Potters Gorge camping area, picnic area and waterski area will all be closed from the 11th May 2015 until mid July 2016 to enable the Department of Parks and Wildlife to complete an upgrade of the site. For more details please contact Parks & Wildlife on 9734 1988.
Potters Gorge in the Wellington National Park near Collie is a large and spacious campground and day use area located on the shoreline of Wellington Weir. It is a peaceful and shady spot amidst the jarrah/marri trees right by the water, with great views out across the lake.
The name “Potters Gorge” is misleading as it is a flat clearing and there are no gorges nearby. The scenery is pleasant and scenic but not spectacular like you’d expect from a gorge. Apparently there was once a gorge nearby, but it was submerged beneath the surface of the lake after the dam was built.
Things to Do at Potters Gorge
Potters Gorge is a great spot to stop for a picnic or a swim in the Wellington Dam on a day out exploring the Collie River Valley and Wellington National Park.
The main things to do at Potters Gorge include:
- Bush walking
- Picnics & BBQ’s
- Star gazing and possum spotting at night
Wellington Dam is a huge lake with clean freshwater suitable for swimming in. The gravelly mud beach slopes down gently to the water and it doesn’t get really deep all of a sudden so it’s fairly safe. There’s also a driveway sloping down into the water that makes it very easy to launch a boat or canoe.
Fishing at Potters Gorge
If you want to try some fishing at Potters Gorge you’ll need a South West freshwater fishing licence and/or marron licence, which you can find out about and purchase from the WA fisheries website .
The main species to catch in the lake is redfin perch. Use earthworms or a small lure as bait. They are very easy to catch and are good eating. Trout and marron can also be caught from the lake and the Collie River. The lake is open for fishing year round and there are no limits or restrictions on the redfin perch, which are considered a pest. Limits and/or seasonal restrictions apply for trout and marron though (see the Fisheries website for details).
Boating on the Wellington Dam
Not so long ago, motor boats and waterskiing were prohibited on Wellington Dam but both are now permitted (not the most popular decision ). Rules and restricted areas apply however, so if you plan on launching a boat at Potters Gorge make sure you check out this brochure (PDF link opening in a new window) from the Department of Transport for details.
Camping at Potters Gorge
If you decide to stay a while and camp a night or two at Potters Gorge, you’ll find it makes a really good base for enjoying the jarrah forest, getting out on the water and exploring the Wellington National Park and Ferguson Valley.
The great thing about the Potters Gorge campsite is that it is situated in a forest and shaded by tall trees. Yet the trees are spread out and sparse enough with minimal undergrowth, making the campsite feel quite open and spacious with views between the tree trunks down to the dam.
There are no designated or clearly marked secluded campsites – instead you can park the van or pitch a tent anywhere within the camping area. This makes it a great campsite for travelling with a group with several tents and caravans in tow.
First in gets a spot!
The camping area often gets a bit crowded, and sometimes even fills up to capacity, during school holidays and long weekends in the warmer months of the year. Unfortunately you can’t book in but you can check with the Department of Parks and Wildlife or Collie Visitor Centre to see if it’s filling up fast.
Most of the time though it’s not too crowded and you should have no problem finding some space.
Caravans and Campervans at Potters Gorge
The Potters Gorge Campsite is suitable for campervans and caravans as there is enough space to manouvre vehicles and trailers around, and set up camp wherever you so choose. The carpark loops around so it is easy to park and drive away, even when towing a caravan or trailer.
A good alternative to the Honeymoon Pool campsite when it’s crowded:
Potters Gorge is a bit less popular than Honeymoon Pool nearby on the banks of the Collie River and doesn’t have quite the same deep-of-the-forest feel, but it is a great alternative if you’re in a large vehicle or towing something, or if you want to get out onto the dam in a boat.
The Logistics: Facilities, Fees and Rules
Facilities at Potters Gorge are basic, but with flushing toilets and cold showers, they’re a bit better than most of the other cheap bush campsites run by the Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Potters Gorge Campsite and Picnic Facilities
- Flushing toilets
- Cold outdoor shower
- Barbecues – both gas and wood; camp fire rings
- Picnic benches
- Water – not suitable for drinking
- Boat ramp
Potters Gorge Camping Fees
- Adult (16+): $7.50
- Child (6 – 15): $2.20
- Concession: $5.50
- 5 Years and Younger: Free
Payment must be made in cash at the payment station onsite or directly to the park ranger when they visit.
Rules and Regulations
- No bookings, just rock up and hope to find a space.
- Bring your own firewood – don’t collect it from the bush
- Fires are usually allowed at Potters Gorge between April and November (restrictions sometimes apply though)
- Strictly no fires between December and March.
- Generators are permitted but please be considerate with the noise.
- No pets allowed at Potters Gorge or anywhere else in the Wellington NP
- Bring plenty of fresh water for drinking
- No offroad vehicles (dirt bikes, quad bikes, etc)
- No jetskis on Wellington Dam
- Waterskiing only allowed in a designated area
Location of Potters Gorge, and How to Get There
Potters Gorge is about a 200km / 2.5 hour drive south from Perth and is 2WD accessible with only a little bit of gravel at the very end. The nearest town is Collie (inland from Bunbury), about 25km to the north.
To get there from Perth, first drive down almost all the way to Bunbury along the Forrest Highway but turn left onto Clifton Road towards Brunswick Junction, then right (south) onto South Western Highway for a couple of kilometres. Alternatively if starting from Bunbury, initally head in the Perth direction along South Western Highway.
Turn east onto Coalfields Highway, a scenic road that runs along a ridge above the Collie River Valley and Wellington National Park. Before you reach Collie turn south onto Wellington Dam Road. The turnoff has a big brown tourist sign with several attractions listed, including Potter’s Gorge. Turn left off Wellington Dam Road after about 11km. (There is a small sign indicating the direction to Potters Gorge, but if you end up at the dam wall area you’ll know you’ve gone too far.)
Last Updated: 25th September, 2015.
First posted on 11th October, 2014 by Bonny.
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