Having visited the base of Cotter Dam I developed the urge to get up on top and see the catchment area and reservoir. Should you, Dear Reader, get a similar urge I recommend this short (2.8km return), and relatively easy walk, which starts just off the Brindabella Rd, about 2.5 kms from the Cotter Reserve. The drive up to the start of the walk takes care of the majority of the altitude gain necessary to get to the lookout, though the track does incline upwards for the majority of the short walk apart from a short dip at the beginning.


Leaving the car park we followed a gravel road which, if it had not been for a massive security fence monitored by cameras, would have taken us right onto the top of the dam wall (alas, private property of the local electricity company so keep out!). As it is, one must, and we did, at about 700 metres into the 1.4km (one-way) walk, take a sharp right turn and continued on along a now slightly steeper fire trail until we took a sharp left (clearly marked) turn to the Cotter Catchment and Reservoir Lookout.


After the first few hundred metres through scrub we had great views down towards to Cotter Reserve, the Cotter Pumping Station – used to pump water from the Cotter Dam up to Mt Stromlo Water Treatment Plant and thence into the Canberra water grid – and the Murrumbidgee River (pictured above). In the distance, Black Mountain Tower in Canberra was visible and at one point I was able to decipher one of the telescopes at the nearby Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (separate review). You won’t be able to discern with from my picture above.

Looking ahead, just before turning off to the Lookout we got a great view of Mt McDonald, the peak of which lay only 1.2kms walk further on. I was sorely tempted to continue but time didn’t permit.


The view over the Cotter catchment area and reservoir from the lookout is amazing and well worth the short walk to get there – pictures 1 and below. The only disappointment is that I could only catch the smallest of a glimpse of the top of the dam wall (off to the left of picture 1 attached) – not enough to generate an even passable photograph.


The view across the distant hills and ridges from the lookout takes in about half of the 481 square kilometres total Cotter River Catchment which feeds the three dams on the river – the Cotter, Corin and Bendora. Below the Cotter Dam the Cotter River, which commenced it course at 1,798 metres at Mt Scabby in Namadgi National Park merges into the Murrumbidgee River, depicted in picture 3 attached.

Address: Brindabella Road
Directions: Approximately 2.5km drive from the Cotter Reserve en Route to Uriarra Village


For other CANBERRA reviews click HERE.

2 thoughts on “The Cotter Catchment Lookout Track

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