Wildflowers – August

During August we start to see more colour appearing throughout the Collie River Valley

Collie Town Centre

This Tea Tree is growing near the Old Goods Shed and at the other end of Central Park opposite the Premier Hotel

Love these Yellow Native Hibiscus blooms that never really open

These are not natives, but they are fascinating they way the grow in amazing round clumps. You will find them at the end of the footbridge over the railway line near the Goods Shed

This pink Bottle Brush is growing under the railway foot bridge and it is a stunner

You will find mass plantings of these amazing pink Grevilleas at the back of Central Park along the railway line fence

Silver Princess is one of the most beautiful Eucalypts

This unusual Grevillea is growing near the Water Playground in Central Park

Another amazing Grevillea near the round-about opposite 8 Thai Ladies

Karak Trail

Purple Native Wisteria is flowering along the Karak Trail, especially amongst the Jarrah trees

Minninup Pool

You will need to be a bit of a stealth to find one of these Helmet Orchids

This unusual fungi looks like an upside down mushroom!

 

Mungalup Road

These stunning Eucalyptus flowers are right up against  the Golf Course fence on Mungalup Rd. 

More amazing Eucalyptus blooms along Mungalup Rd.  We think they look like little ballerinas in a tutu!

 

Rays Trail, Harris River Road

Cute little pink Fairy Orchid found on Rays Trail. One of the benefits of being a slow bike rider – you get to see the flowers as you go past!

A most peculiar, large fungi attached to a tree on Rays Trail. The top section was the size of a football.

Scenic Drive/Flora Road

 Another stunning Grevillea, found near the gauging station along Flora Road

Pretty little Hakea found near the gauging station along Flora Road

 

Wellington National Park, Lennard Drive

These feather flowers grow en-masse throughout the National Park, but are particularly spectacular at Big Rock

Bright yellow Hibbertia’s start flowering in the Winter and keep going right into Spring

This unusual Grevillea is growing near the toilets at the Kiosk at the Dam. We think it is an introduced plant but still stunning with it’s most unusual form.

Various types of ferns grow prolifically in rock crevasses throughout the Park

Sika Trail

The Sika Trail is located in Wellington National Park, just 2 1/2 hours south of Perth, WA. It is a 10 km, dual purpose trail, suitable for mountain bike riding and bush walking. The road is sealed all the way to the start of the trail and there is plenty of car park space available. 

Optional Starting Points

Starting at the Kiosk at the Dam, The Sika Trail, winds its way through some magnificent jarrah and marri bush land, passes Potters Gorge and finishes back at the kiosk. After your hike or ride you can relax at the kiosk with a cold drink and salad roll or hot coffee and delicious home baked cakes. If you prefer, you can start your walk/ride at Potters Gorge and finish with a refreshing swim in the lake. Or even take it slow and do both!

Stunning Views

The trail winds high above the river, offering  stunning views across the valley and Wellington Dam. This lookout (pictured) is only about 2-3 km from the Kiosk (walking clockwise). If you only had time for a short walk, you could just walk into the lookout and back to the kiosk again and take in this amazing view.

Another short walk option is between Potters Gorge campsites and the Kiosk. It’s only about 2 km return and lots of people follow the trail through the bush to the kiosk for an ice cream or ‘real’ coffee!

Grade 2 Trail

The trail is a Grade 2 trail and most people with minimal fitness will easily manage it. We tackled it clockwise (hiking) and although there were a couple of steep climbs, we felt we were going down more hills than we went up. Allow up to half a day, depending on how fast you like to walk, or how often you stop to take photos and just take it all in! Less if you ride.

Network of Trails to Choose From

The Sika Trail is part of a network of trails in the Wellington National Park that can be mixed and matched to create your own adventure. Choose from the Jabitj Trail that follows the river with spectacular views of river pools and rapids; the Kurliiny Tjenangitj that climbs high above the valley with views out across the distant hills or the epic Munda Biddi that extends from Mundaring, Perth in the north to Albany on the south coast of WA, after winding it’s way through WNP. The new Wiilman Bilya starts where the Sika Trail crosses the pipeline (dotted line on the map) and heads out to the Coalfields Hwy. Eventually it will wind its way right around the lake with a number of campsites along the way!

Follow the orange footprints

All the trails in Wellington National Park are marked by different coloured footprints. The Sika trail markers are orange and easily identified. (The blue marker is for the Munda Biddi that shares the trail for a short distance) Make use of the cooler weather to tackle the trails and be sure to carry plenty of water and a snack. Remember to let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back. But most of all, Enjoy the Collie River Valley!. PS These trails are all in the National Park so pets are not allowed to come with you, unfortunately.
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Wildflowers – July

During July the wattles are a blaze of golden, fluffy blooms and other splashes of colour are starting to show in the undergrowth. It is also a great time to go hunting for mosses and fungii. 

