Dartmouth Dam Victoria

Dartmouth Dam at the overflow

Mitta Mitta River

There was one place I had always wanted to visit but for whatever reason we had never managed to get there. This all changed a few months ago. Yes this post has been sitting waiting to be finished. The Dam had been overflowing now for weeks, first time in 26 years! The build up was exciting with daily reports that the dam was at 97%, 98% then one day with the wind it was sprinkling over. With all the rain we have been experiencing on the east coast of Australia everyone knew it was going to spill. At first we all thought it would only be for a few days but days went into weeks and now months continuing rain and literally flowing over the dam wall.

We took the dogs on this drive as its not anywhere near a National Park. Here in Australia dogs are prohibited in National Parks. If you have to drive through them you are not allowed to stop. Not even to allow for a wee stop! Crazy isnt it. If your reading this from the USA/Canada I know you can take your dogs to National Parks. Yes certain rules but at least you can. Australia has lots of rules, way more than Special Agent Gibbs on NCIS!

So one back in October on a Monday when Greg didn’t have a shift till later that day we made the trip. In a past post we got as far as Mitta Mitta and had lunch at that amazing pub! However this day we were going to the dam and home again. The road was full of pot holes from all the rain. The road followed the Mitta Mitta river which was so high I was surprised in spots that the road hadn’t flooded.

Dartmouth Dam in full swing

A bit of history of the Dam.

Back in 1967/1970 the governments looked at building a dam that would be constructed for the prime purpose of storing water for irrigation, stock and domestic use in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. In dry season, it supplements releases from Lake Hume and increases supplies to the Murray River system. When high quality water is released from the Dam to the Murray River, this helps to reduce salinity in the downstream reaches.

Construction of the dam started in 1973 and was completed in 1979. The cost in 1979 was $139 million and was shared equally by the Commonwealth and the States of Victoria, N.S.W. and South Australia.

It is the largest Dam in Victoria and the highest structure of its kind in Australia. When full, the dam stores 4,000,000ML of high quality water. Dartmouth Dam impounds the waters of the Mitta Mitta River about 24km from the township of Mitta Mitta in north-eastern Victoria. The prime purpose of the Dam is to supplement releases from the Lake Hume and increase supplies to the Murray River system in dry seasons. The high quality water released from the dam, to the Murray River, also helps to reduce salinity in the downstream reaches.

Lake Dartmouth is great for fishing. They often have fishing competitions. In the township there is a pub that is also the general store, coffee shop, takeaway and post office. There is also a caravan park and motel accommodation. From Albury to Dartmouth is approximately 98.3kms and can take about 1 hour and 19 minutes.

Im glad that we visited when it was in full swing. Probably next year we will be in drought again and it might be another 26 years before the dam overflows.

If visiting the Dam do book in at either the Mitta Mitta Hotel or the Dartmouth Pub for lunch. Bookings are a must while the dam overflows.

Photo from the base of the Dam

As we are now in summer here in Australia, the dam is no longer overflowing. It’s still quite full though. Wonder when it will overflow again, will it be another 26 years?

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