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!

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!

Today we went Full Throttle at the Collie Motorplex!

It’s Monday morning and the #visitcollie team are up and about early, we’re heading out to the Collie Motorplex to have a look at the facilities and in particular the track extensions and upgrades that are nearing completion.

Anna Farrell, Track Manager meets us and fills us in on what’s been happening at the track, up coming events and planned future upgrades. Coming off a huge weekend where the motorplex hosted the 2018 Ernie Hastie Memorial – the largest race meet in Western Australia outside of Perth. The track was buzzing with workers packing up and getting ready for the following weekends meet. Historic Motorcycle racing!

As we chat about the previous weekend and the ins and outs of managing a race track, we take notice of the massive  whiteboard calendar outlining what’s on for the entire 2018 season – Fully booked, right up until Christmas!

Anna offers us a tour and leads us through the club rooms, medical facilities, accommodation rooms and kitchen areas. We discuss upgrades to spectator areas that are on the horizon and Anna explains that the majority of the race events are free entry for spectators. Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic or enjoy food supplied by the onsite canteen. All funds raised are put back into the local race club and track.

 

Photo: D1WA - Matsuri 1 2018 - Collie Motorplex

Track Upgrades.

Recently visited by WA Premier Mark McGowan and our Sports and Recreation Minister Mick Murray to inspect the recent upgrades, made possible by a $2.97 million dollar commitment from the State Government. The funding allowed for the track to be extended from 1.6km to 2.3km and improve competitor and spectator facilities. More recently an injection of $314,000 brought the track up to national standards in order to create opportunities for major motorsport events to held in the South West. Other than Barbagallo, north of Perth, the Collie Motorplex is the only sealed race track in Western Australia.

Premier Mark McGowan was impressed with the upgrades and stated the Motorplex was fast becoming a true asset to the town and the South West.

“I’m pleased to see the Collie Motorplex becoming a huge tourism drawcard for the town, it’s great for motorsport enthusiasts and great for local businesses and great for Collie”

Collie Motorplex track extension from 1.6km to 2.3km

"Jump in, lets go for a drive"

Just when we thought our time visiting the racetrack had come to an end, our host rustled some car keys from her jacket pocket and motioned for us to jump in the tracks car. It must be said, it’s the first time either of us had actually been on a racetrack. Anna took us for a lap around the existing 1.6km circuit – giving us an insight into what its like to run the operation. After the lap we started another, this time veering off to access the new, almost completed section. With some equipment still working on the edges of the track Anna explains:

 “The last lot of rain a few months ago gave us a heads up that this section of the track required more drainage works. Part of the gravel run off area was washed out and that was a great clue that we needed to reassess the area and improve it, and that’s what the guys are doing now”

We are cruising around a sweeping left hand turn when we come to a stop, our host tells us this is her favourite part of the track, its on a slight elevation affording us a nice little view down towards a sharpish right hander and the track facilities in the distance. We stop for a few photographs and a look around. 

The #visitcollie crew would like to thank Anna for the opportunity to view the track upgrades and taking time out of her busy schedule to give us a peek into the fascinating world of running a racetrack. If you’d like to see what’s coming up for the rest of the 2018 calendar you can visit the Collie Motorplex’s website here.

Track extension, looking down towards the facilities.

Another great day out option in the Region

With a racing calendar packed full of events every weekend right up to Christmas, the motorplex is another great option for things to see and do in the Collie Region. With the majority of events free or some with a minimal charge it really is a great little day out. Located only 14km to the South-East of the Collie CBD it’s an easy, family friendly day out that’s really affordable. As an added bonus, the absolutely gorgeous Stockton Lake is right next door. The blue lake, famous for its water skiing, camping and that incredible azure colour, is a must see on the way.

You can read more about Stockton Lake here.

Stockton Lake - Photo by @_cjlp13_

A weekend get away with a difference!

The cooler months are right around the corner, further south it comes even sooner (and even more so for us up in the hills). Collie is famous for its chilly weather and misty mornings. Our first instinct is to hibernate for the winter months and look forward to those warm days once again. However the middle of the year is a great time to get out and explore our state. 

 The Bunbury Geographe region, of which Collie is a part, is home to some terrific destinations all ripe for discovery. The area, is yet to be busy with holiday makers so the roads are quieter and there’s far less crowds to deal with. The 7 regions that make up #BunGeo all have something unique to offer, whether its picking your own fruit off the tree in Donnybrook or rummaging around the antique and quirky stores in Balligup to lingering on Bunbury’s cafe strip. Below we’ll outline what #visitCollie reckons is a pretty good itinerary to start you off in the region that’s got something for everyone.

