Buchan to Orbost via Hema "Easy Tracks" report - kinda scary

G’day guys





In this post I am going to cover the recent trip I did through the Snowy River NP where me and my housemate covered the majority of the route set out in Hema’s 4x4 adventure book.





First, a few things:





I drive a 4.0lt 2009 Prado 150 GXL which I purchased 5 weeks ago. It has a 4 inch lift with Ironman suspension, CB radio and Bullbar which the previous owner had installed, I have installed a roof rack but that is all.





This was my first actual trip in the car, I went to Little Desert about 4 weeks ago, but that was just to do some camping at Horseshoe Bend Camp Ground. So nothing serious, had a play around on some sand but just go the car stuck over and over again.





So, I decided to follow a route in the Hema book that was rated for AWDs, with some tracks I knew that you needed a 4x4 to tackle.





We left Williamstown on the morning of Thursday and went straight to Buchan, the drive took about five hours and cost about $70 in fuel. I think we packed too much as the fuel consumption for that trip was really high (but we did do some random tracks on the way so that probably accounts for the fuel used).





The tracks on the way to Buchan were really easy so there was no real need to engage any systems like low range etc, this was expected but a lot of the tracks were overgrown so we needed to check the radiator for grass seeds afterwards to ensure that there wasn’t anything caught as the next day was just shy over 30 degrees.





The map for the first day of driving is available:





https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=8....ckId=2af53a28ea8dc6be7fa214eae8f21908a02beec9





Day two was the exciting day, leaving Buchan caves and filling up in Buchan was exciting as I knew that I was finally going to take out the car for what it was somewhat made to do.





We left Buchan with a full tank and were to follow the Hema route until McKillops bridge and have a swim in the Snowy River. The drive here is beautiful. The road down to the bridge is very narrow so try to look ahead for cars so you can plan how to let them pass you. This road is 2WD suitable so I wouldn’t be surprised to come across combi vans and all sorts of stuff in the cooler months. I would definitely avoid this road if it was raining and/or dark.





From here we were about to continue on McKillops Road when we made the split second design to go down Deddick Track, then cross onto Bowen track and finally meet up onto Monkey top track and continue on from there on Yalmy road to Orbost. The Vic Park notice and Mckillops Bridge said that Deddick track and Bowen Track are suitable for medium clearance vehicles and only some experience is recommended to tackle them. Beyond the fork with Bowen track, Deddick Track is tough apparently and you need multiple cars, chainsaws etc. Well, the whole thing is messed up, as soon as we entered Deddick Track we were onto low range, tight corners and most of the track is gonna be loose rocks the size of your fist. There is nowhere to turn around until you are well into it so if you come across another car, I don’t know what you would do. The use of radios is a must as I wouldn’t want to come across anyone.





Deddick Track is pretty full on, definitely NOT for beginners and I was forced to learn on the spot, it was pretty confronting. Low range was required for most of this track and when we finally turned onto Bowen track it was exactly the same, proper skilled 4x4 territory, the sign at Mckillops bridge is not very accurate. The tracks went up and down gaining and losing hundreds of metres of altitude over only a few hundred metres, I am so glad I knew the theory behind low range or we would have been in real trouble. The turn onto Bowen bought bare rock covered by more fist sized rocks, but the AT tyres and the car didn’t miss a single beat - I was very impressed with the car.





After hours of this we both looked at each other and agreed that we would take a left onto Collings track in about a kilometre and give up on trying to cross the Snowy River NP on the tracks. Our skill level was just not up to it. At the beginning of Deddick Track we were at 700ft altitude, in 6km when we got to Bowen Track we were at 3,000 absolutely crazy. We then dropped to 2,900 feet over 2km and then rose again to 3,700 in another 2km… This was absolutely terrifying and on several occasions looked for places to turn around but it was too steep and at the flat bits we were too confident to think about it. The map said that the turn off to Collings track was only around this one last corner… we turned it and the biggest challenge was right there. The last part of Bowen track before Collings is the worst. You first lose over 400ft of altitude before immediately regaining just over 600 in less than a KM.





