Written by Jane and Michael Pelusey


The town of Collie in Western Australia’s South West is quickly transforming from a coal town into an outdoor adventure hub. From hiking trails of all lengths to mountain biking and paddlesports, Collie has an adventure for everyone!


We acknowledge that this adventure is located in the traditional Country of the Noongar people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Quite a few years ago, I (Michael Pelusey) was a bit lost and looking for a sense of purpose in my life. I came across a University Extension Course which changed everything.

It was a weekend away where participants learnt how to hike with a pack and camp rough. Our leader, Dr Arthur Weston, led us rank beginners up and down the heavily forested and largely untracked surroundings of Collie.

Back then, coal and power stations were king and nothing else got a look in. So, Collie has a very special place in my heart.


Collie: A Guide to Visiting South West WA’s Coal Town Turned Adventure Hub, Jane Pelusey


Now, some years later, I’m back with Jane to witness Collie undergoing dramatic change. With the region getting $10 million of state funding for trails development, Collie has become a hub for mountain bikers, hikers, and kayakers. 

About Collie

The Collie region is Kaniyang and Wiilman country for the local Aboriginal Noongar people and the town of Collie has a population of 7,500.

Coal has been the mainstay of jobs in town with two coal mines and three power stations. With massive uptake of solar and other renewables in Western Australia, the coal power stations are no longer viable long term.

Collie’s in a process of reinventing itself to attract new industries such as adventure tourism.


Collie: A Guide to Visiting South West WA’s Coal Town Turned Adventure Hub, Jane Pelusey


Collie’s surrounds feature the Collie River and hilly Jarrah forest protected by Wellington National Park and the damming of the Collie and Harris Rivers and old open cut mines have created lakes.

Wellington Dam on the Collie River is the largest dam in the South West and second largest in WA.

Unfortunately the water has become too saline for drinking, but Harris Dam supplies much needed freshwater.

Collie History

For thousands of years, the Collie River and other local waterways have provided both physical and spiritual subsistence to local Noongar people.

This deep respect for the river and its surroundings is very much alive today. The town of Collie was founded in 1897 and is named after Alexander Collie, one of the first Europeans in the area. The more recent history of Collie revolves around the coal mining and power supply.


Collie: A Guide to Visiting South West WA’s Coal Town Turned Adventure Hub, Jane Pelusey, mtb trail, person, bush

How to Get to Collie

To reach Collie, drive south from Perth, on the South Western Highway. Turn left onto Coalfields Highway. If driving south on Forrest Highway, turn left on Raymond Road and then onto Coalfields Highway to Collie.

Those without cars can use public transport. From Perth City Station, the trip to Collie involves a train to Brunswick Junction, followed by a coach to Collie and vice versa on the trip back. Each way the trip takes around 2.5-3 hours.

Around Collie, there’s a taxi service that will pick up and drop off hikers around the region.

Skill Level

Beginner to Advanced

Collie has trails designed to provide something for everyone. There are short flat walks and long distance trails. There are kid friendly mountain bike trails, adaptive trails for wheelchairs and black grade MTB to challenge experienced riders.


Collie: A Guide to Visiting South West WA’s Coal Town Turned Adventure Hub, Jane Pelusey, bike, bush, person

Essential Gear for Collie

  • Water
  • Hiking boots
  • Hat
  • Mountain bike
  • Bike helmet
  • First aid kit
  •  Personal floatation device

Things to Do in and Around Collie

Collie’s trails are collectively known as the Wambenger Trails. A Wambenger or Red-tailed phascogale is a tiny marsupial that was once widespread in Australia but is now limited to the South West of WA.

There are three main areas that attract active outdoor types:

  • Wellington National Park, was gazetted in the early 2000s and protects 17,000 hectares of forest with the Collie River flowing through it
  • Wagyl Biddi Trailhead, Arklow Trails, and Kylie Trailhead surround the town of Collie
  • Mount Lennard in nearby Ferguson Valley

Collie Hiking Trails

We’re great fans of the Bibbulmun Track, having completed it end to end twice. Last time we noticed the Wellington Spur and popped it on a mental to do list.

With the new Wiilman Bilya opening up our excitement grew even more. These three trails offer plenty of hiking variations and all interlink.

Access across Wellington Dam and the pedestrian bridge below the wall is currently closed until the dam wall has been safety checked while a purpose built pedestrian bridge is built.


Collie: A Guide to Visiting South West WA’s Coal Town Turned Adventure Hub, Jane Pelusey


Multi day hikers walking the Willman Bilya will need to combine a few trails to complete this loop.

The Bibbulmun Track (1000km), holds a special place in our hearts as we have done two end-to-end hikes. The hiking trail goes from Kalamunda to Albany passes near Collie.

Read More: Hiking the Bibbulmun track

On our journey, we hiked from Harris Dam (22km) to the north into Collie, rested up for a night or two and hiked out again to Yabberup (19.6km) to the south.


Collie: A Guide to Visiting South West WA’s Coal Town Turned Adventure Hub, Jane Pelusey


Wellington Dam Spur is a relatively new 19km side trail from the Bibbulmun down to the Wellington Dam wall. With the newly gazetted Wellington National Park, the spur has campsites for groups like scouts and schools.

