Private bush camping south of Perth

Imagine pulling into a beautiful property only 3 hours from Perth knowing it backs onto the Blackwood River, has toilets and showers, plenty of firewood and no one else to disturb your peace and quiet for the duration of your stay. Sound like paradise?

Over the WA day long weekend, we left Perth on Friday at about 4:30PM, bound for just that. We didn’t have much of a plan, except to get away from the big smoke with some mates.

Enjoying the Blackwood

The Blackwood River, all to ourselves

Loving the fire down south

Plenty of great camp fires

A few 4WDs with us

Driving across the paddock

Where is this place, and how do I get there?

This stunning location is known as Wedge Tailed Eagle Retreat, and is located not far out of Boyup Brook. It’s 3 hours south east of Perth, down Albany Highway, and located on Boyup Brook Road. From the southern suburbs, its only about 2 and a half hours; easily within reach on your Friday afternoons!

Feeding the sheep lentils

Feeding the sheep one morning

Sheep at Wedge Tailed Eagle Retreat

Some very friendly sheep

About Wedge Tailed Eagle Retreat

Right about now, you are probably wondering how we found out about this fantastic property. It’s owned by a lovely lady by the name of Sylvia, who was using a property sharing website that has since been closed on her behalf. You can find the official Facebook page here – 

https://www.facebook.com/Wedged-Tailed-Eagle-Retreat-204725659431/?fref=ts

Wedge Tailed Eagle Retreat is a lovely property with a few hundred sheep, that backs onto the beautiful Blackwood River. The paddock is on a slight slope and has two big dams and lots of green grass.

At the back of the property, there’s a little fence which stops the sheep getting down to the banks of the Blackwood. You are able to access this area by foot, but vehicles are stopped from entering due to dieback.

Sylvia is trying to restore this area back to its original state, by protecting it and planting native flora back in its place.

Dam in the south east

One of the dams. There’s yabbies in the dam too!

Blackwood River camping

Enjoying a foggy morning over the Blackwood

Blackwood River exploring

Exploring the property along the Blackwood River

What facilities are there?

Asides from more room to set your tents up than you could poke a stick at, there’s hot showers and toilets at the homestead, a few picnic tables around the place and power if you require it. There are a few steel plates where you can cook your food on with a fire too.

Toilets and showers

The homestead has showers and toilets outside

Bacon and Eggs while camping

Bacon and eggs over the fire

What can you do there?

Kayaking up and down the Blackwood river is popular here, as is fishing, bird watching, swimming (if you dare; its freezing!) and just relaxing around a big camp fire. There’s plenty of wood to burn, and a fair bit of land to explore.

It’s the perfect place to base yourself for a weekend, and head out exploring the area around Trigwell, Boyup Brook and Arthur River.

Blackwood River kayaking

Kayak down the Blackwood River

Camp fire in WA

Have epic camp fires. This was a pile that needed burning

Volleyball down south

Play a game of Volleyball

How much does it cost?

Camping is $15 per adult per night, and $10 per child. It’s not super cheap, but you get the whole place to yourself and its in a pretty spectacular location.

Blackwood River WA

It’s a spectacular part of the world

How do I book?

You can book by visiting the Facebook page;

Wedge Tailed Eagle Retreat

. Send her a PM or ring her, and Sylvia will get back to you.

It gets cold down there!

We expected it to be cold, but it was freezing. Both nights got down to the negatives, and resulted in some pretty serious frost in the mornings. We were all very glad of being able to have a big fire every night! Make sure you take warm clothing, and good quality sleeping gear. There’s nothing worse than spending the night shivering away!

Smart Bull Bar Frost

Frost on the Smart Bull Bar

Frosty wind screen

Not going to be seeing much through that for a while!

Foggy morning on the blackwood

The fog was pretty amazing

Was it worth it?

We had a fantastic time at Wedge Tailed Eagle Retreat. Realistically we did very little; relaxed around the fire, kayaked up the river, wet a line a few times, played a few games of Volleyball and Frizby, and just enjoyed our time away from the city.

It’s rare to be able to take off with mates and leave the big smoke behind, and something we were all very pleased about!

Magic fire dust

Magic fire dust

Relaxing while camping in WA

Relaxing under the stars

If you are keen to find more camp sites, check out these posts – 7 Amazing Camp Sites within 3 – 5 hours of Perth ,and 7 Fantastic Campsites Near Perth .

No snorkel? Stay out of the water in your 4WD

Water crossings are an everyday part of 4WDing. Whether its a puddle, long mud run or river crossing, if you are out and about in your 4WD you will come across water.

Pentecost River Crossing

Crossing the Pentecost on the way to El Questro

Please, take 5 seconds to consider the risk of driving through it, especially if you don’t have a snorkel fitted.

What is a 4WD Snorkel?

80 Series snorkel

The Safari snorkel on our 80 Series

Most snorkels on 4WD’s are plastic, and run down the outside of the A pillar, and through the inner guard to the engines air intake. They are essentially an extension of the factory air intake which can then suck air from a higher location.

What’s the purpose of a snorkel?

Any car requires air as part of the combustion process, and from the factory, it sucks air through an intake close to the engine bay. These days many suck air from inside the inner guard, but in the past they have been located anywhere near the top of the engine bay.

