ACTION, ADVENTURE AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS HIGHLIGHTS OF THE GEOGRAPHE REGION
Local blogger and lifestyle writer Johanna Castro shares with us what not to miss on a gourmet food tour of the Geographe Wine Region. For more tales from Jo, visit her blog The ZigaZag Mag.
Download a PDownload a PDF version of this Geographe Region Drive Trail.
When you need a little adventure and action in your life why not consider a drive trail and head for the scenic Geographe Region, encompassing Bunbury, Collie, Donnybrook and the Ferguson Valley?
Within two hours of Perth and only an hour from Mandurah you’ll find terrific places for setting up camp, boiling the billy and sleeping under the stars, not to mention the many fishing, swimming, surfing, waterskiing, walking and kayaking spots along with some testing mountain bike trails too.
You might be forgiven for thinking that Bunbury is all about water, until you discover the bush walking and shady cycling trails throughout an area that’s recognized as one of 25 global biodiversity ‘hotspots’.
Bunbury’s reputation as a water playground with abundant marine life is evident once you park the car and get moving in the ocean, inlet or the estuary. Water sport enthusiasts won’t be disappointed with the variety of pursuits from diving (the Lena Dive Wreck) to windsurfing, paddle boarding, sailing, surfing, dragon boating, paddle boating, jet skiing and fishing.
Dolphin Discovery Centre, Bunbury
Around 200 dolphins have been identified in Koombana Bay and The Dolphin Discovery Centre, set up in 1989, is a non-profit organization that relies on volunteers and is committed to marine research. A dolphin encounter is always thrilling, and here you can enjoy dolphin swim tours, beach interactions (best in the early morning) as well as exciting eco-boat tours too.
Just 25 kilometres east of Bunbury in the verdant Ferguson Valley you’ll come to the beautiful Crooked Brook Forest which is ideal for walks (four trails are marked) and family picnics. Nature is abundant. Parrots squawk and the breeze rustles the leaves of tall Jarrah and Marri trees as you tramp over honky nuts and wood that crackles underfoot.
It’s an easy 30 minute drive from Bunbury to Donnybrook, a country town which provides action seekers with heart thumping entertainment.
For bicyclists the Munda Biddi cycle track passes through Donnybrook with an in town circuit, while the more adventurous might enjoy the 10kms of mountain bike trails at Cycletrek in Lowden. If you enjoy motorbiking then West Coast Trail Bikes offer 80kms of off-road motorbike riding on weekends.
Apart from access to the well known Bibbulman track, there are also three short walk trails in Donnybrook – the Preston River Loop, the Lions Forest Walk Trail and the Lions Sandhills Walk Trail while Glen Mervyn Dam also has a circuit walk and a map is available from the Visitors Centre.
Another picturesque spot is Ironstone Gully Falls located on the Goodwood Road 15 minutes from Donnybrook. The Ironstone Gully Stream drops over a 9 metre rock face creating a beautiful waterfall and a loop track leads into the bush behind the picnic area.
Collie is an outdoor adventure lover’s paradise surrounded by State Forest, three dams, the Collie River and Wellington National Park.
For those who like to work up a sweat before lunch you could head off on testing mountain bike trails or go horseriding, waterskiing, swimming or kayaking. For those who don’t, how about a spot of fishing or 4 wheel driving?
Due to the number of waterways around the town it’s a great area for anyone with a motor boat, canoe or kayak to enjoy a day out. Scenic places to uncover some watery action include the Collie River, Stockton Lake, Harris Dam or Glen Mervyn Dam.
Landlubbers are catered for too with glorious walks along the Bibbulmun walking track and cycling on the Munda Biddi trail. Both traverse the Shire of Collie offering some great short, or extended action experiences.
11 action packed things to do around Collie
- Take the kids spotlighting for owls and possums and discover the area’s wonderful flora and fauna.
- Pack your skateboard, scooter or bike and head to the awesome new Collie Skate Park – suitable for all ages and abilities.
- Go canoeing or waterskiing at Stockton Lake (it has brilliant blue water) or waterskiing at Potters Gorge – both places have camping areas and fire rings.
- Enjoy canoeing, swimming and fishing at Minninup Pool, a tranquil spot on a wide bend of the Collie River.
- Go hiking. There are a several short walks around Collie ranging from 9km – 37km return, as well as an overnight walk. There’s a trail between Collie and Balingup that’s 81.6kms and takes approximately 4 days (3 nights).
- Mountain bikers will enjoy the cross country twists and turns and ups, downs and log rides on bike circuits called Ray’s Trail and Dead Cat’s Trail.
- Take a guided ride on horseback 38kms south east of Collie where overnight accommodation and various horse riding trips (from moonlight to picnic rides, and private or arena lessons) are on offer.
- Get back to nature and sleep under the stars at campsites such as Honeymoon Pool in the Wellington National Park where you can walk along a 6km track and hike to the Wellington dam wall.
- Stones Brook is a fire free camping spot however there is a camper’s kitchen with a gas BBQ, gas top boiler and picnic tables. This is a very secluded camping area with widely spaced camping bays.
- Along the creek from Stones Brook is the Gelcoat camp site on the riverbank where swimming and fishing are popular pastimes. This site is designed for lightweight camping and has no designated bays, so park your cars in the nearby car park and walk.
- Perhaps you might drive to Wellington Dam, a great place for a walk, or you could ride the rapids and canoe down the Collie River to Honeymoon Pools situated in the midst of shady forest.
For more complete information about things to do in and around Bunbury and the Geographe Region, head to the Visitor Centre in each town for maps and an up to date lowdown on the many action packed activities available.