It’s that time again, go and put the kettle on, maybe get yourself a couple of cold ones…
Saturday morning saw a couple of Baysiders, Mick and B towing their camper trailer and Myself with Zuri the Jack Russel and swag, meet at the local Maccas at 0630 to get an early start going out to Swan Gully Park. We had a visitor Andrew with his 4 boys joining us at Beaudesert in their Hilux and camper trailer, which gave a chance to top up with fuel and a 2nd Maccas stop, before the 3 vehicles headed into the park which was only 10 mins from Beaudesert too. Very handy that its only about 75km from Capalaba.
They had a storm out there on the Friday evening but as expected the ground was all dry, just not too dusty. Check in was a very simple affair at the ‘office’ and we were given a map of the park’s tracks – Although not too sure how accurate it was going to be… We went in and chose a great area by a dried-out creek with trees giving a bit of extra shade to set up camp. We knew Peter and Leanne were going to be joining us a little later on but there was loads of space. The fire ban had also been lifted and there was plenty of old pits to choose from. I was a little surprised how few people were there, especially as it was school holidays and close to Brisbane.
I had a simple swag and gazebo to set up so was ready first and itching to go out for an explore, the others weren’t too far behind so the plan was to head on a bit of a drive and come back to meet Peter and have some lunch. To start we headed to a rock face we briefly saw as we entered the park, but as we got close, we quickly changed our minds, the face was much steeper than we thought plus a very sharp drop in at the bottom of it, but could it be driven? Not by us, yet.… We quickly found that the map although looked detailed might not have been very accurate! We did get into a bit of a play area and all got out to walk some of the climbs, Zuri the Jack Russell turned into a mountain goat with tiny stumpy legs! Same couldn’t be said for myself who at one point found it too steep and not enough traction to stay upright and took a bit of a slide down (didn’t happen if there isn’t a photo!) Luckily, we all had better luck in our 4wd’s. Next challenge would be when we came to what we thought was going to be a dead end so somehow, we were going to need to turn around, I watched the Hilux make a 100 point turn so thought would try a bit further and found an opening to make it nice and easy. Everything had been incident free so we had to change that…. Mick somehow managed to catch a rear flap on a little pebble and tore it completely off.
Fail count: Toyota 1, Nissan 0.
It was late morning by now so was a good time to go meet Peter and Leanne and make some lunch. They were already set up by the time we got back as they had the caravan. Bella the German Shepard was a little disappointed she didn’t have her usual playmate and had to make do with chasing Zuri a little. The dogs were great all weekend, both coping with some pretty hairy driving, although I heard Bella had a couple of falls thanks to Peters antics.
In the afternoon we headed out to try and follow some of the trails and ridge line but had plenty of false starts where Peter would come to a green track which was far from it… But then the fun and games really started. Peter and Mick have a ton of experience under their belts but myself and Andrew were having plenty of firsts… One of the most daunting was when Peter walked us to a creek which the comp trucks use, my god its insane what they tackle, but then finds a way to drop us all in and we start slowly crawling over these rocks, which there is no way in Hell I thought we’d attempt! When we got to an exit track we parked up and walked to try and find the waterfall these crazy trucks get to, but no waterfalls in this drought. Anyway, back to the cars and Pete leads the way again driving out with me following, wasn’t long before the call comes over the radio that we weren’t going any further forward – Hang on a mo… Are you sure??? Great – so now I’m practising reversing down a track into the creek to turn around and now face driving back through it all. Certainly, got my heart racing but we all took out time and made it, Mick helping with spotting for the Hilux when needed.
