Recent offroad trip in New Zealand

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 05, 2006 at 15:19
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We recently participated in a 4 day trip in New Zealand. Following is a copy of the trip report that we did for a club magazine. Our Nissan Terrano II perfromed well during the trip, as can be expected from a Nissan.

KKCK Run, Auckland, New Zealand January 2006

What is the KKCK run? KKCK stands for Kaukapakapa Kaipara Coast Kaper and it is a 4 day 4WD trip around the North Western parts of Auckland New Zealand. It is run by the Landrover Owners Club, Auckland and the Kaukapakapa School who are the joint beneficiaries of the proceeds. The run is held every 2 years and this year there were just over 100 vehicles and 400 people involved, either as entrants or organisers.

How do you cope with a convoy of over 100 vehicles on the same 4WD tracks in one day? - Easy. First you set the tracks as easy to medium grade but with interesting bits, throw in some amazing scenery and you have the answer. Next, the entrant’s are divided into groups of 3 to 6 vehicles and each group is given written instructions (or follow the arrows) so they know where to go. That group is responsible for themselves and have their own trip leader and tail end Charlie. They help each other and are not expected to help other groups but can do if needed. There is several minutes gap between groups at the start of the day. Each group decides where and when to stop for breaks.

Now the best part, the food, the parents of the school provide the food, heaps of it for breakfast, lunch and dinner – all prepaid but they do an amazing job cooking for large numbers in the bush. Accommodation is in BYO tents, or in our case, as we are very good friends of the organisers, we slept in their caravan. Each campsite had Port-a-loos, fresh water and rubbish disposal. The 2nd and 3rd nights, we also had cold showers, and the use of a swimming pool which the proceeds from previous runs had paid for the building of, at the Kaukapakapa School.

Our group consisted of 2 x Landies (110 and Disco) 3 x Nissans, our Terrano II, a Patrol and a Navara.

The trip started with a run over a farm with a few interesting ups and downs as is usual for New Zealand along with the usual spectacular views. We had friends from Brisbane with us and they were blown away by the views. On this farm were also the remains of a film set for the film Black Beauty and some sections of Shortland Street, a NZ soap opera.

Next was a drive down a stream to off roading in Pampas Grass, then across the largest sand dune you have ever seen, to a forest. In the forest there were typical wet clay tracks that were a bit of a challenge to our Brisbane driver who had never driven offroad in mud before. Most club vehicles in New Zealand have mud tyres because there is so much mud when off road, but we have a Nissan Terrano II with AT tyres so things were a bit more tricky.

The forest took us to a lookout with spectacular views over Bethells Beach, where Zena Princess Warrior was filmed some years earlier, and more recently, parts of Lord of the Rings were filmed there too. A short road section took us to our last farm of the day and our campsite for the night. It was amazing to see all the vehicles coming in to camp at night. You hardly see them all day, so it is quite shock to see them all gathered in “tent city” at the end of the day.

Next day we spent the morning in our favourite NZ forest, Woodhill Forest, where the tracks are mainly sand tracks. Our first “Landrover” incident happened when our group leader broke an engine mount in her 110 Landie. Score card for our group, Landies 1, Nissans 0. The afternoon was on Murawai Beach and we travelled 50km to the top of the beach. One of the sights on the way was a Subaru that had become bogged, then the tide had come in quite a few times to half bury the vehicle.

Then we had our second Landie incident, the Disco stopped about 10km from the beach exit on an incoming tide, not good. One of the trip organisers appeared in a Landie 110 with a “Stiff Bar” that he could push or pull a wounded vehicle with. He decided to push the Disco while our trip leaders 110 and another Rangie tried to tow the dead Disco off the steep beach exit, only to stop after 20m in very soft sand. A long winch eventually saw the dead Disco at the top of the hill and out of the incoming tides way..

But wait, there’s more! The next problem was how to get it down the hill on the other side with the soft sand without burying everyone to the sills. This took 2 Landover’s pulling and one pushing using the “stiff” bar. The Disco was then towed back to camp where it was eventually resuscitated with a new wire from the fuel pump solenoid to the fuel pump. Score card now Landie 2, Nissan 0.

