducks to board the vessel. While on the tour we saw eels, snapping turtles, various types of birds and ducks, huge basket ferns which attach themselves to the trees and the commentary was very entertaining and informative.
The closest town to Lake Eacham is Yungaburra, which is quite substantial with a population of around 1500 – 2000, lots of spa and beauty retreats, cafes, home ware and clothes boutiques. The historical Yungaburra Hotel has a $10 lunch special every day, Friday being rissoles and mash with vegetables and gravy; we decided to indulge and I must say it was a delicious home-made meal with 2 large rissoles, about a cup of mash potato, corn, broccoli and carrots. Needless to say we didn’t really need dinner that night.
During the afternoon we visited the Yungaburra Village Chapel, the Curtain Fig Tree, which is amazing and Lake Tinaroo.
Saturday we headed in the opposite direction toward Malanda and the ‘Falls Circuit’; we visited the Millaa Millaa Falls, Zillie Falls and Ellinjaa Falls which we thought was the most spectacular with a very, very steep climb down through the rainforest to the pool ( we certainly had an aerobic workout today).
We parked on the town of Malanda which is quite small, a population of about 600, then walked the main streets the only point of interest to us was the historic hotel building, which is very well maintained. Next stop was Malanda Falls and our continuing search for Platypus and Tree Kangaroos. While the falls were very nice we were still out of luck with the Platypus and Tree Kangaroo!
Taking a different tack, we visited the local cheese and chocolate café / restaurant, Gallo Dairyland; Derick went for the chocolate tasting and me to the cheese. While he decided it was too expensive I bought 2 types of cheese; the first named Heritage, which is a beautifully aged cheddar for approximately 18 months to 2 years and is sharp and crumbly and the second Macadamia, which is made using local macadamia nuts grown on the Atherton Tablelands and is a processed cheese blending the roasted nuts giving a nutty, sweet, creamy flavour. I really like both flavours and textures!
In a last ditch resort before finding somewhere to have lunch we stopped at Peterson Creek Bridge, just outside Yungaburra and there were two Platypus sunning themselves on the surface of the water, yahoo! They floated around for about 1 minute dived under the water for a short while and then returned to the surface for another spot of sunbaking, we were so pleased to be able to observe them in a natural habitat.
About 50metres further along the road was the Yungaburra Pizzeria, the aromas were amazing and so that was our lunch stop. We munched our way through the Yungaburra Pizza, which was made with a topping of pumpkin, zucchini, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese and basil. Derick ordered his mandatory beer and I have taken a liking to soda, lime and bitters just lately so ordered that.
Our last day in Lake Eacham Tourist Park Derick and I have washed and cleaned the car and caravan inside and out, the red dust was dreadful 🙂 :). I have also caught up with the washing and ironing and baked the decadently, yummy chocolate slice again!