Sun’s out, buns out—but when the beaches are packed, going for a dip loses some of its lustre. Is tanning (read: burning) in peace so much to ask? While Queensland is known for its glorious golden beaches, the sunshine state is also home to some pretty spectacular watering holes perfect for cooling off without the crowds. Check out our top picks for the six most picturesque lakes near Brisbane, where you can swim, kayak, SUP, fish or just picnic in the sun. What a vibe.
If you’re looking for something a little closer to home, we’ve got good news. A trip to Enogerra Reservoir is just 40 minutes from the city centre. The first major dam to be built in Queensland, the heritage-listed reservoir is one of The Gap’s leading attractions. Wind your way past the gum trees down to the dam’s tiny beach, where you’ll be greeted by scenes resembling a European summer. Picnickers, swimmers, kayakers and canoeists all vie for a spot on the grassy banks before heading out to float amongst the lily pads. Sounds like the perfect way to spend your Saturday.
Soak up some sun on the shores of Lake Somerset. Just over 1.5 hours north from Brissy, the lake promises some stunning shots, especially after a recent rain. Grab some grub from the local butcher, Kilcoy Quality Meats, to fry up at one of the lake’s day-use areas. Somerset is a popular spot for water skiing, wakeboarding and tubing, so prepare to share the water if you want to take a dip.
While the mere mention of Wivenhoe Dam brings on some serious PTSD (the 2011 floods still have us shook), the breathtaking views at Wivenhoe have earned the lake a soft spot in our hearts. The banks are lined with toilets, tables, benches and BBQs, but we recommend packing a picnic so you can snack on Wivenhoe’s shores. The lake is also home to a private campground, and you can nab a fishing permit if you’re itchin’ for a catch. Head for Logan Inlet if you want to take a dip, or Hays Landing if you’ve brought your kayak or SUP board with you.
This list wouldn’t be complete without a tribute to Straddie’s iconic Blue Lake. Kaboora, as it is known to Stradbroke’s Quandamooka people, is one of the island’s most sacred spaces, so going for a dip is a major no-no. Instead, appreciate the lake’s natural beauty along the Kaboora track, before hiking up to Dakabin lookout for some stunning ocean views.
Nestled amongst the stunning surrounds of the Scenic Rim, Lake Moogerah is the perfect place for a day trip. Just over an hour’s drive from the CBD, the lake looks out over the Main Range National Park, making it the ideal spot for a sunset dinner. Lake Moogerah’s crystal clear skies are a favourite amongst astrophotographers, and the local park is a popular spot for BBQs. There’s a dedicated swimming area for those hot summer days, and you can also go waterskiing, tubing, wakeboarding and stand up paddle boarding.
Last on our list is the lovely Lake Maroon, tucked away in Queensland’s Scenic Rim. In addition to the usual outdoorsy activities, visitors can enjoy a trip to the local country markets, winery tours, and even four wheel driving. The lake is known as one of the best bass fishing dams in the country, so best bring some bait with you.
If you want to explore South East Queensland like a tourist, get these guys to create a personal itinerary for you.
Image credit: Christian Bowen