Those gorgeous Autumn colours are here...now!

The Collie River Valley is located just over two hours south of Perth, Western Australia and boasts some of the most stunning scenery in the South West. Your GPS or Google Maps will tell you to head south from Perth along the Forrest Highway then, just before Bunbury head east on Raymond Rd to link up with the Coalfields highway. This is the traditional way to go, its a scenic route up the mighty Roelands hill, looking back west you’ll be treated to a stunning view of the coast below. However, we’ll let you in on a little detour off the main highway which is actually quicker and arguably even more scenic.

 

 

The “Mornington Road Way” starts off the South Western Highway just south of Wokalup (just south of Harvey). You’ll notice the large buildings of the Harvey Agricultural School on the corner. This winding country road gently elevates you up over the same hills that you may follow all the way from Armadale in Perth’s south. The South Western Highway may well be WA’s route 66 in some respects. The newer Forrest Highway is a more direct way south from Perth however, the now almost forgotten parallel highway next door offers an alternative for those seeking something different and interesting to watch roll past on the drive. Patience must be practiced, it’s single lane in most parts but offering overtaking lanes often enough to pass when need be. If you do take Forrest Highway, there are several good roads to take to cross over onto South Western Highway. Pinjarra Road and Forrestry Rd \ Uduc Road both bring you across to the SW Highway at both Pinjarra and Harvey – these are well placed for a bathroom or coffee break as they are both roughly halfway points on the trip.

 

Once turned onto Mornington Road, enjoy the trip from here on in, you’ll encounter little in the way of traffic and the vista is stunning. Use caution though – it is single lane and (in that is classic country road style) its gorgeously winding. Steady steady, you’re almost at your destination now! Follow the signage to Collie. The final T-Junction will be a right turn to the town centre, a left will take you to Harris River Estate Winery and the Harris Dam. The Dam is worth a visit, a beautiful BBQ area in a bush setting is a nice picnic spot. More on the Winery later!

Acommodation Options.

The Collie River Valley is famous for its camping, however there are plenty of accommodation options available if those chilly mornings in a tent aren’t your thing! If historic old country pubs are your more your style, you’re in luck! Collie is loaded to the eyeballs with them. The Colliefields Hotel has been converted into a cafe / backpackers that offers clean single, twin, double and dorm rooms at prices you can’t go past. The cafe serves a great range of food and really, really good coffee. Seriously. Alternatively, The Federal Hotel just up the road has that classic country pub vibe, with a family friendly focus and a great alfresco area the meals are generous and both have the open wood fires roaring in winter. If a modern motel or apartment stay is more your deal you can’t go past the Collie Ridge Motel, at the western entrance to town you won’t miss it!

You can read up more about the Colliefields in our recent blog here.

Colliefields & Federal Hotel

What to do...

Now that the bags are unpacked and you’re looking to explore we’ve an itinerary that’s so jam packed you’ll be battling to fit it all in, maybe pick the items that best suit your situation and there’s always next time to tick off the rest! 

Known for its power generation, Collie is fast shaking off those past stereotypes and emerging as a tourism destination. Still slightly raw and edgy it lacks a little polish found in some long established tourist towns, but you may find that’s half the charm! A mix of 1900’s architecture and modern built buildings means there’s a real eclectic mix of styles as you wander the streets of the town centre. With a compact CBD you can leave the car at your accommodation and enjoy a stroll around town. Nosing in the quirky gift shops or visit the great Bakery in the main street. Central Park is a real delight, featuring a terrific kids nature playground, a water park and a vintage train carriage re-purposed as a cafe, Wagon 537 serves up awesome coffees, milkshakes for the kids and some truly delicious food in their own unique style. You can read more about Central Park in our blog post here.

Collie CBD

Award winning winery.

Harris River Estate Winery is set on 24 hectares of vineyard and is a vine to bottle producer which means they produce everything start to finish, in house. The cellar door offers gorgeous views over the vines, dam and state forest beyond. Enjoy their Tapas style menu on the verandah as you while away the afternoon. This family run operation has expanded to also produce their own cider and have an in house mircro-brewery. On-site accommodation in one of their two cosy cabins is also available.