Minninup Pool area

You will easily find these purple Hardenbergia blooms along any of the tracks around Minninup Pool

These tiny flowers were found  down the track to the right of the  Minninup Pool car park, near  Sandy. Lean in as they have a faint, but rather nice perfume.

Minninup Pool – We found these little sticky sundews, on the track to the right of the car park

Minninup Pool – Keep an eye out for these striking little blooms all around the Minninup area

You can’t miss those golden wattle blooms and the sweet fragrance that lingers in the air. These were flowering along the river banks near Sandy, to the right of Minninup Pool

Stockton Lake

Just about everywhere you look there are fluffy yellow Wattle blooms. Some of them are not native to WA and are inclined to take over, but they are still a pleasant surprise after weeks of cold and rain.

Wellington National Park

These tiny blooms can be found along the  Jabitj Trail, in Wellington National Park

Jabitj Trail, Wellington National Park

Keep an eye out for these splashes of purple Hovea along the Jabitj Trail, Wellington National Park.

Moss and fungi, living together. Jabitj Trail, Wellington National Park

These bright yellow Hibbertia’s start flowering in July and last for weeks!

More fluffy yellow Wattle blooms

Currawong Pump Track

The Currawong Pump Track is  located at Potters Gorge campsite/day use area, about 2 hours south of Perth in the Wellington National Park, just inland from Australind/Bunbury. The road is sealed all the way. There is ample parking and very clean, odour free, composting toilets. No drinking water available.

What exactly is a pump track?

A pump track is a circuit of rollers, banked turns and features designed to be ridden completely by riders “pumping” – meaning to create momentum by up and down body movements, instead of pedaling or pushing. (Wikipedia)

But however you ride it, it is great fun!

Great fun for all ages

The track is suitable for all ages, from the littlest riders still on trainer wheels, with the cutest little log roll overs and some serious rollers and berms (banked up curves) for the bigger kids. We have even seen a few dads doing laps of the course!
If the older kids want a bit more of a challenge, the 10 km Sika Trail runs right through the area as well.

There is no seating in the direct vicinity of the bike track, so if the younger kids need supervision, it may be advisable to bring your own folding chairs. There is no shortage of shade to sit under though.

Make a Day of it!

There are gas BBQs, seating and shelters in the day use area and full on camp kitchens if you decide to camp out. 

The Kiosk at the Dam is a short drive away and offer ice creams, cold drinks, hot coffee, burgers, sandwiches, pies and delicious home made cakes! Choose to sit indoors or dine ‘alfresco’ with views of Wellington Dam and blue wrens at your feet, literally!

So next time you head out to the National Park, remember to pack the bikes. 

Currawong Pump Track

A short video by MTB Guidebook of the Currawong Pump Track

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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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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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Top 10 Picnic Spots!

Autumn is here!

Well that’s Summer done and dusted for now. As we pack away the unicorn floaty and selfie stick our thoughts wander to what we may get up to in the cooler months.

For Collie this means it’s trail walking and mountain biking season. Sections of the brand new Wiilman Bilya Trail, in the Wellington National Park have been completed. This multi day hike will, when completed, circumnavigate Wellington Dam, taking in Potters Gorge and a purpose built campsite only available to users of this trail, much like the campsites built exclusively for Bibbulmun Track and Munda Biddi users. Another trail under construction right now leads walkers and riders from the CBD to the gorgeous Minninup Pool. 

All this trail talk is making us hungry, thats where a good old fashioned picnic comes into play!

We’ve sussed out the top 10 picnic spots in the Collie River Valley. Most locations come equipped with picnic tables, toilets and parking but ALL definitely come with a gorgeous and unique setting to enjoy a quiet afternoon. Add a nice bush walk or mountain bike ride and it sounds like a perfect day to us!

Top 10 Picnic spots in the CRV.

Harris River Dam is located 13km to the North of the Collie CBD along Harris River Rd.  This dam is used for drinking water and features a lovely park area adjacent to the carpark. A large toilet block, various picnic tables and free BBQ’s are a highlight as are the walking paths that connect each area. Just prior to the dam sits the exquisit Harris River Estate Winery. The #visitcollie team thoroughly recommend a stop in at their cellar door to sample the award winning wines, craft beers and ciders. 

