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Lake Wivenhoe

Home > Brisbane > Day Trips | Escape the City | Lakes | Outdoor | Picnic Spots
by Yvette Chapman (subscribe)
Thirty something girl, originally from Sydney but Brisbane is home now. Eats, drinks, socialises, watches art-house, studies the stars, and loves music. I'm a professional copywriter and editor. Hearts writing things.
Published October 1st 2013
A great place to explore
Lake Wivenhoe, created by Wivenhoe Dam, is a sprawling recreation area for day trippers and campers, with panoramic views of the stunning waterway and surrounding D'Aguilar National Park. It is located just past Fernvale, at the southern tip of the Somerset region, near Ipswich. The water catchment area is approximately 7,020 square kilometres, so to give you an idea of the size, it holds twice as much water as Sydney Harbour and is about seven times bigger than the Gold Coast's Hinze Dam.

For many, Lake Wivenhoe is closer than the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast, at just under an hour drive from Brisbane's CBD it's a convenient location for those wanting to spend time on the water. The freshwater is clean and ideal for swimming, kayaking, sailing and fishing, and there is also an abundance of wildlife. Kangaroos roam freely in the bush, and the area is home to plentiful bird life, including ducks and pelicans.

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You can go exploring on foot, following the trails that lead around the jagged shoreline, or take a dip at the many designated swimming spots and picnic areas, including Logan Inlet, Cormorant Bay, Hamon Cove or the Spillway Common. Picnic areas are well-equipped with barbecues and picnic tables. It's a popular haunt on sunny days so be sure to pack a picnic rug in case you miss out on a table.

Given the beauty of the location, you may find one day isn't long enough, so if you like camping, pitch a tent at Captain Logan or Lumley Hill. Captain Logan has managed facilities that include camping 'luxuries' such as hot showers, proper toilets, barbecues, a playground and proximity to a nearby boat ramp at Logan Inlet, making it a family-friendly getaway.

If you're an avid fisherman you'll be sure to find plenty of catch here too. But make sure you familiarise yourself with the permit requirements before sinking a line (and a tinnie). You'll need a Stocked Impoundment Permit (SIP) that you can obtain by contacting the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

There is a visitor information centre onsite. Alternatively you can call (07) 5427 8100 or visit seqwater for more information. Signage throughout the area also provides maps and information about facilities at each of the sites. It's important to note that domestic pets aren't allowed in recreation areas, and in addition to permits for fishing, permits may also be required for camping and boating.

Lake Wivenhoe is part of Wivenhoe Dam, a major water catchment facility for South-East Queensland. The Dam was originally built as a flood mitigation measure in response to the Brisbane floods in 1974. However, it gained notoriety during the recent floods in 2011 when water levels peaked after months of heavy rainfall and the Dam reached its highest level ever at 191% of its normal water storage capacity. Controlled releases were necessary to flow large volumes of water through the spillway, which subsequently affected lower lying areas. The devastation of the flood waters that enveloped areas of Brisbane will certainly never be far from our minds. It's worth taking the short drive to witness the magnitude of the ginormous spillway, which is an earth and rock embankment 2.3 kilometres long and 50 metres high. The concrete spillway has five steel gates measuring 12 metres wide and 16.6 metres high making them some of the largest in the world.

I spent a Sunday at Logan Inlet recently, basking in the sun, watching the mesmerising pelicans and eating my way into a food coma as you do at picnics. But there's just so much more to see and do, so I'll be returning there again soon, hiking shoes in tow, to go exploring!
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