Tag Archives: Western Australia

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…

Continue reading 2 families, 5 days, 1 adventure

Jurien Bay & Stockyard Gully

Oh, what a weekend! 30 Degrees forecasted and finally a “free” weekend to go camping. Time to go explore 🙂

Jurien Bay

The area north of Jurien is just shy of 3 hours drive from Perth and offers fabulous beaches, limestone cliffs and bluffs and “wild” camping as it neither is a national park, nor private land. Thanks Alex for the tip about Jurien, and thanks Hema maps and Western 4W Driver, who all recommend the area for a weekend trip.

We left first thing Saturday morning, stopped for brekky in Joondalup and spent the avo exploring the beaches and bays between North Head and Sandy Bay..

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Yes, that´s a bushfire in the background

I think it must have had something to do with the excellent weather and that it maybe was the last summer weekend (winter is coming) but the area was packed with happy campers. So it took a while to find the perfect spot, but finally we found this:

Continue reading Jurien Bay & Stockyard Gully

Yalgorup National Park

The machine hadn’t´t been in 4wd for far to long, a trip to the beach was very overdue. Very! And even though we woke up to a rainy Perth Saturday morning, we packed the bathers and some picnic and headed south to the “first beach south of Perth” or to be more precise, the first beach you can drive on (I think). We are planning a short two-family camping weekend soon and the day trip turned into a little reccy for a potential bush camping site. The entrance sign was rather discouraging (in terms of camping)… Continue reading Yalgorup National Park

The Holland Track

There is something special about this place / track. It´s tiny, compared to things like the Canning Stock but it has a special feel to it, standing in the middle of the bush, with a days drive in any direction to the nearest main road. It´s kinda magic. And still, only a days drive from Perth through the Wheatbelt and into the outback Goldfields!

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Approximately the middle of the Holland Track

The magic presumably stems from…

The history of the track

Motivated by the intense gold rush after the first discovery in Coolgardie in 1892 bringing thousands of fortune seekers from the eastern states, John Holland together with Rudolph and David Krakouer and John Carmody set out to clear a 500 km track directly into the Goldfields through the dense thickets equipped with nothing but 5 ponies and a 450 litre water tank (100 gallon). The area feels remote today but one can only imagine what this endeavour meant more than 100 years ago. Every day, Holland rode out alone up to 30 km ahead in search for water. Rockholes in the occasional granite outcrops where the main source for drinking supplies. He then went back to his party and directed them in remarkably straight lines between water and feed sources. It took them only two months, reaching Coolgardie on 18th June 1893. Travelling time on the completed track by horse and camel teams usually took two weeks. We used two days to traverse it.

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Driving it

Oh what a joy! It´s not difficult terrain, no rock climbing or axel twisting its mainly sand / clay and some forest sections. Main challenge are very very very deep ruts that can be a bit of an adventure after rain. The track is closed during most of winter (“summer road only”). It hadn’t rained for quite a while when we drove it on 19&20 December 2017 but we still encountered water filled ruts, one that almost swallowed the Cruiser (almost thanks to Maxtrax!).

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The beaches of Margaret River

Some say there isn´t much 4wdriving around Margaret River, too many people there, too many tourists. Others disagree:

“Margaret River saw us drive some fantastic little tracks that lead to some of the best beaches we’ve ever been to, along with stunning Karri forests and amazing wildlife”

I am grateful to www.4wdingaustralia.com for posting the above and fully agree with them. It really is stunning there! On a nice weekend in mid January me and the boys took my parents visiting from europe to an extended weekend to Margaret. As showing photos from our WA 4WD & camping adventures is nice but not the real thing, I wanted to show them a little taste of the experience. So, I was determined to find bush & beach in the area:

Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park

..is where you find all the beauty! Majestic Karri trees, tight tracks through the forest and picturesque tracks along and down to the beach(es). After exploring Lake Cave in the morning, we checked out the tracks in the park and quickly found ourselves immersed between these impressive trees.

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Our aim was the beach north of North Point with the idea to go along the beach and exit again at North Point. Getting there was a nice decent with spectacular views and the beach looked stunning.

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Going along the beach turned out a bit of a tricky one. Not really possible, very deep sand. Different sand to the very fine sand I had seen so far. Quite coarse sand and rather wet. Consequently very heavy once you dig into it. It was good fun getting off the beach again, finally the Maxtrax came in handy 🙂

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And back on the tracks we went…

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…back a little inland and further south,to approach North point directly. And what a stunning place was that! A rocky outcrop, sheltering parts of the beach, totally quite water while waves were rolling in all around the place. What a magical place!!

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The sand was equally deep on that beach and another vehicle was already bogged big time. Out with the recovery gear again to help them and on the final ascend we gladly used our winch to pull the Hilux out 🙂

All in all a fabulous day trip with gorgeous WA scenery and fauna, stunning beaches and easy four-wheel driving. We´ll be back!

