Burdekin Falls Dam – Ravenswood, Australia - Atlas Obscura

Burdekin Falls Dam

Ravenswood, Australia

Queensland's largest dam includes a winding spillway that offers drivers a mesmerizing sight.  

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The Burdekin Falls Dam, southwest of Ayr in North Queensland, is the state’s largest dam. It holds about 1,860,000 megaliters of water in Lake Dalrymple. 

Construction of the dam began in 1984 over the Burdekin River, and was completed in 1987. The dam is a concrete gravity dam with an uncontrolled spillway designed for irrigation. The dam supplies water to Northern Australia’s largest irrigation area of 80,000 hectares, which is mostly used for growing sugar cane. The wall is 2,874 feet (876 meters) and the dam maintains a 1,654 foot (504 meters) spillway. 

Fishing is a popular pastime on Lake Dalrymple and there are no boat restrictions, however, fishing permits are required. Camping, hiking, and boating are all popular as well. Precautions should be taken when conducting activities near the dam as saltwater crocodiles may be present on the lake.

As visitors approach the dam by car, they are immediately greeted by the massive dam wall. Driving along the base of the spillway gives you an indication of the sheer size of the dam wall looming overhead. The spillway road is seasonal and closes once the dam reaches capacity. Watching the dam in flood is a spectacular sight unto itself. Visitors can also walk along the top of the dam wall for gorgeous views of Lake Dalrymple and the surrounding countryside. Keep an eye out for birdlife and basking crocodiles on the lower side during the dry season. 

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