O'Tooles Flat Gathering Trip Report


So here is the trip report for what I did at O'Tooles.

We motored on in after meeting up with Bushnut at Moe McDonalds. We took the usual way in, fueling up at Moe as it is the last place for gas, then Thomson Valley road to the Dam wall and then Merringtons track. Merringtons is pretty easy and leads to Merringtons flat, which had 3 two wheel drive cars reinforcing the fact that the fun was yet to begin! This was only the second day since I had picked up the Maverick from getting the RWC and the first time it or me had been into 4 wheel drive. Donnellys creek track was a bit more interesting with 3 creek crossings which were good fun, which lead us to O'Tooles flat.

The advance team had done a great job and the camp ground was starting to fill up.

We put the tent up in the rain with a fair bit of help from Robz, Bubba and Centaur and as soon as we were finished the rain stopped. After that a quick meal, get the kids into bed and sit down for a nice chat and a couple of beverages.

The next morning we slowly got ourselves sorted and lined all the vehicles up. We had about 25 vehicles all lined up, and with the others that came in for the day, the total would have been about 30 vehicles.

After our esteemed judges passed out awards for dirtiest vehicle (me), best rig and most mods, we set out on our first trip for the day.

We went back along Donnelly's track, along Jorgensons, Toombon and Toomstar Track.


Photos never really convey just how steep the track is, but it was fairly steep in some places. I was ably instructed by Bushnut, who taught me heaps of tips and tricks during the day.


The steepest track of the trip was down a short track to the White Star mine. Very steep on the way down and lots of fun on the way up and we were all left wondering just how did they get all this equipment for the mine down here!


From there it was a short drive to the top of Mount Useful. It is a great view from the top.


A line up for photos and a quick cup of tea.


Here is the gang heading back to camp for lunch.


In the afternoon we headed out to look at a busted trailer at Merrington's. But before we got there we had to negotiate Flats Track. This was probably the most fun of the weekend. Quite a steep climb, in full view of the campsite. 3 sharp switchbacks and it is all good fun. Right at the top there is the stairs. A really steep ascent straight up the guts with overhanging rock to negotiate. I thought discretion was the better part of valour and took the chicken track to the right. The stairs was were most of the damage for the weekend was done. Centaur dented his towbar assembly here. Nickj and WLDSRF will have some great video of the top part of the track. Here is the Maverick at Merrington's.

From there it was back along Pheasant track and down Flats Track. Pheasant is quite steep and as with a lot of the tracks would have been a lot more diffiult had it been wet and muddy.


A quick little stream crossing and back home.


More rain and a little sunshine = a rainbow! That night we had a visit from some members in a well kitted out Disco and a competition truck. I tagged along with Nickj as tail end charlie as they assaulted Flats Track. They made it up in record time, for all to see, courtesy thanks to some of the brightest lights I have ever seen on a truck. It was a great display. We then went down 'S' track. S is meant to stand for Steep, but maybe it was just that it was dark and we couldn't see, but it didn't seem to steep.


This is the view of the campsite on Sunday morning as people start to get ready for packing up :(


Back along Pheasant track. After that we took Beardmores Track, which is quite steep in places and gives an awesome view of the dam. Even though we drove over it on the way in, you don't really appreciate just how big the dam is until you see it from Beardmores.


Our group airing up, unlocking the hubs and selecting 2WD.


Off the Erica and microwaved Pies.

Thanks everyone who came along. It was a great bunch of people and we all had a great time and I learnt heaps about 4 wheel driving.

Big thanks to Grumpy, 4x4, Bubba, Gunna, Bek, Knackers, and NickJ, (hope I haven't missed anyone) for putting in all the hard yards and making it such a great trip. Thanks Bushnut for the tuition and printing everyone's name tags. Hopefully the first of a six monthly event. (12 months is too long to wait :) ).

When we started the website 12 months ago we never thought it would grow this big, or that we would meet such great people, so thanks heaps everyone for such a great weekend. Tina and myself had a really great time.



PS Can't wait to meet everyone at the Middle Earth meetup.
Last edited:


4x4 Earth Contributer
Hi Patriot, great report there. Fair bit of work has gone into putting that together. That should get those banana benders drooling.