Harris River Estate

Go deep underground and back in time!

Take a step back in time with a trip underground in the replica underground coal mine. Situated at the Collie Visitors Centre, you can enjoy a guided tour with one of their three very knowledgeable, now retired underground miner tour guides. Bookings available by calling the Visitors Centre on 9734 2051 and arranging a tour. The Visitors Centre is open Monday – Friday 9am – 4pm Saturday 10am – 3pm and Sunday 10am – 2pm. Guided tours take around one hour or you may prefer a self guided tour which is possible during the visitors centre opening times, no appointment necessary. 

Replical Mine tours

Its too cold to swim, but you've got to check out...

Black Diamond lake is now an instagrammers hotspot. Made famous in recent times due to those incredible images on social media, the abandoned mine void hasn’t been in use since the early 1950’s. Now flooded, the limestone bottom along with a clear sky combine to radiate a magnificent azure blue. Even with the cooler weather, the site is a must see and worthy of a selfie or family photo before making plans to revisit in the summer months for a swim!

You can find our more by visiting our Black Diamond blog here.

Black Diamond Lake

You may think its hard to beat Black Diamond. But what if we told you BD has a bigger and arguably better cousin?

Stockton Lake is found a few kilometers east of Collie. Also an abandoned mine its also one of a series of blue lakes in the Collie region. Black Diamond is under a rehabilitation program and may not be available for camping for some time it is a day visit area only. Stockton however is a brilliant campsite. Large open sites suit large groups. The water is used for water skiing in the summer months. Well worth a visit for that classic blue water shot!

You can find out more about Stockton Lake by clicking here.

Stockton Lake

Wellington National Park is a true gem and worth a day in itself. Home to the famous Honeymoon Pool, Potters Gorge, the Kiosk, Wellington Dam wall and Lennard Drive you’ll have a ball immersing yourself in all things “Welly Dam”.

Honeymoon Pool needs little introduction – part of the Preston River (which is fed from the Wier wall) Honeymoon Pool is famous for its stunning natural setting. Also famous for its freezing water, but this time of year that won’t bother us! Featuring free BBQ’s and picnic tables plus a convenient toilet block, HP is the perfect spot for a family picnic and nature time with the kids. Follow the path along the river or take a left before you leave the area towards Gelcoat rapids for an incredible bushwalk along the whitewater. See if you can find the massive granite boulder, climb it for an impressive family portrait! You can read more about Honeymoon Pool in our blog here.

Honeymoon Pool

Lennard Drive is a one way, sealed road that extends from the bottom of the Dam wall in the Wellington National Park to River Road. Along this gorgeous winding route you’ll come across four stunning locations, all well signposted and including a small area to safely park your vehicle. The Rapids, Little Rock, Big Rock and Long Pool are dotted along this drive. Each one is breath taking and well worth a stop and photo opportunity. Another one to remember for your return visit in the warmer months. Continue on Lennard Drive after your stop at Long Pool, turn right at the end and you’ll arrive back at Honeymoon Pool. You can read more about Lennard Drive at our post here.

The stunning Long Pool

Find that bit of Culture!

The Collie Art Gallery was officially opened in 2015. This incredible building celebrates Collie’s thriving arts scene. The building consists of 150 square meters of gallery space plus a 50 square meter studio, storage and working space. The gallery displays exhibitions of national importance as well as local arts and crafts. The lobby hosts a eclectic mix of local arts and crafts available to purchase and is a must see on your next visit to town. see https://www.collieartgallery.org.au/ for current and upcoming exhibitions.

Bring your Mountain Bike, its the Wagyl Biddi you see!

Collie’s newest mountain bike trail network, the Collie Wagyl Biddi, was officially opened recently, just in time for the Australia Day long weekend.

Hundreds of avid mountain bikers, as well as complete novices, have already had a go at the new nine-kilometre trail network with a series of connected trails built to beginner and intermediate level, including 4.5 kilometres of trails suitable for hand-cycles.

The Trail Head is located at Soldier’s Park on Lefroy Street in Collie and has toilets, water and parking, as well as a playground, skate park and barbecue facilities, making the trail a great all-round family experience.

You can read more about the Wagyl Biddi Trail in our blog post here.

On your way out of town...

So how did we do? 

