Last Updated on September 22, 2020 by Travels with Kids
If you haven’t been Honeymoon Pool Camping then you have missed out! Seriously, this whole area is one of Western Australia’s camping secrets and a place you should consider for a weekend getaway. Wellington Dam Camping (at Potter’s Gorge) and Honeymoon Pool are an easy 2-hour drive for Perth which means that if you can take Friday afternoon off you will be easily set up by evening time.
Remember – all these campgrounds now need to be booked ahead via the Department of Parks & Wildlife’s online booking program.
The Wellington National Park has 4 different campgrounds. The most well-known, Honeymoon Pool Campground gets very busy and overflows onto others, like Stones Brook Campground.
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History of Wellington Dam
The Wellington Dam was built in 1932 – nearly 100 years ago. During the Great Depression, public works were created in order to create jobs for a desperate workforce. A dam on the Collie River was considered a great way to extend the South West irrigation network.
The Wellington Dam construction project camp centered on the area that now has the Kiosk at the Dam café and car parks. Many workers brought their wives and children, and they lived in a tent camp in the bush.
Sadly the Wellington Dam is too salty. It is also affected by recreational use and runoff from towns to be used for drinking water for towns. Its main purpose will be agricultural irrigation – if, and only if, the salinity of the water can be reduced. This is still a work in progress.
The Wellington Dam is the second biggest dam after the Ord River Dam in the north of Western Australia.
Potters Gorge – Wellington Dam Camping
Potters gorge campground was revitalized in 2016, and now has 60 large campsites. Each new campsite has its own fire ring and picnic table and there was sufficient investment into this being the ‘rolls Royce’ of bush camping sites within 2 hours of Perth. It’s true –Wellington Dam Camping is a great place to escape the city for a few hours.
The Potters Gorge Campground is essentialy “Wellington Dam Camping” and is very close to the end of the Wellington Dam. As we visited at the end of summer the dam was looking very dry and there was a big beach area. Each new campsite has its own fire ring and picnic table.
In addition to the large, and well separate campsites at Potters gorge, there are camp kitchens, a drop point, and a day-use area.
Day use area is the Department of Parks and wildlife’s terminology for “people that are not camping” – that is, if you want to use the area during the day.
For example, you might want to visit the Potters Gorge to spend the day on the ‘beach’ at Wellington Dam. The beach entry into the water makes it a popular spot for those with small children as the water is shallow on entry and is a bit warmer than the river over at Honeymoon Pool, and Long Pool.
Water skiing is permitted on a small section of Wellington Dam, at Potters Gorge. The water ski area is for deepwater take off only. Take-off and landing of skiers from shore are prohibited. Make sure you do a further investigation as a number of rules applies to boat use on the Wellington Dam.
What About Glamping At Potters Gorge
Glamping is an amazing way to get out and camp under the stars – without needing to set up the tents! Just a little over 2 hours south of Perth you too can have a great camping experience at Potters Gorge in the Wellington National Park. It is not as well-known as some of the other Perth glamping options… so we are happy to share our fantastic experience!
For us, the feeling of being outside sleeping in tents is simply awesome. Since having kids we haven’t made the investment of buying a bigger tent and have been overwhelmed about the effort involved in camping with children. From talking to other parents in our circle, it seems that we are not alone and that’s why we were keen to give the Potters Gorge Glamping a go! Read more about our own experience below.
Glamping At Potters Gorge Review
Potters Gorge is a new campsite in the Wellington National Park. It was a wonderful experience for us to arrive after our drive and find two very large tents set up for us! Inside comfy camp beds looked cozy and warm, and everything we needed for our two-night stay was right there.
Night-time walks doing a bit of spotlighting (looking for native animals) was a highlight, as was doing our cooking on a small gas burner stove. We lit a campfire to roast our marshmallows and the kids thought this was superb!
Camping or glamping, whatever you want to call it – is wonderful because it is so simple. There is no electricity, just the light of the fire, and an early night tucked in under a warm doona. The first night during our stay it rained. We are pleased to report that the tents stayed warm and dry, and the sound of the rain on the tent was incredibly harmonious!
Definition Of Glamping
We’ve been enormously lucky to have two glamping experiences in Western Australia in the past two years. You can read about our first here in our post Glamping in Western Australia with Kids.
