You think you know the Sunshine Coast and then on a casual Sunday drive, you discover Cooloolabin Dam, with a day-use area, a couple of picnic tables, a children's mini playground and relaxing short walks.
Located about 10kms out of Yandina (think Ginger Factory), Cooloolabin Dam is surrounded by Mapleton Forest Reserve and is a water supply area to parts of the Sunshine Coast. This spectacular area also serves as the 'head of a trail' through the adjacent Mapleton National Park. The trail uses local roads and the fire-trail network for mountain biking, horse riding and walking.
The flat trail meanders through the bushland, with unexpected little gaps in the bush en-route that lead straight down to the dam edge. When we were children we loved to rock skim or rock skip flat stones across the water. Cooloolabin Dam lends itself perfectly to this fun activity. Walkers are encouraged to follow the outside path of the short trail. Keep a look out for birds in the bush and on the dam.
The walking trail is not well used, so keep an eye out for local fauna
Fishing is permitted from the shoreline and no permit is required. Keen fishermen in the family please note that the lake itself is off limits i.e. no boating and to please dispose of fishing line and hooks to avoid serious harm to the catchment animals. Accessing private land in this area to fish is also not permitted.
Mountain biking is permitted at Cooloolabin Dam. Please stay on the trails and obey all signage, especially on multi-use trails - to give way to horse riders, and mountain bike riders to give way to pedestrians.
There are a couple of picnic tables overlooking the Dam, so pack a picnic and get out there to enjoy the views. Please remove all rubbish to protect the drinking water supply and local wildlife.
Toilets on site but no drinking water is available
Take the Yandina exit off the M1 and head west through the first roundabout. At the second roundabout turn left into Fleming Street. At the traffic lights cross over Farrell Street and you will be in Old Gympie Road, which you follow to Cooloolabin Road. Keep driving along Cooloolabin Road until you see the dam day parking/picnic area on your right - it's about 10.5km from Yandina.
Cooloolabin Dam is a spectacular spot to 'discover'
Hubby and I were feeling decidedly adventurous especially after our surprise discovery - move over Captain James Cook - of Cooloolabin Dam, so felt that further exploration of this forested region would surely not go amiss … and this is how we stumbled upon the Point Glorious Lookouts.
Approximately 7.6km from Cooloolabin Dam are the two little-known lookouts of Point Glorious in Eerwah Vale. From the dam head north-east on Cooloolabin Road towards Buckby Road. Turn left onto Buckby Road and travel for 3.7km; turn right and continue for 1.4km; another left for 1.7km and then at last! - bringing to mind another childhood memory 'are we there yet? - a right towards Point Glorious Road. Travel along here for approximately 120m to an informal carpark.
The gravel road to Point Glorious is only suitable for 4WD's
Please note that the road from Cooloolabin Dam to the Point Glorious Lookouts is gravel/offroad and is only suitable for 4 Wheel-Drive vehicles with high clearance and the advice is not to attempt these roads during wet weather.
There are heaps of humps and bumps and washed-out ravines making for a pretty decent rock 'n roll session, and adventurous us remembering timeously to 'act our age' as we hadn't informed the 'children' where we were headed and that it would not be a good idea to find ourselves 'stuck' in the middle of the towering treed landscape of Mapleton National Park, with no reception.
With plenty of picnic tables available and not too many sightseers, a romantic picnic with an awesome view would be perfect - all the other visitors that we came across at Point Glorious were young couples, no doubt all eager for 'alone time';
If you find Wappa Falls and Jack Harrison Park a tad overcrowded and yearn for something more solitary, Cooloolabin Dam and Point Glorious could easily be classified as the less-busy siblings, boasting totally different leisure activities. With Cooloolabin Dam and Wappa Falls within easy distance of each other (about 12.6kms), why not do a family day trip combo to enjoy the multiple benefits of a really fun day out.