Francois Peron National Park

The Colours, the contrasts, the wildlife, the 4-wheeling ..
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I dislike superlatives and yet it´s just so hard not to use them when you describe Australian National Parks. The northern tip of the Shark Bay peninsula, F. Peron Nat. Park, is one of those spots that can´t be described without the words spectacular, one of the most beautiful spots you can find, 4WD paradise, and so on.
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You get there (from Perth) by burning just 130 litre diesel or so and you find yourself at Shark Bay, a World Heritage area. If you´re in a 2WD (and possibly only burned 50 litre gas) you go to Monkey Mia and get to pet dolphins there. I´m sure that´s an awesome expereience. If you´r in a 4WD, you air down to 15-20 PSI and head north into red sand paradise. Then you find yourself in the National Park, head north through the bush and the clay pans and arrive at one of the four or so superb bush camp sites. There may be two to three other vehicles there, enjoying the beach, the fishing the chilling. The first spot is partially rocky (that´s what you see on the photos) and the northernmost is practically on the beach.
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You´ll do a day trip to the northern tip of the peninsula (Cape Peron) and you indulge in the potpourri of turquoise water, white sand, dark-red rocks and red sandstones. And if you´re lucky a 1.5 meter eagle ray glides along the beach just decimetres next to you. It´s one hell of a spot, really!  Not only the geology is exciting, two major ocean currents meet there and you can actually see that! And it attracts an impressive array of marine life, they say.
We just spent two nights up there but you could easily hang out there for a week I figure. In just one day at the cape we saw the mentioned ray, a tiger shark, a bottle nose dolphin family and a zillion of crabs. Hard to imagine that one could get bored in the middle of that.
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After the trip is before the trip (2/2)

Following up on the things we did right on our last trip, here the..

Top 5 things we hope to do better next time:

1. Plan ahead

This one sounds really silly and yet it´s the most fundamental one. Of course one plans ahead, right? Well, if you are going bush, you need to plan ahead just a little bit more. Especially when you base your expectations on European experience. Where did we fail?
  • Outside of the cities you actually need cash, so bring a fair bit of cash.
  • The combination of a fully packed 4WD, a big engine, a rather small tank (85l) and rather large distances between service station is not to underestimate. The machine stopped after only 450 km, that´s not much. So, a long range tank or some jerry cans are a must.
  • You are going out into the wild, you´ll take it as it comes, right? We almost learned the hard way that certain areas (Steep Point) actually need a permit that people apply for 10 months ahead!! Same goes for camp spots there. So, do your research on the locations that need a booking and book ahead, well ahead.
  • The further you go from the Cities, the sparser the supermarkets and the thinner the selection there. The longer and the more detailed you plan your meals, the better you can shop for ingredients, and pack the right amount in parts before leaving. Think about the quantities and how annoying it may be to drag around 1 litre olive oil instead of a small container that is sufficient for the trip.

2. Where to put the rubbish?

You most likely have a superb packing system for your vehicle and you know exactly what goes where. At least when you leave home. Latest after the first night and the first meals you start to carry around a fair bit of waste, likely yucky food waste. We used standard shopping bags and that was not good enough. Especially as you don´t have a “place” for those bags, they fly around in the trunk and the risk for a ripped open rubbish bag is not particularly nice. We hope to find a better solution next time. Suggestions? No, those “4WD-camping-rubbish bags” aren´t the solution either, they are far to big.

3. Laundry management

When it comes to packing and organising your things one issue is often forgotten, where to put the laundry that starts piling up over the days. A proper cloths packing system is crucial with 5 people in one car, sharing two duffle bags for all neccesities. that works all good with these handy zipper-dividing-bags, until you start to accumulate dirty cloths that need to go somewhere. A plastic bag that fits in somewhere in the trunk? Not so good. We actually haven´t yet fully figured out the ultimate hack for this issue. Best we could come up with is an additional, very light and very flexible dividing bag that can separate the laundry from the rest of the clothing items. As the laundry bag gradually increases, parts of the fresh clothes move from one to the other bag (which shrinks in the same time). In the end this would lead to one bag with laundry and one with cloths. Sounds good does it?

4. Firewood

This is not such a big issue as campfires aren’t allowed in most of WA and especially in national parks but if you find yourself at a location where it actually is allowed, you can bet that there isn´t any firewood. So, carry it with you! You would´t want to touch that forgotten, small pile of firewood over there anyway, would you? Snakes like such places …

5. Fly-net (for your head)

Yes they look ridiculous but yes these flies can drive you MAD when you have them all over you the second after you step out of your vehicle.

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Alright, once we´re at it, here are the top 8 things we shall/want/would like to do to the machine before we head bush next time:

8 Most desired Land Cruiser updates

  • Wheel alignment – She´s pulling to much to the left, the left swivel hub needs eccentric bearings to correct the camber (That´s what the no bullshit guys say)
  • Rear bumper / dual wheel carrier – In an emergency reverse, the original plastic (!?) bumper got bent. Time to swap for the real thing, with one wheel and one jerry can holder.
  • Long range tank – 85 liters is not enough and x jerry cans on the roof rack are wrong
  • Drawers – boxes are nice, drawers would be very nice
  • Suspension – will need an upgrade after installing the last three items, also one shock is leaking a bit.
  • Roof rack storage bags – We have real estate up there that would work fine for snorkelling gear / toys and maybe even sleeping bags
  • 3 inch exhaust – For better fuel efficiency, and sound 😉
  • Any other suggestions?