4wd Trip – Wubin Wildflowers

4wd Trip - Wubin Wildflowers
4wd Trip - Wubin Wildflowers
Relaxing at camp

4wd Trip – Wubin Wildflowers

  • 4wd Trip Name: Wubin Wildflowers
  • Terrain: Sand tracks and dense scrub
  • Difficulty (Dry): Easy
  • Date Driven: 9th, 10th, 11th September

Day 1 – Wubin Wildflowers

Purple Flowers - Wubin Wildflowers
Purple Wildflowers

The Wubin Wildflowers 4wd trip took a small group of adventurers through the wildflower country to the north east of Wubin in Western Australia. The long weekend showed us the amazing display of wildflowers that visitors from all over the world come to witness. Although we are not avid wildflower watchers, we had heard that the wildflower display in Western Australia is well worth seeing, and we were not disappointed.   We pulled into Wubin road house at about 9:45am on the Friday and waited for the remainder of the group. Soon afterwards, we were joined by a couple from Germany who are slowly settling in to Western Australian life. They told us how they’d purchased their Land Cruiser Troup Carrier and were gradually setting it up to be an off-road tourer.

Some of the bargains that they had found were amazing! Such as a full length roof rack for just $50, a high lift jack, an exhaust jack, and a hand winch for a total of $150. Gumtree truly has been his best friend.

4wd Trip - Wubin Wildflowers
Fringe Lilly

After a bit of chit-chat, we then continued north east along Great Northern Highway. After about 30 kilometres, we eventually turned north, off the road and into the scrub. Just off the road, we stopped to air-down before continuing into the scrub along good quality tracks of orange/red sand.

We wound our way through the countryside, making sure that if we found a gate that it was left closed afterwards. On occasion, our trip leader would ask us to hold back while he went forward to find the track. He explained that although the track was marked on the GPS, on occasion it completely disappeared from sight because it had become overgrown with wildflowers.

After traveling north along Dalgary Road, we eventually came across a rock outcrop where we stopped for lunch. Out trip leader told us that the Dalgary Rock hole had been used by aboriginal people for centuries, and it had been also used by stockmen as a watering hole for livestock in the area.

Continuing on after lunch through even more wildflower country, we commented to each other that it was nice to drive through a cloud of everlasting petals, rather than the usual chocking cloud of dust that reduces visibility to almost nothing on many 4wd adventures.

Towards the end of the day, our trip leader led us towards an area that is well known for orchids. Although the display of wildflowers through the trip had been astounding, we were a little too late for the orchids and we only managed to find a few. Some aging examples of donkey orchids and one small stand of spider orchids was all that was on offer.

4wd Trip - Wubin Wildflowers
The three vehicles

As evening approached, we pulled into Camel Soak, a DEC campsite that was to be our first night’s accommodation. The others in our small group both pulled up in their fully equipped Troup Carriers, and were set up for the night in seconds. They were then able to sit back with a cold beer and watch the entertainment of us trying to set up our tent that, I must admit, we haven’t set up in quite some time. I’m sure they got a good laugh out of our ’discussions’ around which pole went were, and whether the fly was inside out or not.

We eventually got the tent up, only to have my wife query the strength of the branch that we’d placed out tent under. My somewhat short reply was “It’s fine. I’m not moving it”. Conversation over.

After a short walk up the rock outcrop, we found the waterhole and, urged on by our 5 year old son, spent some time finding larger and larger rocks to throw into it.

Camel Soak was also a favoured watering hole for the local aboriginals, and later became a place where camel trains would stop overnight during the construction of the vermin proof fence.

Day 2 – Wubin Wildflowers

White Flowers - Wubin Wildflowers
So many wildflowers!

After breakfast on day 2, the troupies were all ready to go in about 5 seconds and were then entertained as we tried to pack up our tent. Although packing the tent up was much simpler than putting it up the evening before.

The amazing wildflower display was, if possible, even more amazing as we drove the tracks towards the abandoned Rothsay mine site.

4wd Trip - Wubin Wildflowers
Abandonned vehicles

Along the way, we stopped at a couple of abandoned station building sites in varying states of ruin. Some with semi complete buildings, and others with nothing but a tin shed and emus.   The Rothsay mine site is an abandoned gold mine that was established initially in 1894 and was actively mined up until as recently as 1994.

We were able to walk down into the open cut trench of the mine, but were not able to descend into the underground section as it is much too dangerous.

At the Rothsay Mine Site Village, we were able to have lunch in the shade of a tree next to a concrete pad. This concrete pad used to be the foundation of one of the buildings that the miners used for accommodation. We also visited the old graveyard that contains only 2 graves. 3 if you include the more recent grave of someone’s poor pet pooch.

4wd Trip - Wubin Wildflowers
Rothsay gold mine
Everlastings - Wubin Wildflowers
Everlastings

NOTE: Access to the Rothsay mine site is now restricted. Mining in the area has re-commenced and so the general public are no longer aloud to enter.

On leaving Rothsay, we continued on to our second night’s campground; Boiada Hill campsite. This is a well appointed campsite that is maintained by the Subaru Club of WA.

The campsite has running water, flush toilets, a camp kitchen and (very) cold showers. Most of us used a solar shower filled with water heated on the campfire. We decided to abandon the tent fly and set up on the floorboards, inside the three-sided hall.

Day 3 – Wubin Wildflowers

Waking up the next morning, we discovered that one of the troupies had punctured a tyre along the way. Overnight it had become completely flat. It was a great opportunity for our trip leader to demonstrate his tyre repairing skills.

