Wellington National Park is located west of the town of Collie and covers an area of 17,000 hectares.
The terrain is hilly and is intersected by streams making it very attractive and popular with many visitors.
The main feature of the park is Wellington Dam.
As it is an irrigation dam, people are allowed to access the water, unlike dams that are reserved for drinking water.
One of the most popular activities around the dam is camping and there are three main campsites.
There are plenty of opportunities for camping with the site at Potter's Gorge suitable for caravans and motorhomes while Honeymoon Pool is
suitable for tents and small camper trailers.
The northern section of the dam is surrounded by national park and there are campsites are managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife
(assuming they haven't changed their name yet again!)
Access to these campsites is now via sealed road with an alternate route going via Lennard Drive on the far side of Wellington Dam wall
and an exit route goes via River Road to Pile Road. Both the entry and exit roads are one-way only.
A kiosk near the dam wall offers snacks and drinks and the area is criss-crossed with walking and bike trails.
Construction of the dam dates back to the years of the Great Depression during the early 1930s.
Work began on the dam in 1931 and the initial construction was completed in 1933.
The demand for water for irrigation was so great that the wall height was increased in 1944 and again in 1960.
Today the wall stands 34 metres high and is 366 metres long.
The dam was constructed of large concrete blocks that were poured directly from chutes suspended from two large towers. Crushed rock from the on site quarry was mixed with sand, cement and water to make the concrete. The dam holds 186 million kilolitres when full.
The dam initially supplied drinking water to inland towns and a pipeline connected Narrogin in 1956.
W.A.'s second hydro electric power station was built 400 metres downstream of the wall and can supply power for 1500 homes.
The water in this dam has been historically higher than that in dams that rely solely on rainfall as additional water has been pumped to the dam from local coal mines.
The dam is now affected by salinity (caused by tree clearing in the catchment area) and the water is no longer used as a drinking water supply.
The Harris River Dam was constructed in 1990 to supply fresh water to the surrounding towns.
Over time, the salinity levels in the Wellington Dam are expected to decrease and it may once again become a valuable source of drinking water.
Honeymoon Pool is located downstream from the dam wall and its location ensures fresh cold water even at the height of summer.
The water flowing into the Collie River comes from deep under the dam surface and is therefore refreshingly cold all year round.
The pool and surrounds are most picturesque and the campsite is regularly voted one of the best in the whole of W.A.
Campfires are generally permitted at Honeymoon Pool but only from April to November and only in the fire rings provided.
Due to its popularity, Honeymoon Pool is often crowded and noisy during peak times.
There are two other tent based campsites very close to Honeymoon Pool. Stones Brook Camp is on the other side of the Collie River.
Campsites at Stones brook are more spread out and there is a camp kitchen available.
Campfires are not permitted at any time at Stones Brook.
The third campsite in this immediate area is called Gelcoat Rapids.
Like Honeymoon Pool, campfires are permitted but only in the designated communal fire pit from April to October unless otherwise sign posted.
This campsite is also meant only for tents and swags but is more suited to bigger groups than the other two camps.
Dogs are not permitted at any of the campsites in Wellington national Park.
Campsites must be pre-booked and this has put an end to people turning up after a long drive from Perth only to find that the campsite is full.
Generators may be run between 8am and 6pm.
These campsites are ideally suited to people with tents or swags and do not cater for caravans or motorhomes. If you have a caravan or motorhome you can camp at Potters Gorge.
Potters Gorge is a large campsite located along the shoreline of Wellington Dam.
There are more than 50 campsites and facilities include pit toilets, camp kitchens with BBQs, seats and tables and rainwater may be available seasonally but it is intended for washing not drinking.
Campfires are permitted in fire rings only from April to November. Bring your own wood if you wish to have a fire as collecting firewood in national parks is not allowed.
Generators are also permitted here from 8am to 6pm.
Bookings must be done online before you arrive.
As with other campsites included in this video, swimming and kayaking is allowed and fish may be caught in the dam but you will need to have a freshwater fishing license.
Other activities include bush walking, bird watching and finding wildflowers during late winter and early spring.
Water skiing was once allowed at Wellington Dam but this has now been banned and vessels allowed to access the water are limited at kayak and canoe styles and vessels with a maximum engine size of 6 horse power.
A vessel exclusion zone extends 200 metres from the dam wall.
Water skiing is allowed at Lake Kepwari which is on the south east side of Collie town. We also have a video about Kepwari so if you want to check it out, have a look for the link in the description.
Free camping is available at the southern end of Wellington Dam and can be accessed through a variety of bush tracks.
Most people enter this area via Kelly Road but there are plenty of other options.
Camping here if currently free but the onus is on campers to keep the area clean and tidy as we could easily lose access to this wonderful place if it is not looked after.
If the campsites in the national park are all booked up, you are still likely to find somewhere to camp along the southern shores of the dam.
You do need to be self sufficient and that means having your own toilet facilities and anything else you might need for an extended stay as there are no facilities of any kind in this area.
Tracks into the southern end of Wellington Dam vary considerably in size and accessibility. Most are going to be suitable for 4 wheel drives but not all will accommodate caravans and motorhomes.
If you have a bigger rig then you are better off sticking to the well known tracks before you get too adventurous.
If you explore along the Collie River you will also find other secluded campsites so when it comes to camping, Collie probably offers more than just about any other area in W.A.
Best time to visit: