I'm a beginning writer with a Brisbane Bucket-list and a desire to see it all and report back.
Published January 18th 2015
Swim, Kayak, Canoe or Picnic on the Dam
Whilst I was growing up my father would disappear on Sundays before the rest of us got out of bed and would then return in the afternoon after enjoying an extremely long walk around the Enoggera Reservoir. He enjoyed trekking the trails and photographing the abundant wildlife. Now however his secret Sunday spot is being renovated and the residence of The Gap are flocking to the water's edge to enjoy fun family days in the sun, myself included. Thanks very much to South East Queensland Water (SEQ Water).
The start of our short walk to the dam carrying our vessels (I'm being extremely helpful by taking the photos).
Previously this gorgeous nature reserve was open only to walkers via the Walkabout Creek Visitor Centre but over the last few months this area has been transformed into a water paradise and the renovations are still going. Soon there will be a lot more happening at the dam, so get in now to beat the crowds.
The first of many swimming and paddle craft launch points was opened at the dam's edge in December 2014 and it is already packed with locals wanting to cool down in our stinking-hot Brisbane weather. Right next to the water's edge is a roped off shallow swimming area which during our recent visit was filled to the brim with young children out for a splash. Our group of twenty-somethings left the roped off area to the multitude of kids and swam a bit further out where it was appropriate to push one-another off our kayaks and splash water in one-another's faces.
We visited on a lovely Monday (during school holidays) guided by my adventuring brother who told us that if we thought Monday was packed, we needed to attend on a Sunday, when visitors are lucky if they score a car park. So make sure that if you aren't able to take a weekday off, get there early, and claim your spot on the newly laid lawn. As more designated swimming spots are opened there will be less children per square metre and a bit more space to splash about. However even with the current smaller space I will be heading back with great regularity.
My partner heading out for a swim.
Watercraft SEQ Water has announced that whilst no motorized watercraft will be allowed into the reservoir, paddle craft launch zones are slowly being introduced so recreationalists can enjoy some time kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding on the gorgeous flowing water. Currently a small space next to the new swimming zone has been dedicated for this purpose. My brother took his two one-man kayaks down to the waters edge and the four of us piled on. Yes you read that right; we put two people on each of the one-man kayaks, and I can now strongly recommend that this isn't the best way to travel via kayak, as a second body ruins the floatation and streamlined nature of the vessel. Also even if the body is hanging from the end of the kayak (regardless of how much kicking is being done) it creates an incredible amount of drag and slows down the ride. However, our terribly thought-out plan turned out to be one of the best days I've spent in the water. It took us well over an hour of paddling, pushing, kicking, swimming and capsizing to reach the corner with the best view of the dam wall and it totally worth it. Please be aware that a family with a significantly larger canoe managed this same journey in about 10mins, but honestly our way seemed like a lot more fun.
Picnicking The swimming spot and launch zone is accompanied with some new grass for families to watch their little ones splash about in the water. There are no picnic tables or BBQ's currently in the area but SEQ's plan for the area sounds like it will involve the introduction of these items over the next year. Until then, we will have to pack our own lunches and picnic blankets… isn't life tough? There are also delightful rumors that a restaurant or café will be opened on the waters edge this year to allow visitors a place to fill their bellies before hitting the water.
Walking and Biking Trails SEQ is beginning consultation with Queensland Parks and Wildlife service and Brisbane City Council to increase signage of the walking and biking trails around the dam. However even in thongs I think this is an easy to do casual walk that can be enjoyed by adventures of all ages. As mentioned, my Dad has enjoyed this walk most Sundays for years and I've never heard him complain about signage. Instead he brings home hundreds upon thousands of photographs of the wildlife that can be spotted on the tracks. I've seen snakes, owls, giant spiders, colourful birds and various other native animals immortalized in his images. He never comes home empty handed so I'm sure you'll spot some creatures on your walks too.
Enoggera Reservoir Walking Trails - Credit: SEQ Water
South East Queensland Wildlife Centre I haven't been to the center since I was a kid but I have strong memories of walking through the replicated animal habitats and spotting many of Queensland native wildlife up close. I always enjoyed the giant walk-through aviary with its Tawny Frogmouth birds, which look like owls, but I've been told are most definitely not. By far the most exciting part of a trip to the Wildlife Centre is that it is one of the few displays in OZ that houses a fascinating platypus who happily frolics in his tank. The center also boasts a wombat, which is great for visitors and residence of Australia alike, because this creature is so rarely seen in the wild.
If you are into the wonderful Australian outdoors but don't have time to undertake the long drive to our surrounding hinterlands and beaches then the Enogerra Reservoir is where you need to be bringing your family this weekend.