Starting and ending at the day use area, this is a clockwise loop in the hills around Lake Manchester through a conservation park adjacent to the D’Aguilar Range National Park (Brisbane Forest Park section).

Getting there

Lake Manchester day use area is near Kholo, about 25km west of Brisbane off Lake Manchester Road. This is well signposted from Mt Crosby, west of Kenmore.

The last section of road is gravel, but well maintained.

Maps

A location map is available on the DERM website (PDF) with the trail map here. A sign outlines the route at the start of the walk also.

Route/Trail notes

It starts up past the dam wall, and for a time follows the lake shoreline before climbing up into the ridges. For most of the walk the lake itself is not visible.

The route uses forest/fire roads which are well graded but a covering of loose gravel means caution must be taken on descents. The trail is very hilly with some testing steep sections.

Most of the walk is through open eucalypt and ironbark forests with plenty of birdlife. Each intersection is signposted to remind you to turn right, without distances to the next feature. One sign towards the beginning of the trail going clockwise indicates that the trail continues up a hill, but it ends and goes nowhere so it is better to follow the shore.

SEQwater signs warn that water should be boiled/treated before drinking so bring plenty of water. There are a few creek crossings but these are seasonal and for most of the year will be dry.

Sections of the track are shared use with horse riding and trail bikes.

The loop passes a small hut but for the most part is open with some shade provided by trees.

Camping is allowed at the Blue Gum Flats campsite which is reached on the walk. This is a large flat grassy area surrounded by forest but has no facilities. Bookings are required via DERM and the site may be closed periodically for regeneration and during the wildfire season.

The final leg of the walk is along Lake Manchester Road as the trail does not lead directly back to the BBQ area. As a variation here it is possible to keep to the ridge above the lake on the boundary of the paddocks by climbing through a locked gate on the right of the main track. You will find this about 50m after you pass the locked road gate with the trail map at around 15km (you will still need to get back onto Lake Manchester Road for some of the walk regardless, through the railing fence at the end)

Permits/Costs

None required for the walk, and access is free. Booking is required via DERM for camping at the Bluegum Flats.

Other References

None.

Comments

Pretty much a 17k version of the Enogerra Dam walk. The views of the lake and the lily pads are quite beautiful but by the end of the hike, you've seen enough half-dead grass and gum trees to last you for a lifetime. I did the track clockwise as recommended but I took the first trail to the left. This was a super steep trail that dead-ended at the top of a mountain The left turn I was meant to take was further on. Apart from that, I navigated the track without any mishaps. The log cabin is about a third of the way along the track and is a great place to stop and have lunch. About two thirds along the track you come to the Blue Gum Flats camping area. In the final leg of the walk, you get to pass several farming properties but unfortunately, you don't get to see much of the lake, When the car park finally comes into view you can breathe a sigh of relief. Saw some interesting birds on the walk, like red-backed wrens, red browed finches and the yellow-tailed black cockatoos. Certainly would not do this walk in summer!

Jeff on 1 Sep, 2019

Long and boring but a good training loop. Would hate to be out here in summer!

Wez on 1 Aug, 2019

Nice hike

HR on 22 Apr, 2019

Long, hard walk. Definitely recommend leaving early (I started 7am, finished back at the rec area car park 11am on the dot) as it was getting quite hot by the last leg of the trail. Agree with some other users: this walk made a great training hike to prep for other longer hikes and it's not very scenic. Gorgeous wildlife though - I came fairly close to a few huge lace monitors along the way.

Jane Mousley on 17 Jan, 2019

Definitely do this clockwise. Head straight for the dam on the left of the wall. I was worn out on the hills at the end and had a fall. Much water was required. Saw blue kingfishers and the birds were singing all day. Nice longer walk but make sure you have non skiddy shoes.

HellsBells on 20 Oct, 2018

Long hard boring walk. Whoever called this trek "medium" has got to be joking. Darn hilly. Plus whoever designed the road forgot there's a lake nearby. Glimpses of the water are almost non-existent, and at times you're miles away from the lake. And how hard would it be to put a milestone every so often. Also thanks to the lady who gave us a bum steer towards the end of this ordeal and made us walk a further 3 km. Next time we'll do an easy walk...like Mt Warning!

Lawrie on 1 Oct, 2018

Harder than I remembered, especially in the rain.
Went clockwise to get the harder hills done first.
The first stream has a good set of stones to act as a bridge, but at the second (near the campground) they move a lot. I ended up hurting my knee and getting wet shoes - not a fun combo, so beware.