We think that’s not a bad little weekend away in the region, there’s plenty more to see and do, so stay tuned for another suggested weekender in the near future. Once your bags are packed and you’re thinking of heading home, you may chose to head back via Mornington Road or for a change of scenery take Throssell Street heading west out of town to link onto Coalfields Highway and down the big hill back towards the South West or Forrest Highway. 

Alternatively if you’ve some time left and want one more adventure before you head back to reality, why not take a slight detour to visit our gorgeous neighbour, the Ferguson Valley. Fast becoming known for its jaw dropping scenery, micro breweries and wineries also, The Ferguson Valley is only 30 minutes away via Mungalup / Pile Rd and is home to the world famous Gnomesville! Now’s the perfect opportunity to stop by and visit this now iconic location. Don’t forget to BYO gnome to place amongst their new friends. The kids will love it!

#visitCollie Recommend the nearby Moody Cow Brewery for lunch!

Iconic Gnomesville

Today we ride the Karak Trail!

The Karak Trail (Noongar word for the red-tailed black cockatoo) is accessible to walkers, cyclists, families with prams, wheelchairs and gophers, with rubbish bins and seating dotted along its length. It is a 3.5km tarmacked path that starts west of the Collie Cemetery and meanders through the lovely state forest to end in Allanson on Ferguson Road.

It is a beautiful walk any time of the year with birds singing in the tall jarrah, marri and paperbark trees lining the path and in the Spring there is a wonderful display of wildflowers, especially the lovely kangaroo paw which is much larger and vividly coloured compared to it’s garden counterpart. 

http://www.collierivervalley.com.au/karak-red-tail-trail/

Karak Trail - Perfect for Families!

Perfect for Families.

Today we threw the MTB and scooter in the back of the ute and headed out to the trail. Convenient parking right at the trail head, means its super quick to get in the saddle and get going. At the Collie end of the trail there’s a bin and dog waste bags if our four legged friend was to join us. Also we take heed of the warning sign, keep an eye out for snakes in the warmer months.

As the introduction states, the trail is 3.5km long, it has however been extended recently to include the township of Allanson, home of Black Diamond Lake. The path is in great condition, it should be, its near on brand new. Dual use and well maintained it’s a leisurely cycle adjacent to Coalfields highway. A slight down hill ride west and the opposite when returning towards town.

The trail is perfect for all fitness levels and age groups. There are park benches dotted along the path every few hundred meters, ideal for a breather or a drink of water if need be.

Convenient Park Benches along the Trail

Towards the end of the trail, you’ll come across the turn off for the Scenic Drive. This 7km of unsealed road takes you past some gorgeous sections of the Collie River and terminates at Mungalup Rd. A stones throw from the gorgeous Minninup Pool. From here it is approximately 3km back into the Collie CBD.

Alternatively you may like to continue on and take the next left after the Scenic Drive (Ferguson Rd) and arrive at Black Diamond Lake.

You can find Our blog on the Collie River Scenic drive here.

You can find our blog on Black Diamond here.

Black Diamond

Today we walk the Bibbulmun Track!

The Bibbulmun Track is one of the world’s great long distance walk trails, stretching 1000km from Kalamunda, a suburb in the hills on the outskirts of Perth, to the historic town of Albany on the south coast. It passes through the heart of the scenic south west of Western Australia.

The Track is for walkers only and is signposted with yellow triangular markers symbolising the Waugal, the rainbow serpent of the Aboriginal Dreaming. Trail markers are spaced up to 500m apart. They are more frequent when there is an intersection with other tracks or when the Track takes a turn.

The Track takes walkers through towering karri and tingle forests, down mist-shrouded valleys, over giant granite boulders and along breathtaking coastal heathlands. It passes through many of the most beautiful national parks of the south west forests and coastline. The Bibbulmun Track offers a wide range of experiences, from a gentle stroll to enjoy the peace and beauty of the natural environment, to an epic eight week adventure. Those that walk every step of the way can be registered as end-to-enders.

You can make it a wilderness experience by camping out, you can join a guided group, a tour, or you can do it in comfort by staying in the towns along the Track and enjoying day walks in the area. The Track passes through Dwellingup, Collie, Balingup, Donnelly River Village, Pemberton, Northcliffe, Walpole, Peaceful Bay and Denmark. www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au

My Dad, brother Ian and I had done some hiking in the Albany region and decided to tackle the Collie – Balingup section. After some googling and trawling over maps we planned our trek. We would be dropped off just outside of Collie to meet up with the spur line which detours off the track, through Wellington National Park then back to the track. This is an easy starting off point from Collie. Best road is easily found off Mungalup Road. Turn at Collie Caltex petrol station and follow out of town for approximately 10 – 15 minutes. Keep an eye out for Best Rd on your left. A short drive brings you to the spur line.

