Ben Chifley Dam on the Campbell’s River, near Bathurst in NSW.
At a Glance
Flat water paddling in a rural landscape.
Peaceful paddling through farm vistas, with birdlife visible near the shores and on the island not far from the dam wall.
Bathurst aqua park operates in the warmer months of the year. They have a kiosk, and check online for opening hours. Else, pack a picnic and some drinks for your time on the water, or once you return.
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Sights on Route
- Rural vistas
Traps For Young Players
- Limited phone reception
- Wind can make it difficult
- Changing weather conditions
Food & Drink
- Kiosk in summer
Camping & Accommodation
- Basic Camping on site
- Ben Chifley Cabins
Best time to go
Anytime when there is fine weather, and earlier in the morning in the warmer months before ski boats and jet skis hit the water. It’s only for hardy paddlers in winter.
What’s the best kayak for this location?
Look, any kayak will be ok. I use longer kayaks which are built for speed and distance. Shorter kayaks will be ok close to shore, especially for kids.
Do I take anything special with me?
Lifejackets for anyone in the kayak. Wear them when paddling too … always! Also, take some water and something to eat if you’re going all the way to the top of the route.
This is flat water and pretty easy but becomes difficult if the weather changes. Stick close to shore if not a confident swimmer.
I unload kayaks near the cabins and the playground equipment in the park and launch them from the boat ramp. I like to paddle out to the island, and do a couple of laps, before coming back in to check on others on the shore or share kayaks. If I’m exercising (training) with like-minded paddlers, we’ll often paddle around the island and then paddle to the upper reaches of the dam. This is around a 2.5-hour lap for us, and more if we’re taking it a bit easier with new paddlers or taking photos.
Good parts: Freedom on the water
Tough parts: Paddling home into a headwind
Crappy parts: Noisy speed boats and jet skis
Would I do it again? Yes. It’s a regular paddling location for my mates and I
Traps for young players: The weather can change rapidly, so learn to read the sky. It’s also not easily accessible by car to all parts of the shoreline (private property).