Our Guide to the Wellington National Park
Located near the town of Collie in Western Australia, around 2 hours south of Perth, Wellington National Park covers 17,000 hectares of beautiful jarrah, marri and yarri (blackbutt) forest. Boasting the beautiful Collie River Valley – an ancient valley gorge with raging river, rocky outcrops, waterfalls, swimming holes and pristine wilderness, Wellington National Park is the perfect forest getaway for a day trip from Perth, or an adventure camping weekend.
When to visit Wellington National Park?
Wellington National Park is popular all year round for camping, picnics or hiking. In winter, you’ll find the Collie River flowing, the nights cold and mornings often foggy. The campsites are quieter at this time of year, but it’s a great time to stay as campfires are permitted in the provided fire rings. During spring the Park comes alive with magnificent shows of over 300 species of colourful wildflowers. And in summer, there’s nothing better than swimming, canoeing, bike riding or fishing in the Wellington National Park.
Why visit Wellington National Park?
Being just 2 hours from Perth, it’s an easy drive to Wellington National Park. This makes it perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway to slow down and get back to nature. With its magnificent jarrah and marri forests, dams, rivers and waterways, it’s a peaceful location to breathe in the clean air, walk the trails, go for a dip in a river waterhole, or enjoy a riverside picnic in the great outdoors.
And, when you camp amongst the bush without the distractions of city life you can experience a slower pace that allows you to ‘reset’ as you spend time in nature. If you’re not keen on camping you can still enjoy the Park and stay in the Ferguson Valley with lots of beautiful farm stays and accommodation options.
What to see in Wellington National Park
Whether you want to experience a forest hike, go fishing, ride the amazing network of mountain bike trails, or simply find the perfect picnic spot the Wellington National Park has you covered. Plus you’ll likely see lots of native animals and birdlife.
Here are our favourite places to visit in the Park:
This popular swimming, camping and picnic area is located off River Road on the lower part of the Collie River below the Wellington Dam. With a serene natural pool surrounded by native forest this picturesque spot provides a lovely swimming experience, including easy access via steps and plenty of shade to escape the heat in the summer months. You can also do a spot of fishing here with trout, redfin perch and marron (during season) seen here.
There’s a lovely easy walk along the river (part of the Sika Trail), or for something longer take the Jabitj Walk Trail (12km return) from Honeymoon Pool to Wellington Dam. Allow about 2 hrs each way for this relatively easy walk through mature forest, granite outcrops, river pools and rapids. Another option is the Kurliiny Tjenangitj Trail starting at Honeymoon Pool along a 5km loop giving views of the Collie River from a lookout.
Honeymoon Pool Campground is a great place to stay in the Wellington National Park. There are three campgrounds for tents and swags, all within walking distance of Honeymoon Pool picnic and swimming area. Facilities include a camp kitchen with sink, gas BBQs and toilet facilities and all sites have a fire ring. Camp fees apply, and bookings must be made in advance (it is very popular during holidays or long weekends so book early).
This gorgeous scenic spot, is the first of four turn-offs along Lennard Drive. The fast-flowing water in the Rapids is best viewed during winter, after some rainfall. During summer the Rapids aren’t as active, but it’s still a beautiful location to stop and explore. This is easily our favourite place in all Wellington National Park with its granite boulders, waterfall rapids, lush bushland and serene pools.
You can swim or paddle in the large pool or it’s a great spot for kayaking – just be careful if the water is rushing and the rocks may be slippery. There are only a few parking bays here, and if you plan to come for a picnic you might have to come early as there was only one picnic table from what we could see. There are no toilets at the Rapids.
This beautiful pool is the final pull-off along Lennards Road. The river swimming spot can’t be seen from the road or car park, however it is very well signposted. Follow the path from the car park to a secluded picnic spot and a small wooden deck with steps that take you into the water. It’s a lovely tranquil section of the Collie River, and in our opinion nicer (and less busy) than Honeymoon Pool.
