Why not Wivenhoe?
  |  First Published: May 2014

It’s hard to say if this is a secret camping destination or not. Everyone seems to know of Wivenhoe Dam thanks to the mega press discussions during the flood of two years ago, but not everyone is aware that there are first-class camping facilities available on the shoreline at Captain Logan inlet, on the eastern side of the highway between Esk and Fernvale. At the Inlet there are two camping areas, Captain Logan and Lumley Hill. Both offer first class facilities, having been developed years ago by government body SEQ Water.

Looking at Captain Logan camping area first, the turnoff from the Fernvale /Esk Toogoolawah Road is signed as Hay Road. If you travel down Hay Road for about 5km, being careful not to bump into a kangaroo en route, you’ll see Logan Inlet Road ahead. From this turn off it’s a very short distance to either camping area (still watch out for roos!)

The Captain Logan camping area is on a prominent point on Lake Wivenhoe with a pleasing northerly aspect. Camp sites (57 in all) are offered on each side of the point, with large, clean, and well finished amenities offered for campers, day visitors and boaters having a crack at some of the Lake’s finny denizens.

The office is on the left as you enter, and it provides firewood and ice but not much else. The staff there can arrange a camp site for visitors, but I’m advised it is best to book well in advance given the limited number of camp sites available. Do note that things can be pretty busy of a weekend, but not so much during the week. At holiday time (Easter in particular ) this is one busy hub of camping activity.

Logan Inlet is a pretty modest sort of camping area but it’s quite comfortable just the same. Camp sites are clearly set out, numbered and measure approximately 7m x 10m, which is room enough for a tent or camper trailer but not to get the car onto the site as well. Several sites can take caravans up to 6m in length, and a few sites along the shore are advertised as having deep enough water for a boat to remain nearby.

Do note that there are no powered sites at Captain Logan Inlet. If you need to charge a boat motor battery, for example, it will be necessary to use the power point at the back of the camp office and a long lead.

One of the main attractions at this camping area is the well-formed boat ramp on the western side of the main point. There’s a fish cleaning table, toilets and shelter shed handy and in all, it’s a neat place to visit.

Lumley Hill

Lumley Hill, just across the inlet and to the east of Captain Logan Inlet offers 105 camp sites, several of them with power. Again, the camping area is on a fairly well tree covered point with sites clearly set out for users. The good news is that there are powered sites available with some suited to caravans, and others best for camper trailers. There are also a few drive-on sites with concrete pads for caravans and the like.

Both camping areas offer fire pits, shelter sheds, and some of the cleanest amenities I’ve ever seen. Plus, on weekends there is a very popular and well patronised hotdog stall set up near the entrance to the Captain Logan Inlet office. Note that entry is restricted to both camping areas prior to 6:00am and after 6:00pm at night. Pets are not permitted.

Local infrastructure is confined to the towns of Fernvale (with its award winning bakery, yum!) and Esk, which are within a half hour’s drive or so from either camping area. Both towns offer virtually everything a visitor could want or need, from health professionals to supermarkets.

Fishing and Boating

Lake Wivenhoe has undergone a renaissance of sorts, with lifting of boating restrictions from paddle-powered and sail to 3-star emission powercraft – i.e. 4-stroke and direct injection outboards. A strict speed limit of 6 knots is enforced.

The fish species in the lake are catfish (both fork-tailed and eel-tailed), bass, silver perch and golden perch. All of the more desirable native species are stocked by the thousands but during the summer months the catties also seem to be there in the thousands. While they may be annoying for serious anglers, catfish are great for training youngsters on the art of playing a fish. They bite readily on anything from worms to flies, they pull like little tractors and provide a no-waiting-time form of sport. With cooler weather coming on we can expect the catties to retreat somewhat and the more desirable natives start to show in catches.

You’ll need a boating permit and a stocked impoundment permit to boat and fish on the dam. Camping permits for the Dam can be obtained on the ‘net at --e-mail address hidden-- or by telephone on (07) 5426 4729. Booking in advance is highly advisable as this camping area has become mighty popular in recent years.

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