Day 1 of 6, Fraser Island Adventure. Urban Warriors hit the beach for the first time
Remember I said pack the night before and it is always a good idea to move things around to ensure vehicles are weighted evenly and not overloaded. Well today was where this message hit home.
People arrived through the evening to our Noosa Hideaway and an early start me with the final two adventurers. Paul (who earned many nicknames over the week) (everyone gets a nickname, it is part of the fun) Paul is now known as Russel (Russel Coight) For reasons that will become apparent as we progress.
In the morning, we repacked the vehicles and were off, only an hour behind schedule, but as I said, “Plans Change” and the primary objective here, it is their adventure, I am just the host. It is really important that your trip is an escape from stress, not intrinsic within stress.
How to pack your 4WD
- Restrain everything, it is not about general driving, it is about sudden stops. Where you luggage and supplies become projectiles.
- In a crash at 60kph, a 3 moth old (5kg) child, weighs the equivalent to 9 bags of concrete, (90kgs)
- Remember when steering locks were a thing, they caused horrendous injuries and fatalities during crashes as they became airborne through the car, killing, maiming and decapitating people.
- Pack as low as you can. Without a safety mesh, do not load like it is an interstate truck.
- Weight is everything, remember, you only have 750kg, minus driver and passengers. Some vehicles only have 500kg GVM, making every kilogram a prisoner. Do not overload.
- Everything has its place and everyplace has its thing. Don’t forget easy access to recovery equip.
Day 1 -Six days on Fraser 4x4 beach driving experience
Coffees were made, tea, and juice, we were all amped and ready to rumble.
Our first stop was 5 min away (great address) to the Shell Servo. Fuel on the Island is $2.50/ltr. Buying now, saves a lot. Always enter the Island with full tanks, and if Possible, a spare 20ltr does not go astray as you will find out. Here, we also stocked up on essentials that had slipped the list, but that did not include Toilet Paper 🙂
The line for the Barge was huge, but it moves quickly. Rather than getting frustrated, we chose this time to air our tyres down. Six days on Fraser 4×4 beach driving experience
This was the first time anyone in the group had aired down and used their equipment of deflators and gauges. So I was busy as a rat up a drain pipe showing, supervising and keeping the line moving forward to the barge, but it worked. By the time we were ready to drive on, our team was ready for every thing that awaited ahead.
The Plan worked, as everyone ahead pulled over to air down, our group passed one and all as we trecked to the beach.
Now, I hear you, low pressures on the road is not ideal, however, we kept our speed down, cornered safely and slowly and drove to the conditions imposed of low tyre pressures, adapting our cornering speed. It was a great example of how a change in tyre pressure affects vehicle dynamics and all learned powerful lessons. The road we had to travel was less than 5km and our speed never exceeded 60kph, cornering speeds were down to 30- 40kph on the tight bends.
There are many differences with our tag along tours compared to our courses. On our courses, we deviate constantly, doing braking dynamics on gravel roads, cornering on gravel roads and we dissect our recovery kits, explaining what each component is for and how to use it.
When we first enter a beach, we get someone bogged, Not too bad, it is just an exercise after all, then we take turns at who and how we recover.
This trip, is about the adventure in a safe convoy. It gives people peace of mind, knowing a team leader is in the group, to keep people safe, no matter what happens.
We discuss tides, conditions, and planning at each step, so they have a tool kit for their next trips.
Cooloola Island – Six days 4×4 on Fraser
Well our plan was to have breakfast on Cooloola Island, as we trecked towards our destination on Fraser, but the weather was sensational, the crew was chilled and we all made the collective decision that due to time lost, we would enjoy a beer, the ambiance and continue on.
Plans Change………it makes the adventure.
We wanted to ensure the low tide at Rainbow bay, Driving from Noosa to Rainbow is always such an experience. The Rocks can be quite the trap for new players, however the sand gods were smiling on this trip and it was hard to believe where we were.
How Not to get bogged at Inskip…
Our goal now became an early lunch and extended time at Eli Creek.
Again we lost time at Rainbow bay. Some hungry now and wanted a bakery visit, some had to organise their barge transfers, some wanted more fishing equipment and bait.
Another 30 min down and we were away again, this time to Inskip.
Now despite it having its own FB page, I got bogged at Inskip, I have never even come close and seriously, what do you have to do to get bogged there.
