Travelling Australia - Journal 2013
June 2013

Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve
location map
Fogg Dam was built in the mid-1950s to serve the Humpty Doo rice growing project and was named after Mr J.D. Fogg, the Managing Director of Utah Australia. By the time the rice project had proven unsuccessful the dam had become a dry season refuge for wildlife and was subsequently developed as a conservation reserve.

Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve is open all year and has all-weather access on bitumen roads. It is 65 to 70 kilometres from Darwin. Access is from the Arnhem Highway initially with one turn-off into the Conservation Reserve. There is car parking at the southern end of the dam wall with display boards and toilets. The walk/drive on the Dam Wall begins there and so do two other walking tracks through interesting habitats.

Fishing, camping and hunting are not permitted. Wildlife has priority and pets are not allowed. Mosquitoes and other insects are common.
magpie geese Magpie Geese gathered on the Fogg Dam wetlands in large, noisy, numbers. This view is from the upper level of Pandanus Lookout.

Dam Wall
Crossing the dam wall at Fogg Dam is a favourite visitor activity. From the car park the dam walk is 2.2 kilometres round-trip or 2.5 kilometres if Pandanus Lookout is included. Visitor vehicle access to the dam and lookout is available.

pandanus lookout Pandanus Lookout at the end of the Dam Walk looks out over the wetlands
Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve - page 2
Descriptive signage recommends visitors walk across the dam wall to the lookout with the request "Do the dam wall a favour, walk it don't drive it" but at the time of this visit a large salt-water crocodile had selected a regular sun-basking spot near the dam wall and the wall had been closed to walkers lest they become a snack for the crocodile. Visitors were requested to drive along the road on top of the dam wall and not to stray from their vehicles if they stopped to look at, or photograph, birds or other scenery.

The bitumen road across the dam wall is narrow and passing an oncoming vehicle requires some care. Most vehicles were travelling very slowly anyway while drivers looked at the scenery so passing was rarely a problem. Many drivers stopped at particularly interesting groups of birds or other scenery.

There are a couple of lookout shelters along the wall with pictures of birds commonly found in the reserve. Beyond the dam wall the road goes up a low hill to a parking area and turning circle near the two-storey Pandanus Lookout.

pied egret Pied Egret prowling on the wetlands near the dam wall.
darter Male Darter with body under the water raises his head to look around.
orange footed scrub fowl Orange-footed scrub fowl. This is not a wetlands bird but lives in the woodlands around the wetter parts.
Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve - page 3

Woodland Walk
The Woodland to Waterlillies Walk begins at the car park, length is 2.2 kilometres return. This walk starts off in woodland, moving into the paperbark forest along the wetland margin, then through fresh-water mangrove forest ending at a viewing platform on the wetlands proper. The track is flat and wide becoming a boardwalk as it moves into parts usually flooded, or very wet. Boardwalk planks are rotting in many sections but replacement plastic "boards" were being installed at the time of this visit. Signage along the track is informative and well presented.
boardwalk Boardwalk near the edge of the paperbarks in the background and the wetland (foreground).
boardwalk Wetlands in the foreground with paperbarks in the background. The wetland environment of alternating drying and flooding is too strenuous for trees (even for the hardy paperbarks) so only grasses thrive there.

Monsoon Forest
The Monsoon Forest Walk (2.7 kilometres round trip) begins at the car park. This walk, much of it on boardwalk in good condition, moves from thicker woodland into monsoon and paperbark forests, ending on the wetlands. Much of the track runs over flooded ground at this early stage in the dry season and the boardwalk is essential.

GPS Positions
The turnoff on the Arnhem Highway to Fogg Dam is at 12° 37' 13"S, 131° 17' 22"S.

The turnoff to the access into Fogg Dam is at 12° 34' 26"S, 131° 19' 02"S.

Fogg Dam car park is at 12° 34' 03"S, 131° 18' 29"S.

Pandanus Lookout car park is at 12° 33' 27"S, 131° 17' 51"S.