The LCOOL ACT group had an 'after Christmas Trip' down to the coast (called the City to Surf) on the weekend of the 17- 19 February.
Several of us decided we could get to Captains Flat on friday night so the start wouldn't be as early. Camp was at the park in the centre of town, cooking facilities were in the local pub in the form of a counter meal. After a long wait for the meals we had our fill of both food and liquid and noticed a nice 120 series driving on past the pub and right on out of town! Milan quickly noticed his mistake and returned as the others were returning to the camp.
That night the local wildlife was a little out of control with lots of yelling and crying until about 2am which made for a few bleary eyes the next morning.
The Saturday team were lead down from the Queanbeyan meeting place by Pete R and arrived before time (thanks Pete). After a quick briefing (at which some of the wives didn't bother attending - trip leader's included!) we all saddled up and left for the easy drive down to the Badja Fire Trail. For those who went on the suspension weekend the scenery was very familiar as this was part of the on-road return trip.
The trip leader was the only member of the group who had travelled this track in the past and that was about 4 years ago, so it was a surprise trip for all. The track proved not too difficult but did have its moments. The scenery was spectacular as the trail follows the ridge line and goes through varying forest types.
We arrived at 'The Cascades' by 11:20 and proceded to have morning tea/lunch. After the eats and drinks were consumed, a 10 minute walk found us down at the waterfall and water slide, both big and little kids were entertained for some time. After everyone dried off and more people had lunch we left at 13:00.
Click Here for Photo's from the Cascades
It was at about this time the Sgt @ Arms noted his wife Jo was taking the job very seriously and handed this task over to her.
The trip down to Wadbilliga is a very scenic trip with some road driving down onto the 'Two River Plains' property with a through public road. This took the group through the very small Tuross river and into the Wadbilliga Nat. park. The drive down from Conway's Gap is very spectacular as it is the dropoff from the tablelands down to the coast, about a 600 meter drop. The road is not difficult but winds down the side of the mountain through a tree fern forest, with a sheer drop down the side and great views across to the mountains across the valley.
We stopped at the Wadbilliga river to look at the scenery and stretch the legs and when we continued on found that the trail from here had degraded quite a lot and made for some fun. The plan was to follow the trail and turn off to go to the Wandella trig but the forces of the Dept. of National Park's and time were against us. The fire trail we had planned to use, and still exists on the current maps, is no longer with us. This, the fact that time was fast running out we decided that the trig and Nerrigunda would have to be completed at another time. We took to the Princess Hwy and, after collecting ice for some eskies, arrived at the Blackfellow's Point Park at 16:30.
Camp was setup with several of us collecting firewood for the evening, time was spent swimming, relaxing and fishing.
We had decided on a camp cook-off for the evening meal and everyone prepared a good selection of food with plenty left over. Apple cobbler for desert topped it off. Jo (the new Sgt @ Arms - aka Nazi) then proceded to collect fines for the day's indiscresions - and there were a few! Milan and Kristina had gone off to do some fishing and returned with a nice Salmon and a bream.
Some then partied into the night culminating in Steve R deciding he needed to have a pet Kangaroo, he crept up on the poor critter and then launched himself at it, flying through the air with the greatest of ease! Fortunately the 'roo heard him coming and all Steve hit was the ground. It was no wonder he struggled to get up early for fishing.
Some early risers went down to get into the fishing with four fish caught, Steve G. caught a nice bream and tailor with Steve R. catching two nice tailor. Ivan, Craig and Tim all caught colds!
Click Here for Photo's from Blackfellows Point
The morning was leisurely with a departure time to be 11:00. The morning briefing was held before leaving (with Steve R admitting he didn't have the map for the trip home and had to borrow one), unfortunately Pete R had to head back to Canberra and handed back the Sgt @ Arms back to Jo (after paying the appropriate fines of course).
We left a little late (as the trip leader hadn't paid for the night's accomodation) and headed out onto the Princess Hwy. We were supposed to stop for fuel for a couple of the team members but the trip leader was occupied with a phone call and we didn't. A few KM out of town we turned off the highway and it was here that Steve R. told us he had to head back to Canberra to go and help fight a fire in Tumut. He gave the map back to Craig and left him holding the bunny!
We graciously let the two vehicles return to Bodalla to get fuel as Craig had to get up to speed on the track to be followed and add some waypoints into the GPS to make sure we didn't miss any tracks. Unfortunately the road we had originally planned to go down ended in a farm and while there were some tracks heading in the general direction we needed to go, it was decided to head up to another track further up the highway.
The Western Boundary road was followed for a nice easy dirt road trip up to the locality of Kiora. We then followed the Bitumen/dirt road beside the Deua River to the west of Moruya and onto the Araluen road. Craig missed the turn onto Knowles road and we had to backtrack for a km, looking at the size of the road on the map compared to the actual trail it is no wonder!
This trail was followed up to the top of the Wandera trig (582m) and we had lunch next to the broadcast station. I don't think any more antenna could be placed on the two towers! It was here that Ivan noticed the voltmeter monitoring his batteries was reading about 10V, extremely low. We broke out his voltmeter and it read the same. Measuring the second battery was even worse, 7V! It was then noticed that the reading would go up and down so the meter was checked on another vehicle but read the correct voltage. Craig then tried his meter to confirm what was seen and his voltmeter read the same measurements! It then clicked, we were standing under a broadcast station that obviously played havoc on the meters! (Ivan checked the voltage when we had moved on and the readings were normal) Goes to show how much RF must be in the air around these places!
We used the lunch break to air down as the road was quite rocky and followed Knowles road until the turn off onto the Gollarribee Mountain fire trail. It was decending a steep, rocky section of the track that Ivan had another problem, he put a rock through the side of a front tyre. Unfortunately the tyre is DOA and will need to be replaced. The first three vehicles had started the next decent and had to stop some of the way down to wait. After the tyre change we decided that time was running out - it was 15:30 by this stage (Ivan was a little mistified as why we were saying it was late, his clock read 14:15 - he forgot he had disconnected his battery during testing!). We descended back onto the Araluan road (about a 400m descent) and ended up about 10KM past were we turned off!
We headed up to a camping ground on the Deua river for airing up, debrief and another fine session. This session was mainly Milan and Kristina's session as they had skipped the one the night before and they ended up just giving in $20 - well done! Counting of these fines resulted in about $94 to be given to the Southcare Helicopter, well done everyone!
The trip home was lead by Doug & Sue with only two events occuring, a tree fell down after the first two vehicles had passed (lucky!) and the cranky local lady who thought we weren't good drivers and didn't want people to clean up after the tree had fallen!
It was a good, easy weekend and great to meet some more ACT LCOOL'ers.
Click Here for General Trip Photo's
Click on the image to download a Track File
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