- Forget to engage 4WD
- Forget to turn traction control off
- Forget to drop tyre pressures.
- Think you are better than all the precautions, get bogged to the chassis and then have to seek assistance from your own ego!!!
I think that is it. I am going to write a seperate blog on not getting bogged when 4x4ing on the beach. After watching shenignans for six days straight, it dawned on me that maybe a lot of issues are the new four wheel drives are too high tech and people are simply not taking time to understand how to (turn them off) when off the bitumen.
Remember I said none of our participants had ever driven on the beach before, for one party, it was their first 4WD trip, ever. And they never even came close to getting stuck.
The Story of P – Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
Normally at low tide the beach is like a highway. Not today. Locals were telling us over the week, that the beaches of Fraser have been horrific over the last month, soft and hard on the car to drive.
That was this trip, it was like high tide conditions, soft sand that just drags the vehicle back, but it was low tide.
As a benchmark, th drive from Eli to Orchid beach took 1/4 tank of fuel – 20 litres. The drive home on the final day, from Orchid beach to the Gold Coast, took 1/4 tank – 20 litres.
It was the beach at its most treacherous. Huge washouts you could not see, sand cliffs that could literally swallow a vehicle, it was the initiation of initiations for all these new Bootcamp warriors.
Seriously, all you could do in these conditions, is slow down. It takes horsepower and torque to push through, and that takes fuel, at $2.50 /ltr, that becomes expensive speed.
I will do a separate blog on these conditions and how to manage them. It is the primary reason that inexperienced drivers, crash and sometimes die on our beaches. It has everything to do with our low standard of driver training and licencing. It is worthy of its own blog.
As we pushed onto Eli Creek, passing all the sites along the way, it was still a magical experience, enthralling everyone with the Islands natural beauty.
How to lose yourself at ELI CREEK.
There is so much information on Eli Creek, this is not the forum for it. One of the worlds wonders, the Island acts as a natural aquifer and Eli Creek, the largest creek on the eastern beach of Fraser Island, pours up to four million litres of clear, fresh water into the ocean every hour.
It is a great way to spend a day, so with inflatables and trust me, there are many types that keep you laughing, we joined the people who walked up to float down.
Nothing is more grounding that literally stops time than doing this.
Whilst the crew were living Fraser life and experiencing Eli Creek, it was my job to start lunch, brunch or what ever we were going to call it.
A BBQ, on the back of the ute, and we cooked up a storm, potato chips, chicken wings and thighs, Beetroot chips and vegan sausages for the vegans. Now I am not going to say better than bunnings, but between that, and the few of us that went into the ocean for a bit of bodyboarding and wave surfing, it was epic. Not a slippery onion to slip on in sight.
We let the day float away, until the early hours of the afternoon, where the tide was again saying good day and heading out.
There was action on the other side of the creek, a group of young kids building ramps, engineers in the making. It reminds us on what being young is supposed to be, not a prisoner to technology, but open to imagination, fun, bit of risk, lots of adventure and memories that last a life time.
The Great Moheno Shipwreck.
From here, we headed to the Moheno ship wreck. As a bit of living history, Rob remembered being taken to Fraser as a young boy and walking the ship, being captivated in the engine room and exploring the belly of a war time ship.
As you can see, it is slowly returning to Davey Jones locker. The colours are amazing, especially with the right light and you can still make out where parts are or were.
Don’t walk on it, it is about as strong as a politicians promise.
From here, we travelled to Orchid Beach where we had a sensational accommodation booked.
Each night, open fire pit, bbq dinners of exquisite food and of course drinks and stories to celebrate the days adventures
It advertised a pool table, but it was about as warped as steady eddies sense of humor. For some tho, I thing it improved their game….
The place was a great base for the next four days of adventures.
Fishing was perfect at Waddy Point and only a quick 5 min drive. Literally.
The fish were safe with us fishing, no fish were harmed on this trip.
Another valuable lesson here. Download your maps as part of your pre-trip planning and preparation. It is such a simple thing, but we take data and connectivity for granted and that can get you unbelievably lost at the worst possible moment.
Your phone doesn’t work, your maps cannot connect. So how do you find where you are supposed to be
Google maps are great, Hema maps are awesome. Do some time and research before you head off.