Lake Manchester is a beautiful area, 25 km west of Brisbane and just a short drive from the Ipswich CBD.  The area is made up the dam, a peaceful picnic area, bushwalking trails and a campsite.  With such a range of activities available, it makes for a great day out with family and friends.

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A Quick History Lesson

Lake Manchester was initially built in 1916 as one of the regions first dams.  The dam provided water to the Brisbane area until 1988.  Now the dam is only used in emergencies such as during times of droughts.

The dam is ungated, which means that when it reaches full capacity (which is 26,217 ml), the water will flow over the spillway and of the dam.

Things to do at Lake Manchester

There is a wide range of activities for you to do at Lake Manchester as briefly summarized below.

Bush Walking at Lake Manchester

There is a short 1.1km walk to the lake.  This walk is relatively easy although there is one section of a steep hill.  The trail is also loose gravel, so caution is required.

For those with more time, there is the longer 17km Lake Manchester circuit around the lake.  The walk goes through open eucalypt and ironbark forest with the opportunity to spot lots of reptiles and birdlife including like red-backed wrens, red browed finches and the yellow-tailed black cockatoos.  Unfortunately for the most part, the trail is not close to the lake, nor is the lake visible.

The 17km circuit is hilly and some sections are steep.  The walk is mostly unshaded, so it is recommended to start the walk earlier in the day and preferably not in the warmer months.  Also as mentioned above the trail is made up of loose gravel, so good shoes are recommended.

Allow at least 3.5 hours for the entire walk and be sure to take plenty of water with you.  Most hikers recommend doing the circuit clockwise to get the steeper hills completed first.

Kayaking or Stand Up Paddle Boarding

It is around 650m to the lake where you can launch your kayak.  Keep in mind that there is a reasonably steep hill (although short) you’ll need to ascend to reach the area, so you’ll probably want to wheel in your gear.

The area is not signposted either, so you will need to find a suitable flat area yourself to launch from.

More Things to do at Lake Manchester

Other things to do at Lake Manchester include:

  • Fishing
  • Horse Riding
  • Mountain Bike Riding

Picnic Facilities at Lake Manchester

The picnic area at Lake Manchester is beautiful.  It is a large grassy area with plenty of shade and just the perfect area for a picnic, BBQ or to kick the ball around.

There is a large undercover area which has two picnic tables and a BBQ.  However most people seem to bring their own tables and chairs so they can claim their own peaceful area.

There is also a small toilet block in the picnic area with clean bathrooms.

Keep in mind that the lake is not visible from the picnic area.  There are no picnic areas by the lake.

Camping at Lake Manchester

There is camping available at Lake Manchester at Blue Gum Flat Camp.  However the campsite is only accessible via the 17km circuit walk, so you will need to hike in all your own equipment.

Please note that the campsite is not near the lake, nor is it visible from the site.  There are also no facilities at Blue Gum Flat and bookings are required in advance by email recreation@seqwater.com.au.

Tips for Visiting Lake Manchester

A couple of tips for those visiting Lake Manchester:

  • Get their early, we arrived at 10 am and there was plenty of parking available, however soon after it was full, and people had to park on the side of the road.
  • Bring insect repellent as the mozzies do seem to be around but nothing too crazy.
  • Bring your own toilet paper, by the end of the day the toilets had run out of toilet paper.

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Hopefully, you found this guide to visiting Lake Manchester helpful.  A few other nice quiet places to go camping include the Bunya Mountains or Lake Moogerah.  Otherwise, check out these places to camp near Brisbane or these dog friendly campsites near Brisbane.

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