The primary issue with this is that contaminants, including dust but most especially water, can easily get flicked or pushed into the air intake, which then goes through your air filter, and if you aren’t very careful, into your engine.

Snorkels on a 4WD

Providing clean air (and no water) to your engine

A snorkel dramatically decreases the chances of water getting into your engine, and sucks air that is higher off the ground, which is also cleaner. If you’ve ever driven on a dusty gravel road in convoy, you’d be very familiar with this; the air around the bonnet and below is often full of dust, and above it is much cleaner.

A teaspoon of water can write your 4WD off

For most vehicles, all you need is a single teaspoon of water to get through the air intake and filter, and your engine will hydraulic lock. If that sounds nasty, it should, because it is! In this situation, your engine will seize and stall, and your forward progress will end. That’s not a good thing if you are half way through a deep puddle; by the time you rig up a recovery you are going to be swimming inside your vehicle.

If you are very lucky, and mechanically minded, you can sometimes get the engine to run again. However, especially with modern vehicles, your chances are not fantastic. Hydraulic locked engines often have serious damage done to them, as water won’t compress like air, and it forces things to bend or break.

Navara water crossing

How deep is too deep?

If you’ve done engine damage, there’s a very high chance that your insurance company will write your vehicle off (assuming you have

good quality 4WD insurance

!). This is without even considering water damage to the interior (and exterior electrics) of your vehicle.

Don’t go through water without a snorkel

Most full size 4WD’s have a wading depth of around the 600 – 800mm range, without a snorkel. However, if you plough into a water crossing and it splashes everywhere, its possible to get water into your engine bay in only 200 – 300mm of water.

If you absolutely must go through water without a 4WD, take it slowly and don’t splash your way in. Excessive momentum can be the difference between making it and drowning your 4WD!

Drive slowly through salt water

Slow and steady wins the race

Drowned 4WD’s in Perth

Every year, there are more than a handful of 4WD’s that get drowned in and around Perth (and no doubt the rest of Australia). Some of these have snorkels and have gone through very deep water, but many of them are inexperienced 4WDer’s who don’t check the depth of a puddle before driving through. Most importantly, many don’t have snorkels!

A good mate of mine a few months ago took his relatively new BT50 out to the Mundaring Powerlines Track after some pretty serious rainfall. He’d done the track several times before, and wasn’t new to the 4WD scene. He came to a crossing (which could have been driven around!) and having done it before, was confident he’d have no issues.

However, the crossing was just a little deeper than in the past, and after getting halfway across without a snorkel, his 4WD stalled, and died. It took over 15 minutes to rig up a recovery (do you know how hard it is to attach snatch straps to recovery points in dirty, freezing cold water?!) and in that time water got into the 4WD, almost up to the seat level.

Long story short, the vehicle had to be dragged back to the road, loaded on a tow truck and taken to the dealership, where they wrote it off on first glance. It was a stressful week, where he waited to hear whether his expensive family vehicle would be covered by insurance!

Water is deceptive

If you take one thing from this post, know that water crossings are seriously deceptive. You should always walk them, or at the very least use a stick to check the depth and surface conditions (excluding where there are salt water crocodiles around!).

Don’t assume that it will be the same depth as last time, or that because you have muddies, lockers and a lift kit you will make it through. Some of the crossings at Mundaring for example, are deep enough to have 100 Series Land Cruisers running 37 inch tyres and 6 inch lifts floating away (yep, that’s another story!).

Above all, if you can avoid driving through it in the first place, do that; its not worth the risk.

Here’s a few pics of our 80 series, after I decided to drive a track around Lake Jasper that I hadn’t checked the depth of. Even with brand new muddies, twin lockers, plenty of power and a snorkel, I bottomed out half way across, and ended up with some water (thankfully not heaps!) inside the vehicle. I should have known better, but made a foolish mistake and paid for it!

Our 80 bogged

Yeah, that was a bad move

Moving out of a big puddle

Recovered by a Nissan too!

What to do if your engine stalls in water

If you enter a water crossing, and your engine stalls, DO NOT try to start it again. In many cases, trying to restart an engine that has sucked water in will lead to serious damage. Recover the vehicle, and if you are lucky, you may get away with draining fluids and water, replacing the air filter, removing glow plugs or spark plugs and turning it over until all the water is out of the engine. Asides from damaged pride and some time spent on the side of the track, sometimes you can get away with it.

Is your snorkel water tight?

If you have a snorkel, check that it is completely air tight from the air box right through the inner guard to the snorkel. Many have fittings that are just pushed into each other, and will still leak water very easily. A snorkel is a preventative measure; if the water is flowing quickly, or you hit it too quickly, or its too deep, nothing will save you! Treat water crossings with the respect that they deserve, and you won’t have an issue.

Air tight 4WD Snorkel

Is your snorkel air tight?

Overall

If this post stops just a single person from writing off their pride and joy, then its done its job. I’ve seen the pain and frustrations of friends having to replace or rebuild 4WD’s that have been damaged by water. Get yourself a snorkel, enter water only after you’ve thoroughly checked it out and you’ll have a blast out there.

