King of the Forest- A Poem by Hannah

King of the Forest

One tiny seed sprouted in the forest
Another toppled down to the ground
That used to be he tallest.
The little seedling grew some more.
Now it’s leaves were in the sun.
It grew some more and more and more,
But growing wasn’t always fun.
The little tree became quite big,
As tall as all the other trees
It then grew just a little more
As far as you could see
Just to be the great KING JARRAH TREE

by Hannah, 10 years old

The Track – MundAl

‘The Track’ is a 4WD track starting in Mundaring, near Perth WA and ending in Albany on the south coast. It is not hard core 4WDing, but it is 900 km of mostly gravel roads, with some amazing scenery and heaps of fun along the way. The Track will eventually be 4000 km long and each section will have it’s own name. This section is known as the MundAL, by combining the names Mundaring and Albany.

You can camp out at various places along the track or chose to stay in one of the towns the Track passes through, such as Collie. Read on for several great suggestions on camping and accommodation, where to eat and what not to miss.

Collie boasts two major supermarkets, open 7 days a week; two fuel outlets, one of which is open 24/7 and numerous specialty stores selling clothing and gift ware.

There are several options for accommodation ranging from a caravan park with tent/van sites and onsite chalets, a back packer style motel, several country pubs and an upmarket motel with modern apartments; plenty of eating places offering a variety of cuisines and some fantastic attractions that are well worth a visit.

Accommodation

You will most likely pass through Collie on the first day and if you are looking for a comfy bed you have a number of choices. Click on the pictures to be redirected for more info and bookings etc. For even more accommodation options contact the Collie Visitor Centre

The Colliefields is very reasonable priced and offers clean rooms, comfy beds and awesome hot rainfall showers. A simple breakfast of cereal, fruit and toast is included in the price of the room.
Collie River Valley Tourist Park offers caravan and tent sites and onsite cabins. The park is known for its immaculately clean facilities.
If you want something a little more up market, The Ridge Motel is a fairly new, modern motel with all the trimmings you would expect. if you really want to indulge, you could even book a spa room.
The Federal Hotel Collie offer comfy clean rooms and serve all the pub favourites for lunch and dinner in the restaurant downstairs, all in a family friendly environment.

If camping is more your style

There are two designated camping spots, in the Collie Shire, along The Track. (For info on other camping spots near Collie click here) Camping and lighting of fires is not allowed outside these areas. Fires are not permitted at Glen Mervyn at any time of the year.

Stockton Lake is situated 10 km east of Collie and although it is a slight diversion from The Track it is well worth it to see the amazing blue water.
Glen Mervyn Campsite is right on The Track, a short drive out of Collie and offers free camping on the banks of the dam.

 

Places to eat

There is no shortage of places to eat in Collie and a good variety of cuisines available. Here are a few of our favourites, but you will certainly find others if you go for a stroll along Throssell or Forrest Sts.

The Colliefields are easy to find on Throssell St and open early for breakfast. They also serve delicious lunches, decadent cakes, superb coffee and a huge range of teas. If you dare, try one of their megashakes.
Wagon 537 are located in Central Park and are open early for breakfast and lunch. They serve up delicious wraps, fantastic burgers, great coffee and fresh juices.
Jax Diner are on the corner of Forrest and Atkinson Sts and open from 7 to 3 on Monday to Saturday. They offer a range of delicious meals and healthy salads. Choose to eat indoors or alfresco.
If you like genuine Thai food then don't miss 8 Thai Ladies on the corner of Forrest and Steere Sts. They are open for lunch and dinner on Tuesday to Saturday and lunch on Sunday and Monday.

 

Things to do in Collie

If you are travelling with kids and they need to let off steam, Central Park and the Water Playground is perfect. In the warmer weather the kids love the free water park and coffee is nearby at Wagon 537.
Soldiers Park is another favourite spot for families with kids. The littlies love the playground and the bigger kids have a blast at the skate park. There is even a Liberty Swing for kids with disabilities.
Here in Collie we are very proud of our A Class Art Gallery that attracts some pretty impressive exhibitions. Check out their Facebook Page for what is on show currently.
Once inside The Replica Underground Mine is just like a real mine. Take the self guided tour, or ring ahead to arrange a tour with a real retired underground miner as your guide.
The Coalfields Museum houses the most amazing collection of items from Collie's coal mining past.
Collie is home to some amazing MTB and Walking Trails suitable for all the family. Check out the #CollieTrails tab on the menu for details

 

Stay safe, be responsible and have fun!

