I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published July 26th 2017
Enjoy the bush close to Brisbane
I've discovered you really need to walk alone to see much wildlife. I did the short 5 km walk around the Araucaria track at Enoggera dam last summer and saw ten goannas of varying sizes and a red-bellied snake. I also saw lots of birds on that walk. It's more fun though and safer to walk with a friend or two, or in a group. I recently did the 11.5km or 12.5km (depending on who you ask) walk right around the dam with the Brisbane Bushwalking Club. I also did the same walk the following Saturday with a friend in the opposite direction. Both ways are very interesting. The area has a large variety of trees, plants and animals. It is managed by South East Queensland Water. I particularly liked seeing some Bunya pine trees.
With the bushwalking club, we started the walk from Walkabout Creek car park and walked clockwise around the dam. There were 16 of us on a sunny Saturday morning. We saw and heard lots of sulphur crested cockatoos, and saw cormorants on the dam. We also saw a small snake which one of the group said was a baby brown snake. The white cockatoos always remind me of my mother. We had a pet one growing up in Tasmania. Mum got our cockatoo from an old man who had had her for years. We also had cockie for a very long time. Mum always said she would have been at least 100 years old when she died of old age.
She had a crippled foot and was an important part of our family. We even took cockie on 6 week camping trips with us over Christmas and New Year every year, along with our pet cats and dogs. We used to hire a truck to transport us to and from the campsite because we didn't own a car. We found out years later the truck belonged to the dunny cart man. I hope he scrubbed it well before taking us! After cockie died mum got another one but this one would only let mum touch it. After mum died, the new cockatoo got a bit vicious and bit my brother on the back one day. We had to find a new home for it. It's wonderful to see all the wild, free ones here in Queensland. I see them a lot in my local park and even had one on my deck one day.
People have been going to Enoggera Dam for picnics for a very long time. Way back in the 1880s they used to go by horse and buggy. Now people go by bus or car, or if they live around The Gap area they can walk there.
Enoggera Dam was constructed in 1866, as part of an early scheme of setting up water supply systems in key towns in Queensland. There are only remnants left of the other dams constructed during this era at Ipswich, Warwick and Maryborough. Enoggera Dam is the only one that remains intact and operational. It is important as the first major dam built in Queensland. The cost of construction was approximately £65,000. Before the dam was built, Brisbane's main source of water was a small and heavily polluted dam across Wheat Creek, which flowed through the centre of the settlement. Enoggera Dam was one of the earliest major dams to be built in Australia. It was a conventional nineteenth century clay cored earth fill dam, designed and built by Joseph Brady. A spillway was added in 1976.
Sixteen Australian lungfish (Neoceratodus forsteri) were released into the dam in 1896. They are supposedly extinct there now, but I'm positive one came up right beside my kayak one morning for a gulp of air. I was so close to its big open mouth I could have reached down and touched it. I found a photo of one in the State Library of Queensland where Archibald Meston (1851-1924) who was a journalist, civil servant and explorer, is holding it. So if you are kayaking, canoeing or doing stand up paddle boarding on the dam, keep an eye out and you might be lucky to see one of these prehistoric lungfish. I suppose the creature I saw may have been a large eel as they are found in the dam too.
The Enoggera Reservoir has become very popular with walkers, swimmers, kayakers and bird watchers. I even saw some boys with their fathers on unicycles there one morning. There are walks of different lengths and difficulty.
The walk right around the dam is good for getting fit, but you do need to take water and wear shoes with grip, as there are some slippery hills to negotiate. You also need to take a map. These are available from the Information Centre at Walkabout Creek.
The start of the track is a bit tricky from the clockwise direction, as you have to go down the road and through some houses, so it's good to have the map from the Information Centre because it shows where to turn off onto the track. On one of my recent walks we did see families out walking with young children. They weren't carrying any water and had done about 5 ½ kilometres when we saw them, so they would have had to walk about that distance back, whichever route they took. It isn't advisable to drink the creek or dam water so I'm not sure how they coped. It was a fairly warm winter's day.
I did the walk from Walkabout Creek down and back to Enoggera Creek with three friends once. Two of them would never do it again. The reason was one of them had slippery shoes on and the other one walked in her swimming gear. It was a hot day and she got a very bad heat rash and had to get special creams from the chemist to treat it.
Walkabout Creek Adventures appears to be doing a good business at hiring out paddle boards, kayaks and canoes at Enoggera Reservoir. There was a lot of activity on the water when I was there recently.
After our walks or kayaking, we always go to Green Tree Frog Cafe for coffee. There is also a Wildlife Discovery Centre there where you can see native Australian animals, but I haven't been into it yet.
Good work. The spillway was designed for flood alleviation after the 1974 devastation. It won an international design award for Cameron and McNamara. The dam and reservoir are heritage listed. :) There is also an interesting side trip to an outlet from a pipe from Gold Creek Reservoir that was drilled through the mountains in 1928. Gold Creek Reservoir also has a track round it about 5.5 km long, also worth doing.