Burrendong DamA popular recreation destination

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Status Open to Public

Visit the Dam

Burrendong Dam is a popular inland sport and recreation destination, offering year-round attractions for water sports and fishing enthusiasts, nature lovers, bushwalkers, campers and picnickers. The lake foreshores are home to two caravan parks, an arboretum, and a popular NSW Sport and Recreation Centre. The main purpose of the dam is to supply irrigation, stock and household needs in the Macquarie Valley, and environmental flows to the Macquarie Marshes.

Lookout points

Dam wall

Walk across the dam wall for views of the lake and basin. The rock embankment wall is 1.1 kilometres long and 78 metres high.

Tobin Centre

The Tobin Centre at Lake Burrendong State Park offers panoramic views of the lake and basin. It’s also a function centre for conferences and weddings.

Things to do

  • Stay
  • Water sports
  • Fishing

Opening hours

Dam grounds

Open 24 hours a day, all year round for pedestrian access. Vehicle access is from 7:30am – 4:00pm Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays. There is no vehicle access across the main wall but it is possible to walk or ride pushbikes. Entry is free.

Lake Burrendong State Park

Office is open 9am to 5pm daily. Phone 02 6846 7435.


Burrendong Dam is 30 kilometres south-east of Wellington, midway between Orange and Dubbo in Central West NSW. Wellington is 355 kilometres west of Sydney via the Great Western and Mitchell highways.


  • Camping
  • Childrens playground
  • Picnic areas
  • Toilets
  • Fishing
  • Kiosk
  • Shower facilities
  • Boat ramps
  • Water sports
  • Bushwalking



Restrictions are in place to protect our water supply and ensure that everyone has an enjoyable and safe visit - with penalties up to $44,000 applying:


Recreation Areas at WaterNSW dams will be closed on ALL Total Fire Ban days.

The Burrendong experience

Top 3 things to see and do

1. Stay

Lake Burrendong offers accommodation options from cabins to powered and unpowered camping sites - Lake Burrendong State Park

2. Water sports

The lake is available for a range of water sports including skiing, jet skis, sailing, canoeing and swimming. Several boat ramps are available.

3. Fishing

Fishing at Lake Burrendong includes Redfin and golden perch (yellow belly) Murray cod, silver perch, catfish and European carp.

Facts & History

Burrendong Dam is situated on the Macquarie River just below its junction with the Cudgegong River, about 30 kilometres upstream from Wellington in Central West NSW.  The dam is about 330 kilometres north-west of Sydney.

Burrendong Dam is one of the largest inland dams in NSW with a capacity of 1,678,000 megalitres, three times Sydney Harbour. The dam’s capacity includes 1,188,000 megalitres of water storage and a potential 489,000 megalitres of air space for flood mitigation.

Burrendong is an Aboriginal word for koala.

Why the dam was built

The dam was proposed immediately after World War II to improve town water supplies and boost agricultural production in the Macquarie Valley. Construction of the dam began in 1946 but due to financial constraints was not completed until 1967.

Cotton was one of the main crops to benefit from the availability of irrigation, as well as lucerne, cereals, oilseed, wheat and vegetables.

The dam was later used to supply water as environmental flows to the Macquarie Marshes, one of the largest remaining inland semi-permanent wetlands in south-eastern Australia and a major waterbird breeding area.

In addition to irrigated agriculture and environmental flows, the dam provides water for town supplies, industry and domestic requirements, flood mitigation and recreation, and a 19 megawatt hydroelectric power station which generates using summer irrigation and flood mitigation.

How the dam was built

Burrendong Dam is a rock-fill embankment with a clay core. The rock wall is 1116 metres long and 76 metres high. A concrete spillway is located about one kilometre north-east of the dam wall. The spillway allows flood waters to pass through seven radial gates each 16.8 metres wide and six metres high.

Construction began in 1946 but soon stopped due to financial constraints. Work recommenced in 1958 and was completed in 1967.

During the construction period, hundreds of workers lived on-site at Burrendong in single and married quarters. Other workers were housed in the nearby village of Mumbil and travelled to and from the dam by bus.

Most of the on-site accommodation was transportable and moved around the State as various Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission storage facilities took shape. Some of the huts were transported to Burrendong following the construction of Keepit Dam on the Namoi River north-west of Gunnedah.

Most of the Burrendong accommodation was removed when the project was completed but some transportable buildings remained near the dam wall as quarters for visiting engineers. The area later became a conference centre.

Later improvements

To meet modern dam safety standards, in 2010 a series of upgrades commenced to improve dam safety in the event of extreme flooding. In 2011 the height of the main dam wall and saddle dams was raised by 1.8 metres, and in 2014 the spillways gates were strengthened.  Construction of an auxiliary spillway to divert floodwaters around the dam in a rare and extreme flood so as to protect the dam and ensure it remains safe in an extreme flood was completed in 2014.

Dam Summary

Metres High
Length: 1,116 metres
1,188,000 ml total operating capacity
Size of lake:
72 km 2
Catchment: 13,886 square kilometres

Dam Wall

Size Measurement
Length 1,116m
Thickness of base m
Width of central spillway m
Concrete mass t
Width of auxillary spillway m
Length of auxillary spillway m

Lake and Catchment

Size Measurement
Area 72km2
Length of lake km
Length of foreshores km
Maximum depth of reservoir m
Catchment area 13,886km2
Annual average rainfall mm


Size Measurement
Diameter mm
Length km each
Capacity ML per day
Thursday 26 November
2,465,239 ML
2,581,850 ML
11,272 ML
1,611 ML
-12,363 ML
Thursday 26 November
Burrendong Dam
Wednesday 25 November