Offroading Subarus

Where we modify and drive flat fours

June 2009 Victorian 4WD Trip – Lerderderg and Cobaw

“Queen’s Birthday Long-weekend 2009 – Lerderderg, Cobaw, Epsom 4wd weekend”

G’day all!

After a lot of running around, planning and anticipation, the long weekend was finally here. There were a group of subi nuts coming from different areas in South Australia for the weekend these members were:

– Phizinza and pero’s  blue MY sedan, no lift and a maroon hilux
– Acousticjase88 and mates in his lifted white L series
– Bboypebz in his unlifted red brumby.
Phiz rolled in Friday evening. We set up camp on the hill  I was still running around doing final checks on the forums…

Acoustic and co were meant to arrive at about midnight. At 3am I was meeting them at the end of my road in thick fog – they had apparently got bored on the drive over and decided to have some 4wd fun near Horsham in a roadside puddle to spice up the dull drive. The L didn’t make it and the boys spent quite some time digging the car out, resulting in their arrival time being so late!
The whole week before the trip the weather had been lightly drizzling – something we need again. There was a lot of water around and plenty of slippery conditions. I decided to camp on the lower hill to save turfing up the property. On the Friday night there was a wicked frost – first big one I’ve seen this year, it was bloody freezing! Here’s some pics of Acoustic and mates camped out and Phiz in his swag:

After getting ourselves sorted for the day trip we were off to Baccus Marsh a little later than I anticipated  – we arrived late, I might have made a few people nervous, sorry about that! The list of subaru’s and owners that arrived were: El Freddo in Ruby Scoo (’88 L series), Phiz in his MY, Acoustics in his lifted L, Bboypebz in his brumby (arrived from his trip over from SA that morning), TUF4BY in his indestructible red MY wagon, Subaruby in his beige lifted MY wagon, Venom in his maroon EJ’d L series, ScubyRoo in his grey bog standard Liberty with ‘roadies’, Pezimm in his quietly turbo’d black forester (also bog standard) and Phiz’s pero’s in their Maroon Hilux. Brrrummmbeee met up with us at the IGA to say g’day and wish us a great day out… He also had his 2 door WRX with him! Mint condition…

Back on track, I put my rear shaft in to lock the welded rear end for the 4wding ahead. Due to my lateness I dropped the quarry off the list of places to go, so we basically got straight into it – Blue Gum Track for about 200m then onto Holts Rd. There wasn’t as much water around as I would have liked – the small creek wasn’t flowing at the bottom of holts road. But it was still wet enough to be very slippery in sections. We stopped for the first play area at the bottom of Holts Rd and Nuggertty Tk:


The little steep play track was too slippery for me to get up, only a few of the subi’s had a go at this one:


Phiz and Subaruby got up, Here’s Phiz’s effort:


Onward and upward we went along Nuggertty Tk. It can get a little dull in areas as it meanders its way along the spur line. There are two good climbs near the top of the track. This challenged a few drivers when they didn’t have enough momentum or foot to the floor action (for the ‘mighty’ EA82). At the top of the track we met back up with Blue Gum Tk, cruised along here to Raggerty Tk and onto Fire Break Track no1:


This took us to the ford crossing. I got a good photo of Venom and Ruby Scoo:


This crossing was a good bit of fun, the climb up the other side was great too – it had changed a lot since I was here last with Subaruby and Brrrummmbeee. The track had developed a larger rut and around the near hair pin turn there was a little rock wall to negotiate that was on a rather steep incline! Here are some pics of the ford (creek crossing):

Phiz headed into the crossing:


Ruby Scoo getting wet:


Pezimm taking a side route:


At the top of the fire break track we started to encounter more motorbikes – they were a good crew, no nasty’s in there which was good to see. We had lunch here and a play in some holes. After this we headed out to O’Brien’s Crossing for a toilet stop and a look around. We got some good shots of the subi’s sitting around:


Then we were off again – this time headed out to the Wombat section of the forest. There was quite a bit of cruising on good quality dirt road to get there. Here’s the group re-gathering just before we hit a bit of blacktop:


