Monday, October 15, 2012
Visit Burrinjuck Dam, NSW
On the long weekend, friends asked us to go camping at Burrinjack Dam, about 30km south of Yass, NSW. Burrinjack Dam is an easy 1.5 hr drive from Canberra.
Because the weather was wetish and storms were forecast, we chose to do a daytrip rather than attempt camping with the Kids Too Numerous to Mention (KTNTM). We packed our chairs and picnic lunch and set off, arriving mid-morning.
Once off the Hume Highway, the road to Burrinjuck takes you through lush farmland (think 'Babe' the movie) and then down a steep descent through the most beautiful and dense mountain fauna I have ever seen. Wildflowers abounded as it is Springtime here in Oz.
Once down the occassionally treacherous and narrow road, you reach the NSW State Park Office, where you pay your $10 entry fee to the park and camp fees if applicable. There are maps available and the rangers are very knowledgable and helpful to boot.
The camping area consists of bungalows, cabins, powered and unpowered camping sites. The accommodation varies in price and in terms of facilities. However, I was pleased to find that the toilet and shower blocks were spotless.
The first thing that strikes you once in the park are the huge numbers of kangaroos that congegrate on the grassed areas, mooching around, scavenging for food, and resting. Many of the roos we saw were heavy with child or already carting their joeys around in their pouches. Joeys could be seen gawking out of their mother's pouches with feet and tail poking out too! They would try to nibble food from the ground while their mothers foraged above them.
While waiting for the others to arrive, we checked out the lake. The lake is man-made; a confluence of several rivers, notably the Murrumbidgee. The lake is dammed, but access was not allowed to the dam on our visit. The lake appears and indeed smelt, very clean. Some of the families that were camping went fishing, but no fish were caught this time!
There was plenty of (fishing) boat action on the lake, but because of the cooler weather, people were turning in early. I can imagine that in the height of summer the lake would be a very popular destination for skiing, rubber-tubing and wakeboarding too.
After enjoying our picnic at one of the picnic/BBQ areas available, we decided to feed the kangaroo. We bought several bags of roo food for $2 ea from the park general store. We also bought bags of bird food for the same price. The general store appeared to sell everything but the kitchen sink, but staff advised that they were almost cleaned out by holiday-makers and the weekend was only beginning. So bring your own food to avoid paying a premium or missing out completely if heading to Burrinjuck. Firewood and ice is also available.
Feeding the roos was a delight for young and old. Some of the males were a little aggressive, but the kids held their own. We did not feed the parrots, although we did see them in the trees above. I understand that they come down to feed in the morning so we gave our bird food to the campers to use the next day.
We also went for a short bushwalk along the perimeter of the lake. It was simply magical in the forest and I wish we could have gone further, but the rain started to set in.