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Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
Most recently I have been enjoying exploring other art genres, including Eco-dyeing.
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Monday, 2 October 2017

Camping at Potter's Gorge, Wellington Dam, Western Australia


In April this year we went camping for the first time at Potter's Gorge near Wellington Dam, west of Collie, in the south west of Western Australia.  Amazingly in all the 40 years we have lived here, we had never camped at Wellington Dam before. We had looked over the recently upgraded minimal cost camping ground during a day visit to the dam a month earlier, and decided we would go back with our caravan. Located only 45 minutes from home it was ideal for a mid week short break and we were set up in time for morning tea.





Potters Gorge campground is attractively nestled in jarrah woodland on the shores of Wellington Dam, within the Wellington National Park. This is a very popular camp site for locals, families, travellers, school and scouting groups as it is only 51 kilometres (45 minutes) from Bunbury and 28 kilometres (25 minutes) from Collie, making it an excellent place for a short getaway. 

Potters Gorges is a wonderful place to enjoy camping in a bushland setting, but if you desire a quiet camp then I recommend you do not come on weekends, public holidays or school holidays, as the campground is very popular during these times.

Run by the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, the recently upgraded campsite consists of 54 gravel sites suitable for caravans, camper trailers and motor homes. There is a group camping area, day use area, sheltered basic camp kitchen with tables and free gas BBQs, unpotable water (please boil before use), flushing eco toilets and dump point. All sites have a table and fire ring, but please bring your own firewood and check seasonal fire ban restrictions.  Please note: There is no power or showers.
 There is also a BMX track if your youngsters bring their bikes. A wheel-chair accessible cement path takes you for a short distance along the water edge from the campground.


There is plenty of do here during your stay. If you enjoy bushwalking there are several well marked walk trails, varying from two kilometre return from the campground to the dam wall, to the twelve kilometre return walk from the dam wall to Honeymoon Pool. Other trails can be completed as loop trails, taking you through a variety of bushland, jarrah, marri, banksia, blackbutt and peppermint forests, granite outcrops, and along the river.  


 Update - A few of my lovely readers have mentioned the peppermint forests and how enchanting they sound. I probably should have said that the forest is a mixture of
jarrah, marri, banksia, blackbutt and peppermint trees. Not a peppermint forest of just peppermint trees. The peppermint tree - Agonis flexuosa - is probably not what you imagine if you are not Australian. It does have a peppermint smell when you crush the leaves, but not the chocolate and peppermint type peppermint - but an Australian earthy peppermint. So hard to explain. Anyway, here are some pics I took for you today down at our little bush block corner.. They actually are a rather straggly tree which can grow quite big.
Here is a Facts sheet I found on the net - Western Australian Peppermint Tree



 Take note of the times and degree of difficulty on signage before you set out as some walks are relatively easy, but others are challenging with steeps ascents or descents, as the landscape is hilly with steep gullies falling sharply to the Collie River.  You can pick up a trail map from the dam cafe.



After lunch on our first day we decided to do the five kilometre return Kurliiny Tjenangitj walk trail which takes you up a steep climb to a lookout over the jarrah forest and the Collie River. It is well worth the climb, but I suggest walking poles to assist on the steep sections - it's very steep both up and down!
Please be aware you may sometimes share trails with mountain bikes on the Munda Biddi cycle trail.

Below is an example of the trail signage. To access the walk we drove from Potter's Gorge, past the dam wall, then along the one way Lennard Drive to Honeymoon Pool. This is also a camping area, with direct access to the river, but it is better suited to tents.  From here we walked along the river and then turned up the climb.


 You can see on the map above the sign that says "you are here" which is the lookout.   And below you can see views from the lookout and the walk down. It was a reasonably difficult climb up the steep sections, so we were glad we took water and some snacks with us to eat when we got to the lookout.


 The next day we combined two of the walks, making an eleven kilometre loop. We walked in an anti-clockwise direction, starting at Potters Gorge along the Sika trail, and then branching onto the Jabitj trail for the return walk along the river. We stopped for lunch along the river, where interpretive signage told us about traditional uses of plants by the Noongar Wilmah people. 


 Here are some views along the Sika trail which takes you through jarrah forest. Some of this trail has challenging ascents and descents and part of it is also used as a mountain bike trail.  Below you can see some trail signage, and also the pipeline supplying irrigation water to farmland.


 And along the river


 Other activities you can enjoy whilst camping at Potters Gorge are swimming, canoeing, boating and water skiing in designated areas, marroning in season, and fishing (license required).  Please take note of signage concerning these.

Other activities include a 4Wheel-Drive track for daylight hours, mountain bike trails, bird watching and wildflower photography.  You might even see a kangaroo!  
Our stay was during autumn, so there were only a few wildflowers. I need to go back again now that spring is here.   


 Of course you don't have to do any of this. You can just sit with your feet up, read a book, relax and enjoy the quietness.  But please don't forget the treats. 



The Kiosk near the dam wall, only a one kilometre (20-30 minutes) walk from Potters Gorge, is open 9am-4pm Thursday to Sunday with light lunches, hot and cold drinks and icecreams. You can also collect a map of the walk trails here.  When there has been good winter rains the dam overflows. This picture was taken in September 2014.


