Lake Tinaroo – Tinaroo Dam

Lake Tinaroo is located just north-east of Atherton and visited upon request by Perentie Tours. Local legend claims the name Tinaroo was taken when John Atherton (of Atherton Tablelands) shouted  “Tin Hooroo!” when making his first discovery of tin in the area but as the major discoveries of tin were further to the west this is probably more fable than fact. Tinaroo Dam (often referred to as Lake Tinaroo) and its surrounds, provide a popular tourist attraction and recreation facility for over 500,000 people a year and is a popular Barramundi Fishing area boasting catches of some of the largest Barramundi in the world resulting from the introduction of fingerlings from a nearby research centre. Other species that have taken up residence from the local waterways include Catfish, Sleepy Cod, Archer-Fish, Perch and coruscations including Redclaw.


Tinaroo 2


Completed in 1958 at a cost of over 12 million dollars to create a lake ¾ the size of Sydney Harbour, Tinaroo Dam provides farmers with access to water from an extensive network of channels using either a gravity fed system or pumps. Areas not serviced by the channels can draw water from streams that have their water replenished by the Barron River, which, in turn, is fed by the lake.

Upon completion, early rains began to fill the dam forcing large construction equipment to be abandoned and still remain underwater at the base of the dam. The dam overflowed in 1963 and the Tinaroo Hydro Power Station became operational in 2004. It is used to regulate the water flow for use at the Barron Gorge Power Station and ensure guest on the Kuranda Scenic Railway have photographic opportunities at Barron Falls. Contrary to popular belief, this is not the main water supply for Cairns – Lake Morris makes that claim.The dam wall is 45.1 metres high and traps water from the Barron River. Downstream the Barron River runs through Kuranda creating the fabulous Barron Falls and completing its journey to the sea just North of Cairns. Tinaroo has over 200 kilometers of shoreline with many bays able to be assessed from various locations all around the dam. Sailing, water skiing, house boating, swimming and fishing are all popular activities and holiday facilities are dotted around the shoreline. A range of hiking and walking paths are also in place including a week long trek around the lake and adjacent mountains.

To learn more, have a look at the Perentie Tours home page


About Gary Bondeson

Gary has been directly involved in tourism in Far North Queensland since the 1990’s. His passion for the area was inspired by the rich history and many points of interest concentrated in the region and felt a strong desire to share this with others. Gary is heavily involved with tourism development and even co-hosted an episode of the popular travel show 'The Great Outdoors’ with Tom Williams showing the limestone caves of Chillagoe located 200kms west of Cairns. After being away for 5 years, Gary has now returned to the area that he holds so dear to his heart to share his knowledge and experience with those who wish to have a Fair Dinkum Ozzy experience.

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