4WD Days on Vacay
Summer in Australia is one of the best places to be in the world at this time of year. The beaches and barbeques are hot, the ocean and beers are refreshingly cool. For me it’s always been a tough decision on where to go to escape the holiday crowds without driving for days.
The past few years has seen me avoiding the likes of Margaret River due to the traffic congestion caused by slow holiday drivers and police breath testings. It doesn’t make for an enjoyable road trip. Now it’s all about travelling those extra two hours to find yourself on a beach with no one around.
Our target was the Bremer Bay region and the surrounding pristine beaches. With only 4 days up our sleeves we knew we’d barely scrape the surface of the amount of incredible locations and 4wd tracks needed to reach them. After many coffees we finally made it down there and onto some a maze of narrow dirt tracks. My plan was to keep out of the prevailing SE wind happening on this night and then find a better setup the next day. If you’re going to camp overnight on an unfamiliar beach then it’s always wise to look at two things; the moon and the local tide chart. If you can see that it’s a full moon and the tide chart says a high tide is still a few hours away then just be cautious of the swell and previous high tide line. If you can juggle these signs then you will always on the safe side and sleep easier knowing your car is not going to wash away while you sleep above it in the rooftop tent.
The greatest thing about arriving at a location after dark is the surprise you receive when you awake in the morning. I’d only seen this beach on Satellite maps; never did I expect it to look this awesome at sunrise.
We packed up the tent and cruised along the waters edge to a less windy locating and put the feet up to enjoy breakfast and a coffee. What a way to start the day!
We now had 3 days to play with including the drive back home. The 4wd tracks down around Bremer Bay are a mixture of sand and limestone. Whilst letting down your tyres it tends to be about finding the sweet spot that’s going to still drive well on boggy sand without loosing too much clearance on the rocky terrain. I had mine at about 20, which went well, however there were some very powdery dunes that had me out of the car dropping the psi down to 15.
Esa and I opted to keep exploring and not sit still on this journey.
I’d heard about some dunes being practically impassable to reach a secluded beach not too far from where we were so we decided to give it a crack and reach the other side of the cape as the wind was going to swing anyways. It was a 2 hour snails pace journey to reach this beach over powder dunes with knife-edge drop offs to razor sharp limestone pinnacles standing only 10inches high, which made trying to avoid them very difficult. If we had driven over the wrong one it would have been a certain puncture. My Coopers have taken me a lot of places but I know they may have met their match on this city block sized minefield. Needless to say we made it there ok and discovered we weren’t the only ones on the 5km stretch of beach due to a much easier route from town at the other end of the beach. If you have been down there, you know where I’m talking about. If you don’t then you have some fun exploring ahead of you.
We pulled up in the midday sun and set up some shade. Whenever the weather app says 25 down South, I know its always going to feel like 35. Esa made herself and drink and relaxed with Morrie whilst I mustered up the courage to paddle solo 250m out to a wave with no one else around besides fishermen trying to catch salmon. The water clarity is incredible along these stretches of coastline, which is not always the best for a surfer, sometimes you’d rather not know what’s swimming around under you. I surfed for an hour, came in for a drink and then took Esa into some small waves near the shore to learn. We even had my pup Morrison ride a wave, highlight of the day for sure!
Just before sunset everyone that was on the beach dispersed and left it for us to enjoy. There’s something so special about having a beach to yourself for an evening, just as many of you would know. We went to sleep knowing there was going to be some weather in the morning so we had most of the car packed up and ready for a quick exit. We awoke to be greeted by a very still, ominous looking sky and knew we could make breakfast, have a swim and get out of there. Sure enough, whilst finishing our coffee the rain came down and the wind picked up, it turned wild real quick!
We began our drive along the empty beach in the rain. About 1km up from where we camped and where I was surfing we smelt a pungent odour come through the windows, I got out an saw an old whale carcass laying on the beach…It would have been great to have a fisherman tell me about this before my solo surf! I drove away thinking what could have been.
With a desire to delay the inevitable drive back to the city, Esa and I really slowed down the misty 4wd track back to the sleepy town of Bremer. We pulled in for lunch at the ‘Old Telegraph Station’, which has some of the best burgers I’ve eaten, great coffee and a nice homely feel. From here, well it was a long drive back to the city mixed with heavy traffic and plenty of highway cops. What a great mix.
Thank you for reading; hope to see you out on the road!