You can discover more about Harris River Estate Winery here.

Soldiers Park in the CBD is a fantastic central location for a picnic. Featuring towering trees, a terrific playground, brand new toilet facilities, picnic tables and free BBQ’s it’s and ideal spot to pick up some tucker, let the kids off the leash and unwind. The adjacent skate park means there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Bring the mountain bikes and hit the awesome Wagyl Biddi trail. The trail head is right at the park and takes you along the river around a bush section and back again. Perfect to work up an appetite!

You can find out more about the Wagyl Biddi Trail here.

Glorious Stockton Lake sits 10km east of Collie. This once open cut coal mine now recreation lake is popular with campers and water skiers. The magnificent blue lake is Black Diamonds big brother and makes a terrific spot to pull out the camp chairs and enjoy a picnic.

You can read more about Stockton Lake here.

World famous Honeymoon Pool needs little introduction. Perched on the banks of the Collie River, fed from the depths of Wellington Dam, glorious Honeymoon Pool is shaded by stunning peppermint trees and features free electric BBQ’s, a toilet block and lovely boardwalk to enjoy. Busy during the summer months, weekends and school holidays, if you visit midweek and off peak you’ll almost have it to yourself. If a nice bush walk is on the cards follow the waters edge with it on your right shoulder and you’ll pick up the Jabitj Trail. This two hour walk follows the river all the way back to the Kiosk at the Dam. You can read about our hike on the Jabitj Trail here.

Honeymoon Pool is situated 15km west of Collie within the Wellington National Park. Please note: Pets are not permitted within National Parks.

You’ll find Minninup Pool just a couple of kilometres from the Collie CBD along Mungalup Rd. This wide bend in the river is a popular swimming and kayaking spot during summer. Featuring a toilet block, bitumen parking, picnic tables with shade and a glorious vista, it’s no wonder Minny made it into our top 10!

Also situated within the stunning Wellington National Park, Potters Gorge campsite has undergone a remarkable renovation in the last few years and is a firm favourite. Keep an eye out on the entrance road for the Day Visit area. Featuring a large car park, toilet facilities, various gazebo style picnic areas with free electric BBQ’s that offer magic views across the water. From here you can pick up the new Wiilman Bilya trail for walking or pack the bikes and hit the pump track located within the Potters Gorge camping area.

You can read more about Potters Gorge in our recent blog here.

By now you’d be getting the picture that the Collie area is blessed with an abundance of picturesque water!

Cute as a button Glen Mervyn dam is located 20km south of the Collie townsite along the Preston-Collie Road. Popular with campers and water skiers. The day visit area is on the highway side of the water and generally campers camp on the opposite side. There is two toilet blocks provided, one on each side of the lake. There are picnic tables at the southern end near the dam wall. The world famous Bibbulmun Track passes through here along the western shore. It can be picked up from the dam wall and followed for 4km to the best bush pub around. The Mumby. Visit for lunch and a refreshment, you may even catch a great live music act!

To find out more about Glen Mervyn Dam, go here.

No water views this time, but this dramatic granite rock wall makes an excellent backdrop for a picnic. The quarry was active when the granite was used to build the Wellington Dam wall. Now popular with rock climbers and abseilers (by bookings only) it makes an excellent choice to let the kids run riot around the vast grassed area. Featuring picnic tables and BBQ’s the Quarry has snuck into our top 10 picnic spots in the CRV!

The Quarry is within the Wellington Dam National Park, unfortunately our four legged friends will have to stay home.

Photo: Courtesy Explore Parks WA

Another total gem within the Wellington National Park is Lenard Drive. This gorgeous one-way sealed road leads from the base of the dam wall to Honeymoon Pool, and is packed with 4 stunning picnic spots. Our pick for the top 10 is Long Pool. The last stop before turning off into Honeymoon Pool. Leave the crowds behind and pack a sumptuous feast, sit back under the shady trees on the provided picnic tables and get that perfect insta-selfie on the steps into the water.

You can discover more about Long Pool in our blog post here.

Smack bang in the middle of town, right on the main street sits Central Park. Loaded with features a mile long, stunning Central Park boasts it’s very own Vintage Train wagon serving up the best range of food and coffee going. Dotted with various tables to perch at it also has free BBQ’s, a brand new toilet and shower block, free water park for the kids, adventure nature playground and a large grassed area to kick the footy around. Free WIFI is available and the local bakery is conveniently just across the road!

You can read more about WAGON 537 here.


