Tag Archives: sand

Day 7 – I have Subaru and I’m not afraid to use it…


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After booking accommodation for the Stirling Range Retreat and at Albany, we set off for a brief drive around Esperance city centre, via breakfast, supermarket and a camera shop (polarizer for one Stephen’s lens).

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This exploring first lead us up Wireless Hill to the Rotary lookout viewing platform shaped like the Rotary symbol (a cog?). The view was not too bad but the port area and some of the town was partly obscured by a neighbouring hill.

IMG_0148Looking out over Twilight Beach

We took the scenic Great Ocean Drive (Twilight Beach Road) around the costal area, taking in the beautiful white sand beaches and multiple shades of blue waters. Stunning.

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This drive also lead us past the towns wind turbines and past Pink Lake which was not particularly pink. (I believe it only appears that way when it has water in it)

We drove along the South Coast Highway for about 100km before detouring south towards the coast and national parks again. (and once again stopping to drop the tyre pressure)

After popping in and out of a few coastal roads and tracks, we finally found the Munglinup Beach Road down to Munglinup beach. Not that much to see there so we moved on. On the way back to the main road, I decided to take a side track which looped back around to the main road and it’s here where we came a little unstuck.

The track became sandy which is not a big problem for the Outback as it has a low range gearbox. Where it does become a problem is when the sand tracks get deep. The car starts to bottom out and eventually just won’t move.
We got about 200 meters into the track and saw the tracks and felt the car becoming sluggish. I stopped and started reversing back up the track to a section with a harder surface I knew I could turn around in but just didn’t make it. I first thought I’d just lost traction so I dug the wheels clear but the car still would budge. I then realised the car had bottomed out and well enough that the front left suspension was drooping like it wasn’t taking much weight. A look under the car confirmed it firmly sitting on the sand.

Still digging away the sand

After about 30 minutes of digging, Stephen set off (with his UHF radio in hand) back to the Munglinup Beach camping ground where we knew a few people with 4WDs to be. I continued digging.
I jacked the front of the vehicle up and got some timber under the front left wheel and started digging sand front under the vehicle. I’m sure I could have cleared it out in a few hours.

Stephen and the friendly camper arrived shortly thereafter and we used a snatch strap to pull the car free. I’ve previously though of buying a hand winch and I think this now justifies the need. Although there were no trees to winch off, I believe you can use a winch pegged in the the ground or with a dead weight such as a buried spare wheel. Long handled shovel would also be better that the short one I currently have along with a set of sand tracks.

Finally free, I consumed almost a litre of water and we headed on to Hopetoun for lunch. Our plans to head west through Fitzgerald National Park and back to the main road were dashed by the closure of that road for works.

After what seemed like endless straight roads, we’re now at the Stirling Range Holiday Retreat park for the night.

Day 3 & 4


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Day three from Cowell to Port Lincoln was a much more interesting drive than the previous day.

After checking out the town we back tracked around to look at Lucky Bay. Seeing a sign mentioning a lookout and tourist drive, we decided to check it out. It did also say 4WD recommended. The Subaru Outback is pretty comfortable off the road as it has a second low range gearbox. Where I get a little nervous is on tracks with deep ruts as it doesn’t have the height clearance that a big 4WD does. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been on some pretty rough tracks including sand but that is with a bunch of other vehicles to help you if you get stuck.

We got so far on this sandy track and then decided to turn around.
You can hear the sand brushing the underside of the car. When you see the car almost stop in the sand track, that’s when I slowed to engage the low range gearbox.

After that excitement, we headed back through Cowell and down the coastal road overlooking Franklin Harbour and past Port Gibbon checking out the beautiful coast.

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We headed back to the main road and made the dash down to Port Lincoln, stopping via Arno Bay, Tumby Bay and Point Boston.

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The Tim Burton like fisherman in Arno Bay.

After a casual lunch on the Port Lincoln foreshore, we found our motel, the Hilton, and checked in.

As we were doing very well for time, we headed down to Port Lincoln National Park. We travelled down to the far end of the park and found a rather modern precast concrete lighthouse and on the way back snuck off on a few little tracks.
I’m surprised to see that the SA parks rely on an honour system for payment of park entry fees.

Fishermans Point Port Lincoln National Park
Fishermans Point – Port Lincoln National Park

Heading north from the park, we reached the far end of the road at Whalers Way. This is supposed to be a very scenic drive but we didn’t realise you need to pay ($20) and fetch a key from the Port Lincoln visitors centre in advanced. Next time.

Winter Hill Port Lincoln
Winter Hill, looking down across Port Lincoln.


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Day 4 commenced with a stop for supplies then onwards out out of town up to Coffin Bay and Coffin Bay  National Park.
This National Park park was nice but it was a really overcast morning which didn’t make for particularly good photos. The road in the park was probably my favourite so far, being fairly wavy and curvy. I may have got a little excited and Stephen may have started getting a little car sick.

Back on the Flinders Highway, we headed up towards Elliston stopping at the Leo Cummings Monument lookout and Locks Well along the way.

IMG_9731 From the lookout.

Lake Hamilton
Facing the other way, a view across  Lake Hamilton.

Locks Well. Would have made a spectacular lunch spot if it were a little sunnier.

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In Elliston, it was Steak and Pepper pies for lunch and then back on the road up to Streaky Bay, via a few coastal caves.
At Streaky Bay, we detoured out to the Cape Bauer scenic circuit. This is definitely worth take the drive on with some fantastic coastline and side trails for those happy to go off the road. I could have kept exploring the trails for another hour but we needed to press on to Ceduna before dark.

The road up to Ceduna was starting to get to me. Way too straight, just begging me to put the foot down and get it over with. We went straight through Ceduna and took the easy option of a cabin at Penong rather that tenting it.

Dinner at the local hotel (huge slab of beef schnitzel).