Gelcoat Rapids – Your very own river paradise

GELCOAT RAPIDS is a small secluded campground, nestled beneath the trees, just downstream from Honeymoon Pool, in Wellington National Park, WA just two hours south of Perth.

Group Camping

With room for just 7 tents it is perfect for small groups camping together. (There is no access for caravans or camper vans at this site) It can get busy, but if you avoid school holidays and long weekends, or visit mid week you could easily have the whole place to yourself.

Bookings

Modest fees apply and you must book online before arriving https://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/park-stay

Fires

Fires are allowed in designated fire places during the cooler weather. (Always check current fire restrictions before lighting a fire.) Some wood is provided, but it is often damp in the cooler weather so remember to pack some dry kindling or grab a bag at the Kiosk at the Dam on your way in.

Private river access

Access to the river is via a short path leading to a lovely private spot to launch the canoe or have a refreshing swim in the crystal clear waters.

Explore

There are miles of river to explore both upstream and downstream. Paddle through quiet tree lined pools or head upstream and try your hand at some of the rapids.

Sit quietly and listen to the sounds of the birds and the gentle breeze in the trees.

 
Tracks and Trails

Several magnificent trails can be accessed from this spot including the Jabitj and Kurliiny Tjenangitj Trails, The Sika Trail and the epic Munda Biddi.

Bike Hire

If you don’t have your own bikes or don’t have room in the car to bring them down, you can hire bikes from the Kiosk at the Dam.

 
Head into town

The town of Collie is only a short drive away with 7 day supermarkets and 24 hour fuel. Grab a coffee at Wagon 537 or a bite to eat at The Colliefields. Be sure to check out Collie Canvas and Camping World while you are there for all the latest camping gadgets and equipment.

For a small fee, you can freshen up with a hot shower at the Collie Visitor Centre before heading to the shops.

 

The Colliefields – Yes! We are trail friendly.

Collie is one of the few Trail Towns on both the Bibbulmun and Munda Biddi Trails. Every year hundreds of trail users pass through town and many of them spend a night or two at The Colliefields. Proprietors, Michélè  and Gary make everyone welcome and go out of their way to make sure their guests are well looked after.

Secure storage for bikes and cars

One of the challenges of walking or riding the track is managing the logistics of transport and working out the best place to leave a car for the return journey. It often means getting someone to drive long distances to provide transport, or doing the car shuffle, and back tracking every few days; never being quite sure if your car will still be there when you return.
 
Not if you are staying at the Colliefields. There is a secure yard at the rear of the building, where you can leave your car until you return or lockup your bike overnight. 
 

Track Transfers

The Colliefields can also pick you up and drop you off at the trail if necessary. Ring ahead if possible, so they can make sure there is a driver available, when you need a ride. Or if things go wrong and you need to get to town in a hurry, The Colliefields will collect you and get you settled into the hotel, until you are able to make your way home.
 

Hot showers and comfy beds

As nice as it is sleeping under the stars, there is nothing like a wonderful hot shower and a nice warm comfortable bed. Every one who stays at the Colliefields comments on the awesome rainfall shower heads, but then after a few days on the track any shower would seem like bliss.

They offer a range of rooms including single, twin, double and dorm rooms. All at very affordable prices.

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Comfy beds

 Free breakfast

Breakfast selection

A scrumptious, continental breakfast is included with the price of your room and includes toast, cereal, milk, yoghurt,  fruit, tea, coffee and juice.

The down stairs dining room opens early and you can purchase a full cooked breakfast at any time of the day or order a packed lunch for on the track

Free washing machines for guests

All guests at The Colliefields have access to washing machines at no extra cost.

Guest lounge

There is a comfy lounge where guests like to gather and share trail experiences or relax in front of the TV after a long day walking or riding. If only those walls could talk. They would have more than one hundred years of tales to tell!

The Colliefields are not licenced these days, but there are several pubs withing walking distance, serving ice cold beers and wholesome meals. 

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Centrally Located

You will find The Colliefields on Throssell Street, which is the main street running through town. It’s easily identified by it’s striking purple exterior. Only a short walk to the supermarket, banks, post office and anywhere else you may need to go, it’s the perfect location.

Contact them by phone 9734 2052 or email welcome@colliefields.com and say Why i #visitcollie sent you.

Collie Canvas and Camping World stock a huge range of supplies for on the track. Crank’n Cycles Collie carry a range of spare parts and can provide emergency repairs if required.

Collie River Valley Tourist Park – The perfect base to explore the Collie River Valley

Located just over 2 hours south of Perth WA, Collie River Valley Tourist Park is the perfect base to explore the region. Whether you seek the tranquility of a secluded swimming spot, the challenge of a hiking or mountain bike trail or the thrill of high energy motor sports you are only a stones throw away while staying at the park.  All this in a town full of history and fantastic dining experiences. Sound interesting? Then read on!

