Trip Leader: Terry Keesing
When: 26th December 2009 – 3rd January 2010
Location: Bremer Bay WA
Participants: Keith, George and Linda, Sue and Rick, Richard and Helen, Peter and Denise, Bob and Bridget . Visitors Brett and Jo and David and Tracy.
With just Keith in tow, the trip to Bremer Bay via Katanning and Borden took just over 5 hours. We arrived at Beaches Caravan Park just after 2:00pm with the Kingston’s, Irvine’s and Bickerdike’s already set up. The Belchers arrived solo about an hour later after having lost the Marmoy’s from their mini convoy in Wagin.
Most unfortunately, Piers and Wendy had to turn back home due to mechanical problems.
The Lehmann’s and McPherson’s were due to arrive in the following days, however, unfortunately the Lehmann’s also had to withdraw from the trip.
Sunday morning we set off to explore the beaches just east of Bremer Bay including Bremer Beach which we found a little challenging due to the soft sand. Peter’s Landcruiser was the first to bog down. After some digging and with the use of newly purchased MaxTrax he was up and running. After which nothing was going to slow him down until he reached James Cove at the other end of the beach. The Kingston’s ran into trouble in the same spot but were soon towed free by the Irvine’s. The tour continued over the very scratchy inland tracks around James Cove to the other side of the peninsula where we exited at the very scenic Peppermint Beach. Although relatively secluded the tracks were fairly busy with holiday makers heading to the numerous fishing spots in the area. We had lunch under the shade of the car awnings on Peppermint Beach before heading back to Bremer Bay via Doubtful Islands Road.
Information had been obtained from the local DEC Ranger that the Fitzgerald River Track was still closed due to ongoing maintenance work. So on Monday we decided to explore the beaches around Point Ann in the National Park. We drove to Gordon Inlet were we would commence beach driving along Trigelow Beach. We came across another vehicle heading in the same direction and upon coming across the soft sand dunes to access the Inlet, it was found that the couple in the Terrecan had little 4WD experience and had not intended venturing so far on their own into soft sand. Upon stopping to let our tyres down we had a chat to them and they (David and Tracy) were very interested in the fact that we were a 4WD club.
They were a bit hesitant in renegotiating the sand dunes to get out of the inlet, so we offered for them to tag-along for the drive to Point Ann. With their UHF set to our channel they were soon falling into the routine radio chatter. The tide was out and the washed sand proved easy enough to drive on. David said he had not had so much fun in a long time. David and Tracy Joined us for lunch at Point Anne and also for a drive along Point Charles Bay.
Upon return to camp we set up happy hour where David and Tracy, having had so much fun, signed visitor forms with the intention of joining the club.
We had been joined by the McPherson’s Monday afternoon. And since they had missed out on the Trigelow Beach trip they decided to take it on solo on Tuesday while the rest of us headed to the beach for a relaxing day swimming. At 10:00am we all gathered and headed for Blossoms Beach which is a wide expanse of white sand and shallow surf sheltered by Point Henry in Dillon Bay. Being the main town beach, Blossoms Beach was quite busy, but there was plenty of room for everyone. Access to the beach is on a limestone track and the beach itself is very firm so there is no need to reduce tyre pressures. After lunch we all headed back at various times to the camp site.
Another pleasant evening was spent sitting around the camp chatting about the days activities. Beaches Caravan Park has proven to be a very pleasant place to stay. With good spaces between grassed and shady camp sites, there is not the feeling of being closed in like some other camp grounds during peak season. George and Linda’s daughter Jo, husband Brett and two young children arrived and also joined our group.
So come Wednesday we had 8 vehicles in our convoy to explore the beaches west of Bremer Bay. We turned off Bremer Bay Road onto Dillon Bay Road. At the end of Dillon Bay Road there is a small settlement of holiday shacks and farms. The road then turns into sand tracks. After letting our tyre pressures down we began navigating the numerous tracks using Oziexplorer to find our way to the first destination Stream Beach. There was a long steep and windy track down onto the beach which was a lovely secluded stretch of white sand sheltered in a bay. There was lone couple camped in the bush growth next to the beach who’s peaceful serenity was disturbed for a short while by our 8 vehicle convoy.
