Campfire Indian Chicken Curry

This delicious Indian chicken curry is so easy to cook on a campfire.

The Meat

Dice 750 gm chicken thigh and brown in a little oil
Add 2/3 jar Pataks Tikka Masala Curry Paste and cook until aromatic.
You can add more or less curry paste, depending on whether you like it mild or hotter!
Add 2-3 tbsp SR flour and stir well
Add 3 cups Campbell’s Chicken Stock.

The Vegies

Add some chopped veges, carrot, cauliflower, pumpkin, potato and broccoli. I usually add the broccoli a little later as it cooks faster than the other veges. You can use whatever veges you like. Cook until veges are just tender. Don’t have the fire too hot.

Add some Flavour.

Add a can of coconut cream and reheat. Don’t let the coconut boil, in case it separates. Add lots of fresh coriander leaves.

Enjoy!

Serve around the campfire, with rice and some lime wedges.

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Campfire Beef Stew and Dumplings

An old favourite and an easy one to learn to cook on an open fire.

1

The Stew

Put onions, beef and a tin of chopped tomatoes into the camp oven and place over the fire. Throw in diced carrots and peas or whatever veges you like. Add seasoning to taste. I like lots of black pepper! Half a cup of red wine is nice too. If you like extra gravy, add a little water or stock and some gravy powder just before putting the dumplings in, but remember the dumplings will help to thicken it as well.

2

The Fire

A good cooking fire has lots of red coals and only a little bit of flame. If you need to add more wood during cooking, just add a little at a time so the temperature stays fairly consistent.

3

The Dumplings

Make the dumplings while it cooks and add them to the stew, when the meat is just done. Don’t over cook the meat at this stage, because it will cook some more while the dumplings are cooking.

To make dumplings; put four scoops of SR flour, one scoop of cream and one scoop of water into a bowl and mix. Knead lightly and roll into dumplings. Add dumplings to the meat and cover until cooked. (About 20 minutes)

Serve around the fire and enjoy.

Hint

It can be tricky to gauge the temperature when cooking over an open fire, but if you put a spare pot of water over the fire and watch how it boils it will help you work out if your fire is too hot or just right. If the water simmers or boils very gently, that will be good for slow cooking a stew. But if it boils vigorously, then the fire will great for cooking a steak, but too hot for slow cooking. You can either raise the pot up higher, spread the coals out slightly or move it to the side of the fire until the water just simmers.

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Eating Out in the Collie River Valley

For a country town we are not short on fantastic places to eat out. Here are some of out favourites!

The Colliefields

Sitting on the corner of Throssell and Steere Sts, the Colliefields is one of the oldest buildings in town.

They are open 7 days a week for breakfast and lunch and with a variety  of vegan, gluten, egg, soy and dairy free options, no one is left out. Choose from big breakfasts, scrumptious lunches and decadent cakes. Most menu items are available dine in or take away.

With generous servings, excellent coffee and a huge range of teas the Colliefields gets a thumbs up from us.

Harris River Estate Winery

You will find Harris River Estate Winery 5 kms north of Collie on Harris River Rd.
They are open Wednesday to Sunday from 12 to 3.30 pm and offer delicious tapas style lunches. You can choose between a table indoors or out on the balcony. During the milder weather, we recommend a table out on the balcony over looking the vineyard and the dam.

Take the opportunity to try some of the award winning wines and treat yourself to a bottle or two to take home with you.

The Feddy

Everyone loves a good pub feed and the Federal Hotel, or Feddy, the locals call it, is the perfect place to take the entire family.

They are open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner and the large outdoors grassed area is perfect for the kids to run around, while the grown ups enjoy their meal. Just check opening times on public holidays.

The menu changes frequently, offering old favourites and fresh new options.

Wagon 537

Wagon 537 is  a real vintage rail car that has been converted into a stylish modern cafe with a fresh menu that you would expect to find in the city, not a country town.

They are conveniently located in Central Park and open early for breakfast and lunch.

The Adventure Playground and Water Park located in the same space meaning you can grab a coffee and eats while the kids play!

8 Thai Ladies

If you like quality Thai food, you will love 8 Thai Ladies. With an incredible menu of genuine Thai food to choose from, you will soon be heading back for more.

If Thai is not your thing, there are western options available as well.

You will find them, down town on Forrest St and have the choice of dining indoors or at a table on the footpath, where you can sit and watch the world go by.

Old Collie railway Station

The Old Collie Railway Station is on Throssell St, opposite the Colliefields Hotel and serves simple traditional station meals; scones, sandwiches, rolls, salad plates and pies, just like the meals that were sold there decades ago.
As you sit and eat, imagine all the people who sat in the same spot  eating similar food while waiting for the train, 100 years ago.
When you visit, allow time to watch the model trains weave their way through the tracks of the old Collie townsite.

The Kiosk at the Dam

Located just above the Wellington Dam, the Kiosk offers a range of pies, burgers and delicious home made cakes served with real coffee.

Whether you are just there exploring for the day or spending a few nights at one of the nearby Potters Gorge or honeymoon Pool, make sure you allow time to call into the Kiosk and sit and watch the blue wrens frolic in the bird bath surrounding gardens.

Their opening hours vary seasonally so check their Facebook Page for current opening times.

Jax Corner Deli and Diner

Jax Diner is located at the western end of Johnston Street. They offer both indoor dining and a lovely alfresco area.

Their menu is modern and fresh, with a delightful mini salad bar.

They are open for breakfast and lunch Monday to Saturday, plus dinner on Friday evenings. Check their Facebook Page for details and times.

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Top Holiday Tips

No one will be saying ‘I’m bored,’ with this list of things to do. The best part is they are all free or really low cost activities that will have the kids sleeping soundly at the end of the day.
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Have a go at the Currawong Pump Track

This little track is located at the Potters Gorge Campsite in Wellington National Park and is perfect for kids of all ages.