TJ on 14 Apr, 2018

I would rate this Hard and not Medium. Our first mistake was probably that we headed anti clockwise.. boy did we regret that when encountering those massive hills near the end. If I were to do this walk again would go clockwise and get those hills out of the way earlier. Second mistake was not taking enough water, was not prepared for how long it took to walk the track, the hills really slowed us down and of course we drank more water. Third mistake was not leaving earlier in the day, we headed out around 10.00am and during the hotter time of the year, if Id known then what I know now would have left closer to 7am when it is cooler. Don't expect beautiful views of the water during this walk, mostly bush. A nice walk overall but would have been more enjoyable if left earlier, took more water and headed clockwise.

Janelle on 2018

HOT! Really hot. Take plenty of water. We ran out of water but thankfully the stream near the hikers camp was running so we just got a couple of extra litres and treated it. A decent training hike but not sure I'd do it again.

Leith on 17 Dec, 2017

https://ofsoutheastqueensland.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/lake-manchester/
Here, I wrote a longer recount of my walk on this trail, and me and my companions' experiences around the lake. I think it's interesting, so maybe check it out of you're inclined.

This was a nice longer walk, with some interesting and pretty parts and much varied bird life.
Going clockwise, not too far from the beginning of the track a sign will point with an arrow up a hill. Going this way proved to me and my small group to be a waste of time, because the trail disappeared. It seemed to continue past the sign along the lake to the rest of the trail. Without distances marked on them, I'd say the signage on this trail is poor.

meadharry on 11 Nov, 2017

3hrs 15m from start to finish. Walking clockwise, there are some short but steep ascents until you reach the lakeside hut, after which the track is more gentle. Pleasant stroll with occasional views of Lake Manchester and a breeze at the higher parts. Straightforward to navigate, just keen turning right at the signposted intersections. Be prepared to get your feet wet if there has been rain - the walk starts with a broad creek crossing. Bring plenty of water.

spiggytopes on 4 Nov, 2017

I did this walk as a training hike with a 12kg pack and hiking poles and 3.5l of water. Even though I left at 6am, it still took me 5.5hrs to complete the circuit in a counter-clockwise direction. The steeply undulating hills in the final third of the walk were a killer. Towards the end of the walk, near the grassy area as the Dam comes into view, there is a sign pointing up the hill for bushwalkers. I took it, and it led up to the top of the hill overlooking the lake. Amazing view, but I really just wanted it all to be over at that point! This walk is not difficult to navigate, but was physically exhausting. A very good training hike, but not much fun.

Naomi12345 on 28 Oct, 2017

Great walk - bang on 4hrs. Did the circuit anti-clockwise as the stream under the dam wall was running and too deep to cross without getting feet wet so saved it to the end. Some decent inclines to get the lungs working and great scenery.

DavidC on 28 Oct, 2017

We started from the Day Use Area, it was planned to do the clock-wise loop but the water was up to the knee high (due to recent rain) at the very first creek crossing near the carpark! Then we changed our mind to do the anti-clockwise instead. All the direction sign posts are well placed. A bit disappointed that 2/3 of the course has NO lake views at all. With the photo and break times, it took us 3:45 to complete the circuit. Very nice walk, definitely will come back....

orienteer88 on 22 Oct, 2017

Well graded track, lots of up and down good work out

troy on 10 Sep, 2017

Did anti-clockwise and started at 2 pm. Took us 5 hours as part of the track had sign that led to a dead end and had to back track, however follow the signs that indicate trails for all 3 (walking, bicycle and horses) and you should be fine. Some of the hills have a killer incline. Bring atleast 2 litres water per person and if you are starting after 2 pm then DO CARRY TORCHES. Overall awesome walk, plan to do it clockwise also so that we can get the view during daylight that we missed towards the end of our walk when we did it anti-clockwise

TK on 3 Sep, 2017

Did the loop clockwise, some hard/steep inclines and declines for the first third. The cabin is easy to spot and a great place to take a rest. Blue Gum campground is also lovely. Started the walk at 10am and took 4hrs. Was very warm for most of the walk with patchy shade.

TJ on 22 Aug, 2017

Did anti-clockwise, great running loop with some creek crossings, climbs are not very steep, but accumulation of elevation in legs over many hills takes its toll.

Marcin Piotrowski on 16 Jul, 2017


Brian Darlington on 17 Jun, 2017

Great walk as described which we did in clockwise direction. Signage was spot on and the track well maintained. This took us 4hrs including lunch stop.

T18 on 13 May, 2017

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