You're right photos don't show how steep some tracks are. Good to see the snaps of the Maverick. Hope you are happy with it.



Nice report James... Sorry I didnt get to catch up with you at Merringtons or O'Tooles - too busy with the metal detector!!! Thanks again to you guys (and girls) who went over to our camp to check out the trailer...


4x4 Earth Contributer
Camping Ground Summary

Given the add on is working here is another report


The day started with rendezvous in Moe with Gunna, Grumpy, Knackers, Nick J (on bike) and BEK.

Meeting time: 9.45am
Leaving time: 10.00am – BEK was late hence the reason for writing the report.

Gunna and EMOO nest completing a small ford crossing


On the way in wood was cut and set up camp took place.


Two further trailer loads were collected and point team settled around camp fire at approximately 4.30pm.

Later that evening Croozer and Wildsurf came up with Digby (the four corners dog).

Nick J had left earlier in the day on his bike so he could return with his family the following day.

Progression of camp

Initial camp area Thursday lunchtime


Thursday at Beer O’clock


Friday saw a leisurely start to the day at approximately 6.30am with Knackers regaling tales around the camp fire. Leisurely bacon and eggs on the BBQ for breakfast.

A final reccie was completed for the intermediate drive on the Saturday, with Knackers leading and Wildsurf behind. We left at approximately 9.30am and returned approximately 12.00 pm.

Approximately 12.45 pm both Knackers & Gunna headed off: Knackers to return home to work on the weekend (poor bloke) and Gunna to pick up his family (poor bloke :)) He was very well behaved after that.

Approximately 3.30pm first of the groups headed in however the weather wasn’t as kind on Friday afternoon as beautiful blue skies with sunshine gave way to overcast and rain in the afternoon – perfect camp set up weather.

The last in was supposed to be Rossco and crew who came in approximately 9.30pm however, a driver had missed the meet up point in Moe and will now add “MIA” to his name on site as punishment. Final arrival was at approximately 10pm,

Interesting calls heard in the first two days,

A certain member of the fraternity on Friday morning – “I think I have drunk more than 4 litres of coke last night” but was remiss in mentioning the bottle of bourbon that was also missing.

When a loud bang was heard from the other edge of the camp ground a loving father stormed off from the camp fire with the words “I wonder what my little buggers are up to now”. His little angels were not to blame

On Friday night it was decided by all around the camp fire, Grumpy would change his name on the forum at every thousand posts to another one of the seven dwarfs, given that he’d already got to 2,000, Dopey has already been allocated.:p

Some discussion about 150 which I wasn’t fully conversant with also mentioned. :confused:

By the time Saturday morning dawned we had 24 vehicles on site and a head count well above 60, Very good for a group of people who had practically never met each other before and the inclement weather.

Saturday Morning




(a separate camp site was setup by the secret society Westside 4x4 )


Like the forum these guys need their own area :D

Some of the highlight of the various “accommodation selections at OTooles

Bushnut’s Loose Nuts mates small Oztent set up (later to be used as the camp night club with Mirror Ball in ante area. Ladies night on Saturday was something “Special” :)


Bushnut’s small tarp (note Bushnut in foreground centre holding court) around the camp fire)


And his accommodation


Bek’s small kitchen setup (held 18 under cover on Friday beer o’clock)


Grumpy’s “Hilton”


The EMOO nest


On Saturday we made the Westside boys come up to main camp (they did it in style)


Offrd60 front right

These two bodies were seen still up “talking” by the camp fire at 5am Saturday morning so hence still asleep at 7.30 am. They were woken with Knotguilty’s lad waking his favorite uncle around 8 am.


The alarm clock


I remembering hearing comment from these two at fire (while laying in my bed after being woken by a diesel engine firing up as rig was bought up to camp fire very early Saturday morning,

“Mate I like a big range of music, you name it I like it ….. Except country.”

His mate’s reply “well your out of luck then”

And the camp was then serenaded with some country ballads.

I was impressed however, that the noise level was very considered.

Overall view of majority of attendees.


Balance of Saturday to be in more posts

Sunday morning saw the camp breakdown begin early as Rossco had mentioned a large party was going out for a run.

Most vehicles departed around 9.30am which left those with trailers Centaur and family, Gunna and family, Grumpy, BEK, with the non trailer rigs of Bushnut and Robz hanging around to clean up.