4wd Trip - Wubin Wildflowers
Old sheep/cattle run

Unfortunately for him, the puncture appeared to be on the inside sidewall so he had to crawl under the troupie to perform the surgery.

Wildflowers - Wubin
Mix of colours

Once the tyre was repaired, we were led along a number of other tracks to eventually find the rare Wreath Flowers that only grow in a few areas around WA. The plant is an interesting one that does not seem to fit with the surrounding flora. In the area, most of the plants are like the everlastings. Hardy, stiff, waxy plants that are designed to retain water. The Wreath Flower appears to be fleshy and green. More the kind of flower you’d expect in a tropical rainforest, or in the forests of Europe.

We then continued along more tracks towards Perenjori where we joined the bitumen road, re-inflated our tyres and headed home. At Wubin, our leader left us and continued on to Credo station to try his luck at making his fortune finding gold.

The 4w driving was never more extremee than some slightly rocky outcrops, but the scenery was amazing. It’s a pity that I’d forgotten to track this trip with my GPS.

4wd Trip – Wandoo Country

4wd Trip - Wandoo Country

4wd Trip – Wandoo Country

4wd Trip - Wandoo Country
Wandoo woodlands

This track may take you through areas at risk of dieback. Please STICK TO THE TRACKS!.

  • Terrain: Gravel, clay, sand.
  • Distance (Km): 107.2 kms
  • Difficulty (Dry): Scenic to easy.
  • Google Map: 4wd Trip – Wandoo Country
  • Date Driven: 15th May 2011

The area we drove through is rich in Western Australian history. The first section of the track, along Nganguring Road, follows the original settlers roadway from Perth to York. Interestingly, this same roadway turns into the well known Mundaring Powerlines track a little further towards Perth. In fact we could hear a group of drivers on the Powerlines track over our UHF radios.

So each time you head out for a 4wd trip on the renowned Powerlines, remember that you’re driving on a very important part of Western Australian history.

The track, as mentioned, is the original roadway from the Swan River Settlement (Perth) to the grazing and farming lands around York. Along the way there are a number of natural watering holes and springs, as well as the remains of buildings and lodgings built for shelter along the way. The local aboriginal people used a different pathway which was much more accessible and easier to navigate. The immigrants used the less convenient track in an attempt to avoid conflict. This was not always successful unfortunately.   Now days the Great Southern Highway follows the path that the local aboriginals originally used.

Our 4wd Trip

4wd Trip - Wandoo Country
Lined up on the hill

We stated out 4wd trip at the Lakes Roadhouse at the intersection of Great Northern and Great Southern Highways. From here, we headed east along Great Southern Highway for a while, before turning right off the main road onto Yarra Road and then left onto Nganguring Road.

Nganguring Road is now a narrow forestry track. The overhanging fire-bush makes some parts of the track very narrow and will decorate your vehicle with long, thin stripes running from front to back. After navigating the narrow sections, the track opens out into Wandoo woodlands. The understory turns from thick fire-bush into predominantly zamia palm and grasstree. The terrain is mainly red soil/clay with rocky sections, hard sand and some mildly rutted out tracks.

Along this track we came across a natural spring that was used by the early settlers as a watering hole on the way from Perth to York. Adjacent to the spring is the ruins of a number of old dwellings that were used as shelter for extended stop-offs.

Rest Areas

Mt Observation

We stopped near Mt Observation for morning tea. This hill is one of a number in the area that were used for navigation. Markers were placed on each hill for identification purposes and as the settlers made their way through the valleys, they would use these markers to prevent themselves from getting lost.

Rocky Outcrop

For lunch, we stopped at a rocky outcrop that was an interesting place for the kids to explore It also had fantastic views to the north and west.

Ruts and Hills

4wd Trip - Wandoo Country
Coming up the steep hill

A little further along on the 4wd trip there were a couple of heavily rutted tracks that tested the articulation a little, however none of the vehicles on the trip had any problems.

We then came across a steep and long hill climb that would be very challenging in the wet. The trip leader told us that in the past, the track has been very interesting and challenging. However it had recently been graded and there had not been enough rain in recent times to re-create all the interesting features. A few more years should remedy that. For fun, we drove up and then turned around and drove back down again.

From there, it was a short run on good forestry tracks to Mt Dale where our trip ended with afternoon tea. There are fantastic views from Mt Dale all the way to the ocean and the city.

The drive out from Mt Dale is along gravel roads to Brockman Highway.

What you’ll need

Really the trip was very simple in terms of 4wd difficulty. But it’s always best to be prepared. There are a couple of areas where, in very wet weather when the water’s up, you’d get very wet. There is evidence of water up to 2m deep in places!

  • Snatch Strap
  • Shackles
  • Tyre Pressure Gauge
  • Compressor to re-inflate your tyres
  • Camera
  • Puncture repair kit just in case

4wd Trip – Southern Shores

4wd Trip - Southern Shores

4wd Trip – Southern Shores

  • Terrain: All sand
  • Date Driven: 16th Jan 2011
4wd Trip - Southern Shores
Coming over the hill at White Hill Road

The Southern Shores 4wd trip is a well known track along the beach south of Mandurah in Western Australia. The 4wd trip starts at the end of White Hill Road and continues southward towards Bunbury. There are exit points at Preston Beach and Myalup as you head south. The conditions vary widely from still and perfect to rough, windy and very soft.   It is a very popular place for beach go-ers, fishermen, picnic-ers and four wheel drivers.

