Toonumbar Dam Picturesque dam in the mountains of the North Coast

Toonumbar Dam
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Visit the Dam


  • Camping
  • Barbecues
  • Picnic areas
  • Toilets
  • Fishing
  • Boat ramps
  • Water sports
  • Bushwalking

What Toonumbar Dam lacks in size it more than makes up for with its picturesque setting among tall timbers in rugged mountain country. Situated in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range above Casino and Lismore on the North Coast, the dam helps irrigate the Richmond Valley and supplies water to towns and farmers along Iron Pot and Eden creeks and the Richmond River. The dam is also a popular fishing and water sport destination.

Toonumbar Dam Fact Sheet (PDF, 746.67 KB)

Look out points

Dam wall

Walk across the dam wall for spectacular views across the lake fringed by the rugged bushland of Richmond Range National Park and downstream along Iron Pot Creek. The dam wall is 229 metres long and 44 metres high.


A lookout and picnic area just north of the dam wall provides excellent views of the lake and its rugged bush shoreline.

Things to do

  • Fishing
  • Water sports

Opening hours

Dam grounds

Open 24 hours a day, all year round. Entry is free.

Bells Bay Camping Ground

Please contact Kyogle Fishing Club by phone on 0459 383 498 or email


View in Maps

Toonumbar Dam is about 30 kilometres west of Kyogle on the NSW North Coast. About 8km of the road is unsealed. Kyogle is about 750 kilometres north of Sydney via the Pacific Highway and Summerland Way.


  • Camping
  • Barbecues
  • Picnic areas
  • Toilets
  • Fishing
  • 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:

  • No model aircraft or drones

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

The Toonumbar Experience

Things to see and do

1. Water sports

Water sports include power boats, sailing, canoeing and swimming. There is an 8kph speed limit for power boats. Canoes are available for hire. Boat ramp available 3km further north at Bells Bay.

2. Fishing

Toonumbar Dam is regularly stocked with bass which are the top catch. Fishing is best on the water by canoe or boat but the foreshores also provide fishing spots. Access is via boat ramp – at Bells Bay 3km north of the wall.

Dam Summary

Metres High
Length: 229 metres
Size of lake:
3 km 2
11 gl total operating capacity
Catchment: 98 square kilometres

Facts & History

Toonumbar Dam is situated on Iron Pot Creek about 30 kilometres west of Kyogle on the NSW North Coast and about 750 kilometres north of Sydney.

The dam was completed in 1971 to provide water for irrigation, stock and domestic requirements in the Richmond Valley.

Toonumbar is an Aboriginal word meaning heelmark.

Why the dam was built

Toonumbar Dam was built to provide a reliable supply of water for irrigation in the Richmond Valley, meet downstream stock and domestic needs, and provide flood mitigation and environmental flows.

The dam’s 98 square kilometre catchment falls largely within the Richmond Range and Toonumbar national parks featuring rugged mountain terrain of steep ridges and deep gullies.

How the dam was built

Toonumbar Dam is a rock-fill embankment with a clay core. The wall is 229 metres long and 44 metres high.

A concrete chute spillway is located just south of the dam wall.

Construction began in 1969 and finished in 1971.


EWN Notifications

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, approximate outflow of 153,000 megalitres per day.
  • Notification - You are advised to move to higher ground and if necessary evacuate.

Red alert

  • Trigger - Storage level has reached crest level, approximate outflow of 206,000 megalitres per day.
  • 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 (uncontrolled*) over 20,000 megalitres per day.
  • Notification - Flows of XX,000 megalitres per day are being passed.

Flood of record

  • Trigger - Spillway flows (uncontrolled*) over 38,000 per day.
  • Notification - Flows of over 38,000 megalitres per day are being passed.

* refers to automatic spillway flows at un-gated dams once storage capacity exceeds 100%

High regulated release notifications

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

Normal operations

  • Range - 0 to 200 megalitres per day.
  • Notification - No notifications in this range.

Increased flows

  • Trigger - When flow increases above or below 200 megalitres per day.
  • Notification - Releases are planned to increase from XX megalitres per day (ML/day) to YY ML/day at 00:00 on DD/MM/YY.

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


Tuesday 17 May
2,573,926 ML
2,581,850 ML
9,342 ML
1,335 ML
50,768 ML
Tuesday 17 May
Toonumbar Dam
Tuesday 17 May