HONEYMOON POOL – Winter Wonderland

After all the rain we have had Honeymoon Pool is looking a treat. Everything is covered with the most amazing green moss and fungi and looks like something out of a wonderland movie set.

It’s too cold for swimming but there are plenty of other activities to keep everyone busy and you are likely to have most of the campsite to your self at this time of year.


Walk Trails

The weather is perfect for hiking at the moment, so why not try one of the trails that pass through the park?


Kurliiny Tjenangitj

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Photo:Ashley Cooper-Grant
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The view across the valley from the lookout

The Kurliiny Tjenangitj starts at Honeymoon Pool and follows the river upstream before winding its way up the hillside to a lookout, with views right across the river valley and to the distant hills.


Jabitj Trail

Or perhaps the Jabitj Trail that follows the river all the way to the Kiosk at the Dam?

There is a whole network of trails, including the epic Munda Biddi that you can use to make your own adventure. Why not take the Jabitj Trail to the Kiosk and then come back along the Sika and Munda Biddi? Check out the map for more ideas.
Some of the trails are dual walking and mountain bike so don’t forget to pack the bikes.


All Day Campfires

Or maybe just relaxing by the campfire.

You can have a campfire all day at this time of year. There’s nothing like sitting around a roaring campfire till late into the evening, toasting marshmallows and watching the dancing flames

Bacon and eggs for breakfast, sausage sizzles for lunch and something in the camp oven for dinner. 

Limited firewood is provided, so you might like to bring some from home or grab some from The Kiosk at the Dam. 

And don’t forget you need to book your camp-site online before you arrive if you plan on staying overnight.

https://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/park-stay

 


Hit The Town!

The town of Collie is only a short drive away and the Visitor Centre will be able to give you plenty of ideas of things to do in town and great places to eat. The underground coal mine and museum are very popular and great indoor activities for this time of year. The Visitor Centre also offer hot showers if you want to freshen up before hitting the town after a couple of days camping out.

 

Camping or Glamping – We’ve got You Covered

When you walk into Collie Canvas and Camping World the first thing you notice is the massive range of camping equipment on the shelves and lining the walls. Then you get that big country Hello that is so lacking in city stores these days.

 

A big friendly, 'Hello!'

Kaylene and Gary Evans have been running the store for over 26 years and have built up a vast knowledge of everything camping. They take pride in offering outstanding service to their customers and as a result people come from miles around to purchase the latest camping gadgets and equipment.

 

Camping

Whether you like to travel light and sleep in a swag with the basics or go for the whole glamping thing with all the mod cons, they will get you sorted in no time. They have a vast range of tents and bedding, fridges and eskies, tables and chairs, Webbers and gas stoves, chemical toilets and ensuite tents…….

 

What they don’t have you probably don’t need anyway!

 

What they don’t have you probably don’t need anyway.


Trail Friendly

For many years they have catered for the many trail users that pass through Collie during the cooler months. With both the Bibbulmun Track and the Munda Biddi passing close to town Collie Canvas and Camping World is the perfect stop for a replacement bottle of gas or some freeze dried trail food. While you are there you can check out the latest Jetboil cookers, grab some thermal underwear to protect against the colder southern mornings or an extra pair of thick trail socks. They also have a range of hiking packs suitable for day use or long hikes and everything you will need to set yourself up for your own epic walking or riding adventure. 

 


Butchering

Sausage making is a bit of a tradition in Collie and every year the locals call in for their supplies, with everything from knives to sausage making machines, fresh sausage skins and seasonings, vacuum sealers and freezer bags on offer.


Fishing and Ammunition Supplies

They also carry a range of fishing rods, lures and tackle and a wide range of ammunition and shooting accessories.


Canvas

Gary is the canvas specialist. He manufactures and repairs anything from ute canopies and tool bags to patio blinds and awnings. Industrial canvas and PVC products are custom made to your requirements.

So where will you find them?

The store is easily located on the corner of Prinsep and Johnston Sts; just look for the big green building down from the traffic lights.

 

They are also on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/colliecanvasandcamping

 

And when you call in, don’t forget to let them know that you found them on #visitcollie

 
Just look for the big green building

A Trail from one Gem to another – The Jabitj

The Jabitj Trail Head is located at the Kiosk near the dam wall in Wellington National Park. It’s a 6km point to point hike that should take around 2 hours to complete. Following the gorgeous Collie River and ending at the stunning Honeymoon Pool, its a trail that is suitable for the whole family and all fitness levels.

