The school holidays were finally over so our 'travelling season' had started for 2017. Time was limited and we only had a few days to spare so the questions was;
'Where should we go?'
We had been planning to camp at Honeymoon Pool for a long time and we finally had enough camping gear to make it happen. No nice comfortable Coaster this
time, it was a stretcher bed and a tent-cot for sleeping and just the basics for three nights away.
Honeymoon Pool is in Wellington National Park that is located west of the town of Collie just a couple of
hours drive from Perth.
We set off about mid-day and arrived mid-afternoon and set about putting up the tent. We hadn't been 'real' camping for quite a few years so there were a few bugs to
iron out and things to remember that we didn't even know we had forgotten but in the end the campsite was all done and it didn't look all that bad.
Our campsite at Honeymoon Pool
Our immediate neighbour (Bruce) came over to give us a hand putting up the tent and we had the chance to have a bit of a chat. Things were already quite different
to camping in the Coaster.
Perhaps it is something about 'being under canvas' that makes campers a bit more friendly and more likely to come over and say 'Hi'.
By the time everything was done we were a bit hot and sweaty so finding we had easy access to the river was a bonus. One thing we had forgotten was the temperature
of the water at Honeymoon Pool. It is always COLD and jumping in at 5pm was a bit of a shock but after a few minutes we could just relax and enjoy it.
Cool cool water....
We had come prepared with pre-cooked food so all we had to do was 'heat and eat'. The light faded and soon it was time to test out the beds and see how well we would sleep.
The stretcher bed was completely un-tested but looked ok. The tent-cot we had tried out in the patio at home and it had seemed comfortable enough especially when we had added
a self-inflating foam mattress.
Night one was to prove more challenging than we had anticipated.
Sleep deprivation device or torture chamber?
It didn't matter what I did, how I tossed and turned, there was just no way I was going to get more than a few minutes sleep.
Now, I have to be fair and say that I am not in the best physical shape. I have problems with my shoulder, back and hip so I suspect the fault
was not all due to the tent-cot. Had I been 20 years old again I may have had a good sleep but now it was a case of turn every 5 minutes when the
pain got too much to bear.
I was very happy to greet the first light of dawn and get out of the tent-cot.
Still, I had confidence that with the addition of a bit more padding and the fact that my old bones would become a bit more accustomed to my new bed, the second night wouldn't
be anywhere near as bad.
Dorothy had been trying out the camp stretcher with a bit of extra padding but she also had an uncomfortable night. She said it wasn't helped by me 'snoring like a pig'
but strangely I didn't hear a thing.....
Dorothy was testing out the camp stretcher
It was a new day and we had a few places to check out so after breakfast we headed off towards Collie. Our first stop was at Allanson to have a look at the old coal mine.
Now known as Black Diamond Lake, the mine has flooded and filled with water. It is a very attractive place but the very inviting water can contain amoebic meningitis so anyone
who does go for a dip is advised to keep their head out of the water.
The site looks perfect for camping and there were no obvious signs telling people not to stay but the lack of any campers got me to make some inquiries once we got home
and is seems as though it is a day-use only site. Very sad because it would make an amazing campsite.
Black Diamond Lake
The next stop was Harris Dam. I have seen this place on the map and said to myself, 'I must go there' but every other time we have been to this area we have always
managed to miss it.
This time we made it a priority and found a pleasant little park at the bottom of the dam wall with toilets, seats, tables and BBQs. There is also a small lake and a walk trail and
even a couple of resident black swans.
As Harris Dam is only about 12km north of Collie, our previous failure to see it is inexplicable but well, we finally we got there.
We stopped off in Collie to grab some lunch and as usual, we had a very quick look around, took a hand full of photos and headed off to our next destination.
There are a few towns, usually medium sized ones, that we have been to over and over again but we have never really explored them properly. Harvey is one
and Collie is another.
We keep promising ourselves that, 'one day we will go and see the place properly' but so far, it just hasn't happened.
Collie is a great town and so is Harvey so we will have to remedy this before it is too late and we never get to go back.
Collie - we will see it properly one day.
The road south of Collie (to Mumby) passes Glen Mervyn Dam. This is one of the few campsites that is still free but if you are there on a weekend you aren't
going to get much peace and quiet because it is a popular water-skiing spot. During the week it is perfect and there are some good campsites on the west side of
The tracks in are not suitable for caravans or big rigs but fine for high clearance 2wd vehicles, camper trailers etc. During the week there are usually a couple of spots near the boat ramp where
caravans can stop for a night or two.
There is a drop toilet at the main camping area but nothing at other sites scattered around the dam.
Glen Mervyn Dam
The day was warming up so it was back to Honeymoon Pool to spend the afternoon soaking in the nice cool water.
We dragged ourselves away about 5pm and had another chat with Bruce before dinner time and then began to contemplate just how
uncomfortable the night was going to be.
Since we had been out for half the day and had been swimming in the afternoon we were pretty confident that we would at least get some sleep.
Very refreshing on a hot summers day
By dawn's light I had vowed never to sleep in the tent-cot EVER AGAIN!
I have never had a more miserable sleepless night in my life. The tent-cot and I are just not suited for each other and it is one piece of kit I have
already put up for sale. It is a great idea, easy to set up and very easy to use but with all my joint problems it just isn't for me.
Dorothy had a better night, so the camp stretcher may become part of our usual kit when we go away.
We hadn't intended to go far so did a bit of exploring around the national park.
The most interesting discovery was that it isn't necessary to go down the corrugated dirt road to get to Honeymoon Pool. There are two one-way roads
that are sealed all the way. The entry is via Lennard Drive (follow the main road past the turn off to Potter's Gorge and then past the Wellington Dam wall to a turn off over a small bridge, it is well
signposted. The exit follows River Road to Pile Road that will lead either back to Wellington Dam or to Dardanup.
We stopped at Wellington Dam to have a look around and it hasn't changed much since I was in primary school. What a different country this was back then.
Dam wall lookout
The afternoon was pretty much a carbon copy of the one before with only dinner being a little different as we had brought a couple of nice T bone steaks to have on
our last night.
As it was Friday night, the campsite started to fill from about 4pm and people were still arriving in the dark. How they all managed to fit in is beyond me but somehow
There was no way I was spending another night in that 'torture chamber' so I chucked the mattress on the floor of the tent and tried to make the best of it. By morning I wasn't sure
which had been worse.
We were packed and gone by 8am and stopped off at the tiny town of Burekup to get a few photos. There isn't a great deal to see but the town was a bit bigger than we had imagined
and even included a primary school.
As we would literally be passing the front gate, we decided to drop in to Harvey Cheese on the way home. There is quite a bit more to the place than just cheese but it was the free cheese
tasting that got us through the door.
In the end we spent a bit more than we should have but at least we were supporting a local business. My personal favourite was the OMG Camembert style cheese.
If we had more time we would have dropped in at Brunswick, Waroona and a couple of other spots but that would have to wait for another
Updated February 2017