2 families, 5 days, 1 adventure

The more the merrier they say, so over the extended Anzac day weekend we rolled south with two vehicles packed to the rim with ten people, four tents and all the other essentials for an awesome bush camping adventure. “Expedition members” were the five of us, our dear friends Aaron and Theresa with their two kids and Guro our visiting student from Norway. A group spanning age classes from under one to over forty years. Kudos to Aaron & Theresa for taking a 9 month old angel out bush!
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Destination for the four nights were two areas at “that french named” national park (D’Entrecasteaux) about four hours south of Perth. The plan was to stay two nights close to Pemberton at Leaning Marri NP camp and then move south to Moores Hut camp to explore the area there. As it goes with 4WD adventures, that plan remained a plan yet reality looked a bit different…

Warren river & Yeagarup dune

We left Perth Friday just after midday to arrive at Leaning Marri campsite in daytime. The plan was to use that site as a base camp to explore the Yeagarup dune and the beach on Saturday and to mover further south towards Moores Hut on Sunday. That plan was a good one and worked out well. Leaning Marri is a typical and nice NP campsite with basic facilities and space for 8-10 vehicles I reckon in nice, secluded corners. It was almost empty, yet 4WDs were passing by all night and day heading towards the dune. We found on Saturday, that groups of tens of vehicles had set up camp on the beach. Crazy how many people and cars were cramped down there. Why drive 5 hours to be squeezed between tens of other vehicles, I wonder?
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Anyway, we mounted the vehicles for a day trip on Saturday that turned out to be quite a bit of an adventure. The Hilux was struggling with the steep ascends in deep sand, partially due to the “underpowered” 4D engine (that´s what I think). Even the Cruiser sometimes had a hard time with its weight and the big MT tyres. Towards the end tyres were down at under 10 PSI to make it up the final, long deep sand uphill to get out from the area. From there, it was soon time to air up and head home to camp. What a great day! Link to our track

Tall Karri trees in Warren NP

Sunday was transfer day from Leaning Marrie to Moores Hut via a restocking stop in Pemberton. Once in Pemberton, a certain, pretty high Karri had to be climbed by some of us. Gloucester Tree is 60-meter high and had been used as a fire lookout from 1947 to ’52. And what a view from the top (according to the successful climbers)!
Stocked up and ready for the next two nights, we headed south back into “that french named” national park. The plan was to pitch camp at Moores Hut for the next two nights but then bush reality hit: This time (or in this area in general) the Hema map was really really unreliable. Tracks on the map didn’t exist in reality, gravel roads on the map where overgrown track in reality and vice versa. This was fun on the one hand, leading us through two river crossing adventures…
…but when dusk was approaching, the kids hungry and tired and the track ended with a locked boom just 1 km from Moores hut, the fun stopped 😦 Camp was literally just around the corner but no way to tackle the boom. Former chicken tracks around it had been blocked for good by major earthworks.
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We had to trace our steps backwards, looking for any suitable clearing to camp. Luckily just after half an hour we found a little side track to a hut, meant for the Bibbulmun Track. Here is the track you don´t want to try.

An adventurous exit and camp at West Cliff Point

After getting stuck in Maringup the day before, we needed to find a way towards Moores Hut. And then the guesswork based on the Hema App turned into a real adventure! We quickly found ourselves on completely overgrown tracks, pushing away branches and even using axe and saw to make our way out of the thicket. We certainly felt like overlanders 😉

Sooner or later we found back on “normal” tracks and quickly made our way down to the beach south of Moores Hut. By the way, once at Moores Hut we found the other end of the track we didn’t´t complete the day before; It was closed and said “management only”. Would be helpful with such a sign on the other end of the track as well 😉 Once in exploration mode, we didn’t´t stop at Moores hut but pushed further east along the beach towards Fish Creek. Half way down the beach the beach disappeared, so back and retrace our tracks again 🙂 After another hour we found a rather agreeable spot behind the dunes, sheltered from the wind for a great, final camp site.
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Oh yeah, and on the way we passed another impressive inland dune, really impressive to meet such white wall in the bush! Bush and dune and camp, all here.
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Crossing Broke Inlet? Nope!

Tuesday, time to head back to Perth again. Yet, curiosity drives us to check out whether we could cross Broke Inlet and get to SW Highway this way. I don´t think we / I have seen so many Wallabies and Kangaroos hanging around next to the track anywhere so far. And what a picaresque drive even without the Skippies! Up and the down the dunes from one spectacular view to the next one. Crossing the Inlet? Well, not really 😉 I guess you can cross it, but you can´t get down to the beach from the track. Unless you want to abseil your vehicle 🙂

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High time to turn back and north after this and just some 5 hours later we all arrived exhausted at our respective home sweet homes.

What a weekend, what a drive, what an adventure! Thank you so much for all your help Guro and BIG respect to Theresa and baby R.

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