Wellington National Park, just out of Collie is a steady two hour drive from Perth. Located on the Collie River, the enormous Wellington Dam is the highlight of this national park, however there are more than a few other things to stop and see before and after your visit to the dam.
Your first port of call is Potter's Gorge. Turn off Coalfields Road onto Wellington Dam Road and you will find a lovely shaded camping area right on the edge of the lake. There are plenty of trees providing shade for the camp area and it is well appointed with campsites for tents and caravans, BBQs, picnic tables and multi-access toilets. The gorge is a truly beautiful place and is well worth a stopover for a night before continuing down Wellington Dam Road towards the dam wall.
The kiosk near the dam is also popular with those who want to re-energise with a coffee and a snack. The quarry is also a good spot to stop for a picnic or to stretch your legs or to kick a ball around. However, if you want a bit of privacy while exploring the area, you need to get away from the main tourist drag. If you know where to look, there is a whole new area to explore and relax in, and if you are keen, you can even caravan or camp by the river.
Rocks were taken out of this quarry to build the dam wall
Once you've had a look at the dam, turn onto River Road. This road meanders along the edge of the Collie River and there are many places where you can pull off the road to take a walk down to the river for a secluded lunch break. Some great stops to pull over at are, The Rapids, Big Rock and Little Rock. All are clearly marked and once parked it's a just a short stroll to the river. Find a nice smooth rock in the shade or the sun, pull out a rug and relax and take in the scenery.
Enjoy the sounds of the rushing water at The Rapids
A lot of these pools that spread out from the rapids hold trout so if you're keen to cast a lure or soak a worm these places are a good place to try your luck. Marron are also in the river but remember a license for both fishing and marroning is a must. Next stop along from Little Rock is Long Pool. As the name suggests it's a long, deep, clear pool and it's a great place to soak your toes after walking through the other three places of interest.
Once you pass Long Pool, the next area is Honeymoon Pool. Set amongst old jarrah and peppermint trees this is probably the best spot in the national park to either camp or have an extended day trip break. It's very popular, so if you're wanting to camp here you will need to book first. But, as a day tripper, you can just pull in, park up and chill out. The waters here are safe for swimming and canoeing. Tables for picnics, BBQs and toilets are all provided, fire pits and wood are also supplied, but watch out for fire regulations as you are in bushfire country. A well maintained boardwalk and platform are built on the river bank for ease of access for prams and strollers and there are plenty of walk trails which criss cross through the area.
A short walk from Honeymoon Pool is Stones Brook. This area is semi secluded so it gives you that extra 'away from it' feel. All these spots are in a fairly small circuit and can be done in a day trip from Perth, but do yourself a favour and stay a little longer and enjoy the scenery.
With summer coming up it's a great time to get that promised camping trip sorted. The dam itself is a spectacle when overflowing but the river runs all year round and the six or so stopover spots along it offer great access and facilities. The whole national park is well worth a visit and the reward for your effort will be to relax and soak up another facet of what this great state has to offer.