Our Southern Shores 4wd trip

We were lucky enough to be able to do this 4wd trip with a local 4wd club as visitors (prior to becoming members of the club). The support and assistance that the members of the club offered us made the trip very enjoyable.   As one of our first four wheel drive trips, it was a great experience. Enough to challenge us while being easy enough so that we didn’t have too much trouble… With the driving, at least.

Where it started

To start the trip, we were scheduled to meet at the Miami Plaza shopping centre at 9am. Driving in with our almost stock standard 2010 Mitsubishi PB Challenger and seeing a line-up of fully modified and built-up Landcruisers and Patrols made us feel a little out of place. The amazing welcome that we received from the club members quickly changed that.

After a quick briefing, we headed south, across the Dawsville Channel towards Lake Clifton, eventually turning right onto White Hill Road. White Hill Road quickly turned into a moderately corrugated hard sand road. Part way along, we stopped and reduced pressure in our tyres.

To get onto the beach at the end of White Hill Road, we had to drive down into a dune swale, and then up a large dune and over to the beach. Occasionally this dune is very soft and can be tricky to climb. The day we were there the track was hard and it was a simple drive and descent down the other side. Take a look at 4wd Tips and Tricks – Sand Driving if you’re interested.

The 4wd trip to Preston Beach

4wd Trip - Southern Shores
On the beach

The day was absolutely perfect. A gentle easterly blowing, flat crystal clear turquoise water, dolphins playing in the shallows. The sand was soft enough in places to make it interesting, but not so soft that it was difficult driving. Although we were told that the beach is a very variable place and can be windy, rough and very very soft.

We followed the convoy and gradually became used to driving on the sand. We passed many other vehicles who were there for a picnic, fishing or just a day out driving on the sand.

Part way along to Preston Beach, we stopped for morning tea and a swim. On such a hot day, it was fantastic to plunge into the beautiful water. Eventually, we arrived at Preston Beach and pulled into the car park for a pit-stop.

Oh oh… That’s not supposed to happen

On leaving Preston Beach and heading back onto the sand, there was some discussion over the UHF radios about one of the convoy leaking what looked like oil as we left the car park. Being new, we didn’t speak up until someone in the convoy said that they thought that the oil may have been coming from “a silver, or maybe gold Mitsubishi Challenger”…

4wd Trip - Southern Shores
Fixing up the power steering fluid leak

We quickly got on the radio and said “Well that’d be us then. I guess we should pull over and check it out”.

Everyone was very keen to help out. We looked under the car and could see some kind of redish fluid dripping from the bash plates. My first though was engine coolant, but when I touched it it was oily feeling. As luck would have it, the Triton behind us in the convoy had experienced exactly the same issue on a previous trip. At his suggestion, we opened up the bonnet and checked the power steering fluid.

It was almost completely empty. Looking into the engine bay from the top, he pointed out where the power steering fluid pipes joined into the steering mechanism. It was quite obvious that one of the pipes was not tightened as much as the other.

4wd Trip - Southern Shores
The old and the new. Two Challengers

I dug a hole under the front of the vehicle so that I could slide underneath and removed the bash plates. From there, I was then able to reach in and access the pipe attachments. The one that looked lose was only finger tight. A quick couple of turns with a spanner fixed that.

One of the advantages of travelling with a convoy of serious 4×4 owners is that if you don’t have the part you need yourself, then there is a pretty good chance that someone else will have it. A quick call over the UHF radio and a bottle of power steering fluid was on it’s way. A quick re-fill and we were back on our way.

On our way again

After our introduction to beach mechanics, the convoy headed off once more. For a couple of cars it was a little touch and go taking off again. There was some bogging, but nothing that the vehicle couldn’t get themselves out of. No problem for the Challenger though. We’d already had our share of toruble for the day.

We continued on south towards Myalup. As lunchtime approached, the trip leader started looking out for places to stop and eat. A place wide enough to accommodate the vehicles, and also allow other beach go’ers to pass us by.

We eventually stopped and set up the beach shelters and had a great picnic on the sand, and then another swim. There is no keeping our son out of the water. Not ever the huge stingray that swam past just behind a number of club members who were still in the water.

After lunch, we all turned around and headed back to Preston Beach, rather than continue on to Myalup.

Back at Preston Beach, we all re-inflated our tyres with our compressors and headed off.

After the 4wd trip

4wd Trip - Southern Shores
Airing up at Preston Beach

After the 4wd trip on the beach, a number of us headed off for a wine tasting at Vineyard 28. Sitting under the shade cloth with Jasper the Red Cloud Kelpy, the 4wd club members and the owner was great. Very relaxing. Fantastic wines. The perfect end to the day.

What you should take with you

The 4wd trip is all sand. So you’ll need all the things you’d need for any kind of sand driving:

  • Compressor
  • Tyre pressure gauge
  • Tyre Deflator
  • Snatch Strap
  • Recovery points
  • Shackles
  • A long handled shovel
  • MaxTrax or equivalent

4wd Trip – Dwellingup Fencelines

4wd Trip - Dwellinup Fencelines

4wd Trip – Dwellingup Fencelines

This track may take you through areas at risk of dieback. Please STICK TO THE TRACKS!.

Dwellingup is a small town south of Perth. The town has a long history originally as the terminus of the Pinjarra/Marinup railway, as a logging town. In more modern times, Dwellingup has become known as a centre for bauxite mining. In 1961, 132 homes in Dwellingup were destroyed by devastating fires that tore through the area. 800 odd people were left homeless in the Dwellingup area, however there were no fatalities.

