The highlights of Brogo Dam include incredible wildlife, striking geology, excellent fishing and the stunning backdrop of Wadbilliga National Park. It is also a rare opportunity to paddle on flat fresh water in the South Coast region of NSW. This is definitely not one to be missed.
|REGION||South Coast, NSW|
|DISTANCE||Up to 17 kilometres|
|TIME||Up to 4 hours|
|START||Boat ramp, Brogo Dam Road, Brogo|
|GPS||DMS: 36° 29′ 31.9″ S, 149° 44′ 28.0″ E
DD: -36.492189, 149.741104
|FINISH||Return to start|
|PARKING||Small parking area|
|TOILET||Entrance to Brogo Dam Road (400 metres from ramp)|
|CONDITIONS||Open areas, reservoir, light traffic|
|FISHING||Bass, estuary perch|
Brogo Dam was constructed between 1964 and 1976 with the intention of creating a water supply for the people, crops, and livestock of the region, and it is now also used to generate hydro-electricity. The surface area of the lake is roughly the size of 100 international size rugby fields which means that you get to spend several hours exploring this gorgeous place.
Brogo Dam is full most of the time. However, if you are in any doubt, you can check the current state of play on the Daily river reports: Sydney Metro and South Coast page of the waterinfo.nsw.gov.au website.
The easiest place to launch is the boat ramp near the dam wall. To get there, turn onto Warrigal Range Road from the Princes Highway, follow that for approximately 12 kilometres and then turn left onto Brogo Dam Road.
You will see a toilet block on the way in. This is a fair way from the ramp so a pit stop here could be something you thank yourself for later. The main car park and a picnic area are a little further on. If the ramp is busy, this may be where you have to unload your gear and a set of wheels (trolley or cart) will prove to be very handy.
The trip described here is a clockwise lap of the lake. However, there is no reason why you can’t go anti-clockwise if you prefer.
Huge white-bellied sea-eagles circle overhead, tiny azure kingfishers dart along the shorelines, and white-faced herons prowl through the reeds that decorate the edges of the lake. They’re usually too busy searching for their next meal to pay attention to you, but if you feel like you are being watched, you are probably right. Don’t worry. You probably won’t hear any duelling banjos. It’s more likely to be a Gippsland water dragon or a great cormorant assessing your progress from a leafy vantage point overhanging the water.
Most of the land on your left as you head away from the dam wall is contained within Wadbilliga National Park. It is home to a huge variety of uniquely Australian animals such as kangaroos, wombats, possums, quolls, echidnas, and platypus.
From a fishing perspective, Brogo Dam is all about the bass. The Far South Coast Bass Stocking Association and Fisheries NSW stock the waterway with more than 10,000 Australian bass fingerlings every year. The program has been such a success that similar numbers of estuary perch were added to the stocking regime in 2017. Hopefully, they will do just as well.
Nelson Creek (see map) is an unquestionable highlight of this trip. Wallabies dance through native orchids clinging to sheer cliff faces that soar up from the water’s edge. Local hire operator Brogo Wilderness Canoes says that the cliffs are up to 180 feet high in some places.
The exposed riverbed at the navigable limit of the Brogo River is a great place for a mid-paddle break before making the return journey. On the way back, a detour into Jessops Creek is recommended and you might also like to land and see if you can find the eerie remains of the old riverside home site. This is in the clearing at the point where the river enters the main body of the lake. Both of these places are marked on the map.
“It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos.” Donna Karan
|EAT||Issi & Co, Sapphire Market, 106 Auckland St, Bega, (02) 6492 0044|
|DRINK||Commercial Hotel, 147 Carp Street, Bega, (02) 6492 1011|
|SLEEP||Bega Caravan Park, 256 Newtown Road, Bega, (02) 6492 2303|