Here's my trip report from our latest trip - We're in Victoria, Australia, the trip took place in Wyperfeld National Park (-35.494779,141.985931), Big Desert Conservation Park (-35.523285,141.486053) and Little Desert National Park (-36.501081,141.931). Plug those coordinates into google maps and you'll see the areas I'm talking about
Mine - Blue L series "Ruby Scoo" - 3 inch lift, Ej22, L AWD gearbox with locking centre diff, 4.11 ratio diffs, L series 1.59:1 low range and front LSD 27 inch tyres
Venom - Green Liberty, 2 inch all around lift, H6 conversion, L series 1.59:1 low range, DCCD centre diff, front and rear LSDs
Pezimm - '07 foz XT auto - one inch strut lift and HD springs. That's about it for mods
Bboypebs - '82 Brumby (BRAT), 2 inch lift, 29 inch tyres, weber conversion on the EA81
Subaruby - pretty much stock '06 foz
Dulagarl - ~2000 model foz, H6 conversion, Front and rear LSD, subaextreme front and rear bars, stock 2L foz 1.447:1 low range
So, Saturday the 21st of September saw four subarus en route to the Wyperfeld National Park. After having some fun fitting everything in the car we were off and ended up meeting at Yapeet Beach Camp as our camp of choice was taken - for the week.
I arrived with Pezimm after dark, this is the meet point just before we took off on Sunday morning:
We headed towards Wirregren Plain via Wonga Campground. This is the ~8km slow meandering driveway into camp with the other subi's in tow:
The Crew at Wonga fitting sand flags/checking out some of the history of the area:
From here we headed out towards Snow Drift via North/South and Eagle track to name a few. Since we were so close to camp and the day was still young we took a bit of a detour into camp, so we checked out what was going on at Casurina Campground before heading on to Snow Drift. This is where Ruby Scoo had an issue that appeared to be fuel vapourisation, not much fun to deal with but we got going again.
But after passing a large convoy of other 4wd's the issue reared it's ugly head again on a slight hill, so we were pushed out of the way to let the larger convoy continue on their way - they were headed to Snow Drift to camp the night. We got Ruby Scoo going again and continued on our way to camp where we found a large gathering of vehicles and kids in the area as well as the other 4wd group.
Love this pic. You can see how chewed out the side of the dune is from sand boarding activity and from those (like us) that just head up for the views or to watch the sunset.
A great day of driving must have tuckered a few out Those rims are hot too, they really set off an awesome vehicle!
Here's a pic of the camp from the top of the dune.
And Bboypebs in the light of the sunset.
The sunset. It was great to be back out here again!
Heading off from Snow Drift across Wirregren Plain along Gunner's Track on Sunday Morning.
I found this sign to be a bit out of place so I thought I'd share
The start of where Gunner's Track became a lot of sandy fun, the stuff prior was solid fast mud pan that was a good bit of fun, but we were after sand, sand and more sand!
Looking up to where we were headed up Gunner's Track. We headed into Underbool to fuel up, grab a quick hot shower (that turned out to be a bit premature since it was only day 3!) then take off again for the sand - this time searching for a way into a certain (awesome) firebreak track.
Whilst finding our way into the park again we came across this cheeky little Thorny Devil Lizard. These guys were also found sitting on top of wooden fence posts and as we approached they'd slide down the side to hide - something I'd not seen before with these lizards.
Couldn't help my self with this pic - One of the great angles of the L series
This is one of the reasons we love this track, usually a "virgin" track to follow, it's soft, fast, up, down and winds around a bit too, sometimes there's a mix of those factors which can make it quite a technical track.
Here's Pezimm on the Firebreak Track.
Bboypebs finding the only bit of mud on this track - still loving it though!
I'm sure everyone loved this track, it was as fun as last time and I'm sure we'll visit it again next time. I had the same problem as the other day with the fuel. I'd tried to insulate my fuel lines but apparently that didn't do anything - this issue occurred again later on too. It was getting very frustrating! It was thought that the fuel pump could have been letting the side down as it certainly seemed like a fuelling issue. This took some time again which meant we were running out on our long leg to the planned camp for the night, so we decided to camp up a bit further down the track rather than push on into the night. In the morning I was keen to get to Murrayville to pick up another fuel pump from the old holden dealership there.
Long story short they didn't have an external fuel pump on the shelf, the head mechanic tried to tell me there wasn't such a thing. After a chat with the boys we swapped the fuel filter out as it was the oldest part in the equation. Got one that was very close to original but it fitted so I wasn't fussed. Then we headed off to Big Dune hoping that it wasn't my fuel pump that was going to pack it in.
This is Big Dune from the "car park" area on the side of the track. Venom had a go at the middle track (the one he's on in the pic), far left track then stuck with the middle a few more times before he made it to the top. He puts this down to a couple of things: very low tyre pressure, the DCCD with a rear bias and most of all, driver ability!
