Lake Cressbrook is a water supply dam for Toowoomba, one of three together with Lake Perseverance and Cooby Dam.
The lake was completed in 1983, to replace much of the bore water previously required for Toowoomba’s water supply. The lakes are below the altitude of Toowoomba, so they require pumping. The water pump at Lake Cressbrook is constantly heard but is not overbearing and I didn’t notice it once I had been there for a while.
There are camping and day use areas at the lake, and boating, canoeing and sailing are permitted. Swimming, however, is not allowed.
The lake is stocked with fish and fishing is allowed providing you have a SIPS permit.
The day use area has plenty of picnic tables around and free BBQs for use. There are toilets and a children’s playground and a sand volleyball court with a net.
The day use area has a boat ramp for launching boats into the dam.
The camping area has 30 campsites. Most of these are walk-in sites with parking next to the site. Some of the sites are away from parking but not too far.
One of the campsites is for disabled use. It can be used by other campers but needs to be vacated and made available if a disabled person needs it.
There are 6 campsites available for use with a camper trailer or caravan. They are further away from the facilities, but not too far.
The camping area has a good toilet block, complete with showers. There is a large central BBQ area with tables for use by all campsites. There are also fish cleaning tables for preparing your catch for dinner.
There is a section of the dam where campers can moor their boats, but the launching of boats must be done at the boat ramp at the day use area. Watercraft can only be used during the day use open hours, even when camping.
There is a walking trail at Lake Cressbrook. If walked, the whole length it is nearly 7.5km, but shortcuts can be taken at some points.
The walking trail mainly goes along the shores of the dam, with a few places out on points that provide great views across the dam.
The walk provided sights of wildlife, including birds, wallabies, and kangaroos. There was a notice at the camping entrance that snakes have been spotted. It was fairly cool, being the middle of June, but a brown snake crossed the walking trail about 5 metres ahead of me between the tall grass on either side. The area was quite dry, so the water of the dam may be attracting wildlife to the water when it is scarce elsewhere.
There is a site entry fee for all vehicles. This has to be paid for day use and camping areas, and an additional per person fee when camping.
To get there:
From Crows Nest, go south on the New England Hwy to head out of town, and turn left into Charles St at the brown sign for Lake Perseverance. After 280m, turn right into Perseverance Dam Rd, and follow for 2.3km, then turn left to continue on Perseverance Dam Rd. After 10km turn left to head to Lake Cressbrook. Follow the road for another 4.2km to reach the entrance of Lake Cressbrook. The day use area is 300m straight ahead, or turn left for the camping area 1km further on.
From Hampton (Toowoomba) heading north along the New England Hwy, turn right into Pechey Forestry Rd (Marion St) at the brown sign for Lake Perseverance. After 3.7km, continue straight ahead, the road becomes Perseverance Dam Rd. After another 10km turn left to head to Lake Cressbrook. Follow the road for another 4.2km to reach the entrance of Lake Cressbrook. The day use area is 300m straight ahead, or turn left for the camping area 1km further on.
From Esk, head west along Esk Hampton Rd towards Crows Nest and Toowoomba. After 29.2km, turn right into Mcerlean Rd with a brown sign for Lake Perseverance shortly before it, then the first left at 230m. Follow for 500m, then turn right into Mount Jockey Rd. Continue along Mount Jockey Road for 6km, then turn right to head to Lake Cressbrook. Follow the road for another 4.2km to reach the entrance of Lake Cressbrook. The day use area is 300m straight ahead, or turn left for the camping area 1km further on.
Cost: Vehicle $2.50, Camping Person $7.90, Camping Family (2 Adult, any children under 18) $31.60
Hours: Sept-Apr Mon-Sun 6am-8pm, May-Aug Mon-Sun 7am-6pm,
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
BBQ: Yes, wood fired
Playground: Yes, at day use area