About the park…

The park is spacious with 80 odd sites and is in a beautiful, quiet bush setting. Some of the caravan bays come with shade shelters and the tents sites are secluded and private. There are a number of onsite cabins available with everything provided, including clean fresh linen. All the toilets, showers and laundries have been recently refurbished and are kept immaculately clean. There is a fantastic all weather campers kitchen including cooking facilities, tables and chairs, pots, frying pans, even crockery. Just bring your own food. It even comes with a big tele, pool table, dart board and kiddies toys corner. Adjacent to the kitchen is a modern BBQ and gazebo area.

Pets are welcome too!

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Onsite cabins

Pitch ‘n Pack

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Tents for 1 - 4 people are also available

Fancy camping but don’t have all the gear? Or just don’t need the hassle of packing it all in the car!

No worries. The staff at the Park will set up their tent or camper trailer for you, so within a few minutes of arriving you will be sitting back relaxing with a nice cold drink in hand. After all that’s what you came for, isn’t it?

You can choose between tents suitable for up to four people or a camper trailer that will sleep up to six.

Each set up comes with stretcher beds and mattresses, table and chairs and access to the fully equipt campers kitchen. Just bring your own bedding and towels.

 

About the town…

Established in the late 1800s after the discovery of coal,  the town still has many of the original, magnificent old buildings, including several well preserved historic pubs, where you can indulge in a typical pub meal washed down with your favourite beverage.

The old Road Board Building opposite the Visitor Centre now houses a fantastic museum and if you are into trains check out the steam engines at the Visitor Centre and the Bill Weirs Rolling Stock Shed on Forrest St.

While you are at the Visitor Centre, ask about a tour of the Replica Underground Coal Mine.

 

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Premier Hotel, built 1901 - Collie Town Centre

What to do…

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Enjoy some fine food and wine

SAMPLE SOME GOOD FOOD AND WINE

Collie boasts a wide choice of excellent cafes and restaurants, each with their own unique style and menu.

Harris River Estate Winery  is only 5 kms from town,  but if a country pub and cold beer are more your style you are not short for choice.

You can also choose from a variety of cuisines including Western, Chinese, Indian and Thai.

TRACKS N TRAILS There are numerous  mtb trails accessible from Collie, including the  Wagyl Biddi in town and  the Arklow Trails on Harris River Road. (Rays, Dead Cats and Marty’s)

The long distance Bibbulmun and Munda Biddi Tracks pass through town and are ideal for short single day hikes or longer adventures.

Wellington National Park is home to the Mt Lennard MTB Trails and a series of walk trails that follow the river or climb high above the valley. (JabitjKurliiny Tjenangi and Sika Trails)

Bike hire is available from the caravan park.

Marty's
The Rock Pile on Marty's Trail
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Honeymoon Pool, Wellington National Park

FIND A PICNIC OR SWIMMING SPOT Only a stones throw from the caravan park, Minninup Pool is a firm favourite with locals for a swim or picnic.

No holiday in Collie is complete without a swim in the azure blue waters of the popular Black Diamond or the less known Stockton Lake

Wellington National Park is home to several fantastic swimming spots including Potters Gorge and Honeymoon Pool, frequently voted one of the top swimming spots in Australia. Or explore Lennard Drive and find your own secluded spot. Local tip: Check out the pool above the rapids.

GRAB SOME ACTION AT THE COLLIE MOTORPLEX 

Only 15 mins east of Collie and with 1.6 km of bitumen race track, the action is fast and furious. Car racing, motorbike racing, drift events and burnout competitions every weekend of the year.

Entry is free for most events and the canteen prices are very reasonable making it a great family day out without breaking the bank

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Always plenty of fantastic looking machines at Collie Motorplex
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Donnybrook Apple Fun Park - Photo, Donnybrook-Balingup Shire Council

VENTURE FURTHER AFIELD

Take a drive to Donnybrook, the home of the Lady Williams apple and the incredible Apple Fun Park .  It is the biggest, free entry playground in Australia and will keep the kids busy for hours. Don’t forget to stop at the Fruit Barn or one of the road side stalls and purchase some delicious local fruit in season.

Gnomesville, King Jarrah and the lovely Ferguson Valley wineries and breweries are all within 45 minutes of your accommodation and offer several options to sample some good food and wine and a great day out!

Sold…?

Patrick and Lorna will be your hosts and you can give them a call on 9734 5088 to book your site or cabin

Or check out prices and book through the website at http://www.colliecaravanpark.com.au/

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

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Photo:Ashley Cooper-Grant
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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!