Hinze Dam is the Gold Coast’s main water supply for drinking water. The dam is ungated, which means the dam fills to capacity, then spills out over the spillway.
Named after the Hinze family who first farmed the area, the dam was first completed in 1976, and then upgraded in 1989 to nearly 4 times the capacity to 161,000 megalitres, and again in 2004 to its current 310,000 megalitres.
The dam is at Advancetown, to the west at the southern end of the Gold Coast, accessed from the Nerang Murwillumbah Rd. The original village of Advancetown has disappeared under the water of the dam.
Hinze Dam is a popular location for tourists and locals. There are two main parking areas, one at the visitor centre near the top of the spillway, and the other at Picnic Parkland. There is a smaller parking area looking at the bottom of the spillway, and off to the side of the visitor centre.
A viewing platform faces the spillway, and if the water is flowing, it tumbles down the centre of the wall into a large hole, then bends around into a lake before flowing into the Nerang River. There is a parking area in front of it, saving a walk from the main parking area above it at the visitor centre. There isn’t a lot of parking here, but it is a quick drive in to check for space first.
At the main parking area, to the side of the spillway, is the visitor centre. Here you can find information about the construction of the dam, and history of the area. There is a cafe to get some refreshments, with views across the lake from the seating area.
The cafe also looks over a small park area, called the Waterside Park. There is also some additional parking down the hill to the park. It has an open grassed area and some picnic tables, and paths that lead to lookout points across the lake. To get to the park you can either walk down the road to the parking area or go through the cafe seating area to access a pathway that leads down to it.
From the front of the visitor centre, the dam wall can be accessed. Walking and cycling along the dam wall is permitted, providing views across the lake, as well as down the spillway from above and over to the lake it flows into.
The dam wall leads to mountain bike tracks, called the Peter Hallinan Mountain Bike Precinct. The area is only accessible via the dam wall, except on official Gold Coast Mountain Bike Club (GCMTB) race days. The dam wall is 1.9km to the start of the tracks, with a main loop, and a family loop.
The Duncan Track is a loop from the end of the dam wall, with toilet and water facilities about half way around. This is the GCMTB Club’s race day location. The Family Loop track and Southern Loop track can also be accessed from near the end of the dam wall. Visit the GCMTB website page about the Hinze Dam trails, including maps of the trails.
Down from the spillway is picnic area called Pocket Park. I found this park a bit odd because it isn’t conveniently located to bring supplies for a family picnic, yet it had better facilities than Waterside Park, with free BBQs, picnic tables and toilets. If you have a picnic here, parking at the spillway parking area is best.
A better setup are is the Picnic Parkland, which is accessed from a side road back towards the main gate. Picnic Parkland has lots of parking space, and also has facilities to make it a great place to have a family picnic, with toilets, covered picnic tables, free BBQs, and the addition of a children’s playground.
There are no views of the dam or spillway from either Pocket Park, or Picnic Parkland. There is a walking track that leads from the visitor centre all the way to Picnic Parkland, going via the spillway parking area and though Pocket Park.
There was some controversy when walking of dogs was banned, but this has since been reinstated in designated areas, primarily the Picnic Parkland and Pocket Park, and following the pathway leading from them up to the visitor centre.
Fishing is permitted at the dam but is not accessible at this location. There are two boat ramps where fishing can be accessed, the western boat ramp is on Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd, and the eastern boat ramp on Range Rd. The dam is stocked, and fishing is allowed at the dam. Stocked dams normally require a SIPS permit (Stocked Impound Permit Scheme), and Hinze Dam is one that requires the permit. SIPS helps to cover costs of maintaining the stocking of fish in the dam.
To get there:
From the M1 motorway, take the Nerang Exit (exit 71). If coming from the north, turn right towards Nerang West, and after 650m turn left onto Price St. If coming from the south, turn right onto Station St, then after 600m turn left towards Nerang West, and after 650m turn left onto Price St. From turning into Price St, follow the road straight ahead for 9.1km. The road will become Beaudesert Nerang Rd, then Nerang Murwillumbah Rd along the way. Turn left into Advancetown Rd, and the entry gate straight ahead after 1.5km.
Hours: Mon-Sun 6am-6pm
Hours Cafe: Mon-Fri 9am-4pm, Sat-Sun 8am-5pm, Closed Good Friday, Closed Christmas Day, Closed Boxing Day
Hours Visitor Centre: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat-Sun 10am-4pm, Closed Good Friday, Closed Christmas Day, Closed Boxing Day
Food: Yes, at View Cafe
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Pets: Yes, on leash in designated areas
Playground: Yes, at Picnic Parkland