Dwellingup is now a popular destination for holiday-makers and four wheel drivers. There are coutless interesting and diverse tracks being available for all skill levels. The Dwellingup Fenclines 4wd trip is one of these.

Before the trip

4wd Trip - Dwellinup Fencelines
Setting up camp in our borrowed caravan.

We were once again lucky enough to be allowed to join in with a Western Australian 4wd club on their trip down to Dwellingup. We headed down on Friday evening straight after work and arrived only about an hour and a half later. We pulled into the Dwellingup Caravan Park which is a fantastic, back-to-nature caravan park on the edge of town, hidden in state forrest. The park and camp/caravan sites are nestled in amongst tall jarrah forest, giving you the feeling of camping right out on the bush.

There were already a number of club members set up when we arrived and they were very keen to come over and have a chat while we set our camper/caravan up. It was the first time we’d set it up so it took a while, and ended up being quite a late night for our little son.

Meeting at the pub

The next morning, were were to meet the rest of the convoy at the Dwellingup Hotel at 8:30am. As it turned out, there were quite a number of vehicles, so we were split into two groups. At about 9:30am, after a briefing, we headed off with the second group to follow about 30 minutes later.

On the drive

We headed out of Dwellingup, west along the Pinjarra/Williams road until we reached Scarp Road. Scarp Road is a small turn-off heading slightly up-hill off the main road. If you continue straight down Scarp Road, you eventually find yourself at Scarp Pool, which we visited a little later on our trip.

4wd Trip - Dwellinup Fencelines
A section of the Dwellingup Fencelines 4wd Trip

Instead of continuing along Scarp Road, we stopped a little down the track and reduced our tyre pressure to around 20 PSI. A little further down Scarp Road, we turned off onto a track that you’d probably miss unless you were looking for it. It was slightly overgrown and was only just wide enough for us to drive down. And this was just the beginning.

As we continued along the track, we came across a number of very rough spots. We would not have thought our car capable of successfully navigating these challenges until we watched the Triton in front of us doing it. In particular, a couple of very steep sections where we lost traction a couple of times, and a few very rutted sections that required us to very carefully pick our lines. In particular, one section where the track turned sharply left. The left hand side of the track was level, but the rut on the right was approximately 60 cms deep and steeply sloping back towards the right. We watched carefully as the Triton in front of us navigated the turn. We noticed their right wheels slipping back into the rut.

As we drove through, I took the approach of keeping a little further to the right. This put me higher on the sloping rut and I managed to get through without slipping back down.

There were a number of averagely steep descents requiring low range 1st gear. Many of them were loose dust, leaves and gravel that all conspired against our traction.

Other sections were so narrow between bushes that all the cars came out with minor scratching. Nothing serious, only surface paint scratches that we decided to call ‘speed stripes’.

4wd Trip - Dwellinup Fencelines
Clearing the track

A little further on, just before our morning tea stop, we came across a pine tree fallen over the track. It had obviously been there for some time as a track around the tree was starting to form.

However the attitude of the particular 4wd club is that if a tree is blocking the path, if it is possible to clear it then it should be cleared. This prevents the track from spreading into the surrounding environment and causing destruction to nearby plant life.

One of the leaders of the convoy had a chain which he hooked around the tree and attached to his vehicle. With almost no effort, his car pulled half the tree off the track. With the rest of the convoy assisting, we were able to move the rest of the tree off the track manually.

A little further down the track, we arrived at Scarp Pool where we had lunch. Scarp Pool is a fantastic lunch location on the Murray River. The river at this point forms a couple of natural pools which are accessible by foot and are nice swimming spots. There are also toilets and picnic tables available.

Geographically Challenged

4wd Trip - Dwellinup Fencelines
Hanging out

After lunch, we continued along following the trip leader. Although it wasn’t of concern to us, the trip leader was clearly not 100% confident of where he was supposed to be heading. During the briefing, we’d been informed that it was the first trip that the leader was taking. Later he explained to us that the method they’d used to survey the track was slightly different from what had been used previously. They’d had a number of people driving different tracks. They then discussed the tracks and decided which would be the final route.

However in joining the routes they somehow became corrupted and didn’t match up. There was a large section in the middle that didn’t appear in the track at all. This did lead to the convoy heading down some very interesting tracks that were perhaps a little rougher than expected. And at one point, we had to drive around a fallen tree through some very tight and steep terrain. The turns were so tight that we were required to do ‘3 point turns’ to get through.

After a little while, however, we got back on track and eventually located where we were supposed to be.

The Hill

On our previous trip on the Southern Shores, we’d been told of ‘The Hill’. It had been described as a very intimidating and challenging hill. And when we arrived, it sure was.

4wd Trip - Dwellinup Fencelines
The Hill. They always look more scary in real life

The hill is quite intimidating. It is long and steep and weaves through the tall timber of the region. Standing at the bottom of the hill, we discussed the approach and how to tackle it.

The other group were at the top of the hill and were driving down it first, then turning around and driving back up. It’s what our group were supposed to do except, due to our previous geographic mis-adventure, we ended up at the bottom of the hill first.

So we waited and watched the other group drive down and then back up again. It was good to watch as it increased our confidence significantly.

Once they’d finished, we all got back into our cars and took turns driving up. When our turn came along we waited at the bottom for the call. Eventually it came ‘We’re up now. Next ones are OK to follow’. We replied, ‘Ok, we’re on our way’ and headed up.

