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Lake Tinaroo is one of the main reasons for visiting the Atherton Tablelands. It is a natural playground for Cairns locals who regularly visit on weekends to enjoy the mild climate. The lake is located 15 minutes northeast from Atherton, via the tiny township of Kairi. (Pronounced Kee-Rie) It has more than 200 kilometres of shoreline when filled to capacity.
The large body of water has been created courtesy of a large dam blocking the Barron River. The dam, built in 1959, supplies drinking water to the local residents and is the primary source of irrigation for farmers throughout the Atherton Tablelands. The dam wall, constructed across the Barron River, is 45 metres high. In addition to its functional purpose, Lake Tinaroo is also a major tourist attraction. It is a protected and safe place for sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, swimming, fishing, red clawing, bird watching, hiking, picnicking, and camping.
The wilderness surrounding the dam is diverse, including dense rainforest, pine tree plantations and Australian scrub. As a result, the birdlife is spectacular and platypuses and kangaroos are abundant. Lake Tinaroo is regarded as the best Barramundi fishing in the world. The barramundi here cannot breed because the water is only fresh. (Barramundi need a salt and fresh water environment to breed) Therefore, the lake is stocked annually with baby barra that grow into monsters bigger than anywhere else in the world. The world’s biggest barras have been caught here by keen anglers – visit the local store and see all the photos on the wall of proud fishers wrestling with their fish that are bigger than their boats.
Tinaroo Township features caravan parks, cabin-style accommodation, and a fine-dining restaurant overlooking the dam wall. There are multiple boat ramps, and a huge park with children’s play equipment is located alongside a quiet arm of the lake. The population of Tinaroo Township is approximately 210.