With a great choice of bushwalking, hiking trails, and camping areas around the 200 kilometers of shoreline, Lake Tinaroo supports a wide range of activities including fishing, water - skiing, canoeing, sailing, and birdwatching.
A scenic Drive meanders around the lake through the rainforest and pine plantations of Danbulla National Park and State Forest. Lake Tinaroo is just 5 minutes drive from Yungaburra, 15 minutes drive from Atherton, 30 minutes from Malanda, and 1 hour from Cairns. There is a wide range of accommodation close by, including Lakeside units, motels, hotels, guesthouses, Bed and Breakfasts, farmstay, homestay, a caravan park, and camping areas.
World record barramundi catches have been made here, and there is no closed season on this world famous sports fish at Lake Tinaroo. In 1999 Dave Powell made a world record catch with a 37.85kg barrumundi. This record was broken in 1910 when Dennis Harrold caught a 44.64kg fish at Lake Monduran in Central Queensland. Other fish species in Lake Tinaroo include Black Bream, Sooty Grunter, Mangrove Jack, Sleepy Cod, Silver Perch, and the famous local Redclaw Crayfish. Because Tinaroo is a 'closed dam,' barrumundi cannot go downstream to the saltwater to breed. The fish are stocked by the Tabeland Fish Stocking Society, and unlike other areas, there is no 120cm maximum size limit. However, the minimum 58cm still applies and the bag limit is 5 barrumundi.
The Barra Bash is an annual fishing competition held on Lake Tinaroo around November, when the warming water provides optimum conditions for barramundi fishing.
Boats can be hired at Yungaburra Pitstop in Yungaburra, and boats, kayaks, and canoes can be hired from Lake Tinaroo Holiday Park. A fishing permit is required by anyone fishing on Lake Tinaroo, and permits can be obtained from: Atherton Bait & Tackle, 82 main Street Atherton ph: 07 4091 2094 or Lake Tinaroo Holiday Park, Tinaroo Falls Dam Road Ph: 07 4095 8232. You can also buy a Stocked Impoundment Permit online.
The name 'Tinaroo' is attributed to the tablelands pioneer settler John Atherton after whom the town of Atherton and the Atherton Tablelands are named. When prospecting in the area he is reported to have found alluvial tin, and excitedly shouted 'Tin Aroo!' and thus Tinaroo Creek was named.
The second largest man-made lake in the state of Queensland, Tinaroo Dam was originally constructed for irrigation of the Mareeba-Dimbulah farmlands and the development of agriculture on the Atherton Tablelands, as well as flood control and maintaining a reliable flow of water for the Barron Gorge hydroelectricity generator downstream near Kuranda.
Construction of the 45 meter high dam wall on the Barron River began in 1952 and the project was completed in 1958. A 1.6 megawatt mini hydropower generator was added in 2004.