15 common mistakes to avoid when modifying your 4WD

The 4WD accessory and modifications industry has never been bigger than it is today. You can get everything from BCDC battery chargers through to chassis extensions, hot water on demand systems, portal axles and everything in between. Whilst this is great in many ways, it creates a huge opportunity for people to make costly mistakes when it comes to modifying their 4WD.

4x4 accessories

What modifications do you really need?

It’s not hard to throw thousands of dollars at a 4WD in accessories and modifications. The thing is though, are you getting good value for money, or are you just flushing it down the toilet? There’s a heap of common mistakes that are made when adding accessories and modifying 4WD’s in Australia.

Expecting to get your money back

Lets start with a blunt fact. You are not going to get your money back on modifications and accessories fitted to your 4WD. You may get a percentage of it back, but when it comes to sell your pride and joy you will always think it is worth more than it is.

If you understand this, every dollar you spend on your 4WD is pretty much gone, and not coming back. Use this to pick your modifications wisely!

Take a 15k 4WD. If you spend 15k on modifications, do you think its realistically going to sell for 30k? If you do, I have bad news for you; it wont. Some modifications do add value, but in this scenario I doubt you’d get more than 18 – 22k for the same vehicle.

4WD accessory resale

You never get your money back on 4WD accessories

Not understanding what you want from your 4WD

There’s a lot of different types of 4WDing. Some people can’t get enough of the hard core mud and rock driving, with others who are happy just to cruise up and down the local beach, and then there’s those who just want to get out and tour this amazing country without finding the hardest lines and pushing their 4WD’s to the limit.

Modifying a 4WD is a compromise in many different ways. You will not get a 4WD that is perfectly reliable, economical, practical and extremely capable off road. It simply does not exist. You can have some of each, but a 4WD that is set up for a particular style of 4WDing will not exceed in others.

My ultimate advice is to really find out what you want from your 4WD, and modify it to meet that criteria. Why would you want to lift your 4WD, put big muddies under it and throw thousands of dollars at other accessories to climb over huge rocks if you just want a reliable 4WD explore Australia with?

Using your 4WD for what its built to do

What are you going to use your 4WD for?

Starting with the wrong vehicle

Unfortunately, its common occurrence for someone to purchase a 4WD, and spend a fortune trying to modify it into something it will never be.

If you want a vehicle that is set up for serious, hard core 4WD tracks and abuse, then get something that is designed to do this. Don’t buy an independent front suspension vehicle, lift it 4 inches, throw a set of 35’s on it and expect it to last bouncing up and down rocks!

I’m not saying Independent suspension vehicles are rubbish. Quite the contrary – they have the ability to be capable and are much more comfortable than a solid axle vehicle. However, they were never intended for hard core rock work, and nothing you do (asides from a solid axle swap) is going to change this.

4WD accessory requirements

Start with the right 4WD for your requirements

Not having an end plan in mind

When you’ve owned your 4WD for a long time, its not hard to clock up the modifications list. You do a few changes here and there, and before you know it, your list of accessories and modifications is longer than you’d like to admit.

I’ll admit, I am guilty of this – I’ve had our 80 series for a number of years now, and as time has progressed the number of modifications has grown astronomically. At the back of my mind I knew we wanted a capable tourer, but I never fully considered what I had to do to make this work.

80 series land cruiser build

Before and after of our 80 series

When you don’t sit down and work out what you want out of your 4WD, you pay for it in a few years time. I added accessories to our 80 series over a number of years, and sat down one day to work out what I’d actually spent, and nearly died.

If you want to know more about it, have a read of this – 

How much have you spent on your 4WD?

A few grand spent each year on mods and accessories soon adds up when you’ve had the 4WD for a a good chunk of time.

Over modifying

We’ve done a fair bit of 4WDing throughout Western Australia. We’ve covered most of the coastline all the way around, and plenty of inland places. Some tracks are close to home, and some many thousands of kilometres away.

I can’t get enough of checking out other people’s 4WD’s as we travel. You know what the irony is? The majority of people who are out there using their 4WD the most do not have a massive list of accessories and modifications. You don’t need lift kits, lockers, power upgrades, huge tyres and every electrical accessory under the sun to get out there and enjoy your 4WD.

I’ve learned that you should have a good reason to modify your 4WD. Don’t add accessories just because everyone else has them; unless you are looking for a way to spend a bit of coin. Modify your 4WD to make it meet your requirements. If its not capable enough, by all means look at lockers and bigger tyres, but if you aren’t having any issues with your 4WD why change it?

You can spend a fortune over modifying, when that money could be put towards an amazing trip, like the

5 weeks we spent in the Kimberley!

Look for improvements in comfort, capability, reliability and functionality.

4WD modification tips

What’s going to give you the most enjoyment from your 4WD?

Not considering the legalities

You have a responsibility to drive a 4WD on the road that complies with the local regulations. It’s not just an ethical requirement, but the law states your vehicle needs to be roadworthy. Would you believe me if I told you a large percentage of 4WD’s on the road are not legal?

You probably wouldn’t, and that’s because there’s not enough information passed around. If your vehicle has bigger than 50mm tyres, or the roof has gone up by more than 50mm (by way of tyres, suspension or body lifts), it is not legal without an engineering certificate in Western Australia. If you are towing a heavy caravan, there’s a good change your combination will be overloaded, purely because of

Dodgy 4WD tow rating marketing tactics

and again, a lack of information.