The 2010 Mitsubishi PB Challenger comes standard with a rear diff lock which we engaged. We didn’t think we needed to, however we thought that using any means to help us get up was probably a good idea. So off we went. The track was steep to start with and quite heavily rutted. Part way up it kicked to the right around a large tree. At this point, there were a number of large rocks, some solidly set into the ground, while others were loose, causing us to loose traction quite a bit in this section. But I kept the revs up and drove though. Other cars had some trouble getting through this section, needing to back down a little and pick another line. One of the convoy staked a tyre and had to perform roadside repairs at the top of the hill.

After we’d all made it up, there was as a very steep descent down the other side. After this descent it was a reasonably short trip back to the main road and back to town.

NOTE: I have since done this hill again after wet weather. It can be very slippery and dangerous. TAKE CARE!

After the trip

Back at the caravan park we all cleaned up. In the showers were a number of very large huntsman spiders. They’re very typical of the area.

Although some of the club members had headed home, the rest of us headed off to the Dwellingup Hotel for dinner. I can reccommend the t-bone steak with mushroom sauce. It was a great end to a very exciting day. As we left the hotel, it just started a light rain which lasted all night.

Early the next morning we got up, packed our camper trailer up and headed home.

Other Information

First driven: 22 Jan, 2011

Google map of the trip: 4wd Trip – Dwellingup Fencelines

Terrain: Clay and dirt tracks through the bush. Dusty in the try, muddy and slippery in the wet.

4wd Trip – Francois Peron National Park

Francois Peron National Park 4wd Trip

Francois Peron National Park

Francois Peron National Park 4wd Trip
The Red Bluffs of the Cape

Called Wulyibidi by the local aboriginal people who have inhabited the region for 26,000 years, the Francois Peron National Park is located within the Shark Bay World Heritage Sanctuary. The area is a former sheep station, and the original homestead can be accessed via a short 2wd road from the main Denham – Monkey Mia road. The Homestead offers visitors the opportunity to see what life was like on a sheep station in the area. An artesian well also provides visitors the opportunity to bathe in a hot spa, with water heated to approximately 40 degrees c

Francois Peron was the zoologist appointed to a trip to Australian waters between 1801 and 1803. He rose to prominence from a trainee to head zoologist after all other qualified personnel either died during the voyage, or deserted in Mauritius. During this trip, Peron was responsible for the collection and documentation of over 100,000 specimens of Australian flora and fauna. This is the single most comprehensive collection of Australian natural history to date.

Cape Peron 4wd Trip

There are a number of 4wd tracks though the Cape Peron National Park, all of which are red softish sand which can become very corrugated in parts. The tracks are all single lane which means that on occasion, you are required to pull over to let someone coming in the opposite direction to pass you by.

Francois Peron National Park 4wd Trip
The long track through the scrub

The Homestead is accessible via a short unsealed 2wd track leading off the main Denham to Monkey Mia road. From here, a single 4wd track heads north, and splits off to lead to a number of different destinations:

  • Big Lagoon (Camping, boat launching, toilets, beach fishing and BBQs)
  • Herald Bight (Camping, beach fishing, boat launching and toilets)
  • Castle Well (Beach fishing)
  • South Gregories (Camping, boat launching, toilets, beach fishing and BBQs)
  • Gregories (Camping, boat launching, toilets, beach fishing and BBQs)
  • Bottle Bay (Camping, boat launching, toilets, beach fishing and BBQs)
  • Skipjack Point (Walk trail, viewing platform)
  • Cape Peron (Walk trail, toilets, BBQs)

On our trip, we didn’t have time to visit them all, unfortunately.

Busy Weekend

We were up in Shark Bay during the Easter break (2011) and it was busy… While we were up there, we heard a number of locals saying that it was the busiest that they’d ever seen it. Having said that, during our drive in the national park, the majority of the time we were the only car in sight.

In order to drive on the 4wd tracks, cars are required to reduce tyre pressure to a minimum of 20psi. This helps preserve the tracks by reducing the chance of people becoming bogged. We decided to go to 16psi as we usually do. The national park has installed a ‘re-inflation station’ at the homestead. The air hoses are the same as what you’d find at the service station, and means that there is no excuse for not letting your tyres down.

Big Lagoon

Francois Peron National Park 4wd Trip
Our first view of Big Lagoon

Throughout the national park, and in fact the entire Shark Bay area, there are a number of flat, low-lying areas called Birridas. These birridas are gypsum clay pans that used to be saline lakes. It is not recommended that you leave the designated tracks when crossing birridas, as the hard crust can hide some very sticky mud. Also, driving on the birridas will cause significant environmental damage which could take decades to repair.

With changing sea levels, some of these birridas have become flooded by the sea to form beautiful lagoons. In the Francois Peron national park there are 2 such lagoons, one is Little Laggon and the other is Big Lagoon.

The drive out to Big Lagoon is much the same as the rest of the national park. Softish red sand and low lying scrub as far as the eye can see.

Our first view of Big Lagoon, after 10kms of driving, was as we crested a small rise. Over the top we were presented with a grand view of green scrub, red sand, white beaches and magnificent blue water.

However, once we actually arrived at the beach, we discovered that it was covered in rotting sea grass. There were also quite a number of people camping there and it was crowded, smelly and unpleasant. We didn’t stay very long before we decided to head out to see some of the other sites.