Excited by the start of the adventure we bid our driver farewell and set off. Before long we reached the Yabberup campsite. After short rest, a few photos we then join the Track proper. Following the yellow Waugul markers we wander through the gorgeous Aussie bush. A good time for some banter and catch up with the old man and my brother.

Ian at the Yabberup Campsite

After our 8am start at the spur line, we estimated we should arrive at the Mungalup Tavern by lunch. We had arranged with the publican to leave our car there the previous night so we could easily return to Collie after our trek. He informed us the car would be quite safe and it was very common for people to do the same and they never had any issues in the past. 

The track winds through the bush, fairly flat in most places and doesn’t provide any difficulty to us. The trick is to keep looking for the yellow markers. Saying that – we never had a problem spotting or following them. They seem to turn up just as you start wondering where the next one is!

A true highlight on the walk is the sight of the shimmering Glen Mervyn Dam, it marks the 3/4 point of our journey and is popular with campers and water skiers. The dam is a welcome sight and provides a glorious setting for morning tea. A sandwich and a bottle of water were enjoyed and then we follow western bank of the dam south, towards the dam wall. It isn’t long until we reach the “Mumby Pub” where we are greeted with a cold drink and the lunch menu!

Glen Mervyn Dam wall
Final Destination - The Mumby Pub

The Collie – Mumbalup Tavern section is a great introduction to walking the “Bib Track” – It may become addictive as it isn’t long before you’re left wondering, what’s the next section you might tackle! Collie is well set up with services to cater for hikers. With multiple accommodation options to choose from, two laundromats, 7 day trading from both supermarkets, it’s an ideal stop over point for a longer Bib Track trip or a great spot to start your adventure.

A hundred years ago The Colliefields Hotel would have been “The Place” to stay when travelling through Collie and it still is today for the many mountain bike riders and bush walkers who visit every week. The Colliefields is a member of both the Bibbulmun and Munda Biddi Track Foundations and offers clean single, twin, double, ensuite and dorm rooms at prices you can’t go past. With breakfast and secure bike storage included and trail transfers available, what more do you need? Maybe somewhere to have food and clothing parcels delivered to? No Worries, they can handle that as well. Just ring ahead to let them know!

visitcollie.com.au thoroughly recommend hikers take some time to visit bibbulmuntrack.org.au and familiarise yourself with the Track prior to setting off. Safety advice can be found here – www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au/trip-planner/health-hygiene-safety/

You can plan your Bibbulmun Track walk here – https://www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au/trip-planner/track-sections/collie/

 

Holiday Shenanigans – check these ideas out!

It’s school holiday time again and thoughts of what to do to keep the kids occupied. We have four great holiday ideas to keep them busy for hours and have them sleeping soundly at the end of the day!

CURRAWONG PUMP TRACK

Currawong Pump Track - Potters Gorge, Wellington National Park

The Currawong Pump Track is located near the Potters Gorge Campground in Wellington National Park just two hours south of Perth, WA and only half an hour inland from Bunbury. The purpose built track is suitable for riders of all abilities and makes a great holiday activity for the kids. It will keep them amused for hours while you relax nearby or even ride a loop or two yourself.  So if you are camping in the region, don’t forget to pack the bikes!

All that activity is going to make everyone hungry! Picnic tables and BBQs are provided for you to cook up a feast to fill those hungry tummies. 

The day use car park is around to the right on the way in and there are clean long drop toilets provided. 

 

You can even camp right next to the track! Adults $11, Concession $7 and Children $3 per night. With so much to do in the area you could easily fill several days. Browse the posts on our website or Facebook page for more ideas or stop in at the Collie Visitor Centre. 


CENTRAL PARK IN THE CBD

This new modern Nature Play style playground is the centre piece of the new Collie Town Centre. It’s a definite favourite with both locals and visitors. There’s plenty of green grass to run around on and an array of fun and challenging play equipment to test skill and endurance.  They are sure to use up all that holiday energy they seem to have so much of.  Plus ample, shaded seating for the grown-ups and several food outlets nearby to keep everyone refueled, refreshed and on the go. It’s even got a free water playground to cool off in when the weather is warm enough.

