Bendethera campers trapped

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 07, 2016 at 08:37
ThreadID: 131293 Views:3041 Replies:6 FollowUps:2
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Allans thread on the plane incident at Lake Eyre prompted me to add this thread about camping in the high country and like surrounds.

A similar incident happened, or nearly happened to us. We were down in the valley enjoying a perfect day. No clouds that could be seen and in the mid 20's. As it was a day trip we picked up the picnic stuff and headed out. Still no clouds. But as we reached the summit of the first climb out on Merricubene Fire Trail the clouds slowly closed in and the road was covered by one of those picturesque mountain mists. A short while later the thunder made itself known and we nearly jumped out of tour skins. That was quickly followed by some wild winds and heaps of hail.

First thought was "That was lucky we got up the hill". Then the realisation that the Dry Creek crossing may come up. Creeks have a habit of doing that with heavy rain and hail. But the problem was the way down to the crossing was mostly a quite steep clay covered track. It's not the best if wet let alone if it's saturated. We had brand new STT's on and decided to have a look as there was no other choice. Still hailing we got there. It felt okay with a walk and luckily was good under the car as well. Dry Creek had risen but well under our limits so home we went.

It just shows you how a perfect day can be so misleading when down in those great valleys in the Great Dividing Range. Not just Bendethera but other places as well.

Here is a newspaper report (one of many):Campers stranded in Deua National Park

And a bit of hail:Well looks like I will have to load it up again. This takes a while and so I will addit as soon as I can.

In the meantime, travel safe


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Reply By: vk1dx - Thursday, Jan 07, 2016 at 08:47

Thursday, Jan 07, 2016 at 08:47
Hail at Bendethera. I found it. It's a bit jumpy as just used a hand camera without stabilisation. But you will get the idea. Luckily it was small hail so no body damages.


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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Jan 07, 2016 at 12:24

Thursday, Jan 07, 2016 at 12:24
A later report.

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Reply By: vk1dx - Thursday, Jan 07, 2016 at 14:10

Thursday, Jan 07, 2016 at 14:10
I should have put a different name at the top. My points was to show how easy it is to be trapped in valleys in the high country.

Too late now.

So the count is 40 and an 8 month old child. I personally think that 8 months is a little young. But . . .


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Reply By: Member - KeithB - Thursday, Jan 07, 2016 at 18:44

Thursday, Jan 07, 2016 at 18:44
I had been planning to do down to Bendethra next Wednesday.
I wonder how long it will take for the tide to go out. Guess I'd better check with Moruya police the day before
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Reply By: Member - Gnomey - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 14:54

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 14:54
As it happens I have been up through the Deua National Park along the river road and it's a seriously nice bit of country. Stayed a few nights on the way through.

Call me a grump if you will but having taken in the terrain among the obvious things to me was not to hang around if heavy rain was forecast. It was a fair drop in from the road to the camp area I chose.

For sure conditions change rapidly but a bit of situational awareness can smooth out a few of the bumps. And it's not like that rain event appeared out nowhere. Cricket scores anyone?

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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 18:00

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 18:00
I was there for 3 days last week and didn't have a clue what was happening outside the valley because there's no service. It's an easy place to get stuck in if you aren't aware of how easy it is to get stuck in... :-)
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 17:58

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 17:58
Exactly, Michael.

If I was towing into Bendethera from Moruya (the only legal route for trailers) for a two week stay I would take supplies for a month. Water's no problem, just take food.

That steep clay track out needs to be DRY, IMO - well it does for my rig. So I will take enough to keep the two of us going for however long it takes the track to dry out.

One of the nicer places to get stuck in :-)


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Reply By: vk1dx - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 15:56

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 15:56
Not on the previous weeks forecasts. And we don't live on the internet so the latest warning didn't reach us. Besides there isn't any mobile etc down in the valley.

It does happen. And as regulars, we have seen it before. We did have plenty of rations on board so unlike the "campers" we would have been okay.

Bendethera is quite a deep valley with high hills on all sides except to the north. The steep hills and trees under which people tend to gather if it's hot, makes it harder to see any nearby clouds. And to top it off the larger sudden storms normally run in from the south and west where the hills are the highest. You just don't see them until there are almost overhead.

I do understand what you are saying.

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