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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Sand Flag
- Air Compressor
- Tyre Deflator
- Max Trax or equivalent
- UHF Radio
- 1st aid kit and fire extinguisher
- Snatch Straps and shackles
- Whatever else you think you might need.