Wiilman Bilya is the brand new 87km multi-day loop named after the Wiilman people and Bilya is the Noongar word for river. We just completed this and loved the campsites and shelters positioned in strategic spots around the lake.

Some day walks are part of the Willman Bilya Trail. Jabitj means running water in Noongar language. This walk trail follows the northern side of the Willman trail and is 6km one way.

Sika trail is a 9.8km dual use trail. Starting at the Wellington Dam lake, the loop climbs into the forest with great views of the valley. The Collie River Trail follows the river 9km one way and was the start of our Willman Bilya hike.

Collie: A Guide to Visiting South West WA’s Coal Town Turned Adventure Hub, Jane Pelusey

Collie Mountain Bike Trails

Being more hikers, we have done some of the mountain bike trails when we were mapping for Trails WA. There are 120km of mountain bike trails so that should keep MTB fans busy for a few days.

The Munda Biddi which translates as ‘path through the forest’ in the local Noongar language, is a long-distance mountain bike trail of 1000km. Starting at Mundaring in the Perth Hills, it ends at Albany.


Collie: A Guide to Visiting South West WA’s Coal Town Turned Adventure Hub, Jane Pelusey


The Yarri hut is 27km north of Collie and Collie-Nglang Boodja hut is 40km south.

For the more gentle ride, we enjoyed the Collie to Darkan Rail Trail is an old railway converted to a multi-use trail. It stretches 61.5km from Buckingham (18km east of Collie), through Darkan and onto Dardadine.

It passes by old railway sidings and bridges over streams. Horses are also allowed on this trail.

The new MTB trails around Collie vary from easy to difficult. There are adaptive mountain bike trails with rock gardens, berms, switchbacks, and step downs.

Adaptive trails like Van Dam and Lichen are suitable for hand cycles and recumbent bikes. Wagyl Biddi Mountain Bike Trails are a series of tracks ranging from 40m Kindy Kicks to black rated descent Tertiary Trails. The Playground is a bunch of balance beams to test your skills.


Collie: A Guide to Visiting South West WA’s Coal Town Turned Adventure Hub, Jane Pelusey


The Mount Lennard or Pile Road trails are oldies but goodies and are located in the beautiful Ferguson Valley with blue, green, and black runs. The popular Grizzly and Boylen trails are being upgraded and close to a local brewery for post-ride refreshments.

Collie Water Sports

The Collie area is a haven for water sports. We spent a quiet hour floating around the calm pools. Above and below the dam, the river has nice tranquil pools such as Minninup Pool near town.

Downstream of the dam, the river is tree-lined with flat tranquil pools and some rapids depending on water levels. A beautiful 8km return paddle called Honeymoon Pool Kayak Trail finishes at a small waterfall.


Collie: A Guide to Visiting South West WA’s Coal Town Turned Adventure Hub, Jane Pelusey


The dammed rivers have resulted in Wellington Dam, Harris Dam, and Glen Mervyn Dam. Swimming isn’t allowed in Harris Dam because it’s used as a water source for the South West. The other two have swimming and water skiing areas.

The man made lakes, Lake Kepwari, Stockton Lake, and Black Diamond Lake, have become quite Insta-famous because of their aqua colour. All three are old coal mines that have been filled with water and provide camping and water sports, like water skiing or just floating around on your blowup pink flamingo.


Collie: A Guide to Visiting South West WA’s Coal Town Turned Adventure Hub, Jane Pelusey


For the more adventurous, water is periodically released from Wellington Dam, resulting in challenging whitewater paddling. The release dates are estimated ahead of time, but not confirmed until 30 hours before, so you’ve got to be prepared to be spontaneous!

Best Places to Camp around Collie

For us, we love campsites you can only walk into. The best of the best are hike-in campsites on the Bibbulum and Wiilman Bilya multi day tracks. They all feature large shelters for protection from the elements, good tent sites, drop toilets, and big water tanks. Similarly, several ride-in camps cater for mountain bikers on their trails.

Scattered around the region are car accessible campsites, our favourite being the riverfront and shady Honeymoon Pool, right on a calm section of the Collie River.

Best Places to Stay in Collie with Friends

You can recognise hiker and cyclist accommodation because the kitchen has gas cylinders and methylated spirits in the cupboard. The Colliefields Hotel provides a comfy bed after a few days on the trail and a great place to catch up with like-minded explorers to compare adventures.


Collie: A Guide to Visiting South West WA’s Coal Town Turned Adventure Hub, Jane Pelusey

Best Places to Eat in Collie

On our Bibbulmen End to End, our routine was to arrive in town and get a steak and a beer at a local hotel. Collie has a whole street of pubs to choose from. For that pre-trail caffeine hit, we go to the Colliefields cafe or The Wagon in the main street.

Tips For Visiting Collie

Collie is a year-round destination, with hot dry summers. Winters can be either wet or cold on clear nights. Weekends and school holidays are busy, so book accommodation and camping well in advance.

Collie FAQs

Are Collie trails good for beginners?

There’s a range of trails that are good for beginners and others for experienced hikers and riders.

Can you swim at Collie?

You can swim at Collie in the Collie River downstream at places like Honeymoon Pool, Wellington Dam, and Lake Kepwari.

Do you need a 4WD to get to Collie?

You don’t need a 4WD in Collie however some roads are gravel and there are 4WD tracks available.