Steep Pt to Byron Bay and home the long way round.

stevemc181

Well-Known Member
#21
Waterwheel camp -Tom Groggin camp-Wheelers Hut

We set off reasonably early and spent a couple of hours wandering around the Canberra War Museum and Parliament house etc before setting off towards the snowy mountains.

There were still a few snow capped peaks around which was an awesome sight.
This was basically another day on the blacktop. A few pics below of sights along the way.



We started the daily hunt for a camp spot:
This looked promising in lake Jindabyne but was too exposed and windy when we went to check it out.



We carried on up past Thredbo and eventually came to the Tom Groggin campground. This was an awesome spot on the banks of the Murray River, lots of space and lots of wildlife around. We found a secluded spot away from the few other campers and got ourselves organised for the night.







Arising early again, we had decided to head into Victoria via the Tom-Groggin Mt Pinnibar track and make our way towards Wheelers Hut.

The first obstacle of the day was a rocky ford across the Murray River:





Heading up through some great tracks and very picturesque country, we came to our 2nd Obstacle of the day. As usual the pics don't do justice to how steep the terrain is, but trust me it's pretty steep. We came up and around a bend to find a fallen tree that basically blocked the ideal line up the hill. I stopped to check it out and was caught in some wheel ruts and the rear had bottomed out which required the use of the winch to get going again. We came across quite a few spots throughout the day where we had to take less than an ideal line to get around tree's in the way.





We only had to winch about 10 or 20 feet to let the Paj gain traction again.



Packed up and on our way, we were climbing the track up to Mt Pinnibar when we came across another obstacle. A tree was blocking access and would have to be cut out of the way. The only issue was that my Chainsaw was just a little 12" Ozito mainly used for collecting firewood and the tree was quite a bit rounder than that!



I was concerned with the Paj being a fairway downhill from the tree that when I cut the log it would careen down the hill into the Paj. I thought about moving the Paj, but didn't really feel like reversing it from the angle it was on. I ended up having to cut the log in two sections so we could roll it out of the way and carry on.





Yayyyy! I was relieved the Ozito managed the job!



A little further on I had to deploy the winch wench, as I really didn't want to take my foot off the brake on the hill we were stuck on. Particularly when the handbrake wasn't very effective (A problem I have since sorted) Bren looked at me with a look of sheer horror on her face as she didn't have a clue what to do with the winch. I took one look at her and elected to take the risk and get out of the Paj ;) Bren almost fell and rolled to the bottom of the hill when she climbed out! It was bloody steep and we were having trouble standing on it.

We had just gotten stuck on a small rock step up and rather than risk damage or sliding the front sideways down the hill, I elected to winch it. Unfortunately I have only one pic of this section, as I was otherwise occupied. We winched in two separate pulls up this hill and then we were good the rest of the way to the top. Bren had her first introduction to some real 4wdriving and she handled it well and took it all in her stride!









We had made it to the top, but I couldn't help wondering what the downhill run was going to be like? Fortunately it was a pretty easy run and the only issue we had was on a track we were on, we came across several huge tree's down and blocking the path. The 12" Ozito wasn't going to do the job this time, so we back tracked and took a longer path. We ran into some forestry workres who had just cleared another huge tree out of the way and were on there way to the ones that stopped us.

Finally we arrived at Wheelers Creek Hut and had the place to ourselves. We went for a very chilly QUICK wash in the river and laid out our beds in the hut. reading through the visitors book we were concerned that a few of the entries mentioning wild dogs, with one entry saying they had been attacked by a wild dog. I walked with my axe everywhere after reading that, but we saw no evidence of wild dogs anywhere.

















After a few Bourbons and a nice fire it was off to bed after another awesome day of 4Wdriving! Life is good!



 
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stevemc181

Well-Known Member
#22
Wheelers Hut-Otways-Warrnambool

We absolutely loved it up in the Vic high country, so many beautiful views and great tracks. Blue rag was our intended destination today, but as mentioned the weather took a turn for the worse so we headed for the coast and a look at Lakes Entrance.

We arrived into Lakes entrance and although a nice looking place it was a bit touristy for our liking so we began the journey West. Heading towards Wilsons Prom, we realised that it was Melbourne cup weekend and most campsites within coo-ee of Melbourne would probably be booked already. With the weather looking threatening we decided to motel it for the night at Yarram. Had the best steak I've had in a long time at the Yarram country club and a very relaxing sleep and hot shower which is always a bonus!

The next day we headed down to Wilsons Prom with the thought of hitting the Southern Most point, but we soon discovered it was actually an overnight hike to get there, with roughly a 25km walk each way. So we scratched that off the list and after looking around at Wilsons Prom which was a stunning area, we set off to the West again.

Checking out Phillip Island and the Chocolate factory, Racetrack etc then heading up through the Dandenong Ranges NP before eventually heading out to near Puckapunyal and camping at Major Creek. This would be our worst camp of the trip with a lot of campers there and some Yobs yahooing into the night setting off air horns etc and firing up the quads early the next morning. This would be a nice spot in quieter times though.

We had a guy camp next to us who was riding a pushbike, so I promptly got him pissed and hungover for his next days ride ;)





After a restless night, I realised we had forgotten all about the Great Ocean road, so we decided to head back to the coast via Bendigo/Ballarat etc and make our way towards Geelong and onto the Great Ocean Road.