On a day where anything could happen...

On a day where anything could happen weather wise, we set off from the Kiosk at the Dam’s car park. The South West of Western Australia has had a series of cold fronts pass through over the last couple of weeks. Winter had announced its arrival. #visitcollie were hoping to squeeze a trail hike in over the next few days. The weather gods weren’t kind and the schedule was pretty tight. However it seemed Tuesday was the best day for it, so here we are.

The Trail Head is located opposite the Kiosk cafe, showing a map and general overview of the trail we learn that it’s 6km long, one way and is a moderately strenuous, undulating walk that occasionally requires climbing over tree trunks. We are to follow a green trail marker with a boot print logo. Not dissimilar to the ones we’re used to from the Bibbulmun and Munda Biddi Trails.

Since this is a single point to point track we decided to take two cars and park one at Honeymoon Pool first. Then parking the other near the trail head. If this is not an option, it is possible to start your hike on the Jabitj then link onto the Kurliiny then onto the Sika which will take you back in a loop to the Kiosk. See the DPAW map below.

The Jabitj descends down from the top of the dam wall to the river bellow. This will be the steepest part of the hike, and it’s all downhill! Here we follow the water pipe line for a short section, then intercepting the Collie River we hear the rush of the white water and can just see the Dam wall in the distance. The scenery is strikingly beautiful. Green is the order of the day, recent rains have brought the bush to life, moss and lichen are on almost everything.

The trail takes us through some pretty dense scrub, or “Tree Tunnels” as miss 5 year old calls them. The tree tunnels carry on for quite some time, then all of a sudden we emerge in an open and airy section of the walk. Two hills jut up in front of us, the misty rain creeping through the gap between them. We can hear the river rushing below. It’s a great time to catch up with the family. With busy life stuff, interruptions and distractions its sometimes hard to just talk. Out here, we are free from all of that. #1 wife and I discuss everything from what we’ve been up to this last week, to strategies to tackle miss 5 year olds occasional outbursts.

The way is well marked, just when you’re thinking “we haven’t seen a marker in a while” one appears. Saying that its not really the kind of trail you can get lost on. It’s fairly straight forward, keeping the river on your left, there’s not too many places where you can get turned around.

We pause for a while to enjoy a sandwich and a drink of water before we set off to tackle the next section.

 

The Path runs adjacent...

The path runs adjacent to Lennard Drive, which is on the opposite side of the river and is an absolutely brilliant day out also. There are four locations along the drive where you can park and enjoy really magic picnic and swimming spots along the river. You can read more about Lennard Drive here. Since we were familiar with these four locations, we could gauge how far we were along to Honeymoon Pool. First it was the Rapids, then Big Rock, followed by Little Rock and finally Long Pool. It was pretty great to see these locations from the other bank. If you do this hike in the warmer months, we recommend packing the swimming trunks for a dip!

Along the walk...

Along the walk we are treated to information panels identifying local flora. These panels describe the Noongar use for the plant and a little bit of information about it. As the sun disappears and the clouds darken we quicken a pace just a fraction in anticipation of rain. We are now 2/3’s along the trail and expect to come across Long Pool soon. This will mark the last swimming spot along Lennard Drive which means Honeymoon Pool is close. Out of nowhere we come across a toilet. It’s magnificent!

It's not long until...

It’s not long until we reach the bridge that crosses the river just before Honeymoon Pool. Here the path crosses the road and follows the river for this last stretch. Here we come across a breath taking boardwalk and lookout over the river below. Its well worth a breather here before the final push towards Honeymoon Pool. 

Final Thoughts...

The Jabitj is an absolute cracker. The moderate difficulty rating stated on the trail head sign is probably about right. There’s a few ups and downs and on a couple of occasions we were huffing and puffing. Not enough to really get the heart rate up, but enough to let you know you’re alive. Some nice logs across the path to clamber over and duck under. A few surprises we will let you find for yourself, if you choose to tackle it. Allow 2 hours one way at a gentle pace, stopping for a sandwich and a drink. If you hate hiking up hills, definitely start at the kiosk and walk to Honeymoon Pool, the steep section at the dam wall was pretty impressive and we’re glad we were going down and not up!

