The Gold Coast is one of Australia's most loved tourism spots. It has fantastic beaches, great theme-parks and attractions and an awesome atmosphere to boot, so there is shortage of visitors to this great area. As Brisbanites, we think that we are really lucky to have the Gold Coast on our doorstep! But we are all about exploring. We like to seek out and experience the things that are not always so obvious from the well-advertised attractions. That's not to say that Hinze Dam is not well known around the area, it's just that it's probably not the first place that comes to mind when you think of the Gold Coast.
About an hour’s drive south of Brisbane will get you to the Gold Coast suburb of Advancetown, where Advancetown Lake and Hinze Dam (the dam is the wall that holds the water back, creating the lake) is situated. From the Gold Coast it's perhaps a half hour drive to the west. It's the main water supply for the Gold Coast and as the Gold Coast has grown, so has Hinze Dam. It recently went through a major upgrade which was completed in 2010, so the facilities are nice and modern. The drive down from Brisbane is generally quite easy, however as many commuters know, pick the wrong time - perhaps on a Saturday morning through summer, or through the week in the afternoon heading south - and you could be in for a long journey.
Once you arrive at Hinze Dam, you will find 3 main stopping points - up on top of the dam wall, a carpark with viewing area of the spillway, and further down there is a park, playground and barbeques. We started on top of the dam wall. Up there, there is an information centre and a little cafe which has some beautiful views out across the lake. It's open over the typical hours but best to check out their website prior to heading there if your main intent is to sit down at the cafe. I imagine that it might be reasonably popular through the warmer months too, and even more so if the water is spilling! The information centre is a great spot which provides some good information on being water-wise, as well as the history and engineering behind the dam.
Up on top of the wall you can walk out across the spillway which I would think most provide some amazing views when the water is spilling! The engineering behind the dam is pretty amazing to consider when you walk out there! There is also a nice park land up on top as well. While there's no playground, the kids had a great time just running around on the grass. There are concrete paths running through the area as well, so pram access would not be a problem. After a bit of a run around (we must have easily spent an hour up there!), we headed on down to see the spillway. There is a carpark and viewing platform and from here you can get a real sense of the scale of the dam - it really is impressive! There was no spill or flow when we were there but it must be quite impressive when it is flowing! Still, it's worthy of a quick stop off to check it out. The carpark is really close to the viewing platform as well.
Our final stop on our little sightseeing tour of Hinze Dam took us right down the bottom of the dam wall where we found a nice shaded playground, barbeque area, amenities and tables and chairs. The playground was a welcome sight for our boys who at 5 and 3 can only take so much sightseeing in one day. We relaxed in some pleasant surroundings, cooked up a few snags and enjoyed the tranquil setting while the boys played. The whole area is in a semi-rural setting so even though we were only minutes away from the Gold Coast suburbs, it felt like we were a world away. Nice and quiet - no traffic noise and a bit of wildlife (birds and lizards) made us feel like we were out in the bush somewhere!
All in all, we had a really enjoyable half - day out at Hinze Dam. The facilities are well considered and modern due to the recent upgrade. There are limited options for food, however the café is really nice for those not wanting to pack a picnic or barbeque. The only thing that may be a bit of a deterrent for visitors is that swimming is not permitted in Advancetown Lake. It might be a little difficult on a hot summer's day to explain to you little ones that they can't go in the water when there is so much around! But for us, the impressive views of the water, parks and structures, along with the barbeque area and playground provided us with enough enjoyment to ensure that we will be back for another visit sometime - maybe next time the spillway is flowing!
Amenities: Toilets and (lots of) drinking water available! 👍👍👍
Cost: Completely free unless you visit the nice little café! 👍👍👍👍
Parking: Lots of parking - it may get busy when the spillway is flowing! 👍👍👍
Access: Most areas are pram friendly! Due to the scale of the dam you will need a car to get there and get around! 👍👍👍
Entertainment: The information centre is worth a visit! Some impressive views and a great little playground! 👍👍
Best for: Maybe the adults will get more out of this one! 👍👍
Wildlife: Some birds and lizards around the picnic area - maybe some kangaroos around sunrise / sunset? 👍👍👍
Summary: If you are looking for something a little bit different to do at the Gold Coast we can really recommend a visit to Hinze Dam. It's maybe a bit better suited for the adults but our little ones didn't seem to mind and were suitably impressed with some of the structure! The little playground should tip this one in the favourable balance! 👍👍👍
Hints: Expect it to be reasonably busy when the spillway is flowing!
Brisbane Family Explorers