South Gregories

We decided that the next stop would be South Gregories for a late lunch. One the way there, we came across 3 people in a very dead car. Although we didn’t get directly involved, we were told that the transmission had died. There were already a number of people assisting in getting the vehicle off the track. Once the other cars had moved on, we offered to try to make contact with someone using our UHF radio. We couldn’t quite get reception on our mobiles.

Francois Peron National Park 4wd Trip
Our Lunch Spot – South Gregories

We managed to contact someone closer in towards the homestead who said that as they were heading back to Denham, they’d relay the message on when they were able to get reception. We told the people in the car that we’d help them further if they were still there on the way back. As it turned out, the message must have go through as they were not there when we returned later in the day.

At South Gregories, we set up the awning on our car, rolled out the picnic blanket and set up for lunch. Although it was still quite crowded, it was a much more enjoyable environment from our experience at Big Lagoon.

Cape Peron

From South Gregories, it was a relatively short trip up to Cape Peron. The scenery here is spectacular. Red cliffs, blue ocean, white beaches. Amazing.

There were a number of people swimming off the white beach which looked very inviting. However as it was getting late in the day, we decided to just take a look around, and then head back towards Skipjack Point.

Skipjack Point

Francois Peron National Park 4wd Trip
One of the many Birridahs that the track crosses

Skipjack Point is one of these locations where people tell you that you’ll see amazing marine life from the viewing platform. “Head out there!” they say. “You’ll see manta rays, sharks, turtles, fish, everything!!”. When we’d heard people saying this we’d though to ourselves ‘Sure. Once in a blue moon, someone lucky will see one of those things… but not us…”

So on arrival at Skipjack Point, we were amazed to see a school of manta rays (or eagle rays?) swimming past! We waited for a little while watching the huge fish swimming the base of the bluff when suddenly we spotted a shark a few hundred meters off the coast! Other people on the viewing platform told us that only about 10 minutes prior to us arriving, they’d seen a huge turtle swim by. What an amazing place! Well worth a visit!

Back to the Homestead

As there is only so much time in the day, we eventually decided that it was time to head back to Denham. However we wanted to see the artesian hot spa at the homestead. After driving the 45kms along the soft, corrugated track, we eventually arrived back at

Francois Peron National Park 4wd Trip
The Re-inflation Station

the ‘re-inflation station’. There were about 10 vehicles queued up to use the facilities so I decided to re-inflate using my own compressor.

We then parked the car and went for a walk through the Homestead and found the artesian hot spa. The spa is fed by water that originates some 542 meters underground. The water was originally used as drinking water for the livestock. It has now been transformed into a hot tub that is free for all park visitors.

The water comes from the Canarvon Artesian Basin at about 35 to 60 degrees c.

The hot tub was very popular when we arrived with about 15 people either already in, or taking a short break from the very hot water. We dipped our feet in as we were not all that keen on fighting the crowds.

What you’ll need

As I have mentioned, it was a very busy weekend so tackling this track on our own was not a problem for us. However it’s a good idea to be self sufficient. I’d recommend taking:

  • MaxTrax or equivalent
  • Snatch Strap and shackles
  • Air Compressor
  • Sand Flag
  • UHF Radio
  • Camera
  • Snorkel (for you, not your car)
  • Goggles

Other Info

You can see a video of part of the trip here: Mitsubishi PB Challenger in Caper Peron – Shark Bay

A google map of our trip can be seen here: Map of Cape Peron 4wd Trip

4wd Trip – Wilbinga Sand Tracks

Wilbinga Sand Tracks

The Wilbinga Sand Tracks 4wd Trip trip is based on the Wilbinga to Seabird trip noted in the 4wd Days out of Perth book. As a group, we’d decided to start late so that we could enjoy the facilities at the Willow Brook Farm Camp Ground. This meant that we were a little short of time to complete the track all the way to Seabird. At a later date, we plan on continuing the trip from Moore River all the way to Ledge Point. But that’s for another day.

Prior to making the trip I’d called the Gingin ranger to ensure that the tracks were open. He’d said that they were but asked us to ensure that we did not disrupt any private property. He’d said that there had been a number of 4w drivers who’d cut fences, opened gates and let cattle out of farms. Please ensure that you do not cross fence lines or gates! Also ensure that you stick to already established tracks. Just because you have a 4wd, doesn’t mean you have the right to create tracks.

The ranger also mentioned that the beach in the area is treacherous. It is very cut-away and soft, and cars have been lost to the ocean. Be smart about driving on the beach. If you decide to go onto the beach, make sure you can get back off. Walk the tracks first and make a wise decision. It’s not worth the money you’ve spent on your car…

Starting our 4wd Trip

On Saturday afternoon, the Prado, the Navara and us in the Challenger headed up towards Gingin to spend the night camping at the Willow Brook Farm Campground. Arriving at approximately 3:30, we set up our tent alongside the Prado and Navara who’d arrived about an hour earlier.

Willow Brook Farm Caravan Park is a nice little farm-stay providing all the facilities you’d expect with some additional surprises such as sheep feeding, alpacas and Devonshire morning tea on Sunday.

After enjoying the Devonshire Tea and waiting for the Patrol to arrive, we headed off from Willow Brook Farm at about 10:30. A little later than we probably should have.

On the trip

Heading west from Willow Brook to meet up with the Brand Highway again, we headed south towards the start point. I’d spotted it on the Saturday as we zipped past and thought it looked like it’d been blocked off. On arriving at the road entry it became apparent that it hadn’t been blocked, but had deliberately been dug up making getting off the bitumen a little interesting.

