Looking for a day trip? Then check out Hinze Dam. The highly accessible walks and facilities make this the day out the stuff of legends.
Hinze Dam, in the Gold Coast hinterland, seems wildly far away, but in fact, it is just 30 minutes’ drive from Pacific Fair. Built across the Nerang River, it was originally constructed in 1976, and significantly upgraded in 2011.
The body of water the dam created is stunning. Of course, it is what we all drink here on the Gold Coast, so its purpose is originally functional. However as an accidental recreation area, it’s a great win for everyone who likes nature and fresh air.
Visually speaking, it quite the sight to behold. The vastness of Queensland’s mountains alongside man’s engineering expertise unite in perfect symmetry. You want to say things like, ‘Ah! The serenity!’ The architecture and landscaping, plus the sheer size of the lake and its shores make this a dam good day out (sorry I couldn’t help it).
It’s the accessibility here that is a winner. There are lots of disabled parks. Also, the paths are wide and flat, and super-smooth… everywhere. There’s a 2.5 kilometre walk over the dam that maintains this flatness and smoothness. Use a walker?
This is a dream walk. Wheelchair? You’ll have the time of your life. Do you simply prefer no steps and a flat surface? You’ll love it. There are no steps, not even from the carpark, to the café, to the dam, to the toilet, across the grounds…no steps. None.
The visitor centre here has an interesting display, and they have informative talks on the dam. Well worth a drop-in. And the café next door has brilliant views and food.
We spent a couple of hours at the dam but you could spend all day if you have the time. By the time you have lunch, take a walk in the gardens, cross the dam and just enjoy the beauty of the place, you can easily smash through 3 hours.
The walk along the top of the dam wall is amazing, and it reminds us that we are small little beings who are unimportant entirely. There’s no shade though, so don’t forget your hat! There are well-placed explanatory plaques and information stands detailing the method of construction, the points of interest, the geology and specific types of flora and fauna. And look out for the sign explaining the “climbing eels.” It reminds us all that the natural world can be dam weird.
Hinze Dam Picnic Sites
If you want to bring a picnic, there’s many places to set up camp, with beautiful vistas. There are a few shaded tables, but they go fairly quickly, so bring a picnic blanket, just in case.
When there’s drought the drowned trees become visible and there are a number of places that present a very photogenic situation. When there is a lot of rain, the spillway looks incredible. And, when the dam needs to release water, you can be put on an alert service that informs you when this will happen, so you can go that day to see it! (seqwater.com.au/dam-release- notification-service).
In all, this is a great place for Silvers. It is a very peaceful area, with the silence broken by the odd kookaburra and smaller birds. You realise how quickly you can get to deep forest so close to the ocean. This place has a nice combination of science, environmental information (the hydroelectric power), scenery, tranquillity, and artistic landscaping. The whole area is a selfie paradise, and it would make a great wedding backdrop.
To organise a function room at the café, call 07 5563 0313. To check opening times at the visitor centre, click here.
Or perhaps you’d like a trip abroad?
Editor for Silver Magazine Gold Coast