First offroad trip (North Stradbroke Island)

Jo.

New Member
#1
Hi everyone,

Anyone wants to help out a newbie :)?
My girlfriend and I would like to visit North Stradbroke Island (Point Lookout) for a few days in our Ford Escape 2010 and drive over the two easy tracks that are there. We would like to go Friday June 16 till Tuesday June 20. We were thinking about visiting Moreton Island as well for a couple of days but I saw the tracks at Mooreton are rated moderate so probably it is not so smart to go there without any experience.
We already have bought a few things: solar powered USB power bank, first aid kid, shove, tarp, rope, toilet paper, gas cookers with a few cans which makes starting a fire a lot easier ;) and of course a water tank (23 L) so we won't dry and die in a few days if we get seriously stuck. I have read a few posts about other stuff to buy, but we don't have a lot of room in our car due to other camping gear plus I wonder if this gear is a necessities for the relatively easy trip we would like to do.
I have no experience driving on a sand road or on a beach, any help with that would be appreciated as well. Someone told me to lower the air pressure of all tires and maintain speed, about 20 km/h, in low gear. But I get a different impression from the Ford manual so I am not sure what to do.
My questions are summed up below, hopefully anyone has some good info on it.

Cheers,
Jo.

So my questions are:
  1. I found that a permit is required to drive on the beaches of North Stradbroke Island but if I am correct that permit is only valid for North Stradbroke Island?
  2. There have been some showers this week so the sand roads should be easier to drive on, right?
  3. How many days would you spend on North Stradbroke Island?
  4. Would it be wise for someone without experience, like my girlfriend and me, drive on Moreton Island and how long does it take to get a permit (or would it be possible to buy one in person somewhere directly)?
  5. Any recommendations on what gear we really need for a relative easy trip on North Stradbroke Island?
  6. And last but not least, when driving over sand roads would it be best to:
    1. Let out air pressure (how much?) or not?
    2. Set it in high gear (we can choose Low, High or Drive) and keep it going in a steady pace, what speed would be recommended?
    3. Enable the 4x4 lock mode (I think so, but just to make sure)?
Ford Escape 2010 manual - Sand said:
When driving over sand, try to keep all four wheels on the most solid area of the trail. Avoid reducing the tyre pressure. Instead, shift to a lower gear and drive steadily through the terrain. Apply the accelerator slowly and avoid spinning the wheels. If you must reduce the tyre pressure for whatever reason in sand, make sure you re-infl ate the tyres as soon as possible. Avoid excessive speed because vehicle momentum can work against you and cause the vehicle to become stuck to the point that assistance may be required from another vehicle. Remember, you may be able to back out the way you came if you proceed with caution.
Ford Escape 2010 manual - 4x4 said:
Operating modes of the 4x4 system
With the 4x4 LOCK mode deactivated:
The 4x4 system provides fourwheel drive with full power delivered to the front axle at all times, and to the rear axle as required for increased traction. This is appropriate for normal on-road operating conditions, such as dry road surfaces, wet pavement, snow and gravel.
With the 4x4 LOCK switch activated:
The 4x4 system provides fourwheel drive with full power to both axles at all times. It is only intended for severe or off-road driving conditions, such as deep snow and ice (where no dry or wet pavement remains uncovered) and shallow sand or mud.
Note: The vehicle should not be operated with the 4x4 LOCK mode activated on dry or merely wet pavement. Doing so will produce excessive noise, increase tyre wear and may damage driveline components. The 4x4 LOCK mode is intended for use only on consistently slippery or loose surfaces.
 
Last edited:

Toddyh

Well-Known Member
#2
So my questions are:
  1. I found that a permit is required to drive on the beaches of North Stradbroke Island but if I am correct that permit is only valid for North Stradbroke Island?
  2. There have been some showers this week so the sand roads should be easier to drive on, right?
  3. How many days would you spend on North Stradbroke Island?
  4. Would it be wise for someone without experience, like my girlfriend and me, drive on Moreton Island and how long does it take to get a permit (or would it be possible to buy one in person somewhere directly)?
  5. Any recommendations on what gear we really need for a relative easy trip on North Stradbroke Island?
  6. And last but not least, when driving over sand roads would it be best to:
    1. Let out air pressure (how much?) or not?
    2. Set it in high gear (we can choose Low, High or Drive) and keep it going in a steady pace, what speed would be recommended?
    3. Enable the 4x4 lock mode (I think so, but just to make sure)?
Answers to the above:
1. Yes permit is for Straddie only. You will need a camping permit too.
2. Generally yes but no guarantee.
3. We spent about 5 and that was probably enough.
4. Can't help you there.
5. 2 things that will help most on sand are a tyre deflator and an air compressor. Number 3 would be Maxtrax and a snatch strap with a couple of rated shackles.
6. We dropped to about 15psi and had no troubles on the island. Gearing will depend on conditions. The softer it is the lower your tyre pressures should be and adjust gearing to suit. Yes 4x4 Lock.

Check out this for some ideas of what to see and do
http://unsealed4x4.com.au/issue031/#139

Also check that an Escape is even allowed on the island. They are pretty strict on a 4wd with low range now.
 

mikehzz

Well-Known Member
#4
That's a rubbish car manual. Avoid letting the tyres down and avoid momentum on sand??? Low tyre pressure and a bit of momentum is the only thing that will get you through some soft sand.
Anyway, I don't think they will allow a Ford Escape onto the island's recreation areas anymore. If you are driving a less capable car then you really need to be an experienced 4wder to make up for the lack of ability in the car. Why not go for a run along the beach at Bribie Island as a learning experience?
 

Jo.

New Member
#5
Thanks guys for all the helpful links, tips and information! They indeed do not give a permit to a Ford Escape. It is indeed a good idea to learn more instead of just go for it and get bogged, or worse...
 
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