Well there you have it folks, Collie seems to be an absolute Picnicking Mecca. We love the Leave no Trace philosophy here at #visitcollie. You can google it, but it means basically to look after these areas and clean up after ourselves. Even better, leave these areas better than how we find them. That way everyone can enjoy them.


If you’re wondering where to go to gather supplies for your picnic we’ll give you some hot tips:

For that classic, country butchers shop you can’t go past SPRY’s – Located on the corner of Atkinson and Jones Streets you won’t go wrong if you plan to make use of the free BBQ’s listed in this top 10.

For an epic range of house made Salads head to Jax Diner – Located on the Corner of Atkinson and Johnston Streets.

For Coffee and Cake stop by the Colliefields – Located on the corner of Throsell and Steere Streets

For wraps, cold pressed juices and coffee visit Wagon 537 in Central Park on Forrest Street.

That Classic Aussie Country Pub, it’s why we LOVE the Federal Hotel!

Perched on the hill overlooking town...

Perched on the hill overlooking town, the Federal Hotel or “Feddy” as it’s known has been around since Moses was a boy. It’s been reborn in various stages of its life, today it’s known as Collie’s food and family pub. Featuring a huge dining room, the Feddy can cater for the largest of groups as well as small gatherings. The accommodation upstairs is iconic country hotel simplicity and offers an affordable stay for those weekenders away.

Hands up who loves a great Beer Garden!

No pub is complete without a good alfresco area in our book, the Feddy has the best in town. A large grassed area attracts the little ones for a good run around as Mum & Dad enjoy their lunch. A stage is located in the corner of the yard and often features great cover bands from all around WA.

Through the warmer months the beer garden is packed on a Sunday afternoon as the ubiquitous Sunday Session kicks off. If you’ve not much on list to do early Monday morning, put on your dancing shoes, order a meal from the mouth watering menu and settle in for a big one!

Food, Glorious Food...

The Federal places a strong emphasis on their food and menu which changes each season. Currently on the Summer Menu for a little longer, we recently enjoyed the Spicy Nacho’s – this dish is the real deal with quality beef mince, salsa, corn tortillas, sour cream and jalapenos balanced on top. The perfect dish to share between a group as the sun sets on another weekend.

If communal dining isn’t your thing, you can always choose from the really well thought out menu. Perfectly cooked Steaks, eye watering Parmigianas, Steak Sandwiches are the top of our list and there’s a great selection for the little ones too.

Definitely put the Feddy on the list for lunch or dinner when you’re next adventuring in the CRV. 

Harris River Estate Winery

Harris River Estate Winery, might be the only winery in the Collie River Valley, but with several Gold and Silver Medals under their belt they are set to become a shining light in the wine world. They are also rapidly building a name for themselves in the overseas market and currently export their wines to over 10 provinces in China.

Gold medals…

Established in 2000, with state of the art facilities, they are steadily making a name for themselves alongside wineries who have been in operation for decades longer.

They won their first Gold medals, back in 2008 in the Qantas Wine Show for their 2007 Verdelho and 2007 Chardonnay. The same year they were awarded a 5 Star Rating by James Halliday.

More recently they have been  awarded two gold medals for their  2017 Viognier and 2015 Shiraz and two silver medals for their 2015 Cab Sav and Cab Merlot  by Wine Showcase Magazine.

Harris River Estate owners, Karl and Julie Hillier enjoying lunch on the deck, celebrating their recent win of two gold and two silver medals in Wine Showcase Magazine

Lunch on the balcony…

From Wednesday through to Sunday between 12 to 3.30 they serve delicious Tapas style lunches. In the warmer months you can sit out on the deck over looking the vineyard and dam, with the surrounding jarrah forest in the background. Come winter, they light up the big wood fire to warm the magnificent timber appointed dining room.

Wine tasting and sales…

While there, you can take the opportunity to sample the award winning wines before buying a bottle or few, to take home with you. In addition to wine, they also brew a range of beers, ale and cider, so if wine isn’t your thing, you are not left out!

Interesting facts..

The entire range of Harris River Wines are produced from grapes grown on the Harris River Estate. That means, grown, picked, fermented, bottled and labelled all here at HRE. 

Harvest is often carried out at night when the air is coolest, to ensure that the fruit maintains its unique flavours and aromas. 

When the grapes are harvested there is as little as ten minutes from vine to crusher.

Getting there…

You will find Harris River Estate on Harris River Road, just 5 km north of Collie.

If you are travelling from Perth you can leave the SW Hwy at Wokalup and take scenic Mornington Rd up through the hills and turn left into Harris River Road at the T-junction. The winery is 1.8km up the road on your right.

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