Karridale 4-6 December
Sean – MQ Triton and Cavalier
Dave and Cindy – 120 Prado and Cavalier
Gary Claire and boys – 80 Series and MDC
Ivo – 76 Landcruiser
Shane – MR Triton
With thanks to Penny and Spence for the use of their property for the weekend
The idea for this weekend originally came about back in August after Deb and I had spent five days based in Margaret River exploring the south west corner. We were on our own and it was a bit wet with a lot of standing (and in some cases flowing) water on tracks. Without a band of our All Tracks family exploring with us, quite a few tracks explored resulted in 15 point turns and backtracking rather than getting stuck.
And on getting stuck… It seemed it was fortuitous caution back in August as it is my recollection that I was the only vehicle that got stuck this weekend. Now this does need a little clarification. Not stuck as in situations that I couldn’t get out of myself, however having friends to help, either to gather evidence of my predicaments (with GoPro’s or Drones), or help with moving equipment like MaxxTrax’s, did speed up the “self extraction” process a little. Thanks Dave, on all accounts!
Meeting point on Friday morning was the Ampol Foodary Forrest Highway somewhere south of Mandurah. By a bit after 8am, all were present except for Shane who came down later in the afternoon.
Refuelled (diesel, hot food and drink), our trek to Karridale began. Other than a bit of rain and a stop at Sue’s Bridge, this was an uneventful run. At Karridale assorted “soft drinks and cordials” were purchased from the bottle shop, then it was just a short cross to Caves Rd and up to Penny and Spence’s property.
Not quite midday at this stage, some haste was in order setting up camp so that some afternoon exploring could be enjoyed. First track to explore was off Cosy Corner Rd that headed parallel to the coast south towards the north west end of Deepdene Beach. Here there are two access points to the beach, one over rocks and one via a track over a soft section of dune. A near high tide prevented access to the beach via the rocks, so one vehicle (me) got over the sand track and down to the beach. The logic behind only me going down to the beach was that there was enough recovery gear to pull me off the beach if I couldn’t get back up the track. A short drive determined that the beach was a bit too soft and unpredictable to risk other vehicles so I headed back. Dave has an excellent drone video of me getting back up the track and over the dune at the top.
At about 14/18 psi (front/rear), the Triton was starting to work a bit on the sand. From behind the tiller, there was a step up off the beach with a side slope, followed by a short relative shallow incline then a big increase in incline angle up the dune part of the track. Pressures were let down to 10F/12R and the bow pointed at the track. Aided by front and rear lockers engaged, the ascent was actually pretty easy.
While I explored the beach, the rocks and beach on the other track were explored by everyone else. After I got back off the beach, everyone was pretty keen for some campsite relaxing so we headed back stopping at a rock outcrop. Can’t find a name for these rocks but they are at the northern end of Knobby Head. After a brief wander and Dave getting some drone shots, we finally headed back to camp.
Friday night was a promised pizza night, and the pizza dough made by Dave had risen nicely while out and about. With two Weber BabyQ’s as our improvised pizza ovens, it was each to their own, and some magnificent creations ended up being made.
Later in the evening, dessert was a cake baked by Dave and generous coverings of custard.
No one ate light this night, all washed down with generous servings of the “soft drinks and cordials” purchased earlier in the day! At some time early in the evening Shane made it down safely, and well timed, arriving just before dinner.
While three of our groups camped, Ivo and Shane chose to sleep in the house, Ivo in the loft and Shane in the cupboard under the stairs! Very grateful to Penny and Spence for allowing access to the house as it contained some appreciated (some would say essential) facilities other than the rooms being used by the two glampers.
As the evening drew to a close, Gary and I set about planning the adventures for Saturday, starting with finding Cresswell Rd and use it to access Deepdene Beach from a more southerly point. Little did we know that this route to the beach had a few surprises. One thing we did ensure was a run on the beach just before low tide. If the easier route off the beach over the rocks wasn’t under water as it had been today, it was going to be the preferred exit.
Friday was done.
Saturday morning was exquisite, waking at exactly 4:31 with at least a duet of Kookaburras belting out some tunes that I think woke just about everyone! The Kookaburra chorus only lasted a few minutes, however the racket they made woke up everything else and the morning quiet now filled with the calls of more birds than I can identify. Cooked breakfasts, hot coffees and “essential” use of hot water in the facilities (by a few of us), had us primed and prepared for a day of exploring.
Gary led the convoy down Caves Road until Cresswell Road was found.
Initially this track was relatively easy, but soon became clear that this is very much a locals track. Ideal four wheel drive of choice for this track is one where scratching paintwork is ok. None of us had such a vehicle. At the top of a long descent, the view ahead was so closed in that it looked more like a walking track. A keen desire to get to the beach however, overrode any background thoughts about paintwork. The Trity became the tester for this track and it wasn’t long before the background screeching of thick undergrowth down the sides of the Trity in my radio call updates (on progress) deterred everyone else from following. Well everyone except Gary! After finally finding some clear space, I could hear the beach, and needing a little ‘reccy’ of the tracks between me and the beach, Dave used the drone to do this from above. The verdict was, I was through the worst of the track.
