24 November 2017

Canberra Day Trips: Lake Burrinjuck

| Canberra Day Trips
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Lake Burrinjuck, via Visit Yass Valley.

There’s a good reason around a quarter of a million tourists flock to Lake Burrinjuck each year. It’s a haven for just about any water sport you can think of, and the 75 unspoiled hectares of nature reserve on the lake’s shores offer some top opportunities for birdwatching and bushwalking, or just kicking back and enjoying the serenity.

Lake Burrinjuck and its surrounds form a haven of almost untouched bush. There is abundant native wildlife and some of the best fishing in the region.


Although most visitors to Burrinjuck are on a quest to soak up some nature and water activities, this wonderland on the Murrumbidgee River is also home to Burrinjuck Dam – one of the world’s largest irrigation dams that is a spectacular sight in its own right. It’s worth taking the time to admire the dam’s impressive concrete walls and three spillways that contain the lake.

Why you’ll love it

You’ll find steep and rugged slopes that protect diverse forest ecosystems dominated by blue gums, peppermints, red stringybarks and box trees. These communities are home to a number of threatened plant and animal species including the Yass daisy, crimson spider orchid, wee jasper grevillea, gang gang cockatoo and powerful owl.

– NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

Anglers can make the most of the plentiful fishing opportunities, with abundant opportunities to catch Murray Cod and Yellow Belly when the weather is warm, and Atlantic Salmon when it’s cool. Water-skiers, boating enthusiasts and fans of all types of water sports will find several boat ramps around the lake.

There is a good choice of walking tracks in various areas on the foreshore. One of the best known is the Hume and Hovell walking track. Although it stretches almost 450km in total, the much shorter section around the shore of Lake Burrinjuck is spectacular, and definitely worth exploring.

Accommodation is available almost at the water’s edge, with sites and cabins on offer for those who’d like to stay longer. Check out Inland Waters Holiday Parks Burrinjuck Waters. Like the rest of the area, the park is nestled in a peaceful location which is perfect for soaking up the sights and sounds of nature or using as a base for recreational activities.

Getting there


Burrinjuck is accessible via the Federal and Hume Highways, on the road between Canberra and Yass. Once you’ve passed the tiny hamlet of Bookham, keep an eye out for the signs to Lake Burrinjuck. You’ll need to turn off the highway and drive for a further half an hour. The road is narrow and has some tight bends, but is manageable with a 2WD vehicle.

When to go

Summer temperatures can get quite high, while the winter is often bitterly cold, but the seasons in between are usually perfect – unless it rains. The lake is vast, so there are plenty of places to enjoy some solitude whichever time of year you visit.

Key details

  • Length: Burrinjuck is under 115km from Canberra
  • Duration: the drive takes less than 2 hours
  • Cost: there is a charge for entry to the national park. Daily or annual passes are available
  • Recommended for: people into fishing, camping, picnicking, boating, water sports, getting up close with native fauna or just enjoying nature. Just remember to bring your boat, fishing rod, lily or camera – there’s plenty to do on and around the dam.
  • More information: Yass Valley: Burrinjuck or Visit Canberra: Burrinjuck Dam

What’s your favourite outdoor activity in our local region? Can you recommend any particular spots around Lake Burrinjuck?

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