This hike gives you great views of the Lake Wivenhoe
Just an hour from Brisbane, Wivenhoe Dam is the main water supply for the Brisbane and Ipswich areas and is also a popular recreation area. The Wivenhoe Hill Trails provides some good walking, mountain biking and horse riding with great views of the dam along the track.
The Wivenhoe Hill Trails go through a small peninsula area where Wivenhoe Hill is located and consists of 4 interconnected tracks that form a circuit of around 12 kms. There is also another option for 6 km circuit with the best views for people looking to do a quick walk.
As a multi-use trail, the tracks are wide, with some being bitumen roads, but most being fire trails or wide walking tracks. The main issue is the lack of shade in some parts of the walk, but there are also plenty of great views of the lake as you go.
Yes, it can be a bit of a dodgy area at night.
Wivenhoe dam is well known as a location for young lovers driving out to find a nice place to park, as well as a spot frequented by hoons in their cars. The Wivenhoe Hill Trails area, in particular, is less visited, so attractive to the more dodgy people at night. This is clearly evident by the black tire marks on the road, and when we visited, the burnt-out wreck of a car. In fact, some of the roads and one recreational area had been closed off in this area, I am assuming, to discourage hoons.
Having said that, it is a great place to visit during the day. However, you wouldn't want to visit the area at night or do night hiking.
The 12 km circuit
The best way to hike the Wivenhoe Hill Trails is to do it in an anticlockwise direction. Starting at the parking area just before the gate for the Blue Trail, the walk starts along a bitumen road. This is the least pleasant part of the walk, but you still see glimpses of the water through the trees.
The first 2 kms of the walk is along a boring bitumen road. Don't worry, it gets better.
When you get to the Horse Watering Point, the real trail starts. The track now becomes a better trail for walking, with the widest being a narrow fire trail and the narrowest being a wide footpath. It is not overly steep and would be great for mountain bikes and horses as well as walkers. From this point on, you will have a bit more shade.
The horse watering point is where the real hiking trail starts
The map provided by SEQWater doesn't really capture the nature of the path or how close or far it will be from the water's edge. Most of this part of the walk is a little disappointing, though it is pleasant enough and you will see both the lake and the dam wall during this section.
When you join the White Trail, the walk gets a little more interesting. From the official trail, you will have views down to the lake. You will also see some unmarked fire trails which you can veer off on to to get closer to the water's edge. The water is always fenced off and restricted areas are well signed, but if you follow the unofficial trails you will get good views. Remember, following these unofficial trails will make your walk longer.
Follow the unsigned tracks off the White Trail to take a detour closer to the water
The White Trail joins onto the Red Trail. Turning right, you head up to the highest part of the trail, Wivenhoe Hill. There is an official "lookout" on this part of the walk. I am using the quotes because, while it is the only part of the trail where you can find a comfortable place to sit and rest, there really isn't much of the view from here.
Don't be disappointed by the Red Trails lookout without views, there are some better views coming a bit further down the trail
The trail heads back down and includes a spot which has the best views of the hike looking down at the lake. I believe that this area is called Platypus Cliff. From here on, you will encounter the steepest part of the trail, but for people who are wondering if they need to bring hiking poles for the sections like this, I found them unnecessary.
As I have already said, the best views are along the Red Trail. This means if you don't want to walk the whole distance, you can walk along the Black Trail from the entrance until you get to the turnoff for the Red and White Trails. Just follow the Red Trail back around for the best views.
While there are toilets, there are no other facilities at the start of the hike and the one bench along the whole of the hike is really the only place to stop and rest. However, there are plenty of other recreational facilities nearby. Logan Complex is near to start of the hike, back along Logan Inlet road. Also, if you head back along the Brisbane Valley Highway towards Fernvale, there are several spots to stop, including the Wivenhoe Information Centre and Cormorant Bay.
Wivenhoe Information Centre is a great option for a picnic or barbecue after the hike
This is a nice little hike with a couple of options not far from Brisbane. Being exposed, it is best in winter or during the early or later part of the day in warmer months. The views of the lake make it worth doing, and if you are visiting the area, then it is just one more activity at Wivenhoe.