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The last time I went 4WDing in Coffs Harbour it turned out to be one of the toughest single trips I’ve ever carried out within the Soiled 30. It was so onerous the truth is that I put the 30 on its aspect on a monitor referred to as Commando, acquired it again on 4 wheels and drove a bunch of different difficult tracks. That time Coffs beat me, however I used to be determined to return back to Coffs Harbour, an previous nemesis of mine and take a special strategy. By totally different strategy, I don’t imply selecting a greater line up Commando, I imply seeing a unique aspect of this lovely place as a result of whereas Coffs has some of the toughest tracks in Australia, it additionally has some of probably the most scenic touring as nicely. While we are on the subject of the Commando Monitor, I will probably be having another go in the Dirty 30, but that will probably be a special story for an additional time. On this trip the 30 was out of motion up in North Queensland at Justin from NQ Crash’s workshop getting the engine rebuilt prepared for an enormous trip up the Prime End that may occur later in the yr.
So with that car out of action, I had no selection however to take the 79 Collection. A reasonably bloody good second choice when you ask me. However attempt telling your higher half you’re taking your shiny 79 Collection Cruiser to Coffs Harbour. “But didn’t you roll a 4WD last time you went 4WDing in Coffs?”, “Well, yes dear but this trip will be different because we’re just checking out awesome campsites and there will be no silly driving…” She rolled her eyes like she does once I do or say something silly. But, she purchased it! I’m taking the large 79 Collection on DVD. Then it obtained me considering, “alright, I better be sensible on this trip and take it easy, it is Coffs Harbour after all”, “what if I rev it too hard and the V8 rumble causes a landslide?” I played out all types of situations out in my head proper as much as first day of the journey, I used to be very excited to be taking the 79 on one other DVD journey.
On this journey we had Graham within the D-MAX. When you consider just what number of kilometres he’s placed on that ute in the final 12 months from the Prime End of Australia right right down to some of probably the most southern tracks in Tasmania you possibly can’t help but assume that is one of probably the most used D-MAX utes in the nation. Nick from Black Collection Camper Trailers was additionally on the trip with the Alpha Camper Trailer, one of the extra reasonably priced campers in the range, nevertheless it nonetheless had all of the mod cons you’d look forward to finding at residence from a well-appointed kitchen proper by way of to queen sized bed with moon roof. That’s luxurious in the bush, but sadly for Nick he additionally brought a swag, because we had also invited a young household to return alongside on this journey and check out tenting out of a camper trailer and be on the 4WD Action DVD. Lee and Claire Dawson plus their two cute tin lids, Kayla and Tegan met us in Coffs Harbour with their HiLux ready for an enormous week out on the tracks. Being from down south they have been a stone’s throw away from the High Nation they usually had never accomplished any real 4WDing in northern NSW before and Lee was additionally very excited to drive on a seashore for the first time. These guys have been just concerning the nicest individuals you would hope to satisfy, I simply hoped they might deal with every week of common cooking and under average jokes.
We hit a collection of tracks out behind Coffs Harbour with one of probably the most enjoyable being the Lioness Loop which runs off Plum Pudding Street. It’s superb how many good tracks there are out behind Coffs, I might have been to the place 4WDing a minimum of a dozen or more occasions and I nonetheless really feel like I’ve solely still just scratched the floor. I’m unsure if the epic-ness will come across on DVD, because you start off driving by way of a monitor that feels prefer it hardly gets any 4WD visitors and is barely overgrown. Up to your left is an enormous rock escarpment that appears like a scene from the Prime End. Unknown at the time, but you must wind your approach on prime of that escarpment via a collection of little ruts and rock steps. One of those little ruts caught me out a bit and I came upon that the 79 with 1.5 ton over the rear axle doesn’t precisely wish to drive off cambered ruts and it popped an enormous wheel carry and I made the whole problem look approach more durable than it wanted to be.
As we finished the monitor we headed to Dick’s Knob (that’s the actual identify) the place we might camp the primary night time and the Dawson Household would get to check out the Black Collection Camper. Despite having a humorous identify, this little campsite was nothing more than somewhat turning circle on the end of the monitor however it had views right over the valley and mountains dealing with west. It was here that we chucked a pair of roasts on the coals and Kayla and Tegan confirmed Graham and myself just how briskly they might prepare dinner a marsh mellow in the hearth.
After driving a couple of extra tracks, we discovered ourselves back on the freeway heading north in the direction of Yuraygir National Park have been we might camp. Now often on a 4WD Action DVD journey we might never get to camp within the mid-afternoon. Nope, we often pull into camp after dark and depart once more early the subsequent morning, however one of the great things about Pebbly Beach where we meant to camp, was the fact that you’ll be able to’t actually choose once you come and go as a result of there is a tidal creek you will need to cross before you head into camp. I reckon that little creek is half the attraction of Pebbly as a result of it limits who comes and goes and you already know as soon as that tide starts racing in you’re not going to see another soul for about 10 hours.