There is a section for the very little ones with the cutest little log roll overs and some decent fast track and a couple of nice berms for the bigger kids to hone their skills on.

Visit the Coalfields Museum 

Located opposite the Visitor Centre on Throssell St, this museum houses an incredible collection of historical artifacts.

There is a mining display, depicting how mining has changed over the years and other displays show what life was like for families  living in Collie many years ago.

Admission fees are Adults $5 and Children $2.50
Check their Facebook page for holiday open times.

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Check out Central Park 

Central Park is just over the railway line on Forrest St. There is plenty of shade, where the grown ups can relax while the kids enjoy the modern nature play style playground, with an array of contraptions to have them testing their balance and nerve.

If the weather is warm enough there is a FREE water park! So, don’t forget to bring their bathers and listen to them shriek and giggle as they dodge the jets of water.

Ride the Wagyl Biddi MTB Trail

Pack the bikes and ride the Wagyl Biddi. You will find the trail head at Soldiers Park near the playground and toilets. The trail follows the river before breaking into two sections. The outer loop of the trail is easier for less experienced riders but the inner three loops are more challenging with a couple of awesome berms, some jumps, a table top, rock gardens and steep climbs. If you don’t have your own bikes, you can hire them from Crank’n Cycles for about the same price as taking the family to the movies.

Go Train Spotting

Collie has a rich rail history and you will find evidence of this at various places around town.

The Old Collie Railway Station is on Throssell St and has a working model train of Collie town back in the day.
Across the line you will find the Bill Weirs Rolling Stock Shed (open Mon, Wed and Fri mornings) and there are four old rail engines and a mining shovel at the Visitor Centre.
There is even a real old wagon, converted into a modern cafe in Central Park.

Kayak on the Collie River

Unfortunately you will need your own kayaks for this, as there is currently no one in town hiring them (Business opportunity anyone?)

But once you have the kayaks sorted there is no shortage of water.

We recently made a list of ten fantastic spots you can get the kayak wet in the CRV.

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Camp out and Cook on a Campfire

There is nothing like cooking dinner on a campfire and toasting marshmallows over the coals.

The CRV is really popular for camping and a lot of places are booked out. But, you might snag a spot at Stockton Lake if you get there early.

Or the Collie River Valley Tourist Park is the perfect base to explore the CRV and they tell me they have a few spaces left, but be quick!

Go Underground

The Replica Underground Mine is accessed via the Collie Visitor Centre, but once inside it feels like you are really underground.

If you are on a tight schedule, you can do a self guided tour using the interpretive panels and displays, but if you are able to plan ahead and book a tour with a real retired underground miner we highly recommend you do. You will be taken on a journey back in time when mining was much different than today.
Admission fees Adult $5 School age child $3

Take a VR Tour

While you are at the Visitor Centre be sure to check out the Virtual Reality equipment.

You can choose between a lap of the Motorplex Track in a racing car, paddle a  kayak down the Collie River or pedal one of the Collie Trails on a mountain bike.

Its all totally free and heaps of fun. You can try all three is you like! You don’t need any special ability to have a go. 

Pack a Picnic and Go Exploring

There are lots of places to go exploring in the CRV, but one of our favourites would have to be Lennard Drive in Wellington National Park.
There are four sign posted spots to explore; The Rapids, Big Rock, Little Rock and Long Pool and they are all perfect for a picnic. Honeymoon Pool is another favourite spot, just a bit further down stream from Long Pool. Make sure you check out our post on Lennard Drive for a map an info about the secret pool.

Click here for more cool picnic ideas.

Tackle the Skate Park

This state of the art Skate Park was built a few years back and has had some serious use by the local kids. It includes a tight bowl, some awesome ramps and other technical features for the kids to test their skills against.

It’s located at Soldiers Park on Lefroy St. There is a children’s playground adjacent to the skate park so all the kids can play nearby while the grown ups take a break under the shady trees or at one of the picnic tables provided. There are toilets and BBQs provided if you want to make a day of it.

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Dead Cat Trail

The Dead Cat Trail network is by far the most popular with local riders, offering four loops of 3.5 km, 10 km, 15 km and 20 km in length..

How to find it…

The three longer loops can be accessed on Mornington Rd, off Harris River Rd, about 4 km north of Collie, but the 3.5 km loop is accessed from Harris River Rd opposite Rays Trail carpark. 

There is parking at both trail heads but, if you prefer, you can ride the Munda Biddi out from town to Mornington Rd, not far from the start of Dead Cat Trail. Eventually there will be a new trail section to connect the two.

Easy ride…

The 15 km loop is probably the most challenging with some steep uphill sections, but the other loops are less demanding,  with a couple of decent log rides and other interesting features to negotiate.

Trail Network..

From Dead Cat Trail, you can link into Ray’s Trail or The 220, that follows Harris River Rd all the way to Harris River Dam.  At the moment The 220 is a two way trail, so watch out for oncoming riders, but in time a link will be added to create another circuit linking back into Dead Cat.

Artworks…

Someone with a sense of humour has installed a number of ‘artworks’ along the trail. I wonder what stories this old relic could tell us?

Spring flowers…

In Spring the trail is ablaze with wildflowers, if you have time to take in the scenery.

Maps and directions…

For maps and more info, call into Crank’n Cycles Collie. All the guys in the shop are keen riders and know the local trails well. They will be able to help you work out the perfect days riding. 

And for after ride refreshments, Harris River Estate Winery can be accessed directly from Ray’s Trail, Wed to Sun for a light lunch  or the Feddy in town for a right slap up meal.

Oh and why Dead Cat? It has something to do with a dead cat…..

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