We headed around a few more much easier tracks until another dead end meant that somehow, I was leading the group, felt like the blind leading the blind! But the Golden Child had risen to all the challenges so far and took one with no idea where it was going, all went well on these rutted climbs until rounding one corner then the call out on UHF for a bit of experience needed! Peter resumed the lead and it turned out to be a cracking track, constantly changing, rarely easy with fantastic views as we climbed up, no sooner had we commented about how much of a nightmare it would be if there was someone coming the opposite direction then that’s exactly what happened, but at the only place you could easily pass we’d come across! There was a radio call from Andrew at one point saying he thought he saw a ’No Entry’ sign, but if he’s the only one who saw it did it really exist?! Only came across one more group who were camping at the top of the ridge where we were hoping to get a group photo with their tarp setup acting more like a parachute with the wind billowing into it. Never mind, we did manage to get one in after the Toyotas did the best parking they could manage! We continued along having a great afternoon wheeling along the tracks which kept varying as we went. After a particular tricky section, we came across a sign pointing one way for camper trailers and the other for 4wd’s – How on earth anyone would have got a camper trailer through what we driven was certainly beyond me. It was getting later in the afternoon by now so we followed tracks descending down to let us head back to camp, Peter again at the front, when we came up to the rock face again from the beginning of the day, I made some kind of comment over the radio about how we’d been here in the morning, might not of mentioned we hadn’t attempted it, Peter drives straight up to it, drops into it and manages to drive straight up the sheer rock face – Nissan 1 Toyota 1, I really wanted to have a go but wasn’t too sure my Navara would be able to make it, the advice given was to go very easy and back out if I wasn’t comfortable, although one committed to the drop in I had no idea how I could back out anyway! I’d seen Peter’s rear bar get a little caught up and figured if my stock rear bumper and tow bar didn’t survive it would be a good time to upgrade! The advice of going easy was in the front of my mind as I ever so cautiously dropped in, my breaks having a bit of a squeal as ever so slowly I inched down and made the first part of the challenge, now just the sheer rock face to tackle, slow and steady they said, so naturally as I felt a bit of slip I gave it a fair bit of right boot lifting and spinning wheels and even going through the gears according to the onlookers below. But I made it and my triumphant cheer could be heard all around the valley. Nissan 2 Toyota 1. Mick wasn’t going to leave it now and showed how you can be smooth and steady the whole way, in fact not a murmur was heard from him. Nissan 2 Toyota 1. It was decided that the Hilux wouldn’t have the clearance (Only a 2” lift) to make it with its stock front bumper and nudge bar so we all headed back to camp.
Everyone started getting ready for dinner, with Andy building a romantic fire by his swag for himself and Zuri! Our camp had the music pumping thanks to funky Bluetooth speaker even with flashing lights on it. Peter had been given a new BBQ but uses these black things which aren’t instantly ready so resorted to the trusty Webber Q on Gas. Mick, although his birthday weekend was on cooking duties for himself and B, Andrew was going for a full lasagne to fill his tribe of men. After dinner everyone came to Andy’s fire to chat and have a drink or two with people drifting off to bed through the night.
The morning certainly wasn’t rushed with everyone making a leisurely breakfast before getting ready to go out for another drive around and ending up in the play area again on some of the climbs we tackled yesterday. The Hilux did a little dance which ended up removing another mud flap. Fail Count: Toyota 2 Nissan 0. The Golden Child took an interesting line on another which meant there was no way of going the way planned at the top, but did drive out ok. Right at the end as we were about to head back to camp Peter does one last climb and comments about a tricky hole at the top, although I had done it yesterday I walked it then, but I thought I could just drive it this time, I was wrong, got into a little pickle and could see the rocky bank about 1cm from my nearside rear quarter and the ute feeling a little unsettled. But with Mick’s help spotting again drove out all ok. Mick letting me know the bottom of my rear wheel was above his chest height! You never should make the late decision to do ‘just one more’.
Back to camp we went, no major boo boo’s all weekend, probably all wearing a few more pin stripes now. Couple of mud flaps lost along the way. A huge amount of fun had, certainly plenty of new experiences for myself. I had to head back home so quickly packed down, while the others enjoyed the beautiful day and lunch before packing up. None of us were in stock 4WD’s and I think all had at least 2” lift and A/T tyres, I’m sure it would have had a very different outcome without those.
Thanks Mick for a cracking trip!
Until Next Time
Andy, Zuri and Golden Child