“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!
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.
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.