So clearly, the trick with camping at Pebbly Beach is to select your tides rigorously. When wanting on the tides be sure to take a look at Station Creek Beach tide occasions and keep in mind that the creek can be an hour or so behind the seashore if you’re making an attempt to work out the most effective time to cross. Now you’ll be able to cross that little creek about an hour and a half both aspect of lifeless low tide and you’ll only have water up to the hubs of your 4WD as a maximum. The trick is to drive east (in the direction of the ocean) whenever you get to the crossing because the shallowest part is round 70m up the creek. It’s all the time greatest to walk the creek first so you realize precisely where to cross. Despite the fact that I should have camped at Pebbly around 10 occasions or extra, I still get out of the 4WD every time and stroll it since you by no means know with a tidal creek as typically the channel will move resulting from massive tides and storms. As a result of it is salt water, I knock the car into low vary first gear and drive by way of the salt as slowly as attainable so I keep away from flicking up as much salt water as potential.
Speaking with Rob, the ranger and caretaker of Pebbly Beach he’s as much as 120 odd automobiles on the tally who’ve drowned in that creek crossing since he’s been there. That’s an terrible lot of destroyed 4WDs, when just a bit bit of precaution and awareness would do the trick. Many individuals who’ve come unstuck right here have not even bothered to see what the tide is doing let alone stroll the crossing first. They only plunge straight into the deepest part, flood their 4WD and sit on the bank scratching their head wondering why they’ve mullet swimming round inside their car. Most of them don’t also have a snorkel fitted and are full write-offs after they’re recovered out of there. Oh yeah, and a gut full of saltwater doesn’t do any 4WD any good. Once you take a look at the photographs of this crossing and watch the DVD you’ll assume that I’m exaggerating, however it’s superb the difference getting the tides proper and driving by means of the shallowest half can do.
So stepping into camp at mid-afternoon meant that our subsequent low tide was around two within the morning, or else we would have to wait until after lunch the subsequent day. Being on a decent filming schedule, Bushman Boyley, our producer, was in search of a bit of help when he raised the perfect of leaving at around three in the morning, in order you possibly can imagine that didn’t notably go down properly so we opted to movie extra round camp and catch the subsequent tide after lunch. Did I mention before how I really like this little tidal creek?
I reckon Kayla and Tegan might have stayed at Pebbly for a couple of weeks if they were given half a chance. It’s the right place for households to camp proper on the ocean front on well-kept grass campsites with primary amenities. I have stated it for round eight years or more, however I merely love coming here! Only a word of caution though, the primary seashore earlier than you get to the campsite is an environmentally sensitive place for little terns and be sure to simply stick with the seashore the place it is signposted and do the correct factor. Some individuals assume that it’s okay to do circle work on the seashore or drive up into the dunes. To that minority of idiots, pull your head in! We need to do the fitting factor if we need to hold lovely locations like this open to 4WDers for years to return.
After a late begin and a swim whereas we have been waiting for the tide, we acquired back into Yuraygir Nationwide Park and into the State Forest and began exploring some tracks. You can find that there’s a big community of tracks, most of them logging tracks in a grid pattern. The further into the bush you drive, the additional away from civilisation you are feeling. I reckon that not many people ever explore the tracks down here and it does really feel quite untouched. Do yourself a favour and explore your approach in the direction of Wooli on the dust. There is a monitor that may make you cross the Wooli River, we drove all the best way right down to the water and the tide was up too high for us to cross so we ended turning back. However we did discover an awesome little campsite on the banks of the Wooli River that might be value a look next time. I reckon in case you based mostly yourself out of Pebbly, you’d easily have every week’s value of tracks to discover before you’d see the identical monitor twice. Should you supply ranger Rob a cold beer, he might even inform you a few monitor that follows a ridgeline all of the best way from the State Forest to Brooms Head with views of the coast.
This trip began off in Coffs Harbour and headed into the mountains behind Woolgoolga after which into the Yuraygir National Park and make our method by means of to Wooli without hardly touching the bitumen.
On this trip we opted for some of the tamer tracks behind Coffs Harbour and put our concentrate on finding some of the perfect locations to camp. There is a monitor to go well with just about each 4WD just behind Coffs, so it’s a bit of a ‘choose your own adventure’.
The decide of the campsites was a bush camp we found at Dick’s Knob and Pebbly Beach, Yuraygir National Park
WHAT TO TAKE:
You really ought to convey enough gear to be self-sufficient and a few days’ value of additional food and drinks do you have to stay at Pebbly Beach, as a result of likelihood is you’ll keep longer than you deliberate when you see how good the tenting is.
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL:
There’s a nice sub-tropical climate in Coffs Harbour, so any time of yr is ok. However the perfect time for camping is March – Might and September – November.
FUEL & SUPPLIES:
Coffs Harbour is close to all of the tracks and only 50km from Pebbly seashore
The nice news about this half of the world is that there are so many 4WD tracks that you can spend a couple of weeks driving A – E grade tracks and never need to drive the identical monitor twice.
TRIP TIME OF YEAR:
We drove these tracks in early Feb.
RESTRICTIONS AND PERMITS:
Open to all automobiles, all yr round. There’s a small payment to camp at Pebbly Beach that you simply pay to Rob (the Ranger) on arrival.