On these two occasions, the style of camping could be best described as “pre-organized” camping. Yes, it is luxurious in the sense that the tents are set up for you, there are raised camp beds, and it is a very easy experience. However, it is not glamping like I have seen in other parts of the world where glamping is 5 star and very luxurious. These are also referred to as safari retreats, tented cabins, or permanent eco-tents. These appear to be more permanent, and larger, than the glamping experiences we have had. If this is more what you are looking for, check here is a bit of inspiration!
The Tents – Glamping At Potters Gorge
For our stay at Potters Gorge, the tents were Black Wolf two-room tents. Stretcher beds covered in “Duvalays” (a high-quality mattress and Doona set) and two super soft pillows per bed made it very comfortable. A floor rug added to the homey feel, and towels were included. It should be noted, however, that there were no shower facilities on site. This meant we just sponge bathed in the evenings.
Meals – Glamping At Potters Gorge
There are brand new camp kitchens at the Potters Gorge campsite, with big new barbeques. Here you can sit at the picnic tables and cook. Alternatively, included in the glamping package are a small gas stove and all the required cooking implements. You do need to bring all your own food.
It is worth noting there is no refrigerator, but an Esky works well in our experience.
Things To Do At Potters Gorge
We love that the Potters Gorge campground is literally a stone’s throw from the edge of the dam. As we visited at the end of summer the dam was looking very dry and there was a big beach area. We can imagine this would be a great place for swimming in the summer months. Another popular thing to do at Potters Gorge is fishing, but make sure you have the right permits.
If you have your own Kayak or boat, definitely bring it for your Wellington Dam camping experience. It would be a fabulous place to explore from the water. There are no hire facilities nearby.
There are a number of well-compacted walk trails that make them easy riding for beginner bike riders (such as ours). A feature of the Potters Gorge campsite is the Currawong Pump Track which is great for kids of all ages. Mind you, I didn’t know what a Pump Track was. So, for folks like me, “pump track” refers to the pumping motion that a bike riders arms and legs make as they ride around the track, using the pumping to keep the bike going without using their legs.”
Our kids weren’t proficient bike riders when we went Wellington Dam camping, but we’ve heard that this is a great track. There is an easy section with small jumps, and then a harder section for the older kids with a series of nice berms and some fast track to honing their skills on.
You can also hire mountain bikes from the Kiosk at the Dam café in order to spend a day exploring. Check here for more information about rentals.
The kiosk near the dam wall, only one kilometer (20-30 minutes) walk from Potters Gorge, is open 9 am-4 pm Thursday to Sunday with light lunches, hot and cold drinks, and ice-creams. You can also collect a map of the walk trails here.
Potters Gorge is ideally located for a day trip to the Ferguson Valley’s wineries, restaurants, and galleries. You can also explore the walk trails of Wellington Discovery Forest. Other activities include a 4WD track for daylight hours, mountain bike trails, bird watching, and wildflower photography.
Pets: Not allowed as this is a National Park
Location – Potters Gorge
Potters Gorge is located in the Wellington National Park, just over 2 hours south of Perth.
From Perth take the Kwinana Freeway south, it turns into Forrest Highway. When approaching Australind, look for signs for Raymond Road. You take this before following signs for Collie or the Coalfields Highway. Turn right at Worsley and follow the signs to Potters Gorge
Honeymoon Pool Camping
The first thing to know about Honeymoon Pool camping is that it is a tent only campsite – if you have a caravan or rig, then you should head to Potters Gorge. The second thing to know about Honeymoon Pool campsites is that they fill up fast – you should book ahead on the Department of Parks and wildlife’s online booking site. With just 20 sites, near the river, there are another 17 sites at the Stones Brook campground, which are a little further back from the River. Opened up more recently, to accommodate the overflow from the Honeymoon Pool Camping there is Gelcoat Rapids which is an open campground. That is, there are no specific sites and it can take up to three tents, which would be perfect for a group of friends or family traveling together.
- There are fire pits on the campgrounds, but especially during summer make sure you check ahead with regards to fire bans.
- Don’t head to Honeymoon Pool without making a booking first!
- This is not free camping, fees apply!
- $11 adult per night, $7 concession card holder per night, $3 child per night (over 5 and under 16 years)
- No pets allowed this is part of the national park
- If you are fishing (or marroning in season) then make sure you have the right permits.
