Copeton Dam Holiday Park (or Copeton Waters) was our second stop on our Australian road trip. We chose this spot because it is still reasonably priced during school holidays and because of it's splash pad and the all important jumping pillow.
It's a great spot if you have a boat but if you don't (like us), it's still a good choice for families. Here's a bit about it and what we thought of it.
Copeton Dam is an inland dam, west of Glen Innes, NSW and close to Inverell. It's huge! When we visited the dam was at 19% but when full it holds 2.5 times the capacity of Sydney Harbour. When we first saw it, we were shocked at the size of it. It's a beautiful sight as well.
Copeton is a great spot for boating. We sat on the side of the warm water and watched the water skiers and all the other boating action. There's fishing here for cod, yellowbelly, catfish, silver perch and redfin. We didn't fish either.
We chose this spot specifically for the family friendly facilities. There are a number of parks, and an area with a splash pad, jumping pillow and large playground. It's obviously very popular with day visitors and there were many visiting on the weekend.
Facilities we didn't try out include golf, tennis and there is a function centre as well.
Camping at Copteton Dam turned out great but started out a bit rough. We weren't prepared for the size of the park which can take 10 minutes or more to drive through. We were still on Queensland time (no daylight savings) and ended up arriving 10 minutes before closing. We were told we could just pick a spot and pay the next day.
It's so big and toilets and showers are spread out in a number of places but most are not close to camping spots. Caravan / powered camping is no problem but unpowered camping can be far from toilets and showers.
Anyway, it ended up taking over an hour to find a camping spot and we were a bit frustrated with that aspect after a long drive to get there. Once we settled in however, we really enjoyed the space around us and having it all to ourselves. We only had one other camper a ways away and that was for only one night.
The great thing about Copeton Waters is that you can camp right down on the water. If you come to the dam with your boat, it's really handy to have your boat right there with you at your camping spot. It's all unpowered with no toilets down there so bring one with you.
Caravans and powered camping are close to the entrance and splash pad and park. This is also where the laundry, drinking water, and camp kitchen is. If you camp anywhere else, you need to drive to the showers or playground area.
All in all, if you're looking for a peaceful spot or lots of space, it's a great choice.
One very special thing at our campsite was the pair of emus that showed up daily. We were surprised how close they came! There are also many kangaroos and more birdlife and wildlife in the area. It far from any built up areas so it's a great spot to animals. And beetles. There were lots of lots of beetles.
Inverell is the main shopping centre in this neck of the woods and about 30 minutes from Copeton Dam. We bought everything we needed before arriving at the dam and were glad that we didn't need anything while there. Something as simple as a can of beans cost almost $4 in the shop at the dam!
We needed a couple of things to improve our camping experience though (like a larger gas bottle) and Inverell had everything we needed but it's definitely more expensive than closer to the coast. Makes me wonder what the shop prices are the further inland you go.
We did enjoy our time at the Copeton Waters but ended up leaving early. It started getting quite hot - about 35C - so we went back up the range to Glen Innes where it's a bit cooler. We stayed here 4 days in total, 2 less than planned, but found it was a good amount.
Maybe you'll find yourself there someday too!
Official website for Copeton Waters Holiday Park.