Around this time two of our latest members Rob and Roz (joined last week) had a cuppa and a chat around the camp ground as we listened to the large group head up Flats Track for the run on the radio. Well done to two members especially for adopting the chicken track OPTION.

A special thanks to Bushnut for his large tarp which kept everyone dry on Friday and Saturday during the sporadic rain.

On the way out from the camp Grumpy picked up a broken trailer from Gippsurfer’s friend (staying at a nearby camp spot) whose draw bar had almost rusted through.

The convoy was lead by Bushnut, left camp at approximately 12.30pm picked up the trailer and left Merringtons at approximately 1.30pm to head off home to be on the dam wall at approximately 1.50pm.

Of course, Sunday was completely blue skies and bright sunshine but at least we packed up dry.
Last edited:


Active Member
Excellent work guys and thanks again to everyone. I'll let nick tell of the adventures he took us on after we left you at Donnelley's as he had the camera (and Donna to use it). Lewis and I had an absolute ball.

One of the lasting memories will be BradsGQ sat by the campfire at 7am on Sunday still smiling after he had ridden in the passenger seat of the comp Range Rover on Saturday night's drive! I think it was a religous experience!

Coxy (Big and Little)


4x4 Earth Contributer
so the fog of otooles has finally cleared great report sounds like you all had a ball sounds like you had almost as much fun as we did at lcmp good on yas


Hey Coxy, you're right. The only thing brighter than the lights on that truck was the smile on his face!



Great Report! As for my favourite little nephew for my alarm clock thanks Brock. Sorry to all that i didnt get to meet i hadnt planned to drink my whole supply by 5am saturday morning and well we all know the after effects of that. O'Tooles was truly a well set up area for a meet up like this and i will definitely be coming back with my family and less alcohol or the same amount for the handbrake will be there. Well done to all who made this happen you should all give yourselves a pat on the back. I am wearing my shirt and hat with pride for this forum is truly something to be proud of.


4x4 Earth Contributer
I regards to M.I.A. Brads GQ for getting best rig & the ride up Flats track in the comp truck, saturday night all we heard coming from his tent were giggles (I think he enjoyed the weekend). Thanks everyone foe a great weekend, the friendships that were made will not be forgotten.


4x4 Earth Contributer
Thanks to all that entertained Digby. He slepted all the way home & is still resting now. He is still full from all the leftovers and bones.
Last edited:


4x4 Earth Contributer
As more kids rocked up the frizby got a huge workout, plus the approx 100 kms of 4wd'in. On saturday he was so tired that he sent himself to bed lol


Active Member
Jeez that was a quick week :D;):p

Yes queenslanders, we were supposed to keep it all a secret for a week but it obviously got too much for some.

Great report guys. Maria, Kirra, Brock and myself had an absolute ball.

Thanks goes to: Centaur and family for being so accommodating and for putting up with the terrors.
BEK for helping with the setting up of the tent in the rain.
Gunna, Grumpy, Nickj and Knackers for ALL the fire wood.... more wood, more wood!!
Croozer & WLDSRF for bringing the entertainment for Brock (Digby).
Bushnut for the massive tarp that kept all dry.
Grumpy again, for being the center of most jokes and starting the birthday celebrations for Mrs Centaur.:D:D;)
All who organised the weekend. It was such a well planned, run and received event that we have now decided to make it 6 monthly.
Also to James for creating such a great website and bringing some shirts and hats down.
If I've missed anyone i apologize, thanks to you too.

I will get the few photos i took up here shortly.

Thanks again all


New Member
I regards to M.I.A. Brads GQ for getting best rig & the ride up Flats track in the comp truck, saturday night all we heard coming from his tent were giggles (I think he enjoyed the weekend). Thanks everyone foe a great weekend, the friendships that were made will not be forgotten.
Brad was still talking about the Rangie yesterday !!
I think he had a bit of fun !!


I'd just like to say that everyone that attended O'Tooles should give themselves a pat on the Back, so many people that had never met before got on so well it was a real pleasure to be a part of the weekend Special mention to BEK that trailer had everything in it and at night I could here it snoring, probably got a little tired like the rest of us. CHEERS TO ALL.