After a short stop for mornos, we then left Stream Beach and headed for Fosters Beach on the other side of Cape Knob. On the top of Cape Knob is a large expanse of sand dunes, which had since moved and covered the tracks to Fosters Beach. Martin decided to bite the bullet and climb onto the sand dune. Getting onto the dunes was fairly tricky with the sand being fairly soft and steep edges to the face of the dune. Peter’s Landcruiser had a little trouble getting onto the top, but a bit of shovel work to dig the tyres free and a helpful push by hand had him up and running again. It was then a matter of negotiating the dunes and avoiding the steep dips. The wind caused visibility problems covering the top of dunes with a haze of blowing sands.
Using Oziexplorer, to follow where the tracks should have been, made things a little less stressful.
After several minutes of hair raising dune driving, we eventually found the track re-appearing on the other side of the dunes. A small rock outcrop caused Martin a moment’s hesitation as the car became positioned at an uncomfortable angle. But with a bit of wheel guidance from Richard and Keith, Martin was soon descending the steep hillside onto Fosters Beach. Lunch was had on the Beach before we trekked to the other side of the bay where we found another exit track. This was just as steep and had twists and bends. One section was very soft with a couple of boulders thrown in to make it more of a challenge. Bob had to let some additional pressure out of his tyres to get up the hill. The return track was very picturesque with one area being populated by paper bark trees.
Wednesday evening we enjoyed a communal dinner. We took over the camp kitchen facilities for our social gathering. This was well timed because that evening was raining. Dinner was finished off with a game of Pass The Pigs.
Thursday (New Years Eve) was a free day for everyone to do their own thing before heading to Wellstead Museum Restaurant for Dinner. Our group of 13 adults and 1 child allowed the restaurant to open after hours for dinner. We had exclusive use of the Restaurant with the Wellstead’s themselves having dinner along us. An excellent meal and evening was had by all. By the time we returned to camp we had just a few hours to kill before midnight when the new year was brought in with hugs and kisses.
Friday was planned with a late morning departure for a casual drive to the blow holes on Point Hood followed by a relaxing stop at a nearby beach. After a very scratchy drive through the hills to and from the blow holes we eventually arrived at Doubtful Island Bay Beach which had wonderfully calm and crystal clear waters. We spent a few hours relaxing and swimming before heading back to camp.
Saturday morning the Irvine’s headed back home while the remaining 6 vehicles again headed west to explore the coast up to the Palinup River mouth called Beaufort Inlet.
Our first destination was a track (Warramurrup Road) leading to Reef Beach. The track rose over Warramurrup Hill which provided spectacular panoramic views back towards Bremer Bay. Once over the hill the coast became visible and soon we were descending tricky sand and rock embedded track onto Reef Beach. Reef Beach was a wide brilliant white expanse of sand with dunes undulating along its length. It got its name from the reef that barrier the coast from Southern Ocean providing the occasional spectacular wave splashes.
We exited Reef Beach at the opposite end of the bay by negotiating a steep sand stone hill onto Reef Beach Road back to Bremer Bay Road. Several Kilometers further on we found the unmarked entrance to Pallinup Estuary Road which was just a single track running alongside a farm property. The track eventually meandered into conservation land where it became sandy and closed in. We came across a vehicle coming towards us in the opposite direction. Under normal circumstances it would be proper etiquette for the vehicle to give way to the convoy. However in this case it was a Nissan Xtrail which would have problems driving into the scrub off the track. So we decided to find ways ourselves of getting off the track to allow it to pass. We discovered that the Xtrail had got bogged earlier and a couple in a Landcruiser had offered to escort them to ensure they got out without further trouble. Once again the track found its way to the coast side of the hills to reveal picturesque views of the Beaufort Inlet.
Lunch was had on the shore of the Beaufort Inlet where young Locky tried unsuccessfully at fishing. After a restful break we headed back to Bremer Bay via Boat Harbour Road which runs on the west side of the Pallinup River to the South Coast Highway.
Although a lot less challenging than the track in, the road takes quite a long detour back to camp. The day ran a total of 175km round trip.
Saturday evening we reserved a table at the Beaches Caravan Park Pizza Cafe called Mitsy’s where we over indulged in good hearty Pizzas.
Sunday was unfortunately pack-up and return home day.