So, what does it really mean? Put simply, there’s a whole range of really nasty risks that you are taking by driving a 4WD that is not legal on the road. Want to know more?

Find out if your 4WD is legal

.

Rearranged Rover at Lancelin

Is your 4WD legal?

Modifying for looks over practicality

Whilst a 4WD with a massive lift and huge tyres looks really cool, its often not practical. You’ll use more fuel, have a much higher centre of gravity and more than likely have worse handling. There’s nothing wrong with adding a bit of bling to your 4WD to make it look good, but I would suggest accessories and modifications should be added for practical improvements.

At the end of the day, you need to use your 4WD, and to me, that’s way more important than how it looks.

Not researching enough

There’s more information online today than ever before. Unless you are going for a very unique modification or accessory, you will find model specific advice about just about anything on the internet. Sometimes it takes a bit more searching, but I guarantee it will pay off.

Before you fit the bigger tyres, have you made sure that you are buying the right offset rims to ensure the tyres stick within the guards, and aren’t going to scrub? Before you add the lift kit, have you thought about your brake lines, and the adjustments required to differential angles and brake bias proportioning valves?

If you don’t take the time to research before adding accessories to your 4WD, there’s a good change it will bite you in the rear. Consider everything; do a brand comparison, look for owners who have the modification you want and see what they think, shop around for prices and in general just take your time. Do it once, and do it right.

4WD accessories

Find someone else who’s done the mods and learn from them!

Not considering the weight

Another part of 4WD modifications and accessories that people don’t know enough about is weights. Your 4WD cannot carry every 4WD accessory under the sun along with your camping and recovery gear without being overloaded and totally illegal.

Find out your payload, and then add up everything on your 4WD that has weight to it. Lets look at a typical example:

Bull bar, second battery, winch, sidesteps, roof rack, cargo barrier, rear drawer system, fridge with food, 40L of water, clothes, spare parts and tools, UHF radio and lighting, recovery gear, portable electronics, cooking equipment, tent, camping chairs and table, 3 adult passengers and 40L of extra fuel. Total weight of around 750kg, and you can guarantee most people carry more than this. Pay loads vary from about 550kg to 1100kg in 4WD’s, and if you are towing something you need to take off the tow ball weight too.

It’s extremely easy to go over your pay load, which in turn puts your 4WD at more risk of breaking, and deems your 4WD illegal.

Want to know more? Have a look at this blog post –

Is your 4WD overweight?

Hilux 22R

What does your 4WD weigh?

Letting the bug bite too hard

The 4WDing bug will bite you, and hard. You’ll want to do all sorts to your vehicle, but remember to take the time to stop and really think about why you are doing it. Don’t get caught up adding every accessory under the sun without quality, justifiable reasons for doing so. You will regret it if you let the 4WD bug bite you too hard!

Buying in the wrong order

There is a certain order that you should modify your 4WD. Some things don’t matter, but there are a number of items that should be added before others.

The most obvious one is your suspension. Please, don’t get a nice new suspension package before you consider the weight of your vehicle now, and in the future. So many people do this, and after they install a bull bar, winch, rear bar, drawer system, long range fuel tank, second spare tyre etc etc find their springs have sagged.

Suspension should be added only when you know how much weight your 4WD is going to carry, as it needs to be matched to this. Get it wrong, and your springs will sag, or you will have a terrible ride. Nothing is more off putting than a 4WD with a poor ride.

Likewise, spending money on engine modifications before you’ve upgraded your exhaust is a bad idea.

Take the time to add your accessories and modifications in the correct order and you will save a bucket load of money, time and hassle.

Suspension in a 4WD

Add the weight and then do the suspension

Not considering the downsides of 4WD modifications

Every accessory and modification you add to your 4WD comes with a number of downsides too. Everyone gets caught up with all the benefits, and totally forgets to think about what it may do to your vehicle that you won’t like. Ever wondered why when something breaks on your 4WD, more often than not it has to do with something you’ve changed? There’s a reason for this!

Just a brief example; everyone wants to fit bigger tyres to their 4WD. You get more flotation, better tractionand more clearance. What’s the catch though? You lose power, use more fuel, have speedo and odometer errors, cannot idle as slowly anymore, put more stress on your driveline, increase the center of gravity and the list goes on.

I won’t go into much more than that here, but this post does –

The downsides of 4WD accessories and modifications

Buying poor quality gear

We’ve become quite the disposable society. When something breaks, you chuck it and buy another one, accepting that it probably won’t last very long before you have to replace it again. Don’t fall into this category; buy quality gear that lasts, and your pocket will thank you.

There’s been a huge flood of cheap and poor quality gear to the 4WD market. In almost every case, if it seems cheap, there’s a reason for it. Compare it to the reputable brands, and then look for quality differences. Sometimes the cheaper price comes from a lack of quality assurance, meaning some people get reasonable quality gear whilst others get absolute lemons.

When you are out in the middle of no where, you want gear that you can depend on. Do your research, and you will find very quickly that sometimes that cheap winch or recovery kit you’ve been eyeing off is not a good decision (from both a financial and safety perspective!)

