Lakes and Dams You Can Swim In Around Brisbane
Brisbane is full of family-friendly recreation areas, parks and natural swimming locations. An alternative option during the hot weather, and something Queensland is well-known for, is its collection of swimming dams – dams you can swim in that are approved for recreation and particular water sports.
There are restrictions on which dams allow swimming, and, depending on weather conditions, capacity and other factors, this can change. It is therefore recommended you double check for restrictions before swimming in any public body of water. That said, the following are some of the dams around Brisbane that generally allow swimming.
As with any activity involving bodies of water, please take care, follow safety instructions, use appropriate flotation devices and keep a close eye on all members of your family.
Wivenhoe Dam (also known as Lake Wivenhoe)
Wivenhoe Dam, South East Queensland’s largest water storage, is located approximately one hour north-west of Brisbane, past Fernvale, and offers a range of recreational options for the whole family. Aside from swimming, kayaking and canoeing, there is also picturesque picnic areas, playgrounds, tracks, trails and fishing spots to enjoy.
Whilst there are many day-use areas at Wivenhoe Dam, all featuring a variety of permitted activities, you will only find designated swimming areas at Billies Bay and Logan’s Inlet. Both these swimming areas are marked by buoys on the water and are open to the public seven days a week (check website for current operating hours.)
If you want to make the most out of your visit, you can extend your stay and camp at the privately owned campgrounds near Logan’s Inlet.
Somerset Dam, located south of Kilcoy, is another popular destination for water-based activities, including fishing, sailing, swimming, motorised boating, canoeing, rowing and kayaking. There are three main areas with picnic and toilet facilities at Somerset Dam (The Spit, Somerset Park and Kirkleagh), though the only designated swimming areas are at The Spit and Kirkleagh. If you fancy camping, there are many privately owned campgrounds near Somerset Dam.
Moogerah Dam (also known as Lake Moogerah)
Located in the picturesque Scenic Rim, just over an hours drive south west of Brisbane, you will find the popular Moogerah Dam. This spot is well-liked by families who enjoy swimming, fishing and other water sports. With no boating restrictions, you will find visitors sailing, tubing, skiing, wake-boarding and jet skiing.
A designated swimming area is located at AG Muller Park, which can be accessed off Muller Park Road. On the other side of the dam at Fred Haigh Park you can have a picnic, play at the playground, go for a hike or take a short walk across the dam wall.
Much of Moogerah Dam is surrounded by private property, offering a variety of accommodation facilities, making it an ideal location for a weekend away or an extended holiday.
Lake Dyer (also known as Bill Gunn Dam)
Situated west of Laidley, Lake Dyer is a small dam, but with plenty of opportunities for water-based activities. Swimming, boating and fishing can be undertaken in the dam, within the designated areas. As Lake Dyer has a small catchment area, and water levels fluctuate depending on rainfall and local irrigation needs, it is best to check SEQ Water’s website before visiting, to ensure the dam is open for water-based activities.
Whilst it may be the oldest reservoirs in Brisbane (built in 1866), the Enoggera Reservoir at The Gap, is certainly one of the more popular. The designated swimming zone can be accessed near the Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre, and is a wonderful place to cool down on a hot Summer’s day. The sandy foreshore area where swimming is permitted (in the marked zone only) also includes a launching spot for paddle craft. Other activities at the reservoir include fishing, bush-walking, mountain biking and bird watching. Read our full review of Enoggera Reservoir here.
Located in the Gatton region, west of Brisbane, Atkinson Dam is primarily used for irrigation purposes, though there are still plenty of opportunities for recreational use. At the designated day-use area, just off Atkinson Dam Road, visitors can enjoy swimming, a picnic, BBQ’s, fishing, skiing, kayaking and other motorised and non-motorised boating activities. Dogs on-leash are permitted in the day use area, but are not permitted to enter the water. If you are looking at staying overnight or longer, camping is permitted at the privately owned campgrounds around the dam.
Dams for Water-Based Activities (No Swimming Permitted)
Maroon Dam offers a variety of water-based activities, including kayaking, fishing and water skiing. Day passes can be purchased from the Lake Maroon Holiday Park to utilise their range of facilities to make for a more enjoyable day trip experience.
Swimming is not permitted at Maroon Dam.
Nestled within the Gold Coast Hinterland, Hinze Dam was significantly upgraded in 2011 and is a popular day trip destination for families wishing to enjoy water-sports such as boating (restrictions apply), canoeing, kayaking, sailing, rowing and fishing (catch and release only.) In addition to water-based activities Hinze Dam is also great for picnics, cycling, walking and running.
The Hinze Dam Visitor Centre, located just off Advancetown Road, contains educational displays, a café and a function centre. There are also many areas to take advantage of within the Hinze Dam Day-Use area, which include an interpretative walk, picnic tables, BBQ’s, toilets and a playground.
Swimming is not permitted at Hinze Dam.
Please Note: Many of the above dams and lakes are closed to water-based activities (including swimming) due to low water levels and water quality issues. Please check current notifications for closures and permitted activities at SEQ Water.
For more detailed information on the dams near Brisbane, please check out the South East Queensland water website, which offers extensive information about each of the dams, including approved activities. Also, be sure to check out the safety tips for swimming in dams, lakes and creeks on the Queensland Government website.