After another excellent breakfast next day, it was off for day 3, the farm day. There are a heap of farms with some quite good tracks on them. They are in the main grass based and as it was dry, no real problem. Our Australian friends could not believe how steep the tracks were, and were very impressed with the magnificent scenery. The tracks are as steep as anything you come across in Australia, but do not look as steep because they are in the open in the paddocks.

Day 4 was supposed to be another farm day but overnight rain of up to 65mm fell on some of the farms. The organisers decided to only do one farm that day as we were to finish early anyway. But, how our driving style had to change after a bit of rain!

Previously firm slopes now became slippery as, and dry mud became mud holes. We negotiated half a dozen small mud holes to eventually come across a large one where many vehicles were being towed across.

I had forgotten how this should have been approached, as in Australia we do not have such mud, and our Landcruiser is a totally different vehicle to drive than our NZ Nissan.

At the end of the day, we got stuck not far from the exit to the mud hole, and after negotiating approx 50m of mud being supported by the front crossmember because the ruts were so deep, we had to be towed the final few feet – bugger!

Anyway we were not the first or last to be very stuck in the mud. Our problem was we were too low after raised vehicles with big tyres had created deep ruts that were too deep for us. Just after towing us out, our lead Landrover, the 110, stopped with steam pouring from its bonnet – a hole in the radiator hose. So it was now Landies 3, Nissans 0. The lady driver soon had the hose replaced in double quick time amid had comments from various male spectators about how could a girl do that so quickly – easy really, her father owns a trucking, earthmoving business and she works part time on the trucks, tractors and diggers.

Next was an optional mud hole that only a few heavily modified vehicles got through un-aided. As for the rest who attempted it, time for some snatching practise. The biggest fool of the day was the owner and editor of a certain 4WD magazine in New Zealand who got stuck before he even got to the mud hole and he provided heaps of entertainment for the spectators. Rumour has it, he was one of the few that had to have several attempts at getting off the beach a few days earlier.

Also of note were the antics of the organisers son, (very old Rangie) and brother, (very new latest model Rangie on mud tyres) who both attempted the mud hole and had to be snatched out. After that it was a few more mud holes, ups and downs to the end of the trip.

Thanks must go the Kaukapakapa School and parents of the school for the admin work and meals that had to be seen to believed. Also thanks to the Landover Owners Club of Auckland for the helpers and in particular, Graham and Louise Hilton for being the principle organisers, route planners, track makers, etc, etc. Without them, there would be no trip, and to all the Rangerover Owners Club members, We hope that the Hiltons will be visiting us soon in Brisbane and will be attending one of our club trips. Also a reminder that the KKCK run is a 2 yearly event and is open to everyone, including overseas people. The next run is due in 2008 so contact us if you need further details.


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Reply By: wheeleybin - Sunday, Mar 12, 2006 at 13:35

Sunday, Mar 12, 2006 at 13:35
Last Octoer I was on the 4wd Heritage Gold Trails tour run by Graham and Louise Hilton on the South Island of New Zealand and it was also run with Malcolm Langley of the New Zealand 4WD HF Radio Club.

All of the above people were wonderful hosts and competent persons and an education to be with.

They did at the time mention they were hoping to come to Aus and do a trip and I would love to contact them again if they do.
AnswerID: 160070

Follow Up By: stevesub - Sunday, Mar 12, 2006 at 20:13

Sunday, Mar 12, 2006 at 20:13
We will be having dinner with the Hiltons this week and will find out when they are coming back to OZ. They are good friends of ours and may end up using our Troopy to do some travelling around OZ later this year.

I will forward a copy of your post to them.

FollowupID: 414750

Reply By: wheeleybin - Sunday, Mar 12, 2006 at 21:18

Sunday, Mar 12, 2006 at 21:18
Thanks Steve they wont know who wheeley is but they should remember the Aussie that flew over to go on the tour as Navigator come nuisance in the Disco towing the stainless steel CAMPA.
Regards Wheeley
AnswerID: 160132

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