Sydney 4WD tracks

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 12:11
ThreadID: 3955 Views:35651 Replies:8 FollowUps:20
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Can anyone advise me of some (even one) 4WD tracks in Sydney (or within 90 mins of the Nth Sydney area)? I've not been "treking" in or around Sydney for many years so don't know what is still available.

I have an inexperienced 4WD-owning friend that wants to start doing some touring (tag along with us). He has owned a Prado for some time but, typically, never had it off-road. His wife is a little reluctant to accompany him (or even let him have the Prado - her car), given his inexperience. I want to take him somewhere (close by - we'd like to keep it to a day trip) to experience some easy-ish 4wd'ing, principally to convince him he should attend a training course to develop his skils, confidence, and the confidence of his wife.

I have a fair bit of experience at a moderate level of difficulty (nothing extreme) but have a brand-spanking new Pathfinder, that I don't want to damage, just yet. So, I'm looking for a track that requires some low-range work but nothing too challenging.

Thanks

Be good, or be quick.
Rohan
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Reply By: Savvas - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 13:32

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 13:32
Some easy stuff at the Meryla State Forest and Morton National Park near Moss Vale. Mainly wide fire trails. Get yourself the Bundanoon 1:25000 topo map.

A good little excursion is to come in on Meryla Road. Take in Patons Fire Trail. The camping area here makes for a good picnic. Back track to Meryla Road, continue on Wombat Hill Lookout trail until the end. There is a bit of a sandstone step which you can use low range, but it's not difficult.

Back track again and this time find Meryla Fire Trail. Take this up to Gunrock Creek Fire Trail, hang a right and stay on this trail until RedHills Road. If you've had enough, it's left to civilisation, otherwise right and about 100m down the road you will find Redhill Fire Trail. Turn left into this trail and take it all the way to Fitzroy Falls. A word of warning, Redhills fire trails does get narrow towards the Fitzroy Falls end and you may get some scratches.

This where we first scratched my mate's 6 week old Jackaroo Equipe. He was overjoyed!!! I mean it! He saw it as an initiation. It was also his first 4WD trip.

Have a break at Fitzroy Falls, then do it all again backwards or take the black top back home.

Like all trips though, check with Fitzroy Falls National Parks office first for track conditions and closures.
AnswerID: 15675

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 20:06

Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 20:06
Savvas, have you done the northern "arms" of the Gunrock Falls Fire Trail as it leaves Meryl Road (on the left) just after crossing Gunrock Creek? Be good, or be quick.
Rohan
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Follow Up By: Savvas - Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 07:14

Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 07:14
No I haven't done that part. Before we visited, I called the NPWS and they told us to avoid it as it was "difficult, steep, rocky and unsafe". As it was John's first time, we stayed away. However, the contour lines on the topo map don't bear out the "steep" bit.

I later got the feeling she may have been talking about the Gunrock Falls Fire Trail which on the map, seems to get steep just after the creek crossing.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 08:43

Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 08:43
OK, thanks. I'll check it out while I'm down there. The other bit that looks interesting on the map is the un-named left (east) fork of the Wombat trail that heads over the ridge and down toward the river.Be good, or be quick.
Rohan
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Follow Up By: Savvas - Sunday, Mar 23, 2003 at 21:50

Sunday, Mar 23, 2003 at 21:50
That one's barricaded and has unsafe signs all over it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 09:09

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 09:09
Bummer Hal.
Be good, or be quick.
Rohan
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Reply By: Savvas - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 13:34

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 13:34
PS...Get your hands on Boiling Billy's "4WD Treks Close to Sydney". Great guide to the area. I think you can buy it off Exploroz's shop.
AnswerID: 15676

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 15:51

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 15:51
Thanks Savvas. I have the book (yes, purchased here) and did the trek through St Albans to Wollemi (360 km round trip from my place) 2 weekends ago. It was a nice drive and provided some magnificent scenery, but required nothing more than high range 2WD. I'm looking for something a little shorter and more difficult. Even a short track we could do a few times. The idea is for these folk to experience a 4WD in action, to see its potential (for danger too) and hopefully realise/recognise that being trained properly would be beneficial, and fun. The TLCC used to use a track up near Colo for training but I don't know if it is a public access track (actually, I don't even remember exactly where it is). I come across the odd reference to Menai, as though it were some kind of well known Sydney 4WD mecca, but have no idea what/where they are talking about. When I lived there it was almost all bushland and the houses were few and far between (literally miles apart on our street). The last time I drove there though, it appeared to be the other way around.
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Follow Up By: Savvas - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 17:00

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 17:00
There is a reserve at Menai of Heathcote Road that is no controlled by an Aboriginal group. They do allow access only to 4WD club members. That may be a bit hardcore for your purposes though. There are supposed to be some trails out around Camden and Bargo but I have no idea where they are.

