If you are looking for a quiet, bookable bush camp not too far from Perth, then Potters Gorge in Wellington National Park should be on your list. Potters Gorge Camping area is home to 55 individual sites, and 4 group sites and is located about 300 metres from Wellington Dam banks.
Upgraded back in 2016 this camp site is popular year round and has some beautiful scenery to enjoy.
Where is it?
You’ll find Potters Gorge Camp site 2 hours south of Perth, or 22 minutes from Collie, or 41 minutes from Bunbury. It’s located right next to the Wellington Dam, in the national park.
What amenities are there?
Like most of the DPAW campgrounds, you’ll find drop toilets, camp kitchens with BBQ’s and tables, and fire rings in the camp sites. There is rain water available, but its non potable and you should boil it before you drink it! There are also plenty of picnic tables around the place, near the various camp sites.
What’s it like?
If you want a quiet bush camp, Potters Gorge Campground will do you just fine. It’s very similar to the camp sites in Dwellingup. As there are no showers, power or other amenities you need to have enough gear to be comfortable.
The sites are quite small, and made up of compacted gravel, with the usual bollards around the place to prevent you from going outside the boundaries. Some are quite close together, and some have a decent distance apart. The traffic is one way, and due to the loops you will have a few cars going past your camp site.
You must book
Potters Gorge requires online booking. You cannot arrive and pay. The booking system is a double edged sword; sites get taken early, and you must create some rigidity in your travel plans, but on the flip side its nice knowing that on a Friday afternoon when the hoards of people head south you have a spot reserved!
The Collie region is quite a picturesque spot. Black Diamond Lake is only 18 minutes away, with the Wellington Dam Kiosk just down the road. Honeymoon Pool is only 13 minutes away, with the Lennard 4WD track starting a few hundred metres beyond it. Wellington dam wall is well worth a look, along with the Apple fun park at Donnybrook, and Gnomesville only 22 minutes south of the camp ground.
Potters Gorge Camp Fires
Each site has camp fire rings, although they are quite small and could do with some decent air holes. You are allowed camp fires in season, but they say only between 6PM and 10AM. Most people seemed to get them going around 4PM when its cooler, and we never had anyone complain about it.You must bring your own wood though.
A small portion of Wellington Dam is open to water skiing, and the ramp is not far from the day use area. You might hear boats out on the dam, but it was far enough away that we couldn’t hear them too much.
Wellington Dam Fishing
The fishing at Wellington Dam is pretty good if you know where to go. Red fin are extremely common, with some big fish around the place. You need a fresh water fishing license, or a Marron license if you are going for them. Trout are also possible, although often require a fair bit of hard work!
The pump track and Sika Trail
Right next to some of the camp sites is a brand new pump track, designed primarily for the younger kids. Our 3 year old had a blast on it, although the gravel is pretty slippery and you can be sure they’ll have a few stacks!
For those who are a bit older, there’s a grade 2 dual purpose mountain bike and bush walk trail that starts at the Wellington Dam Kiosk and goes through a heap of jarrah and marri forest, ending at Potters Gorge Camp site. Its 9.8km long, and takes 3 – 4 hours walking.
Price and value for money
After DPAW decided to increase their camp fees in 2019, you’ll pay $15 per adult, and $9 concession, or $3 per child per night (in between 5 and 16). In my opinion, this is expensive, and not good value for money. It’s a real shame that the national parks which used to be good value are being charged out at such a rate.
I’m not sure if its to pay for their expensive upgrades, or just to make some money, but it doesn’t make much sense. I would have thought $11 per adult would be far more reasonable.
You can stay at Yanchep National Park with flushing toilets, hot showers, an awesome camp kitchen and much nicer sites for the same price. Alternatively, head down to Fonty’s Pool, where you’ll pay a few dollars more (literally a few bucks extra) and you get a much nicer place to camp.
To make things even more interesting, you can camp around Wellington Dam (a lot of it is 4WD access only) for free. Of course, then you get zero amenities, but you also get far more peace and quiet.
That said, it is nice bush camping, and if you ignore the price it is a great place to spend a weekend.