Not setting a budget

Again, I fell for this one, big time. A few grand spent here, and a few grand spent there, and you end up with a build over a couple of years that has cost an absolute fortune. 4WD’s are not cheap. They are not cheap to own, to insure, to rego, to repair and most definitely to modify.

Sit down and think about how much you want to spend on your 4WD, or you may find in a few years time that you’ve spent way more than you intended to.

I recommend you think about how much of Australia you could explore with the money you spend on every accessory. Is it better to have a decked out 4WD, or a heap of memories of amazing places you’ve been to with friends and family?

East Landing camping

A decked out fourby or lots of this? The choice is yours!

Not considering the snowball effect

I’ve discovered many times that when you add a 4WD accessory, it results in needing to add something else. Sometimes this is predictable, and other times its less simple to foresee.

If you are adding more weight, there’s a good chance you will need to adjust the suspension setup. Once you fit bigger tyres, and add more weight, you lose power and then want to do engine modifications to get the power and fuel economy back.

There’s no point having a dual battery system if you can’t charge the batteries other than driving your vehicle; out comes a solar system, dual battery isolator or BCDC charger. What ever you want to modify, have a think about how this is going to change what you need in the future.

Every modification has the potential for wanting to do something else, and if you don’t think about it, you can waste a lot of money.

Overall

Take your time when it comes to modifying a 4WD. Think, research and compare as much as you can. Ultimately, the 4WD is built to serve you; set it up in a way where it does this perfectly. Don’t worry about what others do to their 4WD’s, or what they think of yours. If it suits your needs, its the perfect 4WD.

I know I’ve made a number of these mistakes in the past, and I am sure plenty of you have too. Let me know below what you’ve done and regretted, along with anything that I may have missed!

15 things you may not know about your 4WD

There’s a lot to learn about 4WDing. Whether you are new to the scene, or you’ve been exploring this magic country for many years, you can still pick up something new. In this post, we look at 15 things that you may not know about your 4WD.

Your speedo is probably not accurate

 

Image result for join the group

You’d expect your speedometer, odometer and trip meter to be on the money, right? The truth is, even a brand spanking new 4WD is allowed to have some speedometer error. At 100km/h it can be up to as much as 10km/h, which makes a substantial difference.

However, with 4WD’s, the most common way to alter your speedo readings is to fit different size tyres. Usually, bigger size tyres are chosen, and this will make your speedometer read lower than you are actually going. If you’ve gone up a few sizes on tyres, your speedo will often be close to accurate, or it may read a little low. If you go up more than a few sizes, your speedo could be out by as much as 20%. If you are keen on knowing more, have a read of Fitting Bigger Tyres to your 4WD.

It pays to get a GPS, and check the difference. You can do this while sitting at a constant speed, but the most accurate way is to log 100km on both your trip metre and a GPS, and then compare. Our 80 Series Land Cruiser is out by just under 5%, running 50mm bigger tyres.

This is important, as you don’t want to pick up a new 4WD (even if it’s just new to you), and get done for speeding because you didn’t know the speedo was reading wrong! If it does read incorrectly, there are a number of ways you can get it fixed without changing your tyre size.

Bigger 4WD Tyres

If you are running bigger tyres, your speedo is probably out

How old are your tyres?

Any form of rubber will perish over time. This is made worse when its subject to the abuse a 4WD tyre gets, but as your tyres age they will perform worse. Every tyre in Australia has a 4 digit number stamped inside a little box on the sidewall, which tells you the manufacturing date of your tyre. If you want to know more, have a read of this – How to tell the age of your 4WD Tyres.

According to the tyre guru’s, once your tyres get to around the 5 year mark, they are considered old, and you should be looking at replacing them.

Something to bear in mind is that your new tyres could already be up to a year or two old when you get them, depending on how long the tyre store has had them. If you don’t rack the kays up, its easy to hit the 5 year mark and still have a tyre that looks perfectly good.

I’m not saying the moment your tyres hit 5 years old they are going to fall apart, but its an early warning sign to pay more attention to them. Look for any signs of perishing, including cracks and worn sections. The last thing you want is to have a blowout at speed!

Tyre age stamp

Look for the two numbers; this shows the 49th week of 2011

It may not be legally modified

There’s nothing nicer than a 4WD running a big, quality suspension setup and huge muddies. They look tough as idle through huge ruts and are a heap of fun to drive. The thing is though, most of them are not legally modified!

The consequences of driving a vehicle that has illegal modifications go much further than just getting a yellow sticker. You can be liable in the case of an accident, and by law, your insurance company does not have to cover you.

If you’ve changed your tyre size, suspension, wheel track, brakes, body or chassis, you’ll want to have a read of this; Is your 4WD legal?

4WD roll over

Should the worst happen, are you covered?

Your factory hooks are not rated for recoveries

You will get bogged in your 4WD, eventually. It happens to everyone and its just part of the fun. What’s not fun though, is hearing about someone every couple of years in Australia who gets killed by a 4WD recovery that has gone wrong.

You put a heap of stress on lots of different components when recovering a 4WD using a winch or snatch strap, and you can very easily kill someone when it isn’t done correctly. The ‘hooks’ that come with your 4WD from factory are not rated to be recovered off. Before you head off road, you should get a decent set of front and rear Rated recovery points, and have them mounted correctly to the chassis with grade 8.8 bolts.

