Burrendong Dam A popular recreation destination

Burrendong Dam
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Visit the Dam


  • Camping
  • Children's playground
  • Picnic areas
  • Toilets
  • Fishing
  • Kiosk
  • Shower facilities
  • Boat ramps
  • Water sports
  • Bushwalking

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 holiday 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.

Burrendong Dam Fact Sheet (PDF, 550.24 KB)

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 Reflections Holiday Parks Lake Burrendong 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.


View in Maps

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
  • Children's 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:

  • Dogs are permitted on a leash
  • No model aircraft or drones

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

There are several accommodation options from cabins to powered and unpowered camping sites in the local area.

2. Water sports

The lake is available for a range of water sports including skiing, jet skis, sailing, canoeing and swimming. Several public boat ramps are available at the Reflections Holiday Parks and they cater for day visitors at a charge. Please note: There is no access to the lake via the WaterNSW boat ramp.

Lake Burrendong Sport and Recreation club also offers activities and experiences for school, family and corporate groups.

3. Fishing

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

Dam Summary

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

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.

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.

Burrendong temperature control curtain

A structure was also constructed around the intake tower to reduce the impact of cold water being released from the bottom of the dam downstream into the Macquarie River.


In consultation with our stakeholders and the community we review and update these notifications.

To receive Early Warning Network notifications below please register your details with us.

To see past notifications, please visit all dam notifications.

Dam safety notifications

Alerts will be issued in the following unlikely events:

  • When there is a reasonable possibility of dam failure.
  • State Emergency Service (SES) require advance public warning to evacuate if such a failure may occur.

Amber Alert

  • Trigger - Storage level has reached Design Flood Level. Saddle Dam A is expected to breach, releasing large volumes of water. This is designed to protect the stability of the dam.
  • Notification - You are advised to move to higher ground and if necessary evacuate.

Red Alert

  • Trigger - Storage level has reached main embankment crest level. Outflows of over 2,128,000 megalitres per day are expected.
  • Notification - Residents are advised to evacuate to their designated flood assembly points.

Flood notifications

Flood notifications indicate the dam is releasing controlled or uncontrolled flows, likely to cause downstream flooding.

Flood operations

  • Trigger - Spillway flows of 20,000 megalitres per day or more
  • Notification - Flows of approximately [XX] at [time and date] are being passed.

High regulated releases

High regulated releases are when our operations may impact landholders immediately downstream or we are releasing higher than normal flows.

Normal operations

  • Range - 0 megalitres to 7,000 megalitres per day
  • Notification - No notifications in this range

Increased flows

  • Range - More than 7,000 megalitres per day
  • Notification - Releases at Burrendong dam are planned to increase from [YY] ML/day to [ZZ] ML/day at [time and date].

More information

Bureau of Meteorology Weather forecasts and warnings BOM varies by region
NSW State Emergency Service Flood or severe weather warnings/advice NSW SES 132 500
NSW Water Information Storage levels and river heights Water info N/A
WaterNSW Algae Hotline Algal alert details and algae levels WaterNSW 1800 999 457
Early Warning Network To view or edit your registration details EWN 1300 662 077

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Burrendong temperature control curtain

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Burrendong Dam

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Saturday 25 June
2,524,148 ML
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Saturday 25 June
Burrendong Dam
Saturday 25 June