Free Water Playground
Central Park Playground


REPLICA UNDERGROUND COAL MINE AND COALFIELDS MUSEUM

Once inside The Replica Mine it looks and feels like you are really underground. The guided tours are taken by retired miners with a wealth of knowledge and stories that bring the experience to life. The kids will be enthralled for ages. Hear them talk about the horses they worked with underground and the challenging conditions they faced. See the old hand held drills and other equipment that was used to mine the coal. Quite different to the modern machines used today.

The replica coalmine is attached to the Collie Visitor Centre and costs $5 for adults and $2 for children. Contact the Visitor Centre for tour times. They can often arrange a tour at a time to suit your group.

 

If you are on a tight holiday schedule, you can take a self-guided tour. There are plenty of interpretive panels and TV screens providing a peek into the past.

Replica Underground Coal Mine
Coalfields Museum

The Coalfields Museum, located in the old Road Board building, has recently had a make-over and is looking fantastic. The museum staff and volunteers have uncovered treasures they didn’t know they had, hidden away in boxes and store rooms. These items have now been catalogued, cleaned and displayed for visitors to marvel at. I have to admit to being a bit of a museum fan but I have never seen such an extensive collection as this. It includes the Golden Crust Bakery horse drawn delivery cart and the original Geldert and Sons truck. It was one of the first trucks to operate in Collie. There is early mining equipment and household items. There is even a typewriter with the last letter it was used for still in the machine!

Don’t forget to ask the staff for a treasure hunt sheet to keep the kids busy.

The museum is open Thursday to Monday and costs $5 for adults and $2.50 for children.

You will find it just across the road from the Visitor Centre on Throssell St at the western entrance to town.

 

 

 

Rummaging around a Museum can be thirsty work but never fear because we have several great places to grab a bite to eat and something to drink. The ever popular McDonalds is located on the main street, but if you want something a little more upmarket we can recommend The Colliefields across the road.  They serve the most amazing meals, desserts and cakes to die for. They have milkshakes in 22 different flavours and the most decadent iced coffees and shakes you have ever seen. Soon everyone will be ready to tackle the next adventure. 

 

SOLDIERS PARK AND THE SKATE PARK

Soldiers Park is a serious kid’s playground in the middle of a large grassy area on the banks of the river. With swings and slides and bridges and tubes to test their balance and nerve they will play for hours. At the end of the day they are sure to be ready for a good nights sleep. There’s room to kick a ball and some serious concrete paths to ride a bike or trike. Bring a picnic or use the BBQs and stay for the day.

Soldiers Park Playground

 

The bigger kids will just love the nearby Skate Park. The Park incorporates a tight bowl and a number of other technical features for them to test their skills on. Bring a bike, skateboard or scooter and they will spend hours showing off to each other. It’s sure to be a holiday to tell the kids back at school about.

 

Collie Skate Park

Wellington NP, Lennard Dr & Honeymoon Pool – a magic family day out!

Two thumbs up from the kids!

Righto, Honeymoon Pool will be quiet today now that most visitors would have gone back to work or school, lets go out for a sausage sizzle and the kids can have a dip whilst the weather is still warm” 

It’s Tuesday following the Easter weekend and the kids have a pupil free day, it also may be the last warm day we’ll have – we’ve all been working on and off over Easter so its the perfect opportunity to pack up a few snags from Spry’s the local butcher and head out for a run in the car. 

15 minutes west of Collie along the Coalfields Highway is Wellington Dam road, take this turn and within a few minutes you’ll come across River Road,  the turn off to Honeymoon Pool. But alas, this gravel road is closed as they are sealing it. Never fear however, as this uncovers another true gem that you may have otherwise missed!

The detour takes us further along Wellington Dam road, passed the Potters Gorge turn off and into the heart of Wellington National Park. If you plan to check out Potters Gorge, now is the best time to do this as the detour is a one way loop. We didn’t stop at the kiosk at the Dam this visit, but we thoroughly recommend a stop here, it’s a great little cafe and a good opportunity for a toilet stop if you’ve arrived after a long drive. 

After the Kiosk, turn right and you’ll follow the one way winding road down to the dam wall. Here there’s an area to pull over the car and marvel at the huge jet of water shooting out from the dam base and into the river below. We continue on the same road and look out for the next right turn, it’s the one way Lennard Drive. Take your time travelling along this gorgeous road. Following the Preston River below, it’s not long until you’ll come across the first of four parking areas The Rapids, followed by Big Rock, Little Rock and Long Pool.