Big Rock and Little Rock
The second and third attraction along Lennard Drive, is Big Rock and Little Rock. Big Rock features a shaded picnic table, a huge granite floor to the river and some calm water for swimming. A short drive further along, following the river is Little Rock. Follow the path to the picnic area and then to river. At Little Rock, the sloping granite banks are gentler and the water is slower moving with shallow pools at the bank, then cascading over rocks into a deeper adjacent pool. Both areas are great for a picnic by the waters edge, but there are no toilet facilities.
Situated on the shores of Wellington Dam surrounded by magnificent jarrah and marri trees, Potter’s Gorge is a well-appointed picnic area next to a campground and boat launching area. This shady forest setting features beautiful views across the water of the Dam with its red gravel shoreline. The day use picnic area has gas barbecues, toilets and change rooms, and non-potable water is provided.
Potter’s Gorge is a great bird spotting location, with over 70 species of birds seen within the Wellington National Park. On our visit, we saw lots of cute little blue fairywren and lorikeet.
Also popular for kayaking, boating, fishing and water-skiing, the water out from Potter’s Gorge allows for deep water take-off for water-skiers only. However, jet ski’s are prohibited, and no vessels are permitted in the area directly out the front of the campground as this area is reserved for kayaks or SUP.
The Potter’s Gorge Campground was recently upgraded to accommodate larger vehicles, caravans and camper trailers. With 59 unpowered campsites of varying surfaces, sizes and layouts, Potter’s Gorge Campground facilities include no-flush pit toilets, sheltered dining areas with gas barbecue, food preparation surfaces, dishwashing sinks with cold rainwater only (not guaranteed year-round) picnic tables and a chemical toilet dump point. All campsites have a picnic table and a fire ring. Camp fees apply and bookings must be made prior to arrival.
Wellington Dam Mega Mural
The Wellington Dam Mural put Collie on the map as a major tourist destination in Western Australia. Opened in 2021, it features images of Collie mine workers, families playing in the water, Aboriginal children and other scenes and was inspired by local stories and photos. Painted by internationally renowned artist Guido Van Helten. The scale is immense, it’s truly an incredible work of art that is amazing to photograph. You can now also walk along the top of the 367-metre dam wall giving a unique perspective of the iconic artwork. (NOTE: The dam walkway is only currently open on weekends, public holidays and school holidays)
300+ year old King Jarrah
Standing around 36 metres in height, King Jarrah in the Wellington National Park is thought to be between 300 and 500 years old. Having survived bushfires, storms, lightning and insect attacks – not to mention a century of prolific saw milling – this dishevelled old man of the forest seems determined to keep going.
Access to the King Jarrah Tree is off King Tree Road in Wellington Forest. It is accessible via a short flat bitumen walkway from a small gravel parking area, and viewing is from a decked area with seating, as well as a picnic area.
Stay near Wellington National Park
If you’re not accustomed to camping (like me) there are a range of family farmstay, self-catered luxurious cottage accommodation options in the Ferguson Valley! Only 15 minutes from the Park, it’s a great choice for enjoying the region’s attractions with the luxury of hot running water and a private bathroom. Whatever your choice, you can be assured of waking up to foggy winter mornings and nothing but the sound of birds calling. Our favourite is Skating Goose Farm which offers secluded and modern ‘escape pods’ on their farm surrounded by marri forest. It’s an ultimate luxury retreat for couples, and the pods are beautifully fitted with high quality furnishings and bedding.
Things to know before you go:
- There is no entry fee for Wellington National Park.
- Pets are prohibited in the park to protect the flora and fauna.
- The scenic drive along Lennard Road is one-way, so make sure to stop at each signed location along the road as you can’t double back without going the entire way around Wellington National Park.
- Kiosk at the Dam has free hiking maps and information on the park and surrounding areas. You can also hire a mountain bike or charge your phone or ipad whilst enjoying a coffee.
- Make sure to stop in at Collie and check out the Mural Trail connecting Wellington Dam with Collie’s town centre.