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.


  You can also learn about the history of the Wellington Dam which provides water for irrigation.   The building of the dam in 1932 was part a public works program providing jobs for thousands of people during the 1930s Depression. They lived in a tiny settlement of tents pitched in the bush during construction. 

If you are tenting, I recommend Honeymoon Pool camp area.  This area has boardwalk access to the river for swimming or canoeing.  Accommodation is also available at the Wellington Mills Cottages.

 Wellington Dam is also ideal for a day trip if you live in the area. There are several picnic areas, at the Potter's Gorge day use area, at the dam wall, and also at Honeymoon Pool.



FACT FILE
Location:  51 km (45 minutes) to Bunbury, 28 km (25 minutes) to Collie, 195 km (2 hours) from Perth. 
Best time to visit - autumn or spring 
Facilities: Gravel sites, picnic tables, fire rings, basic camp kitchen, gas BBQs, non-potable water, flushing eco toilets, dump point. No power. Bring all supplies.
Campfires permitted seasonally – please bring your own firewood and extinguish when you leave. Generators only between 8am-9pm and not between 1-5pm. Rubbish can be left in the skip bins provided. 
Wheelchair access to toilets: Yes
Rates at time of writing: Per night: Adult: $10, Concession $6.60, Child 6-15 years $2.20. Fees are collected by caretaker each evening.
Pets: Not allowed as this is a National Park

More Information: 
Collie River Valley – then search for Wellington and scroll down to Wellington National Park
WA Dept Parks & Wildlife – then search for Wellington National Park

 Thank you so much for stopping by. Do you have a campsite you have newly discovered? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in your comments. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

You might also like these posts from around the same area - 
April Randoms - including Wellington Dam 
How Green was my valley - Ferguson Valley 
Down in the woods today - Gnomesville 
Crooked Brook Forest Walk - Dardanup
 
I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Life in Reflection

Hello there! I love reading your comments. Just click down here to comment too! 

23 comments:

  1. Thank you for taking me along on your camping trip to Wellington National Park and Potters Gorge, what a stunning place to have virtually on your doorstep. There is so much to see and do there for people of all ages and abilities and you describe it all so well it makes me want to go for real.
    If only..............
    Happy Mosaic Monday

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  2. What a great place to camp! I'll bring the treats! Fun post. Happy Monday

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  3. Looks like just my kind of place - especially if I can see a kangaroo! Thanks for all the great detail ... good to have this as a resource if we visit your lovely country in the future.

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  4. Lovely! It is always good to get out into nature and away from noise and stress.

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  5. What a beautiful spot. Great for camping and bush walking. I love that there is so much still to discover in the south west - we were just saying that the other day. Loved the pic of the boots up and the glass of bubbles - captured the max 'n relax moment at the end of the day!

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    1. I know there are lots of little hidden icons out there in the south west just waiting for me.

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  6. What a lovely area for hiking and camping.

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  7. I've never heard of a peppermint forest! Sounds like something out of a wonderful fairytale. :-)

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  8. A peppermint forest - what a charming thought!
    Thanks for linking up at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/10/at-this-bridge.html

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  9. It seems like we all caught the same phrase...a peppermint forest! It does sound enchanting. And I like that there are trails for every hiker and amazing views. I can't imagine seeing the wildlife you see there! Oh...you asked what 'mums' were...I had to think a minute. They are Chrysanthemums. Very popular here in the Fall...I guess that's when they are in full bloom. Hugs, Diane

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    1. ah Chrysanthemums - popular here in May for our Mother's Day.

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  10. Hi everyone, thanks so much for stopping by. Many of you asked about the peppermint forests, so I must explain - it does sound rather charming, but...the peppermint trees are just mixed with other trees in the forest, not just a forest of peppermint trees. I must find a photo for you and add to the post.

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  11. Jill, I always enjoy your photos. Love the kangaroo. Enjoy your spring. Thanks for sharing and have a great week. Sylvia D.

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  12. Beautiful pics of your camping adventure, Jill. Those purple grapes look so robust! Happy October!

    Poppy:))

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  13. Oh my goodness, some of these photos look like paintings. So beautiful. #teamlovinlife

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  14. We usually camp at Honeymoon Pool but maybe we should stay here next time.

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  15. What a great place for a bush camping weekend. I love the idea of the walking trails. My husband would probably like to cycle on these. There's so many great places in the South West for camping. You are very blessed. #TeamLovinLife

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  16. What beautiful images of the Australian outback. This is an experience that so many of us don't experience any other way than via images like the ones you have taken gorgeous.

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    1. thank you so much Cathy. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by.

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  17. Rob Scott, Western Australia9 October 2017 at 15:01

    Towed the Little van up to Potters Gorge (thanks Jill Harrison for the recommendation). Quite empty due to the weather but totally relaxing. A chilly night ahead but warm in the van. Life's good.

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  18. Looks like a great place to visit - I have still not travelled much in WA - I think I need a plan!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Western Australia is a big state, and so varied from the north to the south. You really do need to plan. Happy travels Stewart and thank you for visiting today.

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I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.