The Meryla trip I mentioned earlier will give you what you are after but you have to search a little for the scenery. It's not a difficult trip but can illustrate the pitfalls. You will require 4H on the fire trails themselves and possibly 4L at one stage on the Wombat hill trail. Though it may be a bit far for what you're describing. It's a challenging run for beginners nonetheless.

Another one that I haven't tried but apparently has 4wd trails is Parr State Conservation Area. This is near Colo, so it might be the one you're thinking of. Check the NPWS site.

How about sand driving? Have you considered Boat Harbour near Kurnell? $15 per vehicle for an all day pass. Just watch out for the moron element that have no consideration for safety.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 17:29

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 17:29
Thanks Savvas. We had thought about Stockton for the sand driving, but apparently its tough going right now with such dry (soft) sand. I hadn't considered Kernell. I wonder if it is also too soft at the moment. Have you been lately?

The Meryla trip could be a goer. Moss vale is only about 2 hours from home. Might even do an overnight stay. Any good overnight camping spots you can recomend?

Be good, or be quick.
Rohan
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Reply By: BM - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 18:08

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 18:08
Rohan,

You should try the Old Settlers Rd trek that is in the 4WD Treks book. This will give you a good mix and is not that far from Sydney, we live on the Nth Beaches and head up that way every now and again. Watch out for the water crossing on Wollombi Brook other than it is a great day out.

Cheers

BM
AnswerID: 15704

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 19:39

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 19:39
Thanks BM. We had intended (didn't happen) to do the Old Settlers Road last weekend - it is just north of the Yengo trek we did 2 weekends ago and we are keen to see more of the area. . The book by Craig and Cathy Savage, "4WD Treks Close to Sydney", has the Old Settlers Road trek in it and the various maps we have indicate an interesting trip. Its a little further out than desired for this purpose but if we head straight to Wollemi on the black-top, it isn't too bad.

The book indicates this "trek" is of medium difficulty compared to the easy rating given to the Yengo trek (which was 2WD only). How would you describe/rate Old Settlers Road? Also, other than Finchley (which we passed last time), are there any reasonably secluded camp sites nearby? The book says there are none on the trek itself, but this could have changed since publication. Whilst the book also indicates this trek is not for camper trailers, The accomodation of 4 adults and 5 kids necessitates its use. What are your thoughts on taking it?

Thanks for the help. Be good, or be quick.
Rohan
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FollowupID: 9565

Follow Up By: BM - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 21:35

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 21:35
Rohan,

The biggest potentail problem is the water crossing, I have a Patrol and water came up over the bonnet, however, this was mostly my fault and if you take it slow it shouldn't be too much of a problem, presuming the water level is not too high. As for the rest of the track, there are some steep sections that require low range, this includes the exit from the water crossing. Most of the trail is relatively smooth including the steeper sections. There are some rollercoaster sections that may challenge breakover angles. If it were me I would not take a camer trailer. We did not see any suitable camping areas, there were some relatively clear rocky areas close to the Putty Rd end of the trek. Trail mostly runs along a ridge giving some fantastic views, but not that many suitable areas for stopping. I have some photos posted from the trek at http://homepage.mac.com/bmalone/PhotoAlbum7.html
Cheers,
Brendan
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Reply By: Member - Simon - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 20:12

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 20:12
Hi Rohan,

There are some tracks around Bargo as Savvas mentioned which may suit your purpose. Bargo State Recreation Area will allow your friend to engage low range over some rocky terrain, and pass through a couple small streams without having to worry about major damage to your cars. I live nearby and it is the track I first started on after purchasing my Hilux last year. I found it challenging as a beginner but far from overwhelming. There are numerous other fire trails around the surrounding area which offer easier drives as well.

Regards,

Simon.

98 Hilux 3.0D
AnswerID: 15716

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 08:50

Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 08:50
Thanks Simon. It sounds like Bargo could be the ideal spot for what we want. Any recommended camping spots?Be good, or be quick.
Rohan
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Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 20:31

Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 20:31
Simon, I visited the map shop today and had a look at the Bargo 1:25,000 map but couldn't see much in the way of 4WD tracks. There are a few short tracks indicated which didn't have names, only numbers, e.g Fire Trail 2043.

Did you have a particular track or tracks in mind? Or, can you provide a "starting" point I could work from.

Thanks

Be good, or be quick.
Rohan
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Follow Up By: Member - Simon - Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 11:35

Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 11:35
Hi Rohan,

If you start at the roundabout across from the pub at Thirlemere, head along Barbour Rd, past the Steam Train Museum, after 9km you will see the sign for Bargo State Recreation Area on your right, go in and enjoy. There are other entrances but these are usually kept locked. Ring NPWS before coming down to check on any track closures.

There are other short tracks around the nearby area which may also be worth exploring.

I am not aware of any camp sites nearby.

Regards,

Simon.