With confidence that the track ahead wasn’t going to remove anymore paint, Gary pointed the mighty 80 down the track behind me. Possibly a slightly easier run for him as I expect my canopy made everything a little bit wider, however not wide enough for everyone else, who back tracked with the intent of meeting us at the north end of Deepdene Beach where we had been the day before.
The last challenge for Gary and I before actually getting onto the beach was a soft “S” shaped descent through the last of the dunes. This was walked first and we both realised that this would be a one way track, too soft and too steep to get back up.
Our entry to the beach was at least twice as far down the beach as I had been the day before, however we could see all the beach, and as we were close to low tide, had confidence that we could make it back to the northern end of the beach.
The beach run ended up being quite a bit of fun. A couple of sections were treacherously soft, however both of us had low tyre pressures and slid and weaved our way through. We stopped at where the maps showed Deepdene Rd reached the beach, however the track was barely visible. Given the Caves Rd end of this track cuts through private (fenced) property, it’s a track to nowhere now. This section of beach shows evidence of high tide possibly putting water over the sand, so it was worth planning this beach run at low tide. Soon enough we were back at the exit end of the beach and with the tide at its lowest point for the day, easily exited the beach over the rocks.
A little closer looking at maps has identified the northern end of Deepdene beach is at the southern end of Cape Hamlin. The northern end of this small headland has the sheltered beach and rocky outcrop mentioned earlier (as Knobby Head).
This became our lunch break spot where a fair bit of exploring over the rocks occurred and Shane fed some fish with his fishing gear. I believe three fish were caught, the species I cannot recall.
After lunch it was back to Caves Rd and north back past Penny and Spence’s to Vlam Rd. Our route from here followed Vlam Rd, Boranup Dr, Formation Rd, and Hooley Rd. Part way along Hooley Rd is a lovely, well-shaded gully, the northern side of the track littered with dozens of centuries old Blackboys (Grass Trees). There’s a steep ascent out of this gully on the west side before a long and mostly flat run through to the coast.
Back in August, Deb and I had followed Hooley Rd to the coast only to find a flooded section of track. Walking this flooded section then revealed it was way too deep to attempt, but where we turned around we could see what looked like (on the maps) as a possible access point to the beach. This track is about half way between Cape Freycinet and North Point, and is the only apparent point anywhere along this section of beach where vehicle access looked possible, so I was keen to actually get through this time. Dusty dry was the section walked previously and we finally got to the end of Hooley Rd, and indeed there was a driveable track to the beach here. A bit steep but good for traction and we were all soon on the beach. Four out of five of us stayed at the top of the beach, driveable at pressures in the mid teens. Of course one of us had to go just 20 metres closer to the water only to discover dry sand even softer. Low teen pressures and a couple of MaxxTrax shuffled around by Dave had me extracted.
By the time we were all off the beach here, it was pushing mid afternoon, so we back-tracked to Caves Rd and back to camp. Shane, ever keen to feed fish with his fishing rod, went down to Augusta and actually caught a few at the river mouth before coming back to camp, suitably happy with his fishing efforts!
Saturday afternoon was enjoyed with some thought given to Bob’s Track on Sunday morning before heading home.
The plan on Sunday morning was to be up early, get packed up then head down Bob’s Track about 6am. The feathered choristers did their bit about 4:30am (again) however the rate of pack up proved to be more leisurely than planned. I think we were on the road heading towards home about 8ish, Shane the only one to venture down Bob’s Track for some fishing.
Before we had travelled too far, text messages were coming through from Shane about him recovering at least one vehicle somewhere along the track.
The run home was relatively uneventful. Gary found loose bearings on a trailer wheel that gave a few moments of concern, however quickly tightened, was problem solved.
The Crooked Carrot Cafe was the designated rest stop for a cuppa and bite to eat. If you haven’t been here, it’s worth a visit. If you have young kids that love to play outside, the adventure playground being created here is simply one of the best I have seen in decades, and worth a visit just for this.
All in all, this was a great short break away. Penny and Spence’s generosity enabling use of their property is sincerely appreciated, as it is central to a wonderful part of the south west. Looking forward to the next Karridale adventure which is coming up soon (check the club calendar for details).
Come and check out the Youtube vid of this great trip
4WDing all tracks All Tracks 4WD Club Alltracks bacon baking BM Prado Adventures bogged bread camp Camping cooking cosy corner cows crooked carrot drone dunes Fishing herring home made home made pizza karridale maxtrax ocean pizza rocks sea sea weed sun tyre tyre pressure waves webber weber wheel bearing whiting