After successfully negotiating the first obstable, we drove west along a compact, but corrugated limestone road for about 7.5kms. When the track started to change into softer sand interspersed with hard limestone outcrops, we decided it was time to let our tyres down.

Wilbinga Sand TracksWilbinga Sand TracksWilbinga Sand TracksWilbinga Sand TracksWilbinga Sand TracksWilbinga Sand Tracks

The first hill

It wasn’t long after we aired-down that we came across a clearing. We’d already given up on following the trip notes as there were so many sand tracks through the scrub that we’d become confused as to which one was which. Instead we decided to use the GPS waypoints that I’d already entered into my GPS app on my iPhone 4.

While paused in the clearing to discuss which way to go, another two 4w drives approached from behind. Leading these two was a dual cab ute (Hi-Lux perhaps) and a Landcruiser was following. As we were still discussing what to do, we waved them through and they took the track over the steep hill, which looked quite tame from the bottom.

We’d already made the decision to follow them over the top, when suddenly we noticed that the dual cab was backing down. He came all the way to the bottom, and then tried again, and was successful.

The Landcruiser then had a go at it. We were becoming more and more doubtful about our ability to drive the hill when the Landcruiser took 5 or 6 attempts at getting over the top.

Succumbing to the challenge, and peer pressure, I was the first of our group to attempt it. And the Challenger took us up and over with no problems at all! Others in our group were not so lucky… Or perhaps skillful? JOKE!

Second of our group was the Prado. He managed to get stuck in the same place as the Landcruiser and the Dual Cab. After he’d backed down I inspected the track on foot and found a number of large limestone bounders that weren’t helping, and one in particular that seemed to be causing the problems. It was much to big and solidly buried to move. On the second attempt, the Prado made it over.

Patrol followed without any problems and then the Navara had one failed attempt before getting over the top.

The Aftermath

After walking back down to the group, I was confronted with a scene of tyre inflators, jacks, jack plates etc. As it turned out, the Prado had somehow deflated the front driver side tyre getting over the hill! Did we discover the cause? Perhaps…

The tyre change was performed despite the attempts of the millions of flies to disrupt proceedings. And we hadn’t even reached the coast yet!

More sand tracks

One of the common past-times in the Wilbinga area is dirt biking. During our trip we encountered a number of them. They were happy to pass us by and we made sure we left enough room for them to get past safely. Although we didn’t have one, and we had no close calls, I’d strongly recommend that a couple of the convoy have sand flags at least 2m high. We’ll definately do that on the next trip in the area.

As we continued driving, the tracks became more overgrown and continued to alternate between reasonably hard sand and rocky limestone outcrops. With tyres deflated, we needed to take care on the rocky sections to make sure we didn’t stake tyres or dent rims.

We found a couple more hill climbs, most of which were deeply rutted and quick tricky to navigate. None of us had any problems but there was evidence that others had not been as fortunate.

Lunch time

Eventually, we came across an area that was quite attractive and decided to stop for lunch. It was nowhere near Moore River, which is where we’d intended to stop, but it was nice none-the-less.

After the Navara and the Prado had set up their ARB awnings, we all made ourselves comfortable for lunch.
Taking a short walk along the beach, we discovered a vehicle that hadn’t made it some time in the past. A lesson learned for everyone.

Towards the end

Continuing along through the maze of sand tracks, we ignored the trip notes and following only GPS waypoints. Through dense and prickly bush either side of the track, a couple of hills, any number of rocky outcrops, we followed the well beaten track along fenclines and eventually found the trip-noted area to re-inflate our tyres.
After such a fantastic day, it was disappointing to be heading home. But with unfinished business, in our heads we are already making plans for the next trip. Probably following the tracks and beach from Moore River to Seabird and perhaps as far as Ledge Point. Stay tuned… Plans are afoot…

What to take

On this trip, make sure you take:

  • Spare tyres and tyre changing equipment.
  • Snatch strap (although you probably won’t need it)
  • Long handled shovel
  • Tyre deflator
  • Tyre pressure gauge
  • Compressor to re-inflate your tyres
  • UHF radio
  • 2m high sand flag

Videos

The videos below show some of the sand hills around the place. But there are many, many more than just these!

 

4wd Trip – Boyagin Nature Reserve

Boyagin Nature Reserve

4wd Trip – Boyagin Nature Reserve

The Boyagin Nature Reserve trip is a 4wd trip described in the 4th edition of the 4wd Days out of Perth booklet. Our intention was to follow that trip, however things turned out a little differently from expected.

Boyagin Nature Reserve
On top of the rock
Boyagin Nature Reserve
Boyagin Nature Reserve

Much of the trip noted in the booklet is on very well formed gravel roads with only a small section of more serious 4×4. The trip we ended up doing was similar, with the only section of 4×4 being the loop towards the end in the Boyagin Nature Reserve.
Although we didn’t follow the suggested track, in my opinion, the area could be a very interesting 4wd destination, particularly in wet weather.

Terrain

The Boyagin Nature Reserve is a large area of Wandoo forest which is vastly

Boyagin Nature Reserve
A bit of a hill

different from the typical Jarrah forests of the Darling Scarp. The

ground is made up of harsh wheel-slashing rocks interspersed with large granite outcrops. It is very interesting countryside.
The 4×4 track that we drove on was mostly well formed forestry track with the occasional dry riverbed, steep descent and large granite slabs.

Video Footage

The below video shows one of the steep-ish descents.

