If you are looking for lakeside camping only 2 hours from Perth with a proper boat ramp and some of the most amazing attractions not far away, Lake Kepwari should be on your list.
We’ve explored more than 60 great camp sites near Perth, and have just come back from an extra extra long weekend at Lake Kepwari and rate it very, very highly. So much in fact, that we’ve booked another stay in the warmer months, and that’s not the norm for us!
If you want more amazing camp sites, check out 15 incredible camp sites in the south west.
About Lake Kepwari
If you want to know what 5.2 million dollars can do to turn an old coal mine into a camp site and ski lake, head to Lake Kepwari as that’s exactly what has happened.
The lake itself was previously known as WO5B coal mine, and in 1970 the mining began, eventually leaving a giant hole in the ground. Once the mining was completed, it was backfilled in some areas, and left to fill with water.
Lake Kepwari was originally the bright turquoise colour that you see in many of the other lakes around Collie, until the Collie River was diverted to run through the lake, which flushed it out, created a healthy environment and changed the colour to the brown river water colour it is today.
Extensive work has been done on the campground and surrounding area making it a brilliant place to come for the day, weekend or longer.
Lake Kepwari really is a perfect demonstration of what can be done to old mines, and the camp ground and region is some of the best work that DBCA have done.
Where is Lake Kepwari?
You’ll find this place just over 2 hours South of Perth, and 14 minutes south east of Collie itself. You can get to Balingup, Donnybrook, Bunbury and Darkan within an hours drive making it well positioned place to hang around.
Lake Kepwari Camping
Access to Lake Kepwari is all bitumen, with only the camp ground being gravel. You could take any vehicle here, making it suitable for 2WD, 4WD, buses, caravans, RV’s and anything else you can throw at it. The camp grounds are big, and we comfortably fit two vans and two 4WD’s on one site.
There is a small sandy section on each site to allow people to peg their tents in without trying to knock them into the hard gravel.
The sites start off further away from the lake and are more protected, and then get closer (as the number goes up) to the boat ramp and closer to the lake. The lake side camp sites have less shade than the ones on the other side of the road, but when its cold the sun is greatly appreciated.
There’s a reasonable gap between you and your neighbours, which is also very welcomed, and as the tree’s continue to grow it will only get better.
Amenities at Lake Kepwari
If you need water, there are a number of rain water tanks at Lake Kepwari that you can take it from. It is recommended that you treat it prior to use though.
The camp kitchens at Lake Kepwari are second to none, and overlook the Lake itself.
There are a number of toilet blocks at the Lake, which are all very well maintained and clean. They are drop toilets, but the newer style that are great to use.
How much does it cost?
Lake Kepwari is $11 per adult per night, $3 per child between 5 and 16 and $9 per night for concessions. The area (including Wellington Dam) is not classified as a paid national park, so you do not need a WA parks Pass.
Booking Lake Kepwari
Like many of the DBCA camp sites today, you need to book online. It can be extremely busy and popular, so there’s a chance you’ll have to get up early to snag a site when there are long weekends and school holidays.
If you are having a hard time booking any of the DPAW sites because its busy, check this post out – How to book WA National Parks when its busy.
Dogs and fires
The two most commonly asked question for any camp site in WA is can you bring your dog, and can you have a fire? The answer is yes to both.
However, you need to keep your dog on a leash, and fires can only be used in the designated fire pits in season. Collie can get very warm, and the fire risk in summer is huge, so follow the fire season carefully.
How does Lake Kepwari compare to other camping options?
If you want to camp in Collie, there are a number of options. You have Stockton Lake, Honeymoon Pool, Gelcoat, Stones Brook, Potters Gorge, a number of ‘free’ sites and last but not least Lake Kepwari.
In our opinion, Lake Kepwari is the best by a long shot. We love Honeymoon Pool too, but it is more expensive and you can’t take trailers which rules us out for now. Potters Gorge is nice, but its also more expensive, busier and a much longer walk to the water.
Stockton Lake camping seems to be more popular, but the lake is smaller, its got warnings about the water acidity levels and its right next to the motocross setup, which isn’t exactly quiet.
Lake Kepwari is open, spacious, right near the water and we think its been done seriously well. If I had to choose between the two I’d go to Lake Kepwari any day of the week.
Skiing at Lake Kepwari
One of the primary reasons so much time and money was put into Lake Kepwari was to cater for the huge skiing capability that it has. According to the sign, Lake Kepwari is the second largest ski lake in Western Australia. At 2km by 1km, there’s plenty of room for a number of boats to enjoy the lake.
The boat ramp is as good as they get, with a huge array of good boat parking. The day use area is brilliant with undercover areas, BBQ’s, seats and a nice beach to hang at. Only a tiny portion of the Lake is off limits for boats making it one of the best ski lakes in WA.
For now too, its far less known than Waroona, Logue Brook or Stockton and I suspect that is going to change quickly once more people find out about it.
Fish and Marron in Lake Kepwari
There are fish and Marron in Lake Kepwari. To take them you need a fresh water fishing license for the fish, and a marron license for the black bugs. Marron season is only for a tiny portion of the year and there is an extensive list of rules that you need to follow.
Not sure where to start? Check this out; How to catch and cook Marron.
What else is worth visiting around Collie?
Seeing the colour of Black Diamond for the first time really took our breath away. It’s beautiful, and extremely popular for day use.
Glen Mervyn Dam
Watching the water run over Glen Mervyn Dam spillway was an interesting experience, as its works its way down to a small but picturesque waterfall.
Another hugely popular camp ground in Collie is Stockton Lake, and although we didn’t mind it, Lake Kepwari runs rings around it every day of the week.
Wellington Dam is an amazing place, especially with the new Mural that has been painted. The kiosk is great (and very well priced for its location), and you can follow the river along a number of fantastic spots.
You can see the dam from above, in the middle at the quarry and down the bottom where the water comes out.
Somehow we’ve missed Lennard Drive all these years, and actually did it twice on this weekend. It’s a one way, bitumen drive that weaves its way along the river with a number of great places to stop. We thoroughly enjoyed this, and the only thing that is better is the 4WD track nearby.
Lennard 4WD Track
When the weather dries up a bit, the Lennard 4WD Track opens again. This is a fairly easy 4WD track that follows the river, and has a number of spectacular places to pull over for lunch, or just to soak up the amazing scenes.
Book a stay at Lake Kepwari
We were seriously impressed by what has been done at Lake Kepwari, and would highly recommend it. If you are looking for another amazing camp site not too far from Perth, this could be it!