I again changed our route plan to better suit a flowing movement from one track to another, because of this we did a k or two extra on the black top and did the ‘powerline track’ in the reverse order to what was planned. This track was very slippery and had water in the low lying areas this time around – it was expected with the amount of rain we’d had in the week prior. This is what it looked like:


A few stories go with this area’s activities. There were a few wet dizzy’s – a common theme for the day and the most used aid was the good ol’ WD40. This was where the real fun began:


The first real action went to ScubyRoo in his liberty. In this particular section there were two deep ruts, too deep for a standard height subi. There was a side track that was higher but was also right beside the two ruts. The trick to this section was to hold right hand down hard and to give it some right at the point where you needed to be steering right. The next part of the trick was to back off the throttle, start gently steering left but not too far and give it some again to get the rear to follow. Then you could carefully back off to maintain traction and not slide into one of the ruts. So ScubyRoo had a go with his bald roadies – he ended up in one of the ruts, got out with a bit of the lead foot and some steering wheel action then ended up sideways in the middle of the track. Before anyone could offer advice on the given situation, ScubyRoo had already grabbed reverse, put the rear end into a blackberry bush with no weight on the rear tyres – they were swinging in mid air above the lower of the two ruts. He then grabbed first, booted it, the lib swung the nose around then literally dragged its bum through the remainder of the ruts. Got that one on video too!

Next up was the foz (Pezimm) – at this point I was a bit nervous as a host. The foz was the newest subi in the convoy and the one I didn’t want to see sustain any damage! Pretty much the same thing happened to Pezimm, but a bit earlier – after a few attempts at getting the front to go where we wanted Pezimm succeeded and backed off the throttle which then caused the rear end to create a hand brake effect resulting in this:

After a bit of discussion and trying to push the rear of the foz around with a few of the boys, we decided the foz’s panels weren’t up to the force we needed to exert on them. So we got a snatch sorted – not the usual type of snatch I’ve seen. With the use of Bboypebz brumby, the next subi in line,  we got the strap connected to the foz’s towbar pin and to the front of the brumby. Bboy reversed his brumby while Pezimm kept his wheels spinning forward. The result was a skid steered subi! This trick worked really well and gave this mark:


After this hole the next one was all water. We did find a track around it that we were considering for the foz but after I had been through in a standard subi Pezimm gave it a go and came out on top. This hole was deep but had a firm base and the ridge between the two ruts wasn’t so great that we’d get stuck on our guts. I think I hit in two places, probably because the speed I used was a little excessive. At this point it was decided that we abandon the rest of the track – I’d done a walk to see the next hole and it was again all water but steeper in approach and departure angle. Pezimm said goodbye from here. I’m glad he came, and hope I didn’t scare him! That foz was really amazing in its abilities even though it was bog standard.  With a bit of work I can see why most L owners move up to the foz!

We continued along, my dizzy clearly had moisture in it – so I pulled over and sorted it out, I also grabbed this photo of the convoy moving through the forest behind Barry’s Reef:


We then dropped into Rat Gully where the camp site was that was in consideration until I found out how many vehicles were camping.  I made the right call to stay on the back hill at home as this area was way too small for all of us, it also allowed those camping last night to leave the bulk of our gear behind. Rat Gully with Subaruby negotiating a small gully along the track:


Behind the campsite is the river crossing , although it was wet the river wasn’t even close to flowing! It was still a bit of a challenging crossing – slippery rocks could put your subi somewhere you didn’t expect it to go very quickly!! This is the river crossing below, just after I took this image Venom hit something hard that created quite a noise – apparently he bent a rim, I hope someone’s got a photo of the rim:

I then worked my way over to some tracks that were a bit sketchy in my mind as to their location but we got there, did a loop on paradise track then took another option on the same track we’d just done. This proved to be a bit of fun. The type of geology around this area is the clay/loam soil type – very slippery and sticky when wet! I ended up in a rut, it wasn’t a small one either. I’d managed to slip into it but not get back out, even with some cradling. In the end we use a plank of wood (yes a plank, not a piece of tree) to help with some traction issues, this got me out in the end.


