Long Weekend in Wellington Dam, June 2023
A trip down south in June always has a risk of rain at some time. We however got a bit more than we had expected. It did not diminish our pleasure of 4wdriving or the camp fire we had.
Joel 106 Hilux (trip Leader)
Simon, Diane & Jacob Mitsubishi triton & camper trailer
Don & Jane GU Nissan Patrol (tail) & camper trailer
Alek & Daniel (guests) Sunday GQ Nissan Patrol
Meeting at a bakery in Harvey was a very good choice for food and coffee. By 0930 we were on our way to Wellington Dam, where it is known for having many challenging tracks that will take you down to the water. Joel had already selected a site by going down on the Friday night. With him leading, we were able to get to his camp site. At the last two mud holes before camp, we watched Simon’s vehicle and trailer dance and squirm their way through so I photographed ours.
After setting up camp we went exploring around the dam before retiring early to enjoy the fire and unwind. The cold (0.70 overnight) saw us early to bed.
Sunday morning greeted us with a mist drifting slowly down the dam. As we enjoyed this, it began to slowly move in circles then drift upstream. A change in the weather was coming.
Goat Track was reported to have been graded in some parts. The sections that we drove on Sunday did not appear to have been affected in any way and lived up to our expectations; steep, rutted & muddy downhill tracks. I had a few anxious moments as I slid sideways on a downhill section. Lowered tyre pressures were enough to get us through.
We found a steep uphill track with numerous large rocks that required careful wheel placement to navigate to the top of a hill. From the hill tops you could see the rain coming but we continued exploring and the trip became a recci. Some of these tracks were narrow due lack of regular 4×4 use and were a challenge to drive. Don did a lot of ‘gardening’ as the rest of us waited patiently for him to clear a path! (Thanks mate.) The tracks were just right for driving, soft and grippy – not yet muddy slush. Even before it rained there were puddles and lots of u-turns, some multi point and shrub collecting events.
Eventually we created a link between Goat Track and the hills of Brunswick which will make an awesome day’s driving. Somewhere here we spied a green good looking GQ Patrol that looked vaguely familiar. As we negotiated a creek the green Patrol joined us and it was Alek and Daniel. They were in same area checking out tracks.
By now the rain was tumbling down, making patterns in the ruts and the tracks into streams. Joel ventured down a steep rutted track. We followed but eventually decided that an uncontrolled slide to the bottom was not a good idea. After a slow and lengthy retreat, we were back on flatter ground. (No recovery gear was needed) and we decided it was time to head back to camp. We pumped up tyres a bit and farewelled Alek and Daniel. As we approached camp we were swamped with rain and could only see tail lights.
At camp, there was a mess and much mopping up to be done. However about 6.30, as predicted by Dianne, the rain stopped so we uncovered our firewood and enjoyed a lovely evening together watching the full moon rise above the trees and the mist gradually envelope us. It was much milder than the night before, a delightful evening. However, in the wee small hours, we were lashed by rain, thunder and wind. We quickly packed up between showers and had brekkie at Maccas in Collie which was flooded with people.
Despite the rain we had a great weekend of shared chat around the camp fire, awesome driving and brilliant scenery.
Story by Don and Jane