4wd Trip – Ledge Point to Guilderton

Ledge Point to Guilderton 4wd Trip

4wd Trip – Ledge Point to Guilderton

Ledge Point to Guilderton
Ledge Point to Guilderton 4wd Track

I’d been looking for a 4wd trip along the coast somewhere. One that wasn’t too popular so that it would be a bit of an adventure. We’d done Preston Beach and Wilbinga before and enjoyed them, but I was after something a little different.So I got onto Google Maps and took a look around, and really the logical place to look close to Perth was Guilderton. And then north to Ledge Point.

History of the region

According to Wikipedia, Ledge Point is a small coastal township 105 km north of Perth, Western Australia. It was established to service the local fishing and crayfishing industries.

The town gets its name from a nearby coastal feature that was first mapped in 1875. Land was set aside for camping and recreational purposes in 1937 on request from the Gingin Road Board. It wasn’t until 1952 that squatters huts were first built in the area by local fishermen and soon a road was cut through to the site. Once the road was thorough, people began to request official land leases.

The area was subdivided for land release in 1954 and blocks were made available, mainly for retirees and holiday housing. In 1955 the town was officially gazetted at Ledge Point.

Ledge Point to Guilderton 4wd Trip
Having a great time in some of the dunes

In 1963, the wreck of the Dutch ship Vergulde Draek (Gilt Dragon) was discovered by divers. The ship was sunk after running aground on a nearby reef in 1656. It was carrying a load of trade goods as well as eight chests of silver guilders when it sunk. A full expedition was mounted in 1972 to recover the lost items, however most of the cargo and guilders had been pilfered by treasure hunters. Even so, over several months some significant artifacts were recovered and they are now on display at maritime musems in Fremantle and Geraldton.

In 1983, the oil rig Key Biscayne was wrecked 19kms offshore while it was under way. Severe storms that lashed the region caused the rig to topple over.

Previously known as Gabbadah, which is an aboriginal word of the local dialect that means ‘Mouthful of water’, was renamed to Guilderton and gazetted by the local shire in 1951. 20 years prior to that, in 1930, fourty 17th century silver guilders were discovered in the dunes near the Moore River mouth. These guilders are thought to have come from the wreck of the Gilt Dragon. This discovery is what inspired the name ‘Guilderton’.

Our 4wd Trip

I’ve run this trip a couple of times since first thinking it’d be a good 4wd club trip. Firstly we took some friends from work but we missed some turn-offs an ended up on the bittumen before Seabird. The second time I ran the trip was the 4wd club survey. We were determined that we’d find a way through along the beaches and the sand tracks… and we did.

So on the day of the official 4wd club trip, we gathered at the small carpark on De Burgh Street in Ledge Point. The general store is just around the corner and is a handy place to refuel and stock up if need be.

As the trip was a 4wd club trip, there were quite a number of participants which did make it difficult to run. Next time I’d limit the numbers to about 10 vehicles.

Ledge Point to Guilderton 4wd Trip
Spectacular Coast line

In the little car park, we let the air out of our tyres and then headed off south onto the beach. To begin with, the beach sand was as hard as a road. But as we headed further south it got softer and softer, but didn’t cause anyone any trouble.

After a couple of kilometres of beautiful beach driving, we turned off the beach and into the sand tracks though the scrub. it wasn’t long before we came across our first sand dune.

It’s amazing how things change. When we drove through doing the survey, the first dune was a nicely rounded off dune that was quite easy to drive over. This time, as I came up the first hill I was confronted with a huge, almost vertical wall of sand about 5 metres high! not knowing what it was like on the other side, I called a halt to the convoy and got out to take a look. Lucky I did because it was just as steep and twice as high down the other side. But also luckily the nice rounded sand dune was still there, but it was just off to the side a little. So we led the club in that direction.

Ledge Point to Guilderton 4wd Trip
Coming up a big dune

A couple more kilometres of winding tracks and we were in Seabird for lunch.

Between Seabird and Guilderton is a much shorter trip that from Ledge Point to Seabird. But there are still some very interesting 4wd challenges that we found.

Firstly there is a very steep and rocky hill wiht a couple of steps on the way down. Careful wheel placement was a must! One day I’ll take a trip in the other direction and try driving up it!

Then there is the long stretch of track with the fantastic view of the rough coast-line that goes on forever.

And the short, sharp hill climb that gives you three options, one easy, one medium and one a little harder. Nothing that will cause anyone any serious trouble, but a bit of fun none-the-less.

And then arriving at the Guilderton light house for a great view of the coastline once again.

Ledge Point to Guilderton 4wd Trip
Someone’s view from their fishing shack

We then aired-up and drove into Guilderton for a swim in the river and an icecream. A great way to finish off the day.

Summary

So all up, i’d rate this trip very highly. It’s not a Wilbinga where you can carve it up and dig huge holes in the tracks with your 33″ rubber, but it is a very interesting trip that throws something new at you at every turn. I’ll definately be heading up there again some time.

4wd gear you may need

It’s a standard beach and dune 4wd trip so you’ll need all the usual stuff really. You do lose mobile phone reception for some of the way. It’s a relatively simple trip and if you let your tyres down enough you shouldn’t have any trouble.

I’d recommend taking:

Ledge Point to Guilderton 4wd Trip
The Guilderton Lighthouse
  • Sand Flag
  • Air Compressor
  • Tyre Deflator
  • Max Trax or equivalent
  • UHF Radio
  • 1st aid kit and fire extinguisher
  • Snatch Straps and shackles
  • Bathers
  • Whatever else you think you might need.