The little red MY got stuck in much the same way. We packed the rut with some wood, did some pushing, some reversing and some high revving action to get it out in the end – at least it was quicker than my effort!

Then with the next subi we worked out to keep high right, ignore the stump on the edge of the track to the right as it was natural to steer away from it when in actual fact you needed to keep the steering steady or turn in a little bit  the rise created by one of the roots made it easy to slide straight into the rut. Bboy got done by this two or three times but managed to reverse back far enough to get out of the rut and try again. The hilux pretty much waltzed up the wood we’d put in the rut…

At the top of this track I was still looking for another one that I was really keen to get the crew onto, but having no idea where it was I decided to head home – and work out how to get out of that area as we’d slipped off the edge of all the maps I had! We got back to the blacktop without a problem and got back to camp in the dark – something I need to work on!

Around the camp fire that night there was a lot of subi talk as expected! I would have been great to have everyone there but we had to say goodbye to Subaruby, Scubyroo, Venom at the start of the blacktop home and Pezimm earlier in the day as already mentioned. There was a lot of talk about people’s experiences during the day too. I slept well that night, it was little warmer than the night before but there was a little bit of drizzle trying to fall.

Sunday, this was camp in the morning You can usually see Mt Macedon with the Camel’s Hump in the background:


This day was really interesting for me – it was in ‘my backyard’ and it was the first day of 4wd’n where I didn’t see the blacktop at all! I started the day’s activities with a few hill climbs – the first one is longer than it appeared as it bends and disappears through the trees. The second one a few k’s east is longer and does the same, it’s also steeper in the beginning. This is a pic of us en route to the second climb:


I was pretty confident and went for it – usually I use a bit of momentum and try to hold it as I go up with the foot flat to the floor, at one point the rear starts to hunt, finds the traction it wants and we continue up. This time round it wasn’t so. The wet had changed the track conditions and my rear muddies seemed to become slicks as they held the mud. I couldn’t get enough momentum and also couldn’t keep out of a rut – the welded rear would slip me in everytime!

The little red MY with its welded rear end and the three boys in it did it first time! Bboypebz had a bit of trouble and managed to get his brumby in the same position as Pezimm had with is foz the day before:


With a bit of pushing and some reverse doughnut like action he completed a 180 degree turn on the steepest part of the climb! Acousitcs made it up with a bit of effort. The lux couldn’t do it either. Bboy had a few more stabs at it but without the desired result.  Here’s a pic of Phiz doing the climb:


I took the lux back the way we came to meet the crew up the top of the climb – Bboy caught us up at the same point after his last stab. He also got a flat somewhere near the bottom of the climb. He then managed one again as he re-grouped with us. We met some motorbikes for the first time here today, there was some good communication going on between the two crews.

Next up was the water hole that flooded Heath’s MY last year:


The lux went first, straight through the guts without a problem. I stuck to the right hand side which turned out to be a little boring for what I was after. Phiz, challenging the norm, went through the guts, floated, stalled then took in water before being pulled out. Here are some pics of what finally stopped his MY:


And this is the water taken on in his maiden voyage:

This is a good reason to mount your CB up high if you’re looking at mounting it on the console:


We had a good bit of fun in this hole, although it was a little short in time. I got this image, not rotated or edited on the computer:


I went back for seconds, this time using the left of the water hole with my right tyres in the left rut. Ruby Scoo got through ok, water up the bonnet and over the windscreen, she then stopped for a little bit before ‘powering’ out of it. Good times!  Here’s a pic of Ruby Scoo’s water over the bonnet action:


We then headed out to a track near camp track that linked onto another track that headed out to the old sand pit quarry/mine. We moved relatively quickly and as a result I do not have as many photos to show. On the track headed down to the quarry it is rather rocky with many small loose boulders that move easily. Everyone took it slow down this section as it is quite a technical track. The last bit drops off to an ‘S’ like shape as it passes over large boulders, still technical, this drops into a firm sandy gully with what looks like a short easy climb out – but its not, there’s a rut that is quite wide, it widens and narrows in places and is easy to get a subi on diagonal wheels with two spinning in the air. Acoustics had a bit of fun with it but managed to get through without a problem. On this part we had held up a few motorbikes – they didn’t mind and enjoyed the show. They were also surprised at the subi’s abilities.  Here’s Bboypebz negotiating the S bend with a bit of help to keep things on track:


