Kurliiny Tjenangitj Trail
Wellington National Park
Directions - Located near Collie, take Coalfields Highway from South Western Highway heading east and turn right onto Wellington Dam Road when you see the signs for the park. Take a right turn onto River Road to reach Honeymoon Pool and follow it all the way to the car park for the popular camping spot. The trail initially follows the markers for the Jabitj Trail heading upstream from Honeymoon Pool.
The Hike - One of the best places to get out and explore the vast Jarrah Forests near Collie, Wellington National Park has a range of hiking and mountain bike trails that thanks to recent investment, is expanding over the next few years. Having visited a few times over the years to hike the Sika Trail, Jabitj Trail and the first part of the Wiilman Bilya, along with riding through on the Munda Biddi in 2021, there was one trail that I kept meaning to come back and visit, the Kurliiny Tjenangitj Trail.
With a visit planned for late winter of 2022, I would be scouting the Sika Trail, Jabitj Trail and then finally the Kurliiny Tjenangitj as part of an action packed 30km day of trails. With limited sunlight available to get everything done, I drove the two and a bit hours out to Wellington National Park mostly in the dark. Arriving at The Kiosk and the site of the recently built mountain bike network, I hiked the Sika Trail first and then the Jabitj Trail to get down to Honeymoon Pool where the Kurliiny Tjenangitj Trail officially starts. I'm still debating whether I update the posts for the Sika Trail and Jabitj Trail as it's a lot of work and the original pages still hold up compared to my more modern work. Late afternoon arrived and with about 17km already in the legs, I was keen to see something new on the Kurliiny Tjenangitj (meaning "come and see" in the Noongar language). My preconceptions of this trail before doing it was that it was a bit of an odd trail in terms of layout and seemed like an afterthought.
Having to walk a part of the Jabitj Trail to get to the start of the loop section means no proper trail head and then sharing part of the loop with the Sika Trail and Munda Biddi seemed a bit like this was a parts bin trail. While this may be the case, as you read on, all this didn't detract from the hiking experience. Honeymoon Pool was looking a treat when I finished the Jabitj Trail, so I sat down on the stairs leading into the Collie River (bit cold for me to have a dip) and took a break while I photographed this idyllic location by the water. It was a busy but not overcrowded day here, with the main lookout areas being relatively empty. This meant I could get the shots I wanted without people being in them, and as I was ready to depart for the final trail of the day, the clouds rolled over to create some lovely lighting conditions. Walking along the Jabitj Trail as it heads upstream is a nice way to start the trail as this section is really picturesque thanks to the Peppermint Trees lining the river and some cool moss/fungi finds early on.
There are lots of little lookouts and viewing points over the Collie River along here and they provide plenty of photo opportunities. It's a relaxing way to start the trail as soon enough, you'll be climbing up into the hills, so enjoy it while it lasts. Crossing over the road where the River Road traffic bridge goes over the river, you join an old vehicle track that continues along the edge of the river but enters a fantastic bit of forest. There used to be an old campsite here but it has been blocked off, not that it stopped a woman taking her kids and dog (not allowed in the national park) to this spot and setting up on the trail. I walked straight past her and continued on towards the little rapids around the corner. I love photographing the flow of water and took the opportunity to indulge myself once again. This part of the river walking continues to be excellent as you rise up a small hill next to a section of exposed granite.
I was curious when I spotted a Bibbulmun Track marker and after consulting with my old CALM edition of the Guide to the Bibbulmun Track from 1988, this is indeed an old alignment of the track. In terms of expedience, the current alignment works fine but heading into Wellington National Park and along the Collie River would be a great experience if it could be looped back to the where the spur trail currently goes. I guess you could walk the Wiilman Bilya to add a couple more days to your journey and maybe one day I will. Reaching a wide pool, this is where the Kurliiny Tjenangitj leaves the Jabitj Trail and heads up into the hills above the Collie River Valley. Excited to be headed into new territory, this marks the start of a 170m climb to the main lookout over the surrounding hills. With gradients hanging around the 10-20% mark, occasionally creeping up into the 30s, this sustained climb really gets the blood pumping.