Why Is It Called Honeymoon Pool
Even when I was a kid, growing up in Western Australia I thought that Honeymoon Pool evoked romantic getaways. The information at the site says it gets its name from the war days when the soldiers used to take their ladies down here to escape the stress of enlisted life. Internet searches revealed a couple of variations of the same story.
There is a large wooden platform where you can relax in the sun or jump off into the water. Reviewers online say that the water here is extremely cold, even in the middle of summer. We didn’t swim at Honeymoon Pool itself, we chose to swim at Long Pool which is on the Honeymoon Pool scenic drive as locals had suggested it for being a bit quieter and also better swimming in general. We thought it was great… and not too cold!
Things To Do When Camping At Wellington Dam or Honeymoon Pool
If you are camping in the Wellington National Park (either at Honeymoon Pool or Wellington Dam/Potters Gorge) you are perfectly placed to explore the lovely Ferguson Valley area.
We absolutely love the Ferguson Valley area and have explored the area thoroughly both when camping at Potters Gorge, and also staying at the great Ferguson Farmstay. Please take a look at things to do in Ferguson Valley Western Australia.
Black Diamond Lake Collie
If you are on Instagram, chances are you have seen pictures of the Black Diamond Lake Collie. I’m a pretty keen Instagram user and along with the Blue Boat House and Quinninup Falls in Margaret River, I’d put the Black Diamond Lake Collie up there in one of the top Western Australian Instagram spots!
So… we’ve visited haven’t we? No, we haven’t been to the Black Diamond Lake, and there is a good reason. If you want to get the amazing turquoise blue, shimmering, aqua, and simply magnificent photos, you need to go when it is sunny. During our recent visits, it was cloudy, and chose not to visit.
Over and over again, other reviews and reports state: The blue waters are best viewed with clear skies and sunny conditions, letting the light reflect off the water.
About The Black Diamond Lake Collie WA
- It is located 5 minutes out of Collie in Allanson, and on Ferguson Road
- There are no facilities – and that means no toilets.
- There is absolutely no camping allowed. That means, no Black Diamond Lake Collie Camping at all!
Best Things To Do At Black Diamond Lake
- Float on a big flamingo floaty (that’s what the best Instagrammers do).
- Have a picnic by the shores.
- Swimming is NOT encouraged due to the high amoeba content in the water.
That’s another reason I didn’t go – it would be hard to keep my kids out of the water and I didn’t want them to swim in it. I’ve read plenty of people with reviews who say “I’ve survived” but when it comes to my kid’s health, I am cautious.
Potters Gorge Campsite to Black Diamond Lake – 18 minutes
Honeymoon Pool Campground to Black Diamond Lake – 20 mins
Without a doubt, Gnomesville has to be one of Western Australia’s most fun attractions! I’ve also seen it described as quirky, bizarre, and just plain weird.
However you feel about garden gnomes, a visit to Gnomesville should be on your list if camping near the Wellington Dam or Honeymoon Pool.
We have given a more complete review of Gnomesville in our post on things to do in the Ferguson Valley, but all we say is you should visit it. Do what we did, which was to add our own gnome to add to the Gnomesville gnome party! If you are interested in visiting Gnomesville, and we recommend you should, read our Guide To Visiting Gnomesville WA.
Potters Gorge Campsite to Gnomesville – 23 minutes
Honeymoon Pool Campground to Gnomesville – 26 mins
Both routes go via the Wellington Forest and we enjoyed driving these back roads through the beautiful jarrah forest, in search of garden gnomes!
Wellington Dam Camping & Honeymoon Pool Camping – The Verdict
If you are a tent camper then you should most definitely head down to Honeymoon Pool during the warmer months – and if you have a caravan or camper van then Potter’s Gorge is an amazing site for a weekend getaway. There are a number of pros and cons of each site, for us, we had a truly incredible time Glamping at Potters Gorge. We would thoroughly recommend this Glamping Experience for anyone who wants to get started camping.
Looking for more information about Western Australia? Below are our favorite guidebooks. Click each one for current prices on Amazon.
Disclosure: We won this prize from Kiosk at the Dam as part of a photography competition, but we were not compensated in any way to write this post. All travel and associated travel costs (meals) were paid for us and all opinions, as always, are our own.
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