Even then, use a bridle where possible, and a blanket, dampener or towel over the recovery strap so if it does go pear shaped no one gets wiped out by it.

ARB Bull bar recovery points

Do you have rated recovery points?

What’s your Payload?

It’s scary to see some 4WD’s on the road, loaded up with more gear than you can poke a stick at. If you don’t know already, head over to Redbook, select your vehicle and under dimensions, there’s a figure given for your payload. This is the legal amount of weight your vehicle can carry, as deemed safe by the manufacturer. If you are towing, the weight on your tow ball comes off this too.

At the very least, take the time to write down the weight of everything on your car, including passengers, extra fuel, water, modifications etc. I guarantee you will be very close to the payload when heading off on a trip away.

If you are over the given payload, you are putting excess strain on the vehicle, may not be covered by insurance in the event of an accident and could be fined badly if the authorities decide to weigh your vehicle.

Over weight 4WD

Is your 4WD overweight?

What size lift kit are you running?

One of the more challenging things to do when you get a 4WD that is new to you is to find out what sort of lift kit it is running. Over time, even stiff springs will sag, and it becomes very difficult to know whether you are running a 2″, 3″, 4″ or something else.

So, what can you do to identify the lift you have? Firstly, look for blocks between the chassis and the body. Obviously, they aren’t going to shrink, and if you have 50mm blocks then your vehicle has been raised by 50mm using a ‘body lift’. From there, you have a few options.

The easiest is to ringyour vehicles manufacturer, and ask them for a measurement to identify it. They should be able to give you this, but remember to give the right information, as they vary regularly between different years and models.

Beyond that, forums that are set up which are dedicated around specific model vehicles are a gold mine. On most of them, you should be able to tell you the measurement between the inner guard and centre of your hubs for different lift kits.

Remember that over time springs will sag, and a vehicle with an old 4 inch lift may be lower than one with a new 2 inch lift.

Lift kit in a 4WD

What size lift kit are you running?

Tow ball death

Tow balls are not for snatching or winching!

Tow balls are not suitable recovery points

If you are new to the game, one thing you absolutely must not do when 4WDing is use the tow ball as a recovery point. Yep, it’s easy to drop a strap over the tow ball and take off, but these are not designed for huge amounts of energy to be applied within a split second.

They will shear, and having a steel ball hurling through the air faster than you can see (usually towards another vehicle or person) is the last thing you want to do. They might look strong, but they most certainly are not.

Want to know more? Check out our latest post; Tow Balls in 4WD Recoveries can kill you.

Weight behind the rear axle can be dangerous

We covered payload earlier in the post, but you’d be mad to take a chunk of that weight and have it sitting behind your rear wheels. Do yourself a search on google, for bent 4WD chassis. Scary stuff.

You know what most have in common? Either they were overloaded, or they had the weight positioned too far back. I saw a photo the other day, of a badly bent, new Mitsubishi Triton dual cab, which had a heavy rear bar mounted, along with a spare tyre on one side and 4 jerry cans of fuel/water on the other side.

Add it up; Rear Bar 50kg, tyre and swing arm 30kg, second swing arm and 80L of fluid, and you are looking at about 180kg right at the back of your chassis. Hit even a small bump, and what do you think is going to happen?

If you are going to carry heavy weight, make sure it’s positioned either in front of the rear axle or on top of the axle. The further back you put it, the more stress it’s going to put on the last third of your chassis.

Rear axle weight

Watch the weight beyond your rear axle

Your insurance company may not cover you everywhere

There’s a lot of insurance companies in Australia that offer cover to 4WD vehicles. The thing is though, they are not all equal. Some insurance companies treat your 4WD as if it is the same as an ordinary car, and their level of cover may not suit your requirements.

When you take out 4WD insurance, be sure to ask where you are covered in Australia. Some companies will not cover you for driving on gravel, non-gazetted road, private property or beaches.

4WD insurance is a very important part of owning a 4WD; if you want to know more about it, have a read of this – What to look for in 4WD insurance.

Our 80 at Lancelin

Are you covered in the dunes?

You may not be able to tow the maximum towing capacity

The number of heavy trailers being towed within Australia has gone up significantly in the last few years. Whether it’s a big boat, caravan or car trailer, there are very strict regulations on what you can tow.

Your 4WD will come with a maximum towing capacity, which you must not exceed. However, manufacturers are getting very sneaky and unethical, and are advertising maximum towing capacities that you would only be able to use under very unlikely situations.

I won’t go into it too much in this post, but if you need to tow something heavy, you may have to ensure your 4WD is as light as possible. As an example, think about a new Ford Ranger; if you are using the maximum towing capacity of 3500kg, you are only legally allowed to have 300kg of weight added to the 4WD itself. Take away the ball weight and just one passenger, and you are going to be overweight already.

For more information, have a read of this; Are you being misled by 4WD towing capacities?

Towing with a 4WD

What’s your towing capacity?

Tyre pressures should vary from 4WD to 4WD

Tyre pressures are one of the most important factors you have in your control when it comes to 4WDing. There’s a heap of guides out there that will tell you what tyre pressures to run, but you really need to tailor it for yourself.