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Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 14:57

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 14:57
Thanks Simon. I picked up the (1:25,000) Bargo and Hill Top topo maps today and found the tracks you describe. There are actually quite a few in there - some interesting looking longer tracks that lead through areas marked as "rocky ground". None of these tracks seem to have gates.

I'll take notes of what I find, in case anyone else is interested in what's in the area.Be good, or be quick.
Rohan
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Reply By: Truckster - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 23:03

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 23:03
bleep urnell... LOL.

Its not worth $1 to go out there.. I lived in Kurnell for 33 yrs, and now you can only get straight out to the beach basically! Fenced off everywhere... Theres a bit you can do to the right as you get to the end of the hard dirt, but nothing worth spendin money on thats for sure!

No need for 4wd at all, let alone letting your tires down.

I went back in Oct for the first time in 2 yrs, and was in shock at the place.. Sand hills? they are 100ft under ground mining now! Water holes in the areas your not allowed into!
AnswerID: 15745

Follow Up By: plexus - Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 01:07

Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 01:07
I agree with the Truckster there. Forget Kurnell's "Boat Harbour". It's not worth spending the $15 for the day, there are too many morons playing "weekend warrior" and the "dunes" are so high, they wouldn't give an ant nose bleed. Do yourself a favour and travel the 3 hours up to Stockton.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 08:49

Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 08:49
Thanks guys. It sounds disappointing. I haven't been there for many years (as part of a TLCC clean up team). Back then it was all open to the public and had some great driving. So much for "progress", eh?Be good, or be quick.
Rohan
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Follow Up By: Truckster - Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 09:56

Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 09:56
Rohan.
In that case, goto the bloke on the gate, and say you used to live in Kurnell for 25years, and only want to see what its like out there now compared to then.. It will shock you of the vandalism allowed to happen to that place.

I did that he let me go out there for 1 hour without paying, basically I think it was 20mins and I was back out the gate, that included going down to Wanda Beach!
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Follow Up By: Savvas - Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 10:36

Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 10:36
Yeah...I'd have to agree. I've only taken my car there once and it was only for a couple of hours, and one other time in a mate's car.

Boat Harbour is not a great day out, but it's not a bad intro to sand if that's all your after.

The sand is generally firmer than Stockton. We were able to get about on it with 20psi in the tyres, though 18 would have been better. You can still get bogged if you get it wrong.
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Follow Up By: sajh - Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 00:47

Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 00:47
I work in this area and I have driven a falcon sedan out to the shacks at the beach. Not even worth the drive out to the front gate. If you want sand, take the time and go to Stockton.
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Reply By: Beddo - Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 21:55

Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 21:55
Old Settlers Rd - it is not difficult - creek crossing makes it more difficult than Finchley Track but that's it. The standard round trip fro the area goes from Bucketty (George Downs Drive) and turn onto Mt Simpson track then to the Boree track (turn left to see Burragurra / Devils Rock) or right to head for Finchley camping area and lookout. Continue along Yango track to the west from Finchley lookout and pass the Big Yango turnoff and continue to the Putty Rd. Head north 2 Km and then you can turn right onto Old Settlers Rd and thru to Paynes Crossing / Wollombi.
If coming from Wollombi head north towards Broke and once at Paynes Crossing go another couple of KM to a white fence on left with the name GUNNERDOO on it (sign also says no shooting no nothing or so). Water crossing right near the fence (best to do from this end).

PS. there is als a new area called Big Yango along the Yango track between Finchley & Putty Rd - permit required from NPWS but great spot.

Camping in Yengo NP is at Finchley or Mogo Ck - Big Yango also has camping & homestead accommodation, Cheers Beddo
AnswerID: 15820

Reply By: Froilan - Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 16:16

Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 16:16
Rohan

A bit farther but have you tried the Kanangra Walls trip. Did this some time back now in a Patrol GQ. Some moderately steep tracks and apparently a couple of creek crossings as well. Was not able to cross the creek back then as the water level was quite high and I did not have a snorkel. You can make a weekend of it based starting from the Jenolan Caves area. Will definitely require low range 4wd

Looking forward to do the trip soon in my slightly raised Pajero NM. That is if my two young kids allow me. Also in the 4wd treks close to Sydney
AnswerID: 15859

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 09:09

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 09:09
Thanks Froilan. We do intend to do Kanangra Walls but my wife wants to make a longer trip of it - spend 3 - 4 days coming in from Nowra, through Yerranderie, etc. Its another of the treks in the "4WD Treks close to Sydney" book. I was thinking we could add a few more days and extend it right through to Hill End.Be good, or be quick.
Rohan
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FollowupID: 9749

Reply By: Truckster - Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 09:45

Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 09:45
Rohan,

have a look here Nissan Treks
these are Ron Moons Treks out of 4x4 Aust magazine..
there are around 28 of them all up. With GPS points, and lots more info.

They seem to be fairly simple but interesting treks.

Nowra, Magic place, spend years racing bikes out the back of Albatross at the Yerriyong track..
AnswerID: 16039

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