Hema says Collings track is easy… it isn’t. Collings track is proper steep. As in over 4km your total change is over 3,000 feet. Losing 2,100 feet. The track is just loose rock and you mainly lose altitude going very slow, and I mean slow. DO NOT attempt this track even if it is rated easy on Hema, because it isn’t. I am glad we did it towards McKillops road because driving up it would have been even worse.





In total, the 21km from Mckillops bridge to the end of Cowlings track took 4.5 hours and the total altitude change was jsut shy of 8,000 feet by my calculation.





Here is the Gaia map





https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=12...ckId=7c361315ea0bfaa9c817052f42a393f25b80d6a2





Now I have learned a lot, but won’t be screwing around in the high country for a while.
 
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lars cordes

Active Member
interesting report there prez, just been down deddick track last week in my 100 series cruiser with my young bloke in his patrol. guess we are both reasonably experienced but we went all the way down to yalmy rd & then to jacksons crossing (what a ripper camp site that is) & found it pretty easy going, just a few steep bits but pretty smooth so no dramas, that said if it was wet it might be a bit tougher. from my research expected a much tougher time (someone said double black diamond) but with my allterrains aired down to about 20 psi found it pretty easy going & hardly scraped at all (with no lift kit & fairly low tow bar i often do scrape a bit). some of those hills were bloody long & steep & i can see if u are just getting into 4wd u might find it a bit intimidating, dont let it put u off the high country prez, theres plenty of magic tracks up there that are a bit easier to build your experience up, u will be amazed at where u can get your truck into without too many dramas
 

lars cordes

Active Member
heaps of tracks a lot closer to melb to cut your teeth on prez (eg kinglake, toolangi etc), theres a few books around that give u good guidance on what a lot of these tracks are like & set out routes u can take, when i first got my 4wd i did a few of these treks & found it a good way to build my experience & confidence up, deddick track is prob a pretty tough intro for yourself if u havent done much 4wd yet
 

discomatt

Well-Known Member
If your a beginner and want to learn from some more experienced 4wders jump onto 4wdtrip.com and join a trip there, after a little more time behind the wheel those tracks will become easy and just another enjoyable day in the bush
 

boobook

Well-Known Member
I drive a 4.0lt 2009 Prado 150 GXL which I purchased 5 weeks ago. It has a 4 inch lift with Ironman suspension, CB radio and Bullbar which the previous owner had installed, I have installed a roof rack but that is all.

We left Williamstown on the morning of Thursday and went straight to Buchan, the drive took about five hours and cost about $70 in fuel. I think we packed too much as the fuel consumption for that trip was really high (but we did do some random tracks on the way so that probably accounts for the fuel used).

I hate to say it, but being petrol, I think you had better get used to that fuel consumption given the mods to your Prado. The 4.0 petrol is a great, reliable engine but it likes a drink. Just think of it as the price you have to pay to have a great time away and enjoy. You have 180l tank so you still have a reasonable range.
 
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phs

Well-Known Member
heaps of tracks a lot closer to melb to cut your teeth on prez (eg kinglake, toolangi etc), theres a few books around that give u good guidance on what a lot of these tracks are like & set out routes u can take, when i first got my 4wd i did a few of these treks & found it a good way to build my experience & confidence up, deddick track is prob a pretty tough intro for yourself if u havent done much 4wd yet

With any nice car, ie not a bush pig, you would much rather cut your teeth In the high country than toolangi and Kinglake. Those places are bash and crash 4wding and for people who don’t care about panel damage
 

Swaggie

Moderator
Tracks can change in months, People won’t reduce there tyre pressures, skull drag There campers up them and the list goes on.
I’ve driven down Zeka Spur numerous times, once it had just been graded, It was very smooth going ,A couple of months later it was trashed again,Even noticed black tyre marks on rocks (Similar to a burnout) It certainly has you scratching your head.

Mapping:
That’s what happens when they rely on other Companies mapping and won’t drive these tracks themselves, Unlike Rooftop who drive it, ride it and even hike these tracks.
 
