Camping near a dam might not sound appealing, but Lake Wivenhoe has been a staple camping spot in Queensland for a while now. With incredible views and the appeal of Lake Wivenhoe itself, campers, anglers, and tourists alike flock to Wivenhoe Dam every year. But what do you need to know when staying at Wivenhoe Dam?
People are permitted to camp at one of the many campgrounds located around lake Wivenhoe, just an hour from Brisbane’s Central Business District. There are powered and unpowered campsites around Wivenhoe Dam with all the amenities you’ll need to enjoy your stay, like running water and BBQ areas.
In this article, we’ll tell you how to get there, what to expect, what you can do in your leisure time, and other important details. If you’re interested, read on below.
How Do You Get to Wivenhoe Dam?
Getting to Wivenhoe Dam is relatively straightforward. You can get to the dam from Brisbane by taking the M5 and Brisbane Valley Highway, then onto A17 (86.8 km), or by taking a shorter route by heading straight along A17 (70.6 km).
If you’re coming from Cairns, you should take the Gregory Highway (1,744 km) or the shorter route via the Bruce Highway (1,700 km).
Lastly, if you’re heading to the campgrounds from Gold Coast, then you have three options. The first is through State Route 90 (143 km), another is through M1 (126 km), and the relatively fastest one is through M1 and M2 (124 km).
What are the Best Camping Spots at Wivenhoe Dam?
Although there are only a few official campsites at Wivenhoe Dam, each offers a variety of powered and unpowered camping spots to give you an experience you’ll enjoy. We’ve detailed what you need to know below to find out which camping spot would be best for you and your family and friends.
1. Lumley Hill Camp Ground
The Lumley Hill Camp Ground sits atop a hill overlooking Lake Wivenhoe, with ten powered drive-on sites (with running water), 18 drive-in sites (unpowered), and six tent sites. All sites come with a full suite of amenities and free hot showers. The campground comes with dump points for cassette toilets. Unfortunately, you’ll have to keep your furry friends at home as pets are prohibited.
You can enjoy various activities on the waters, such as boating, swimming, and fishing. If none of these activities interest you, you can always sit back and enjoy the view or watch the local wildlife.
2. Captain Logan Camp Ground
The Captain Logan Camp Ground is a popular, well-provisioned campground with powered, unpowered, and tent sites. The campground comes with barbeque facilities good for families and large groups. Visitors can stay at grassy sites to relax with a view of the lake. Just be wary of kangaroos, possums, and birdlife during your stay. Pets are, unfortunately, not allowed at the site.
Visitors often go for water activities within the Logan inlet, such as canoeing, rowing, and kayaking. The waters are also calm enough to encourage visitors to go fishing, as powered boats are not allowed within the area.
Things to Do Near Wivenhoe Dam
There is a wide range of activities to do around Wivenhoe Dam. From land activities such as hiking or biking to water activities such as canoeing or fishing, you’ll always have fun things to do with your friends and family.
Go Canoeing on the Dam
The vessels allowed at Lake Wivenhoe are restricted to those with low-emission engines (four strokes and direct fuel-injected two strokes), with a speed limit of just 6 knots. This makes the waters very good for those who want to go canoeing, kayaking or rowing and don’t want high-powered vehicles affecting their rowing or fishing.
Bush Walk on a Hiking Trail
Although the lake itself is one of the biggest attractions at Wivenhoe Dam, the varied nearby walking trails are some of the best in the region. Visitors can head to Wivenhoe Hill trails to enjoy trails enjoyable for people of all ages and skill levels. Authorities within the area highly recommend bringing along a first aid kit and a snake bite kit for safety.
Give Horse Riding a Try at Wivenhoe Dam
Horse riding is also very much welcome in the plains and surrounding areas of Wivenhoe Dam. While it is highly recommended that you ride with a partner or a group, make sure that you inform somebody where you are going if riding alone. Follow signs along the way, including give way instructions.
Ride Along a Mountain Biking Trail
Although Wivenhoe Dam authorities generally warn about the dangers and hazards of mountain biking, the activity is allowed in the area. Like bush walking, carrying first aid and snake bite kits is suggested. For multi-use trails, mounter bikers should give way to horse riders and pedestrians.
Visit a Nearby Art Gallery
Unbeknownst to some is an incredibly unique art gallery near Wivenhoe Dam. Located in Toogoolawah, Queensland, the Condensery Somerset Regional Art Gallery was formerly a Nestle condensed milk factory packing facility before being turned into an art gallery. It was opened to the public in December 2015 and is both a producer and presenter of contemporary visual arts.
Wivenhoe Dam Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need a 4WD to get to Wivenhoe Dam?
Unlike many campsites around Australia, you won’t need a 4WD to get to Wivenhoe Dam. Conventional 2WD vehicles can get through the roads and highways leading into the dam without any issues.
The only exception here is if you’re travelling in extremely bad weather seasons or the roads have become significantly damaged, which would merit the use of 4WD vehicles or those suited for rugged terrain.
Do I Need a Permit to Camp at Wivenhoe Dam?
No, camping at Wivenhoe Dam will not require a permit. Fishing in the area, on the other hand, requires a permit. Recreational fishing will require a Stocked Impoundment Permit Scheme (SIPS) from the Queensland Government’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website.
The SIPS permit will grant you access to all 63 impoundments (including Wivenhoe Dam) and will allow fishing using recreational fishing lines. The permit will cost different amounts, depending on whether it will be renewed weekly or yearly.
You can head over to the counter at Queensland and selected NSW Australia Post outlets, or visit the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website to purchase a permit.
Do You Have to Pay to Camp at Wivenhoe Dam?
Yes, camping at Lake Wivenhoe comes at a cost, depending on which campground you camp at, how long you stay, and what kind of site you’ve booked. Expect to book days or weeks in advance during peak seasons since the number of sites available is very limited.
But during the off-season, you can head to the campgrounds without a booking and pay on the spot.
Are Fires Allowed at Wivenhoe Dam?
Yes, fires are allowed at Wivenhoe Dam, but they have to be contained within an enclosed drum or a rock pit. These should only be set up at designated fire pit locations around the campgrounds. Having fires directly on the ground or outside designated locations is strictly prohibited.
Can I Go Fishing in Lake Wivenhoe?
Yes, people who come to the lake’s vicinity are allowed to fish as a leisurely activity, provided you have a valid permit. The abundance of aquatic life in the waters of Wivenhoe guarantees that everybody can have a great catch, regardless of skill level.
Just make sure to properly dispose of waste and rubbish, such as fishing lines and hooks, to prevent unnecessary harm to the local wildlife.
Can You Take a Caravan to Wivenhoe Dam?
Yes, there are campgrounds around Lake Wivenhoe that allow people to bring caravans and even camper trailers, with the option for both powered or unpowered sites. However, remember that some rules and regulations must be followed.
Make sure your caravan is booked for a site and is in line with local waste management regulations.