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!

Perhaps the Biggest & Best FREE kids playground around?

A gorgeous drive...

An incredibly scenic 35 minute drive into the neighbouring Shire of Donnybrook / Balingup brings us to the Apple Fun Park. Opened in 2018 – the park was (and may still be) the biggest free playground in Australia. A clear favourite for families in the region and it’s no wonder why. With a features list as long as your arm, it’s got something for kids of all ages and abilities. Fully fenced, parents can sit back and relax under the shaded shelters at the picnic tables flanked by free BBQ’s and a great coffee shop across the road.

Make no mistake, this is Orchard country and the road into town is stunning. Collie locals may well take it for granted to pop down to Donnybrook and pick up some fruit, straight from the Orchard in those cute little huts by the side of the road. Pop your money in the honesty box, pick up your fruit and get back on the road. Our pick is Athertons, but there’s plenty to choose from, most offering different fruit to the others so you may want to stop a few times!

It’s something pretty special  driving through the apple and stone fruit orchards in full blossom on a sunny day. Magic.

Fruit lovers aren’t the only ones treated along the road between the two towns. There’s a number of wineries too. Take your time, you may need all day!

 

When the tummies rumble...

It won’t be long and the little ones will be ready for some food after all that running, jumping and climbing all over the fun park. Lucky for us there are plenty of options available. The main street of Donnybrook is lined with cafes, bakeries and the Donnybrook Hotel. Our choice, the Donnybrook Snack Shack was directly opposite the park on Collins Street. We can vouch for the kids Fish & Chips $12 (huge) and a terrific regular coffee for me $4.90. We went back across to the park whilst we waited for our food and before we knew it the friendly lady who served us was crossing the street with our order! Now you can’t beat service like that!

Another great option for lunch is to make use of the many free BBQ’s on offer. With two units under each Shade Shelter there’s plenty of room to throw a few snags on. PRO TIP: Get there earlyish to beat the crowds on a sunny weekend. We arrived about 10am and by 11am it was getting busy with most of the picnic tables snapped up.

Well that’s another day trip completed. Stay tuned for more great ideas to keep you busy in the region. You never know where we’ll take you next. Suddenly that day trip to the Collie River Valley becomes a weekender, many come for a few days and need a week to fit it all in. For clean affordable accommodation whilst visiting we recommend The Colliefields hotel or if you prefer a cabin or have your own caravan / tent you can’t go past the Collie River Valley Tourist Park. See you soon!

The iconic Quindanning Hotel.

A long time favourite...

A long time favourite with our biking community along with others who enjoy a day trip to a destination pub on a sunny day. The Quindanning car park is often adorned with rows and rows of gleaming motorcycles. Their owners either standing around them chatting and inspecting each others rides, or they’re in the beer garden enjoying lunch.

But don’t think their clientele stops there. The “Quinny” as its known by many, is the go-to place on a sunny day. Blessed with a spacious outdoors area at the rear and front of the property there is always plenty of room to find your spot to while away the afternoon. 

Pouring their first beer in 1900, the building is steeped in history, with its long verandas, jarrah paneling and open wood fires, roaring in winter.  Less than an hour drive from the CBD along the scenic Collie-Williams road the Quinny really is a magic day trip from Collie. 

Visit the website to find out more about coming events, their menu and accommodation information.

www.quindanning.hotel.com.au

 

The famous Quindanning Beer Garden

Today we rode Ray’s Trail!

Winter gave a brief pause, enough for us to throw the Mountain Bikes in the back of the car and head out to check out Rays Trail. Only a short 5 minute drive out of town along Harris River Road, Rays Trail offers convenient parking right at the trail head in a large gravel carpark. We offloaded the bikes and set off. 

We’re no MTB experts by any means, super novices in fact. But that’s the beauty of mountain biking, you don’t really need that expensive bike to have a great time. Rays Trail is a family friendly 8km loop and is largely set on the side of a large hill. So there’s plenty of fast downhill action. The flipside to that is there’s plenty of uphill to battle too! 

Featuring a log ride and plenty of small jumps and logs to negotiate there’s enough to keep most happy. We were kept company by a flock of noisy Red Tailed Cockatoos as we tackled the course. 

 

Rays Trail Log Ride

Setting off around noon we arrived back at the carpark around 2pm. We included plenty of breaks along the way for some water and photographs. Also Located on Harris River Road is the Harris River Estate Winery. An excellent choice for a lunch and cellar door visit. The winery also has Cabins for accomodation and are ideally situated to take advantage of not only Rays Trail but the nearby Martys and Dead Cats Trails.

It was a fun afternoon with a few challenging obstacles and more than a few fun fast downhill sections. Well worth a visit in our book!

Rays Trail Log Roll
Harris River Estate Winery

King Jarrah – King of the Forest

Royalty – Right here in the Collie River Valley!?

Only 25 minutes from the Collie CBD sits the King Jarrah Tree; the biggest tree in this forest. It sprouted a few hundred years ago before Captain Cook and his mates turned up.

How to get there

Take Mungalup Rd out of Collie and turn left onto King Tree Rd. Enjoy the well maintained unsealed road through the scenic forest.

You will find this forest giant at the end of the 45 m long board walk, where you can sit in complete silence, except for the bird song and gentle rustle of the wind in the trees.

King Jarrah is estimated to be between 300 and 500 year’s old and stands a majestic 36 m tall. It has survived bush fires, storms, lightening and insect attacks.

**King Jarrah is one of the few places we have visited where there has been not a scrap of litter to be seen. We would love to keep it that way. Please remember to take your litter home with you.

King Tree Road access.
Classic Aussie bush.
Discover King Jarrah!
King Jarrah himself.

Wheel chair friendly

With a small amount of assistance King Jarrah is accessible to people using a wheel chair or with limited mobility.

Please note; there are no toilets at this location. The nearest facilities (including disabled toilets) are located  at the Kiosk at the Dam in Wellington National Park, a 15 minute drive away.

We Ride the Sika Trail

Dual Use Trail

The Sika Trail is located in Wellington National Park 20 minutes west of Collie. It is a dual purpose trail, suitable for mountain bike riding and bush walking.

Starting at Kiosk at the Dam, it winds its way through some magnificent jarrah and marri bushland, passes Potters Gorge and finishes back at the kiosk, where you can relax with a cold drink and salad roll or hot coffee and delicious home baked cakes at the end of your ride.

The total trail is 10 km but could easily be broken into two separate sections. It took me about an hour and a half to ride the section from Wellington Dam Rd/Potters Gorge to the Kiosk and back again, stopping along the way to rest and take photos and enjoying a refreshing swim at the end of my ride.

The trail is rated as moderate difficulty. Allow 3-4 hours to complete the entire trail depending on your level of experience and fitness and if you are walking or cycling.

Trail Section.
Great views.
Spot for a rest.
Alfresco in the National Park

Network of Trails to Choose From

The trail is part of a network of trails in the Wellington National Park including the Jabitj and the Kurliiny Tjenangitj  that allow you to ride all the way from the Kiosk at the Dam and Potters Gorge to Honeymoon Pool. The famous Munda Biddi that starts in Mundaring near Perth and goes all the way to Albany on the south coast also passes through the area providing multiple options for walking and cycling adventures.

Don’t Own a Bike?

If you are keen to have a ride but do not own a suitable bike you can hire one from the Kiosk at the Dam or Crank’n Cycles in Collie

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

35474325_1708410012568714_7462896123686944768_n
Photo:Ashley Cooper-Grant
35644377_2142788752403454_458121917828694016_o
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.

 

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!