A Natural Experience
15 Aug 2022
Nestled on the outskirts of the city’s hinterland lies Hinze Dam, a facility operated by Seqwater, Queensland’s Bulk Water Supply Authority that provides more than three million people across South-East Queensland with safe, secure, and cost-adequate water.
According to the WHO, one in four people do not have access to clean drinking water, a necessity we should never take for granted. With this in mind the 2022 Mayor’s Student Ambassadors were invited to take a tour of the Hinze Dam facilities. The tour began at the Hinze Dam View Café with a lovely morning tea that included some delicious scones, jam, and cream - clearly this wasn’t going to be an excursion designed for anyone watching their weight!
The friendly staff from Seqwater guided the Ambassadors through the site for a scenic walk explaining the history of the dam, its processes and how they manage the catchment health and community recreation facilities there.
Hinze dam gets its name from local pioneers Carl and Johanna Hinze, who lived in the valley many years ago. All operations at the facility are carried out by Seqwater and the dam has become a popular local recreational getaway for picnics and pushbikes with its extensive cycling pathways through the picturesque hinterland.
As we walked through the site we became captivated by the view from the bridge, undeniably some of the best you could hope to see of the Gold Coast.
It was surprising to discover that the water depth in the river near the dam was sixty metres deep as the ranger explained how Seqwater provides irrigation for farmers across seven water supply schemes. One facet of the operation that grabbed our attention was that Seqwater also utilises ocean water to transform it into drinkable water through a desalination plant. It really is quite an astounding process.
At the completion of the tour French student Cecilia Picaut described how enriching this experience had been while learning to appreciate how the Gold Coast was supplied with water and the need to be mindful of our water usage while appreciating the services that Seqwater provides.
Following the Hinze Dam tour we collected our picnic lunch packs and headed up the range to Springbrook. With its high elevation and proximity to the coast Springbrook is one of the wettest regions on Australia’s east coast, averaging over 3,000mm of rain annually. The area features spectacular waterfalls and is a popular destination for bushwalking.
En route our international student guests showed off their linguistic skills by singing in both their own language and English, which was a fun way to travel as we ventured high up into the hinterland.
Upon arrival we trekked through the lush forested walkways, our ears filled with birdsong and the wind through the trees as we made our way to Purling Brook Falls. The view from the lookout was truly spectacular and was a wonderful way to wrap up such a memorable adventure.
Inspired by nature
Our Ambassadors were inspired by the experience as they returned to the Gold Coast Student Hub, their photo galleries filled with selfies and their hearts brimming with a renewed appreciation of nature.
Jenny Gunnarsson, a Griffith University Speech Pathology student originally from Sweden captured the mood of the experience perfectly when she said, “I just loved today. Sometimes we have to take life slow and appreciate nature around us. And on the Gold Coast, you can do it all the time.”
*Thilinika Wijesinghe is from Sri Lanka and studied a PhD in Education at Southern Cross University. Thili is a former Mayor's Student Ambassador and now runs the MSA Program for Study Gold Coast.