Acoustics at the top of the S to slowly make his way down:


In the pit we had a play while others had lunch. It started to drizzle a bit, this made it quite slippery once the tracks had been driven a few times. After lunch the track to get us out has some huge ruts that would easily swallow a subi without a problem! There is a track that skirts the side for a bit before you can pick a line through the guts and over the ruts. I then got a flat – sand between the rim and bead…

We headed up to another track that I challenged Phiz to. Last time Heath could only get so far in his lifted MY and his mate Mick in an old landcruiser with a 350 Chev could only match his efforts. Phiz studied the track with us having a bit of a snigger as he did it.  Here’s Phiz headed up the track:


I video’d the event as Phiz climbed up the track with relative ease – there were two points where he had to adjust his line.  Once he made it to the top – with us just as surprised as he was, we went around and met him up the top then did a loop to get to the bottom of Stumpy’s track. I hadn’t done a reckie before the trip but knew these tracks pretty well. That was all good but motorbikes, other 4wds and the weather had changed the track at the base of a granite boulder that needed to be climbed quite a bit. I managed to get up with some effort, the red MY did the same. Bboy had a go but just couldn’t get the traction, ended up reversing for some run up space and ended up slipping into the scrub without being able to get out. So we busted out the turfer, a few snatch straps and winched him up the boulder. You’ll also see Bboy got a flat below:



The boys did a wheel change at the top of the rock on the brumby while it was still on the winch!

We had to do the same for Acoustics but only for him to get up the rock… We continued up without the hilux who decided to retire for the day – it was probably about 4pm at this stage. As we were close to camp I decided to take the group for more playing. We did some exploring of an area I had not been before – nothing seriously offroad, it was more bush cruising if you like. We did find a decent hill climb. I then got us back onto one of the main roads and headed for camp track. On camp track, Acoustics ‘scored’ this ding with a tree that was poking out from the track, I presume he was swinging the subi left for this to happen:


A little clearing on the track allowed for a bit of fun:


I took the crew back to camp via a few fire tracks, did some videoing and got this shot before we moved off again:


Back at camp we had dinner. Acousticjase and mates decided to head off back to Adelaide that night. TUF4BY decided to head home too, but they were a lot closer being from the other side of Melbourne. Acoustic made it home safe at 5:30am. I was glad to hear it.

For the Monday we were headed to Epsom, north of Bendigo. I discussed with Bboy, Phiz and pero’s that we’d had a load of fun and that I felt the Epsom trip would be a bit of a flop compared to the rest of it. So I took them on a bit of a tour (said goodbye to Bboy who headed home) that ended up at Epsom – it was probably a good thing as it was so slippery out at Ep that it was more frustrating that fun. Phiz still had a go at everything, got places I didn’t, then almost got stuck in a worse spot – no anchors for a winch:


Phiz and his MY at Epsom:


All in all an awesome trip! I got two flats – both due to sand between the tyre and the rim, and copped a rock or something to my inner CV on the rear shaft that I remove to open the rear diff. The damage here was a slipped CV boot. I haven’t cleaned it out yet but have temporarily fixed it with a cable tie.

A huge thanks goes to Mum and Dad who allowed us to use their property as our home base for the weekend.  I’d also like to thank everyone that came out for the day or the weekend, it was a top effort by all! I hope you all had a good time as I did, I have received many positive comments that are much appreciated. For the next big trip we were talking about something in Tassie. We’ll see where that goes. I am hoping to do another outting later this year, location TBA.

Hope you enjoyed the epic write up – and that it was worth the wait!







el_freddo – who has written posts on Offroading Subarus.

July 1st, 2009 by el_freddo
Posted in Trip Reports