A new 20 kilometre walking trail through the Wellington National Park has been opened by the state government, building on the work completed by the government and the Shire of Collie to turn the region into a trails hub.
The Wiilman Bilya Trail begins at Wellington Dam and stretches north to the Coalfields Highway, winding through the magnificent blackbutt, open jarrah forest and past granite outcrops of the Wellington National Park.
Bushwalkers can expect a full day walk in either direction, with the option to camp overnight at Nyingarn campsite or at Potters Gorge.
The $320,000 funding for the project was provided by the state government through the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and Royalties for Regions.
Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray said the opening of the new trail would provide a tourism benefit to Collie.
“We want to encourage Western Australians to get active and make the most of the great outdoors, and the provision of walk trails is an ideal way for people to immerse themselves in nature,” he said.
“During the past 10 years visitation to Wellington National Park has increased substantially, reaching more than 315,000 visits in the 2017-18 financial year.
“We are confident that the development of the Wiilman Bilya Trail will attract even more people to the park and help stimulate tourism growth in the Collie area.”
The Wiilman Bilya name was chosen to pay tribute to the traditional Noongar group, Wiilman, with Bilya being the Noongar word for river.
The trail will build on Collie’s ever-expanding collection of trail networks, including the Arklow and Wagyl Biddi mountain bike trail networks, as well as the Munda Biddi trail and Bibbulmun Track, both of which bring trail users into Collie.
WA Labor had previously committed $200,000 to upgrade the Wellington Dam walking trails prior to the 2017 state election.
Two further stages of the project, which are expected to include another 22 kilometres of trails and two campsites, are in preliminary stages.
A draft alignment for an extension of the trail south of Wellington Dam has been completed with flora and fauna studies underway.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the government was committed to making the South West’s national parks as accessible as possible for visitors.
“The McGowan Government recognises the value of Western Australia’s national parks and reserves, and is committed to making these accessible to visitors for generations to come,” he said.
“The proposed expansion of Wellington National Park is also expected to improve and expand tourism and recreation opportunities, with public consultation currently underway on this proposal.”