Luckily the rain had eased by day break. We awoke to find Dolphins playing in the bay. No rushing this morning, coffee, bacon and eggs. Have a look at the map, make a plan.
Leaving camp we headed back out, this time just taking our time exploring some of the side tracks, and while I had a rough plan for where we were going, we would just follow our noses and see where the day took us.
This is my kind of coastline, wild and rugged. Equal parts beauty and violence.
Back out through the locked gate and onto a new track, the scenery was now very green, even glimpses of the sun trying to come out.
Just a quick note about these sand flags: When we bought these for this trip we thought they were pretty steep at AU$120 each. When you open them up though the quality is really good, and boy do they take a beating. Arcing through nearly 180 degs in the rough stuff and being bashed countless times on overhanging trees, they are worth the coin. They also make it really easy to keep track of the truck ahead, even if you can’t see the vehicles you can normally see the flag. Like, ok he has cleared that rough section, I can go now.
Having been inland for a while now, we came to a junction. Where we were heading was right but I could see on the map that left was a short detour back out to the coast, I decided it was worth a look. Funny how these small decisions can totally change how the day turns out.
We reached the end of the track to find a steep and sandy track that wound up the dune, dropping our tyres down to 18 psi we tackled it one at a time. What’s on the other side?
Dunes. Lots of dunes!
Came for sand. Got sand.
Heading down to the beach, the other tracks went all the way down to the water, no doubt the sand was firm down there but as I said, near the sea makes me nervous. So I steered off to the left, aiming to head up into the other dunes we had seen. Whoa, this sand is soft! Where am I going? Dunno, I am going to park on that rock.
Ok, I am going to head up there. But first I am going to get stuck here.
MaxTrax out for a super easy recovery (note N nonchalantly reading her book), now just strap them on to the spare, we might be needing them again (it literally took longer the strap the Maxxies to the spare that it did to recover the LC, for sand those things are awesome).
Ok we are moving but it’s super hard going. I stop before getting stuck again, back it up a couple of metres to give myself a ‘launching’ ramp of compacted sand and let more air out. This is going to be the last trip for these poor old Goodyear Wranglers, I’ve already destroyed one, the Rangie was doing it easier on its fresh General Grabbers, the more aggressive tread and squarer profile providing a better platform to sit on top of the sand. I dropped my tyres to 12 psi and the Rangie went down to 15.
We go again. Yes, this is much better. The truck is making good progress now and we make it through the soft stuff and up the first dune. I stop near the top the check what the other side is like, all good we can get through from here.
Note the Emu tracks going up the dune in the above shot.
Time for adventure!
With some slight concern about the steep drop off to the side here I go through first. Round no problems we are into a maze of tracks in the dunes, it’s pretty soft though, so I just keep my boot in and make decisions on the fly. This leads us up this hill.
We stopped being on any mapped track some time ago.
Which pops us out on a cliff top, this is cool, we’ll just see where this goes.
Time for some lunch, not a bad lunch spot.
We can see the track meandering along the cliff. This track is not on any of my maps, but there is no signage to say it’s a no go, so time to explore.
Wow, what a fun track. Lots of elevation change, some big holes and some interesting angles, especially when the cliff edge is not that far away...
In the end it went nowhere, but a great little discovery. Back through the dunes and power up the long hill out and then back down the other side to the dirt.
So Long dunes. You were good.
Put some air back in the tyres and start heading back. That wasn’t where I was intending to spend the day, but that was definitely the sort of driving I was looking for. The other track would keep for another day.
Just a quick note about the P38. I can’t imagine these things are worth much anywhere in the world right now (too old for most people and too young to be considered ‘classic’), and could just be the off-road touring bargain of the moment. I’ve done a few trips with this one now and it’s essentially stock and goes everywhere my modified 105 goes.
I know Land Rover build quality blah blah blah. A lot of LR’s poor reputation is down to the fact that the trucks need a lot of maintenance and very few owners have the stomach for this. This one has never had an issue any time we have been away with it, and has been very reliable generally. Any proper 4x4 needs a lot of maintenance, axle, gears, transfers, swivel hubs, bearings, all that stuff will keep you busy if you use your truck properly, Toyota’s and Nissan’s will just tolerate a lack of maintenance for longer, it doesn’t mean they don’t need just as much TLC.
If you could find one of these from a retired doctor or dentist that has had all the right care and then just stay on top of it, you would have a supremely capable 4x4 tourer that gets you there and back in a good deal of comfort. No Troopy, Wrangler or Defender is going to do that.
Heading back I finally managed to catch some snaps of the many Emu’s we had seen. These prehistoric looking birds are native to Australia.
Back at camp it was time to shuck those oysters we had bought.
Of course I managed to shuck that knife straight into my hand, drinking and knives don’t mix. Who’da thought?
Early start the next morning. We had the big drive home to knock over.
Time for a few last stops on the way out.
With a 4x4 there is a lot to explore on the Eyre Peninsula, this was a great trip, and we will be back. Now it was time to head home, dry out our gear, kick back and watch a bit of All 4 Adventure and think about the next trip.
Of course for some of us it was all a bit much... Tuckered out.
Photo credits: Everyone!