STOCKTON LAKE – Waterside camping at it’s best

A couple of weekends ago I decided I should make good use of the lingering fine weather, knowing that winter will arrive eventually, so I threw some camping gear in the car and headed out to Stockton Lake 10 km east of Collie.

I didn’t have anyone to look after my old mate Dusty, so he came too. Yep, that’s right; dogs are welcome as long as they are on a lead. The first thing you will notice when you arrive is the incredible blue of the lake. It’s an old coal mine and the water is crystal clear. Rimmed with white limestone cliffs, it is stunningly attractive, with the water sparkling iridescent blue in the sunlight. 


Waterside Camping

There weren’t very many people there so we were able to get a waterside spot. Yep that’s right; step right out of your tent or caravan only a few metres from the water’s edge. It was too cold for swimming this time, although that didn’t stop Dusty and a few young blokes showing how brave (or crazy) they were. Water skiing is allowed and in the warmer months there is usually a boat or two zipping around the lake with some pretty spectacular displays of ability and a good measure of shrieks and giggles from kids (and grownups) being dragged around on tubes and anything else that floats.

(We’ve had a couple of very dry seasons and the water level in the lake is pretty low, so it is closed for skiing at the moment. We’ll let you know when it is re-opened)


Magic Sunsets

At the end of the day, as the sun dips below the horizon, the deep blue fades and the lake’s surface reflects the colours of the sunset in a magic display of pink and gold.


Toasty Campfires

In the cooler months you are allowed to have a campfire, so we made good use of the opportunity to cook dinner over the fire and sit and watch the flames until sleepiness took over and we crawled into the tent. It was jolly cold and got down to about 2 degrees, but three doonas kept us warm and snug. There is a sign at the entrance telling you when you are allowed to have a campfire.


Misty Mornings

When we climbed out of the tent in the morning we were greeted with the site of the lake shrouded in mist and the glow of the rising sun breaking through the white. As the mist rose, it revealed the incredible blue of the surface of the lake, creating some stunning opportunities for photographs.


Plenty of Room

The campground is huge and sprawls around the edges of the lake. There’s plenty of room for the biggest motorhomes and caravans without the need for fancy reversing skills, to get a good spot. With no set bays, it’s ideal if you are travelling with friends and want to set up together. 

There are two blocks of toilets on the southern and eastern sides of the lake, but no showers or power. Generators are allowed; if you must.

Camping fees are very modest; $8 for adults, $6 cons and $3 for kids 6 and over. The friendly ranger comes around each day to collect the camping money.

It gets really busy on long weekends and summer holidays but other times and during the week you can often have the whole place to yourself.


What More Could You Want?

While you are in the area, don’t miss a visit to Collie Canvas and Camping World. 

You don’t very often find a camping shop like this outside the city. Their range is huge and the staff are really friendly and helpful. Just look for the big green building down from the traffic lights.

 

If you need supplies, there are two major supermarkets and a variety of specialty stores in the town of Collie. 

It also boasts numerous places to grab a bite to eat. A couple of our favourites in the colder weather are The Colliefields on the main street or Harris River Estate Winery, just 5km north of town on Harris River Road. Both have big warm fires to keep out the winter chill and that typical relaxed country atmosphere.

Harris Estate Winery
The Colliefields


How to Get There?

If you are travelling from Perth, you can turn off the SW Hwy at Wokalup and follow Mornington Rd through the hills as an alternative to the Coalfields Hwy. It’s a lovely winding country road, weaving its way through farmland and forest. Check out the google map below as there is a tricky dog leg in the road and we don’t want you getting lost out there.

Follow the signs into Collie and then take the Coalfields Hwy towards Darkan. 10 km east of Collie you will see Piavannini Road and the big blue sign to Stockton Lake. If you cross the railway line you have gone too far. The road is sealed all the way to the campground.

For more ideas of things to do and see in the Collie River Valley check out our Facebook Page or browse the blogs on our website.

Today we tackle the Kurliiny Tjenangitj Trail!

The Kurliiny Tjenangitj (Come and See) trail is a 9km loop commencing at Honeymoon Pool and is delineated by purple footprint markers. The #visitcollie team had heard so much about this trail, we just had to check it out!         