We figured most campgrounds would be full with the long weekend still in full swing and weren't quite sure where we would end up. Checking out Bells beach etc we ended up heading into the Otway Ranges and found a spot called Beauchamp falls. Well what I can say! This was one of the most stunning rainforests we have been in and we've seen a few, including the Amazon. Absolutely loved this area. The campground was only small but we found ourselves a little nook to set up for the night.





The next morning we did the walk to the falls, just stunning, we will be back in this area for sure.









Heading West, Bren was glad to see her first Koala's in the wild on the Cape Otway Road.



and of course the stunning drive isn't complete without the 12 Apostles.



From here we headed to Warrnambool and took the easy way out in a motel for the night once again. I was stopped for my one and only random breath test at Port Campbell. I was surprised I hadn't been checked more often, particularly with a long weekend in full swing.
 

stevemc181

Well-Known Member
#23
Warrnambool-Perth

An uneventful night in Warrnambool, but showered and fresh again for the drive home. We took the coastal route crossing into SA and called into Mt Gambier to check out the Umpherston Sinkhole and also the Blue lake.

This place is amazing, the garden created in this sinkhole is stunning!



The Blue Lake is also a bit of an oddity as in early November it turns virtually overnight from a grey colour to this deep blue colour. The scientists can't yet explain why it does this.



Carrying on our merry way we ended up cruising through the Barossa valley and making our way to Worlds End Hwy where we camped at Burra Gorge. We were pretty knackered by this stage and just camped and headed off early once again. It was a pleasant enough spot and only a few other campers about.





We were in a bit of a rush to get home by this stage due to some issues at home that needed attending to. I was planning on being home a week later but unfortunately that wasn't to be. We made our way from Burra Gorge towards home. We passed through a small town called Orroroo where we happened across the fattest gum tree I have ever seen!



We were across the Eyre Hwy and we called into an old Surfing Mecca called Cactus beach at Port Sinclair The turn off for this is at a town called Penong, which has a bit of a windmill fetish ;)



The Cactus beach property is privately owned and is around 450 acres that has been set up remarkably well. The cost is $12.50 per person per night. I had never heard of this place before, but apparently its a bit of a surfing mecca.





Even had flushing loos! Always a bonus when camping.







The camp owner advised us that the next day was going to be 44 degrees and windy as hell, but we were planning on heading off early anyway.

I had heard a bit of squeaking as we drove into the campground, so got underneath and found the bashplates coming loose. Nothing a few minutes wouldn't fix.



We were soon on our way and once onto the Great Australian Bight, I found a track that led us right out to the cliff edge. had to pose for the shot on the edge of Australia ;)



I had wanted to the complete section of the old eyre hwy, but time constraints meant I could only do a small 50 or so km section. We headed off the main hwy and went to check out Koomooloobooka Cave.



There are literally hundreds of caves and blowholes dotting the Nullarbor. Most are just basically holes down into the plain and are hard to spot unless you are right on them.





Back onto the old Eyre hwy, and we passed a few relics of a bygone era.





We came back onto the main hwy at Border Village where they looked in our fridges and bins etc for fruit/veges and what not. We headed up the hwy for another few hundred km's and turned off at the Caiguna Blowhole. The blowhole is quite close to the Hwy, so we followed the tracks in for a few km' and made our last camp for the trip. I was feeling a sense of sadness at it all coming to an end, but was also keen to get home.







We headed home early in the morning and did the 1100 odd km run back to Perth, home by 6:00pm and what can i say. That was one hell of a trip, with a hell of a lot of ground covered and a hell of a variety of scenery and situations. If I could, I'd pack the paj again and do it all tomorrow! Hope you have enjoyed reading through our trip report as much as I have enjoyed reliving it all :)

Safe travels and see you out there!
 

Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
#24
Great read, thanks for taking the time Steve.
Will be driving up the east coast in a week and a bit, have a little detour to Cape Byron planned, just gotta do it now :)
 
#25
Yep great report Steve.

Re cactus, growing up as a young surfie lad on the gold coast in the 80's we would always hear stories and see pics of cactus beach and the epic waves there, never had the chance to surf the place unfortunately. Now im only 10 hrs away and my body wont let me surf anymore, all a part of getting older and suffering the effects of abusing one's body when a young lad.

Awesome trip and thanks for sharing your adventures.
 

stevemc181

Well-Known Member
#29
Glad you all liked the trip report and thanks for the comments.

RE: Fishing at Steep Pt, I'm not much of a fisherman, but Mick is, unfortunately we just didn't have time for fishing and only hit Steep Pt as a starting spot for the West-East thing. It is certainly a fishing Mecca though!
 

stevemc181

Well-Known Member
#33
Bit late I know but a great write-up of a trip with a bit of everything thrown in for good measure.
thanks
Epic trip! bit of everything in there!
Cheers, glad you enjoyed the write up!
I'm champing at the bit to get away for another 3 or 4 weeks! We have a group of us doing the CSR next year, which will make a change from my usual solo vehicle travels. I'll have to console myself with the odd weekend away here and there until then.
 
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