Copeton Waters State Park NSW covers an impressive 900 hectares on the western slopes of the New England Ranges. It is 550 kilometres northwest of Sydney, 440 kilometres southwest of Brisbane, and only 40 kilometres from the town of Inverell.
Copeton Dam holds three times the volume of water than Sydney Harbour, and is a fisherman’s paradise with the dam plentiful in Cod, Yellowbelly, Silver Perch, Catfish and Redfin.
Entry fees do apply for the use of all the park facilities other than the Kiosk. For a car, it is $10 for a day pass, but if you are camping, you do not have to pay this as you are paying your camping fee instead. We stayed at a powered site at Copeton Bay, about three kilometers from the Park Office. There are about fifty sites at Copeton Bay, with water taps plentiful, a playground, lots of rubbish bins provided, and a good clean amenities block. We were a bit worried about how cold it might be to shower in winter. There was heaps of hot water, but the design of the building certainly allowed for a lot of air movement, and I think in the dead of winter the lure of a hot shower might be marred by the cold air and wind blowing around you. We paid $30 a night for our powered site, which was for two adults. We were there mid week in the September school holidays, only decided to go there at 3pm in the afternoon, and managed to get a powered site directly overlooking the dam. We were able to take advantage of the fire pit and have a beautiful camp oven roast dinner. A drive into Inverell takes you over the dam wall, and I have to say, if you are not comfortable with heights, it is a scary experience. (That might have just been for us girls in the back seat!)
Close to the Kiosk is an Adventure Playground with a Giant Jumping Pillow. (We so wanted to kick the kids off and have a go.) Other activities on offer, apart from fishing, are golf and tennis. (You can hire clubs and racquets from the kiosk if you don’t usually holiday with you golf clubs.) There are picnic and BBQ facilities, and you can hire fishing boats from the Kiosk. The dam is open to power boating, sailing, skiing and wake boarding. If you want to take things a bit quieter, there is biking, bush walking or bird walking, or our number one activity, moving your chair around as the sun moved so that you were always sitting in the shade while reading your book.
Copeton Dam offers a function room, on site cabins, bunkhouse accommodation, on site caravans, powered sites and bush camping. The kiosk, apart from being able to stock up on ice; fuel, bait, and ridiculous tourist T-shirts, also offers a café and a limited range of groceries. You can also get your fishing license (required for all fishing in New South Wales) from the office. Due to the abundance of wildlife (mostly kangaroos, lots and lots of) dogs are permitted and must be kept on a leash and under control.
Whilst not on our original holiday itinerary, Copeton Dam was a fantastic find for us. We didn’t arrive until late in the day, but still managed to get a powered site round at Copeton Bay overlooking the water, with no one camped right next to us.
All in all, Copeton Waters State Park was a great find, and we highly recommend staying there. We will certainly be back at some time.
Triff and Stephen (The Trailer)