East of Armadale Trip Report, Oct 2023
Lee & Keely – 80 Series (TL)
Steve & Saffron – MUX (guest)
Tony & Anna – Ranger (TED)
James – Suzi
Lin – FJ
After many months of trying to get in contact with the Barna Mia Sanctuary to organise booking spaces for our club members to visit, they finally contacted me. Unfortunately, their response was a tad too late. 1 week before the trip was due to depart too late, aswell as being informed they only had two spaces left on the tour for that weekend. So obviously this wasn’t a viable result, as it would possibly be frowned upon if we all travelled down to the Dryandra Woodlands camp area near Williams, for only Keely and I to go see the Endangered Native marsupials in the natural setting. So it was decided to change the trip to a day trip, which assisted in allowing me to do our mandatory vote that weekend.
So out comes my collection of Western 4WD days out of Perth books. I have driven a few of these trips over the years, and run variants of 2 trips in it for clubs over the years.
One of the first trips I have run from this book, Trip Number 1 from its pages called: Wandoo North, and the second trip, number 6: Moondyne Country. This time however, I chose a different trip I had not driven before, number 12 in the 5th Edition version of 4WD days out of Perth.
This trip took us, as the title says, East of Armadale. All I needed to do was pick a location for meeting everyone. So I stuck with the unwritten law of 4wd clubs, which was to meet out the front of a Bakery. Namely the Pinjarra Bakery this time. In Maddington however, not Pinjarra.
While waiting for our convoy to arrive, we had time to buy a few delicious items, including a breakfast wrap, a cappuccino and couple of pasties and pies to enjoy for later in the day. By approximately 9:20am our entire group of 5 vehicles had gathered, stocked up on pies and the such, so we were able to start our pre-trip meeting. It was here that I handed out a copy of the route I had printed for everyone from the Hema maps book that had the route marked out. More on that later.
Back onto the blacktop we went. Heading to our first stop on this trip, which was Sullivan Rock car park on the right hand side of the Highway as we were driving it. This is where we all parked up and I informed the group of the part described in the book that required us to continue on foot. We crossed Albany Highway to start our little Hike, or so I thought, to Mount Vincent. Mount Vincent is approximately 500 mtrs high, and named after Claude Vincent Kinsella, who was responsible for establishing the Forrest Departments Gleneagle settlement back in 1936.
After walking the pathway up Sullivan rock towards Mount Vincent, the decision was made to save the walk for another day as getting to the summit was going to take longer than I had anticipated. None the less we still had a good view of the surrounding area from on top of Sullivan rock, so took in the view before heading back down the rock to the waiting vehicles where we had 15 min or so to chat and rehydrate before continuing the journey.
By now it was around 10:30/11am and still hadn’t driven on dirt other than where we had parked up. So on we drove until turning left onto Wearne Road, where finally the off-road portion of the trip began. Once we had all turned onto Wearne Road, I made the call to continue on the track without deflating our tyres. How wrong I was. Not 2 minutes down the track I was beaten to the radio by James, transmitting that we deflate our tyres due to the severity of the corrugations. This was 100% the right call and made a massive difference to the comfort for the rest of the trip .
We continued on Wearne Road until we came across a fence line track to our right that a short distance up had a fallen tree across it. This tree must have been down long enough as previous vehicles had already forged a new track around it over time. Following this track, we found it to be quite fun with a couple minor challenges including a few small ruts, hill descents and one rather large puddle that could not be avoided. No one had any difficulty with this obstacle including Steve and Saffron who were our guests on the trip in there Isuzu MUX.
Continuing on track with a few more minor hill climbs and descents, that would be a different story in the wet, we arrived at North Bannister-Wandering Road where we turned back onto tarmac for nearly 2 km. This wouldn’t be a problem as we kept our speed down and were not on excessively low tyre pressure. Turning off this road on to Ricks Road closely followed by the return fence line track on the opposite side of the fields we had just driven past, we returned to pea-gravel and clay style roads once more. We started traveling northwards for the second part of the trip, and the tracks resembled a milder version of what we had previously driven on. We headed Northwards towards Brookton Highway but stopped about halfway through for lunch, where we found a good open area to park. This is where we devoured some of the pre-purchased pies etc.. from Pinjarra Bakery and also where James showed me his new acquisition for his Suzuiki Jimny. A Dash mounted Hema Maps.
Once we packed up from lunch, we continued on the track northward towards Brookton Highway, where it was planned to turn left and travel a couple km’s on the highway and turn right into Christmas Tree Well Picnic site to air up. However, due to a scheduled burn-off on the northern side of the highway, all tracks that side had been closed for obvious safety reasons. That required us to travel further down and turn back into the Forrest on the southern side of Brookton Highway to air up.
Here we said our goodbyes and travelled home.
Thanks to our visitors on the trip, Steve and Saffron, as well as the club members James, Lin and finally Tony and Anna for being TEC (Tail End Charlie for this trip.) I think it was a good day and look forward to maybe running this during winter for a different experience.
Story by Lee and Keely