These pics don't do the effort required to get to the top any justice - it's a massive dune, the tallest in the area that towers over everything below it.
Some of the tracks created in the climb up the dune.
Since making it to the top it was time to attempt "Big Dune Two" - but most of the effort was done as this was a simple climb. The pic above is Venom on Dune Two.
Another pic of Venom at the top of Big Dune, this time looking down among "those who try" - and they tried!
Pezimm had a good crack at it but "failed". We convinced him to air down further (not enough in my book!) and he got to this level:
"Almost made it".
Bboypebs had a red hot go in the mighty Brumby but the gearing just wouldn't let it be. He had a fair crack at it a few times! I unfortunately failed in getting some pics of the Brumby having a go - apologies!
Here's Venom about to slide his way down the dune.
After Big Dune we cruised around a number of tracks, Venom found this little beauty near the bottom of Cactus Bore Track - this one climbs a small dune that gives a good view of what's around - I think Ruby Scoo models it well!
Here's Pezimm coming up the same dune behind Ruby Scoo - you can't wipe that smile off his face!
Here's a driver's perspective of part of the the track we were cruising along. This track was a good drive with some soft sandy sections on the curves as you start to climb a small dune, I know I really enjoyed it!
The convoy arriving at Red Gums - a crap place for a camp site!!
I thought I'd enjoy Red Gums with a Red Rum - because I could!
Camp setup among the gum trees, the only ones in the area!
We found that this character had been here before...
The sunset on our way out to another dune where we intended to watch it from. We made it to the dune but it was done by then.
Ruby Scoo atop the dune on dusk - we caught up with Venom and a few of the boys who made it there in time - they left well before I did!
While we were out here we decided to play on the dune - it was a part of another 2 dunes. Venom was keen to try a difficult climb to see if he could do it - this is him coming up to the last corner successfully.
The middle dune was a piece of cake, the last one was a bit more difficult - I had about 4 goes at it and ended up airing down to about 12 psi - and got it! Venom was already down low. We watched the late dusk and checked out the surrounding area with the remaining available light.
Then a small night 4wd session to get back to camp for dinner.
This is one of our specialties when out bush - Parma's. Can't beat a good bush parma!
This is how we found one of my tyres in the morning after they'd cooled off. I think they showed about 8 psi before I started to inflate back up to somewhere near 18 psi for the day. Today's travels was checking out some other camp grounds, one turned out to be interesting, another to remember for a later trip and the last one wasn't worth the effort to get to.
Along the way we found this little guy,
Captured this image,
And found possibly THE biggest Mallee Root you'll see any where!
At the one to forget this was this mud puddle to have a go at, easy stuff:
This mud was stinky disgusting stuff - it was very thick, to the point where only some of it flowed back into the hole.
I managed to collect this stick on the windscreen when going around Pezimm and clipped my sand flag on a tree, I then got it stuck in the windscreen wipers - I make a note of this stick as it kept Mrs El Freddo laughing for a good half day, and that's not any exaggeration!
From here we headed south towards Milmed Rock, stopping at Pigeon Springs for Lunch.
We came across this little fella on the track on our way into lunch, I followed it into the bush as it was the only blue tongue lizard we saw and it had an awesome "tiger" stripe pattern.
Hitting up Milmed Rock with the crew. Quite a bit of sand had moved off the track in places before we got here - it has been interesting noting the change in the sand conditions from our times out here.
Again, this interesting tourist has already been here!
We were off again, enjoying the sand….
It was along the Milmed Rock Track before Round Swamp that Ruby Scoo again ran into trouble, but this time is was different - it was a very sudden stop. When I tried to start her there was no fuel pump priming occurring. I felt a little bit sick at this point - then decided to check all of my fuses - one was discovered to be a bit dirty from the swamping she saw in 2010, so I swapped it with another fuse in a different slot and we were off again! Dodged a bullet there!
We camped at Round Swamp Campground - from here we unfortunately said bye to Pezimm as he had to return to work the next day. For the rest of use we got cracking into getting a fire going to burn the mallee root we found along the way.
This is how you light a fire with a (small/tiny) Mallee Root offering. Unfortunately a few minutes after lighting the tower fell over, but it continued burning.
Later in the night we were sitting around enjoying the fire when we heard what we thought was a 4wd convoy cruising through the bush - but they never passed the camp ground (which you have to in order to continue along the track). Thinking it was odd we forgot about it.
Then we thought we saw some lightening, but not all at once. It wasn't until we heard the distinct crack of thunder that we knew what was coming - at that point it was all hands on deck to "fortify" the campsite for the coming rain. We threw a tarp over our camper as we've not done anything about the leaks and this is the easiest way to deal with it at the moment.
The thunder and lightening was really spectacular and the rain was coming down hard for a few minutes in waves. I loved it!
This is how we setup Ruby Scoo for the storm the night before.