While using The Track, always drive carefully and exercise common sense.

Stay on The Track to avoid the spread of dieback . There is a Car Wash in Collie, where you can thoroughly wash your vehicle, including the underneath, to prevent the spread of disease that can kill our local forests. You will find it on the corner of Throssell and Brunswick  Sts at the eastern end of town.

Avoid causing unnecessary damage to The Track, so others can enjoy it after you. Remember for the people who live in the communities you are passing through, these are their local roads and they need to be able to use them to go about their daily business of getting the kids to school and going to the shops etc.

Carry plenty of water just in case, take all your rubbish away with you, check current local fire restrictions before lighting a fire and consider investing in a camping toilet before you set off, or at the very least a small shovel or trowel to dig a hole with.

But most of all have heaps of fun and bring home some amazing memories!

NOTE: ‘The Track’ is what is known as a live track. The actual route may change seasonally if roads are closed due to fires and floods etc. To get the current route, go to the WA 4WD website a few days before setting off and download the Way Points   DOWNLOAD THE WAY POINTS HERE 

WATCH THE VIDEO – THE TRACK  

A cheap easy method to clean a cast iron camp oven

Top Camping Hacks 3

I was recently given a collection of very neglected cast iron cookware.

They had been left sitting out in the weather for at least two winters and were in pretty bad shape.

I experimented with several methods to clean them and the easiest by far was vinegar.

Removing the rust

Soak the pot in cheap white vinegar. White vinegar is higher in acetic acid than brown or malt vinegar, hence it works best. The acid in the vinegar reacts with the metal leaving the pot clean and rust free.

This pot had spent the last two winters sitting out in the rain and was in pretty bad shape.
Place the pot in a container just a little bit bigger than your pot, cover it completely with cheap vinegar and leave it there for about 48 hours.

Wash the pot

Some people say you should not wash your pot in soapy water as the pores in the metal will absorb the soap. The pot does not have pores like a sponge. Under a microscope the pot is not perfectly smooth even when new. It has what looks like scratches and small indentations. As long as it is rinsed well, the pot will not absorb the washing up detergent and taste soapy.

This is the same pot after 24 hours. You don't need to do any rubbing or scrubbing at all. How easy is that!
Take it out and give it a good wash with soapy water. (If it still isn't clean, just pop it back into the vinegar for a bit longer.)

Re seasoning

Seasoning is a process where the pot is coated with a thin layer of cooking oil and heated until the oil polymerizes and chemically changes to form a hard coating. You know the brown substance that forms on the outside of your frying pans? That is the same substance we want to coat the camp oven with to protect it.

After washing, immediately coat with cooking oil and wipe off excess with a clean rag. Your pot is now bare metal and will rust quickly if it is not oiled straight away.
Place in a hot oven until a little blue smoke is coming off the pot. Repeat the process with a second coat of oil and heat again. The pot should not feel sticky. If it does, just put it back in the oven for a bit longer.
Your pot is now seasoned and will not rust. Seasoning will also help prevent food from sticking to the pot or fry pan.

How to care for your pot after re seasoning

Treat it like Teflon cookware and don’t use harsh abrasive cleaning methods. I usually wipe out excess food and oil with a paper towel and wash in hot soapy water and rinse well.

Each time you use it give it another thin coat of oil, wipe off the excess and heat in the oven or over the fire. Be careful heating it over the fire because a fire can get much hotter than your oven and your coating will burn off.

Some people say washing it with soap will remove the coating and make the pot rust. If it has been seasoned correctly there is no way normal dish detergent will effect the coating.

If you burn the pot while cooking in it, don’t despair. Scrub it clean and simply apply another coating of oil to repair the seasoning.

Other methods

There are other methods you can use and some of them  are just as effective. Using a wire brush on a drill is quicker but can leave deep scratches in your pot and make it more difficult to create an even coating of seasoning.

I have heard of people successfully using one part molasses to nine parts water and soaking the pot in the same way as the vinegar method.

A lot of people told me Coke worked and I experimented with both regular and Diet Coke, but after four days my pot looked no different, so I gave up on that one.

After posting this method on Facebook a lot of people commented that they oil their cast iron ware and put it away without heating it. That will prevent it going rusty but the oil makes it sticky and my pots ended up covered with fluff and dust so I prefer to oil and heat them. The heating process also creates that hard Teflon like coating that makes the pot non stick.