If you prefer, instead of doing the entire loop you can just do the walk to the lookout and back which is 5km return.

The trail is part of a large network of trails within the Wellington National Park, comprising the Kurliiny Tjenangitj, the Sika Trailthe Jabitj Trail and the world famous, long distance Munda Biddi.

As you can see from the adjacent map there are numerous trails within the national park, all with their unique features and offering a wide variety of distances and skill / fitness levels. The Kiosk at the Dam is a great central starting point, especially for the Sika & Jabitj Trails. You can find out more about the Sika trail here

We begin our adventure.

We left the car at Honeymoon Pool and followed the purple footprints upstream along the river to the bridge. There are a couple of boardwalk / lookouts along this section that are well worth pausing at to take in the scenery and take a few photos. The bird life in the area is prolific and there were numerous birds flitting around the tree canopy above. I don’t know the names of a lot of birds but I Iove seeing the brilliant flash of the blue wrens that abound the National Park.

Boardwalk Lookout

Continuing on from the bridge, the trail follows the same path as the Jabitj Trail, upstream along the river for about 1.5km and then heads north and loops around towards the lookout. We found a couple of spots along the river that would be great for a swim in the warmer months and made a note to revisit later in the year

Pro Tip: You can save a few kilometers by parking at the bridge on River Road and starting your walk there.

The Rapids

Now the real adventure begins! The climb up to the lookout is about another 1.5km and gets pretty steep at times. In the early part of the climb the bush was quite dense and dark with several logs to climb over. We were so glad we had brought a drink along. We stopped a few times to take in the tranquility of the bush, or at least that’s what we told each other. The truth is we were realising how unfit we were!

As we climbed higher the forest opened up and we could see right into the canopy of the trees below. But there was still a lot more climbing to do and we were appreciative of the steps that helped us up the otherwise slippery, steep hill. At this point we were wondering what we had gotten ourselves into and we were making good use of the water we had brought along!

The path ahead
Impressive timber

The summit.

It had been a steady ascent for some time, but then suddenly we were there – at the top! And WOW, the views over the river valley below and the surrounding hills were spectacular. It was so worth the effort. We could see all the way across to Big Rock on the other side of the Valley. (You can read more about Big Rock in our Lennard Drive blog here.)

The view from the summit

OK, so getting up there was one thing, but getting down was another! We had three choices: We could go down the way we came up, we could walk the rest of the 8km out and complete the loop or we could call a helicopter for a quick evacuation! (There was just enough phone signal to squeeze a call out!)

At this point the helicopter sounded like a good idea, but we agreed to stop and have a snack and then see how we felt. One always feels better after food!

We’ll let you in on a little secret. We had actually taken our mountain bikes with us. Yes, we had pushed them all the way up that huge great hill and lifted them over all those massive logs. I know, what were we thinking?! It actually turned out to be the saving of us, as we took the 8km trip to complete the circuit and it was downhill most of the way.

Downhill all the way home

The way down.

Completing the loop, the trail heads north then swings around to the east where it meets up with the Munda Biddi, then heads south, back down towards the river. Most of the trail is wide and easy going. Only the last section of the Munda Biddi going down to the river is quite steep. It’s marked with the purple footsteps all the way and is easy to follow. This section of the Munda Biddi is also part of the Sika Trail and connects Potters Gorge campsite and the Kiosk at the Dam. (Confused? Don’t worry, just check out the map and all will become clear!)

We crossed paths with another rider on the Munda Biddi and shared trail stories as one does, before he left us to continue on at a faster pace than we were able to keep up with. Well we had an excuse, we had just carried our bikes up that huge hill, he had only ridden from Mundaring, near Perth! 

Finally we arrived back down at the river and a short ride back to Honeymoon Pool for a BBQ lunch. It was so nice sitting under the graceful weeping peppermint trees watching the reflections dance on the waters of Honeymoon Pool. It was a real shame to have to pack up and head home! (You can read about Honeymoon Pool in our blog here.)

So, how long did the walk/ride take? 

We lost track of the time and considering ours was a hybrid adventure by foot and cycle it may be irrelevant, but we would definitely allow a good half day or more to complete.

So, was it worth it?

Absolutely! Just don’t take your bike up that big hill!