From Round Swamp Camp we were headed to Lake Albacutya, then Rainbow for fuel and over to OTIT if it was free, otherwise it would be Yapeet Beach again. The thing that swayed us to do different was the strong and constant wind that had emerged as the morning went on and the desire to do Purra Tk from West to East again - then hit up Rainbow for fuel after working out which camp to stay at for the night.
Here's a couple of pics of the track with the different conditions along the way:
And this is what happens when the driver's mind is in neutral when it decides to get out of the bumpy ruts - without doing anything except reefing on the steering wheel:
What I should have done was drop it into low range and given it some prior to the steering wheel work. Venom gave me a gentle snatch and I was out of there easy.
The three remaining subarus on Purra Track.
We decided to check out some other areas of the track that were showing up on the GPS's - that made for some fun. As you can see, this part of the track is nothing but a goat track now. There were sections that were very narrow between the scrub, we were lucky to get through I reckon!
We ended up getting to OTIT on some tracks we didn't know existed until now. It was unfortunately still occupied by a tent/caravan city. I hope it's not trashed now. Either way OTIT or Yapeet Beach Campgrounds were too windy in these conditions. The decision was made to fuel up in Rainbow and high tail it for Snow Drift via the sand as the black top is simply boring by comparison!
On our way up to Snow Drift we came across this little fella - it was great to see so many lizards out this time!
Snow Drift turned out to be a great choice, there was only a breeze there. After some communication with Dulagarl Friday's place to meet up was decided.
We had Snow Drift to ourselves for the night
The next morning we headed back to Wonga - I was starting to think that I was getting sick of the "commute" through this place! But it was still a good drive.
Back to Rainbow to fill up and continue heading south where we met up with the Wimmera River at the Ebeneza Mission. Along this section of river there's a solid crossing we saw in July 2012, Dulagarl went through it. This time we hit it as I thought the river would be in the stage of "going down" so will be lower than last time. Except once I hit the water I felt the car get a bit lighter and realised there was also a bit of a current. It was good fun - then we had to turn around and do it again - no issues...
Bboypebs crossing the Wimmera River.
From sand to mud/solid river flat tracks - it's quite a contrast and unforgiving for a wrong move.
A bit of fun.
Dulagarl should remember this place. Venom did it easy mate
Once at camp it was a bit of a relax session:
Bboypebs had a bit of a fish - but got nothing except a few lures lost…
Later Dulagarl and Subaruby joined us for the last leg of the trip. It was great to catch up with them non the less!
Camp in the morning. Then we headed off towards Little Desert NP, some river track to cover first though:
Venom getting down and dirty,
Subaruby in the new ride getting it dirty stripes sorted.
Dunny stop at the highway rest stop.
Little Desert was quite a change from Wyperfeld and Big Desert in terms of vegetation - it really did feel more desert like with the lack of trees, plus it was pretty windy!
We ran into this place "Eagle Camp" - not a bad place for a camp ground so we took the opportunity for a group pic with the "new additions" to the convoy.
As we were about to head off we spotted this water hole and thought it could be a bit of fun. We enticed Bboypebs into it relatively easily - it had something to do with mentioning the might Brumby and the deal was done. Unfortunately this is how it panned out:
So it took a mouth full of water upon entry of the water hole. Once out and most of the interior drained it took about 15 minutes to remove the plugs, turn over, replace plugs and get it going again!
After talking Venom out of the temptation to put the liberty through it's paces Dulagarl decided he'd nail it with his mods and the snorkel. This is how it went:
Venom had to snatch Dulagarl out - Dulagarl lost the use of his clutch on one of the attempts at pulling himself out of the water hole - he "almost made it" - but that's what they all say! We eventually got the clutch working again and we were off. I reckon the dirty water "deposited" it's grit in the fingers of the clutch as it hit the flywheel and clutch mechanisms, this grit held the clutch open when the engine was running. By shutting off the engine and pumping the clutch it seemed to come good. There was one time after this that it seemed to slip again but with the same trick it didn't seem to return.
After cruising around a number of tracks it was decided that lunch was in order. It was a great time to be in the desert as the grass trees were in the process of flowering...
This is Subaruby remembering that the foz is not the MY wagon… It was great to see him having a good crack at this mud hole! I think an LSD or two should be on back order!
Unfortunately at this point the Brumby wasn't very happy, but Bboypebs kept it going as frustrating as it was.
At the end of the day we finished up at Round Gum Swap Campground.
^ I couldn't help my self with another "selfie" of Ruby Scoo...
After a great trip out here for just over a week it was time to call it a day - eventually! Bboypebs and Subaruby headed off after a couple of longish byes; The Ruby Scoo crew stayed for dinner before heading off home. I know I didn't want to end the trip just yet but all good things must come to an end!
Thanks to Venom for the early behind the scenes talks in the planning of the itinerary, Venom and Bboypebs for "sticking around" with me for the duration of the trip; Pezimm, Subaruby and Dulagarl for attending the times they could due to work or other commitments.
Once again, a great trip - I really needed it!
Thanks for taking the time to read this