Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
1 million Australian readers every month      list your event

Picnic at Cataract Dam

Home > Wollongong > Free | National Parks | Parks | Picnic Spots | Walks
Published April 9th 2014
Cataract Dam is a beautiful spot for a barbeque with glorious scenery, viewing areas, scenic walks, ample parking and it is FREE. This is a great spot, whether your interest is nature and the environment, history and culture, bird watching or bush walking.

It is a fantastic spot for family gatherings and children.

The Cataract Dam and Picnic Area is located near Appin and is 85 km south of Sydney and 34 km north of Wollongong, so it is central to a variety of other great scenic locations including Dharawal National Park, and the fantastic beaches of Wollongong.

Cataract Dam
oldest and most picturesque dam in Sydney

Make a day of it-

Lie under the trees, listening to the tranquil birds and the soothing gush of the dam's waters, and enjoy the modern facilities provided by the park including electric barbeques, drinking water, picnic tables, a children's playground and toilets.

Try to spot the endangered Red-crowned Toadlet, the Spotted Quail-thrush and the Painted Honeyeater birds, and observe the beautiful tree coverage. (Remember to put your rubbish in the bins provided and do not tamper with any plants or animals.)

Go back in time and observe the Manor House and sandstone quarters, and remnants of ornamental gardens, grotto shelters, decorative walls and ferneries which are scattered throughout the upper picnic area.

"Manor House"

Walk across the dam wall for breath-taking views of the lake and Keele Island upstream, and of the deep Cataract Gorge downstream.

Take a photograph at the sandstone valve house, at the middle of the wall, for a spectacular location shot.

The Spillway

The Spillway

Be awed by the history of this amazing dam which began construction in 1902 and was completed in 1907, and reached its capacity in 1911. It now supplies water to Camden, Campbelltown and Wollondilly council areas, and some of Sydney's water.

Observe the Appin Massacre Memorial rock which acknowledges respect, honour and remorse to at least fourteen Dharawal people who perished on April 17th, 1816. Take care to reflect on the way of life of the traditional land owners and visualise how life would have been for the Dharawal people hunting and gathering through the cliffs, and fishing and camping by the waterways, for possibly more than 40, 000 years.

Courtesy Appin Massacre Memorial photo from

Opening hours:
10am to 5pm daily (10am to 7pm on weekends and public holidays during daylight saving time). No entry is permitted 15 minutes prior to closing time.
Entry is FREE.
Portable gas barbeques are not permitted (except during total fire bans)
No fishing, boating, swimming, camping and no pets allowed.

Cataract Dam is about 84 kilometres drive from Sydney, off the Appin-Bulli Road. From Sydney take the Hume Highway (F5) south to the Campbelltown exit and follow the Appin Road south. At Appin, take the Bulli-Wollongong Road, and turn right to Cataract Dam where signposted.

Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  21
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? relaxing, educational, get back in touch with nature and history
When: 10am -5pm daily, 7pm weekends
Phone: 1300 722 468
Where: located near Appin and is 85 km south of Sydney and 34 km north of Wollongong
Cost: FREE
Your Comment
Articles from other cities
Top Events
Popular Articles