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phs

Well-Known Member
PresidentKitenge

All is well that ends well,
Sounds like quite the future campsite story for years to come, all part of the fun.

Some solid advise already posted join 4wd trip for some easier / med rated trip to get a better understanding on how to negotiate different terrains, you could always do a 4wd proficiency course ( 4wd Victoria run them )

Or go solo ( with a passenger ) research your trips / track prior to leaving ( on here, or Newtracs )
Get out walk sections of tracks prior to driving Them, make sure you have a good winch and recovery pack, TAKE YOUR TIME get stuck and get your self out, this is a great way to learn and it what I did 15 years ago.
We still get stuck now that’s 4wding but I guess we don’t stress about it as it’s all part of the fun
 

barcher

Well-Known Member
Rooftop maps states Deddick Trail not suitable for beginners.

IMG_20210126_111032_copy_1488x1984.jpg
 

peterfermtech

Well-Known Member
I'd mark it down as your first black run and say well done. I would also suggest you give it some thought on what the track may have been like if it was very wet or chopped up a bit more. I would also guide you to checking out track ratings at https://www.4wdvictoria.org.au/index.php/track-classifications.
A word of warning with track classifications. Some 4wdrivers think that they are the black knight from Monty Python when they rate tracks never wanting to admit that the track is tough. A black track is fairly straight forward for someone experienced but bloody frightening for someone inexperienced.
 
If you're in the Vic high country, use Rooftop maps.


Noted, had a look at some today in ADs and can confirm they are better!!

interesting report there prez, just been down deddick track last week in my 100 series cruiser with my young bloke in his patrol. guess we are both...
heaps of tracks a lot closer to melb to cut your teeth on prez (eg kinglake, toolangi etc), theres a few books around that give u good guidance on...

Yeah, probably won't be going back to the High Country for a while, reasons are obvious.

If your a beginner and want to learn from some more experienced 4wders jump onto 4wdtrip.com and join a trip there, after a little more time behind the wheel those tracks will become easy and just another enjoyable day in the bush

Well, it has certainly made me confident in the capability of my vehicle, not sure I will be doing anything like that for a while though.

Rooftop maps states Deddick Trail not suitable for beginners.

Yeah, learning the hard way.

I'd mark it down as your first black run and say well done. I would also suggest you give it some thought on what the track may have been like if it was very wet or chopped up a bit more. I would also guide you to checking out track ratings at https://www.4wdvictoria.org.au/index.php/track-classifications.
A word of warning with track classifications. Some 4wdrivers think that they are the black knight from Monty Python when they rate tracks never wanting to admit that the track is tough. A black track is fairly straight forward for someone experienced but bloody frightening for someone inexperienced.

Final part of your post seems to be the most important message. I will admit right now that this track was hard on both me and the vehicle. If the track was wet we would have been stuck, simple as that.

All is well that ends well,
Sounds like quite the future campsite story for years to come, all part of the fun.

Some solid advise already posted join 4wd trip for some easier / med rated trip to get a better understanding on how to negotiate different terrains, you could always do a 4wd proficiency course ( 4wd Victoria run them )

Or go solo ( with a passenger ) research your trips / track prior to leaving ( on here, or Newtracs )
Get out walk sections of tracks prior to driving Them, make sure you have a good winch and recovery pack, TAKE YOUR TIME get stuck and get your self out, this is a great way to learn and it what I did 15 years ago.
We still get stuck now that’s 4wding but I guess we don’t stress about it as it’s all part of the fun

I have found a few beginner trips on the internet that I have put my hand up to for now. Thank you for all your advice. Are you suggesting I deliberately get myself stuck?

Thanks for all the replies guys!!
 

phs

Well-Known Member
Are you suggesting I deliberately get myself stuck?

I think if you go out enough you will inevitably get stuck and if don’t well your just not having a go, so just let it happen though no harm in a few dry runs setting up

Slow and steady take your time it’s all a learning experience, definitely worth watching Clips about recovering ect as well always good to have co pilot to do the heavy lifting too !

this guy explains some good basics about winch, strap & shackle loads well worth a watch

 
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