The Rapids can be, as the name suggests, quite fast moving and best suited to older kids or adults. The brave and adventurous may have a blast here but a word of warning from Stephen from the Kiosk, they have had people return bloodied and bruised from an encounter at the Rapids! You’ve been warned! We give the Rapids a miss and stop next at Big Rock. Leaving the car in the parking area we follow the path over the huge granite rock banks to bring us to the waters edge. A family are just packing up a picnic and leaving as we arrive, so we’ll have the place to ourselves. Here the kids are enthralled by the rushing water at the far side of the river as they play and splash at the gentler side closer to us. We kick our shoes off and shuffle across the moving water to the “Big Rock” in the middle of the river. The smooth granite river bed means the water is super clean but it also means it can be a little slippery so care should be taken!

With lunchtime approaching we move onto the next spot, Little Rock.

Here the same family we met at Big Rock are moving onto the next stop on their tour. Growing up we were totally accustomed to swimming in water holes and playing in the dirt, finding critters and exploring the natural world. But it seems the following generations have moved away from this type of caper, just a little bit. Maybe more so in the city. We found it amusing how the kids reacted to water that was icy cold and unlike the heated and chlorinated water they were used to. They absolutely loved it and were soon giggling, shrieking and having a wonderful time.

Little rock is a slower moving section of the river. Pooling gently then pouring between a natural rock wall to the larger pool below with a lonely rock standing sentry a little further out. Phillip (11) decided he wanted to swim out to the rock. Sure enough, with a little encouragement he conquered it! Just prior to leaving we spotted a hand sized fish desperately trying not to be swept down into the lower pool. The water is gin clear and the kids were amazed by this real life David Attenborough moment, right in front of their eyes!

Negotiating the slippery river floor at Little Rock.

Back in the car and a short drive later we come across Long Pool. The final stop along Lennard Drive before Honeymoon Pool. Definitely suited to older kids, who are confident swimmers. Long Pool is a calm, open pool, adjacent to a nice shaded picnic area. 

Entry to the water is via steps unlike the previous two stops where there has been a gentle slope into the water that suited the younger ones, Long Pool is deeper right from the entry. I could just imagine bringing a tractor tyre tube or pool float and relaxing in the shade of the Peppermints along the banks, truly stunning. 

Whilst on tour through the Wellington National Park and particularly Lennard Drive, we noticed how clean previous visitors had kept it. Rightly so, this is an area of stunning natural beauty, so the thought of littering or leaving a mess is the last thing on our mind, a bottle cap left at little rock was picked up and taken home to the bin, we’d encourage everyone to not turn a blind eye to even the smallest scrap of litter, if safe to do so, grab it and take it home.

Hanging out at Long Pool.

Finally its Lunchtime! The kids had been having so much fun, food was the last thing on their minds, but now everyones tummies were rumbling , it was time to pack up again and head down the road to the T – Junction that ends Lennard Drive. A right turn here takes us the the entrance to Honeymoon Pool.

It’s fairly quiet, after the hustle and bustle of the long weekend, a few campers linger and a handful of cars are in the day visit area. We take the esky and towels to the nearby picnic tables and the snags are soon sizzling on the BBQ. The kids have made a bee-line straight for the steps leading into the water. A couple of older kids and an adult jump off the platform above into the water below. This inspires Phillip to have a go. The sign warns “No Diving” which should be heeded. Care should be taken when jumping into a natural body of water. After witnessing several attempts by others, Phillip has a go himself. Instantly addicted to the thrill, the feat was repeated a few more times!

By now the sausage sizzle was ready, we sat down for a rest and some lunch. 

Soon after, the kids were back in the water, exploring the shallows, where they found a marron crawling around under the steps beneath our feet, the kids we’re amazed and spent quite a while studying the creature before returning to the shallows for a wade. 

Our day trip to the Wellington National Park was going down as an absolute classic. The kids had a ball with plenty to see and do. Lennard Drive is a stunning addition to a great day out to Honeymoon Pool.  If camping is not your thing, even though Potters Gorge and Honeymoon Pool are gorgeous, the scenic town of Collie is only 15 minutes down the road. A variety of accommodation options are available from modern motel and apartment style rooms through to the classic Aussie country pub experience. 