You should not be running the same tyre pressures as all of your mates; as you (more than likely) drive different vehicles. Every vehicle should have its own set of tyre pressures, based on the weight of the vehicle, tyre dimensions, terrain and speed.

If you didn’t already know, your tyre pressures will go up and down as you drive, due to the temperature change of the air inside. There’s more information on that here; 4WD tyre pressures; do you check them hot or cold?

Have a look in your vehicle owners manual, which will tell you the recommended tyre pressures for certain tyres. If you do Fit bigger tyres to your 4WD, you can lower the pressures a little. As always, pay attention to the way the tyres wear. If the middle gets worn out, your pressures are too high. If the outsides get worn out, you are running them too low.

4WD Tyre pressures

Every 4WD has its own correct tyre pressures

Your roof has a weight limit

Even though a roof rack seems like a convenient place to load your gear onto, the manufacturer of your 4WD has set weight limits to what the roof of your vehicle can withstand. For most 4WD’s, it’s only 100kg, although there are a few that have 150kg roof load ratings.

100kg may not seem like much, but have a think of what happens when you hit a bump off road; the forces on the roof are substantial. Overload your roof, and you end up with a high centre of gravity and you could easily damage your roof.

Have a think about what you have on your roof. Steel full-length roof racks, in my opinion, are a complete waste of money. I removed one from a mates Patrol a while back, made by one of the more reputable 4WD accessory companies, and it came in at 66kg. That’s a ridiculous amount of weight to have on your roof racks, without even starting to store anything. You don’t have to put much more on the roof and it’s already overloaded!

Roof top tents are also something to be wary of; many of them weigh around the 50kg mark; that’s a lot of weight. Often I’ll come across vehicles in the bush who are carrying several jerry cans, big toolboxes and half of their kitchen on the roof. While it might be convenient, it’s not legal, nor safe!

Roof Rack weight

Mind the weight on your roof racks

The driver is just as important

At the end of the day, your 4WD only makes up a portion of how far it will go. Modifications and accessories can make a big difference, as does starting with a capable 4WD. That said, in my opinion, the driver behind the wheel of your 4WD makes just as much difference.

I’ve seen some very standard 4WD’s tackle tracks that have blown me away; if the driver knows the right lines and has plenty of skill they make a massive difference.

Your safe wading depth might be much lower than you expect

Last week, I wrote a post about Staying out of the water without a snorkel. If you don’t know what the safe wading depth is in your 4WD, take the time to find out. This is the depth of water that you can safely drive through without doing any permanent damage to your 4WD.

By permanent, I mean electrical or mechanical damage, which can be easily enough to write your vehicle off. Most vehicles have a wading depth of in between 400mm and 800mm. However, if you hit a small water crossing at speed, it doesn’t have to be that deep to cause serious damage to your 4WD.

Your vehicle’s manual should tell you the wading depth. If you aren’t happy with it, look at installing a snorkel.

4WD wading depth

What’s your 4WD’s wading depth?

Where’s the lowest point on your 4WD?

I mentioned the quality of a driver plays a huge role in how far your 4WD will go earlier. One of the things an experienced 4WDer knows is where the low, and vulnerable parts on his/her 4WD hang down. You need to know what is likely to get hung up on your 4WD, so you can pick your lines, and reduce the chance of any damage.

On vehicles with solid axles, your differential pumpkin will be the lowest, along with the transfer case and sometimes the skills below your doors. Obviously, the aim of the game is to avoid hitting these, as you can do some very costly damage!

What else?

I’m sure there are stacks of things I’ve missed here. What else should you know about your 4WD before you head off road, don’t forget to leave a comment.

Western Australia’s best 4WD accessible beaches

Western Australia has some of the best beaches in the world. Many of them are accessible by 4WD, and even the busier beaches are much less packed than the alternatives on the Eastern coast of Australia.

I’ve had the privilege of exploring plenty of them, from the cold waters of the south east right around to the balmy northern beaches at the top of WA. If there’s one thing you should be doing with your 4WD, its exploring more of our coastline!

With that in mind, here are some of the best 4WD accessible beaches in Western Australia.

Thomas River

Esperance is well known for its incredible beaches. Whether you head east or west, you will find some amazing places to explore in your 4WD. Thomas River is East, and accessible fairly easily by gravel roads. There’s two campsites, several beaches to explore with the main one being nearly 30km long. If you are keen on more information, check out the post I wrote on it; Thomas River in Esperance.

set-up-at-thomas-riverbeautiful-thomas-riverthomas-river-fishingthomas-river-seals

Duke of Orleans

A little closer to Esperance lies Duke of Orleans, which is a pretty unique little place. It’s a Caravan Park (you can’t camp outside of this), but almost like a little sleepy town. There are some permanent residents who live in the Caravan park, but its small enough that quad bikes are still ridden (carefully) on the road.

There’s more bays and beaches to explore here in a 4WD than you can poke a stick at, with some truly epic views. Here’s the full post; Duke of Orleans Caravan Park in Esperance.