So don’t throw away that rusty cookware you have sitting in the shed. A few litres of cheap vinegar and some cooking oil and your cast iron camp oven will be ready to use in a couple of days.

A bicycle mecca, a hub for all things trails – run by a cat called Sprocket?!

Opened in 2007, Crank n Cycles quickly became the nucleus the regions cycling world revolves around. Store owner Erik Mellegers is a dead keen cyclist and has thrown himself at the towns tilt at becoming a MTB trail riding mecca in the South West. Along with Sprocket the cat the team have built the store up to be the go-to destination when arriving in town to hit the trails.

The Store.

They’re one of the biggest and best BMC dealers in Australia, stocking their amazing Mountain Bike range – and some of the road bike siblings as well. These are seriously sweet machines! Also, if you haven’t heard of WHYTE bikes, you need to check ’em out: ‘Trail Bike of the Year’ two years running with the T-130 model and their G-170 is one of the best Gravity Enduro Mountain Bikes on the planet… let alone their other offerings. All there to check out at Crank’n Cycles Collie as well. And… have you seen those MTB bikes with the fat tyres? Yep – They’ve got ’em. They’re called FAT BIKES from manufacturers like Surly and Salsa! Plus bikes from Giant, Scott, Merida, Norco, Kona and more! Along with the Bikes themselves, the guys stock all the gear to go with the ride, from all the major brands!


Repairs

If you’re cycling the Munda Biddi Track or one of the local MTB Trails and your bike needs some attention,  Crank’n Cycles is the place to go! With a massive range of spare parts in stock, you will be back on the track in no time at all.

Social Rides

The guys in the shop are all keen riders and know everything there is to know about the #CollieTrails. There are several social rides held at different times throughout the week and on weekends. You can choose from road or bush rides and they are all free to tag along. The ride times change at different times of year so give the shop a call to check the latest times and meeting places. 9734 1471


Bike Hire

If you are keen to have a go riding the trails, but don’t have your own bike, the team can hook you up with a hire bike, including electric assist bikes!(E-Bikes)

Drop in next time you are in town and remember to say hello to Sprocket (THE CAT)!

A Massive Lake, hidden away, with a gorgeous Picnic area!

Hardly any traffic, and definitely no crowds!

A little east of Collie, on the edge of the wheatbelt sit places you’ve never heard of, like Bowelling, Duranillin and Moodiarrup. They’ve kept a secret from us for years – it’s called Lake Towerrinning and its glorious!

We leave Collie from Throssell Street and head out of town, within 20 minutes we come across Tourist Shovel #6. This is a huge digging machine used by Westfarmers Premier Coal before it was retired, refurbished and parked alongside the highway adjacent to the Premier mine, it’s worth a stop – there is an interesting information board to read over which documents its history and the history of mining in the Collie region. Back on the highway we come across a right turn, the Bowelling – Duranillin Rd. It’s a beautiful day for a drive and the scenery is magic. The bush is alive with wildflowers and a vivid shade of green after a wet winter. After about 20 minutes at the end of this road, we turn right at the intersection following the signs to the lake.

 

It's a Big lake!

 

This massive, freshwater lake is 256ha in size and is popular with water skiers, bird watchers, campers and swimmers. The day we visited there wasn’t a cloud in the sky but there was a stiff breeze off the water keeping everything cool. 

The long shaded car park offers impressive views of the water below. A well maintained strip of lawn features multiple BBQ units along with complimentary picnic tables and gazebos. A fenced in kids playground is a great addition as is a new toilet block at the opposite end. Two sets of steps lead down to the waters edge. 

As mentioned earlier, it was quite windy during our visit so the water was a little choppy, but it was clear and clean looking. There are caution signs at the entrance to the lake with information regarding bacteria and health issues under certain circumstances. 

At the water’s edge there are two long jetties that protrude out into the lake. A few kids are wetting a line in the hopes of a big catch, we hear a ski boat roar to life and soon after we spot it towing a couple of rubber rings piloted by some lucky children around the water.

After a well earned picnic lunch and a laze on the grass under the shady trees with the dogs, we pack everything up and make our way back to Collie. As we leave we notice the caravan and camping information. If you’d like to know more about staying at Lake Towerrinning visit : www.lakesidecamping.com.au

Like and Follow us on our Facebook Page – Why I #visitcollie to keep up with the best information on what to see and what to do  whilst in the Collie region. Stay tuned for more in our “Best Day Trips Series” coming soon!