Wellington National Park gets busy during summer and school holidays or weekends, other times you will be enjoying the tranquility almost to yourself. Contact the Collie Visitor Centre for more information on accommodation options in the region.

24 hour, 7 days a week Pupper washing comes to Collie!

No more long drives home with stinky creek dog in the car, this service allows the dog owner to shampoo, condition, flea treat and blow dry old mate well before he gets on the nose.

Installed in 2016, Mucky Pups Dog wash was born after local owners Rachel & Steve were left stranded with 3 ripe pooches and no where to turn. Dog sitting for both pairs of in-laws the couple had to make a trip to nearby Bunbury and took the dogs for a ride. There they stopped by the Pet store for supplies and noticed the Dog Wash machines at the rear of the building.

“We used these types of machines when we lived in Perth, they’re brilliant. I wondered how one would go in Collie. We called up a mobile dog wash business and they were booked solid for months. We started making some enquiries and here we are a year later”

Located on the main street of town at 134 Forrest St,  its centrally located, with easy vehicle parking and is housed under an awning for protection from the weather. The unit takes $5, $10 & $20 notes as well as gold coins. The offending dog is placed into the stainless steel trough and secured with a collar chain if need be. Once the timer starts after $10 is deposited, you’re off and racing. The rotary dial makes it easy to go through the sequence of washing. Ending with a nice blow dry.

“We keep the unit open 24/7 –  its thoroughly cleaned and disinfected daily. We wash our dog in it, not nearly enough mind you – the problem is the Australian Made shampoo and conditioners are that good the dog stays smelling fresh for weeks, not a very good business model for us!” 

Washing old mate is childs play!

We have fun at Central Park!

Today we checked out the new Central Park development, right in the middle of town.

Conveniently located in the CBD, the park is fully accessible all year round and features grassed picnic areas, free electric barbecues, tables and seating, landscaping, toilets and change rooms as well as the magnificent water playground and Wagon 537.

It’s a great place to spend an afternoon whether in the warmer or cooler months. The playground is well shaded with trees for the warmer months and close by is a beautiful gazebo for Mum and Dad.

Now with the Wagon 537 located on site, you can grab a picnic lunch and coffee and either utilize the picnic tables or borrow a rug from the lovely staff of the wagon and have a picnic on the lawn under the shady trees.

At the western end of the Park sits the Bendigo Bank, Collie Music Shell, a proven hit with locals and visitors alike, the shell has featured music acts and been host to an outdoor cinema in the warmer months.

Beyond the Music Shell, just over the railway crossing sits the new Collie Art Gallery,  the culmination of 40 years of passionate lobbying, planning and fundraising. It was also the first time a purpose-built A-class public art gallery had been opened in WA since the Art Gallery of WA in the 1970s.

The design includes 150 square metres of gallery space, a 50-square-metre studio and storage and working space, designed to allow the gallery to host exhibitions of national and international significance. 

Collie Art Gallery was built as part of the Shire of Collie’s SuperTowns program and was made possible with funding from the Shire of Collie, Royalty for Regions and a half million dollar donation from the Collie & Districts Community Bank Branch of the Bendigo Bank. Funding was also provided by Lotterywest and the Coal Miners’ Welfare Board to assist with internal fit out.

Since it opened Collie Art Gallery has hosted many significant exhibitions and welcomes inquiries from artists and their representatives.

The gallery offers a diverse range of workshops and development programs suitable for artists at all levels, from primary-school-aged children right through to seniors, absolute beginners to experienced artists. Artists with skills to share are encouraged to hold workshops at the gallery.

The gallery also offers a unique range of mainly hand-made crafts and artwork by local artisans for sale in the gallery’s gift shop.

Cool relief in the middle of town

Set in the middle of town as the centerpiece of the new Collie Central Park development, the Collie Splash Pad offers cool relief for locals and tourists alike with 45 randomly sequenced ground sprays and fountains. 

Taking only 7 days in total to complete, the exposed aggregate splah pad features large and small ground sprays operating at random intervals to deliniate various zones and “water rooms” and to keep kids guessing about which spray will come on next. Three bronze lizard sculptures help give the park some additional character.

The overhead shade sails help keep users sun-safe under the mid-day sun and a series of in-ground lights make the park as much of a feature at night as it is during the day.

A Cool Feature of the Park.