Wilbinga Arvo Run
Sunday 20th February 2022
Richard & Naomi – Pajero (Trip Leader)
Tony & Anna – Ranger
Lin – FJ
Keith & Kirk – Ranger
Jon – Pajero Sport
Alex – Colorado
Marek – Colorado (visitor)
Rob – Prado
James – Jiminy
Graham & Monica – Patrol (visitor)
Ivo – Landcruiser
Steve & Susan – Hilux
In recent times Parks and Wildlife has spent money erecting information signs at both the northern & southern access points in an effort to educate some of the users on appropriate use of the area.
Along with DBCA Swan Coastal you have the Wilbinga Shacks Crew who are the official adoptees of the area working closely to maintain Wilbinga in the face of increased user pressure and unfortunately some antisocial element.
By organizing this trip for the Sunday afternoon, I was hoping that it wouldn’t be too busy, it turned out as planned, minimal interaction with other drivers. After heading in on the limestone road complete with atrocious corrugations, we turned off the main track to check out a couple of hills I normally take groups to play on, unfortunately these have deteriorated in recent years to the point that I had no takers on this trip that were willing to have a go.
We left the area and continued towards the coast before dropping down to some dunes just above Flat Rocks, I knew our guys would be able to play.
We had a couple of other groups come through whilst we were down there, but given the openness of this spot, it didn’t cause any grief. We started to snake our way north following the back of the dunes as we passed the shacks settlement, I took the group through as some of these guys were not even aware that the shacks were out here.
To the north of the shacks there is a very easy access point to the beach, depending on the tides and condition of the beach you can do a beach run north from here. Given the time of day and the drop offs I could see, we decided to stick to the tracks following the dunes.
As we continued up past the Fig Tree I came upon the back entry to the South Bowl. This is a very steep, soft track onto the dune and you approach it by coming down a firm sand track. Needless to say, you do require a fair bit of momentum to get up, but too much momentum and you bottom out the front end at the base of the dune.
The view from the top of the South Bowl is pretty cool, but unfortunately the morons who had camped here the night before had left piles of rubbish everywhere. In this one small area we managed to fill three large rubbish bags for proper disposal. Unfortunately, this is an ongoing issue and why the Clean-Up days out here are so important for the ongoing access and management of the park.
Once everyone was up and recovered from the bump, we continued over to where there is an even steeper exit point, it’s great to take novice drivers down to show them the importance going straight down and avoiding any cross angles.
We then headed to my planned sunset spot on the beach just to the west of the North Bowl, there was a small group of cars leaving as we pulled up so we had the place to ourselves! As the sand can be deceptively soft up here and I didn’t want to be the person responsible for having twelve vehicles bogged on the beach on a Sunday night, I requested Keith and Alex who both have winches to remain up on the dune, this way we had a Plan B if getting off the beach after sunset proved to be too big a challenge.
Everyone enjoyed their evening supper whilst enjoying the last of the days light.
After studying the beach, I worked out the easiest way to exit the beach, would be to back up and come down the beach following a set of tracks that followed close to the dunes. This meant we weren’t losing all momentum by doing a 90° turn exiting the beach. Dropped my tyres from 16psi to 12psi, I did this so I didn’t rip up the track as others would be following, with everyone making it up safely this proved to be worthwhile.
Now that the sun had disappeared over the horizon, the sky started to change to some vibrant colours and it puts a whole different perspective on this drive.
With the convoy now up past the back of the North Bowl, it was now time to turn east and follow the northern boundary back out to Indian Ocean Drive. This part of the track has a few challenging sections on the coastal end with some cap rock shelfs that need to be negotiated with a bit of care.
I quite like driving tracks at night as you get a totally different perspective, you have to be on the ball otherwise you can easily take a wrong turn, even with tracks you’ve done many times in daylight.
The good news is we didn’t lose anyone, exiting at Wilbinga Grove with eleven vehicles in tow. Once everyone had aired up, it was time to bid farewell to everyone and start the not so far trek home.
I would like to say a big thank you to all of the gang and our visitors that came along. Tbh I’m not a fan of taking larger groups out, but this outing actually turned into a lot of fun and there was no stress, everyone was just happy to go with the flow.
All the best