4wding-at-duke-of-orleansduke-of-orleans-sunsetsunset-at-duke-of-orleans

Bremer Bay

Last year was the first time I’d been to Bremer Bay, and I can’t believe I didn’t make it a priority sooner. The beaches are just as beautiful as Esperance, with an incredibly big area to explore by 4WD. There’s plenty of inland tracks, more than a handful of beaches to drive along with some dunes and even mud in the winter. These photos were taken on the eastern side of Bremer, but the west has just as many beautiful beaches! If you are keen to see more of Bremer Bay, check out the last post; Bremer Bay in the 4WD over Christmas.

bremer-bay-beachbremer-baydoubtful-beach-bremer

Yeagarup

If you are looking for the ultimate 4WD adventure, Pemberton is the place to go, and then head to the coast. Yeagarup has some of the biggest dunes in the southern hemisphere, along with a massive beach and several water crossings. If you are game, give Calcup Hill a crack; probably the biggest sand dune you can drive up in Western Australia.

Feel free to read more about it here – Yeagarup 4WDing and Camping

climbing-calcup-hillheading-to-yeagarup-beachyeagarup-beach

Margaret River

It wasn’t that long ago that we stumbled on some fun 4WD tracks around Margaret River. It’s a beautiful place, but knowing that you can take your 4WD and find a beach to yourself just makes it all the better. There’s 4WD tracks through the forest, coastal tracks and plenty of beach driving. If you want to know more, here’s the link; Margaret River 4WD Tracks.

4wd-track-at-margaret-riverhamelin-bay-beachmargaret-river-4wd-tracksstuck-on-hamelin-bay-beach

Two Rocks

In terms of 4WD Tracks near Perth, Two Rocks is the closest beach driving for many people. You need to access it through Wilbinga these days, but its got plenty of beach to explore and enjoy.

two-rocks-flat-rockstwo-rocks

Lancelin to Wedge Island

Roughly 2 hours drive north of Perth lies Lancelin, a quiet little coastal town that attracts a huge number of 4WDers to its sand dunes and beaches. In the past, the only way to get to Wedge Island was with a 4WD, and along the beach or by taking the inland track. A while back, someone decided it’d be a great idea to run bitumen in from the Indian Ocean Drive. The drive from the Lancelin off road area to Wedge Island is still popular, and despite being very chopped out and soft on regular occasions, its a lot of fun!

lancelin-to-wedge-islandon-the-way-to-wedge-islandwedge-island

Carrarang Station

Carrarang Station is one of our most recent stays, with our own private beach. There’s heaps of 4WD tracks around the property, with plenty of beaches to explore. It’s located on the next peninsula across from Denham, roughly 850km north of Perth. Here’s the full post; Carrarang Station.

carrarang-station-camp-setupcarrarang-station-campingcarrarang-stationsunrise-at-carrarang-station

Steep Point

Well, what can I say? The Western most point of WA lies Steep Point, a place that I’ll remember for a long time. I expected it to be big cliffs, set up only for those into hard core fishing, and boy was I totally wrong. The beaches in the Steep Point area rival some of the best I’ve seen. The water is warm, crystal clear and absolutely magic. We only managed one day at Steep Point, but enjoyed it so much we are planning another trip there next year.

Steep Point is about 900km north of Perth, and can be driven in about 12 to 13 hours. The track in starts off as bitumen, then turns to gravel and eventually ends up as a soft, sandy track through the scrub.

Stopped at False Entrance

Steep Point beaches

false-entrance-by-4wd

Cable Beach in Broome

There’s something magical about Cable Beach. In a big town, you can drive down past the fancy restaurants, and straight onto an amazing beach in your 4WD. The sunsets are phenominal, and nothing beats sitting there on the back of your 4WD whilst tucking into some local fish and chips!

You can drive along Cable beach for miles; you can guarantee your own slice of paradise with a 4WD.

In 2015, we spent 5 weeks in the Kimberley, having driven up from Perth. It was the best 4WD trip we’ve ever done, and can’t wait to get back there. Keen to know more about where we went, what we spent, our itinerary etc? Here’s the post; 5 weeks in the Kimberley with a 4WD.

Driving onto Cable Beach

cable-beach-broome

Cape Leveque and Hunter Creek

Even further north than Broome lies Cape Leveque. We spent a few nights at Kooljaman, which was absolutely stunning. They have a beach you are able to access with your 4WD, and on the Brian Lee tagalong Tour we were taken to Hunter Creek for the afternoon. Absolutely amazing.

cape-leveque-beach-4wdcape-leveque-beachhunter-creek-by-4wd

7 Fantastic Camp Sites near Perth

There’s nothing better than throwing the camping gear in your car and getting away from the city for a couple of days. There are so many amazing places to camp at, and you don’t have to travel for hours on end to get to them. Here are 7 fantastic camp sites near Perth, where you can literally pack on a Friday afternoon, head away and still get a great weekend in.

Walyunga

Walyunga National Park is probably the closest place to Perth where you are allowed to camp in the bush. Located just one hour north east of Perth, it’s a fantastic spot to check out. I’ve often described this place as a cross between Dwellingup and Serpentine. It has the beautiful Avon river flowing through the National park, a myriad of walking trails, BBQ and picnic facilities and most importantly, a place for you to camp!

You need to book the camp sites, which you can do by ringing 9290 6100 and speaking to a ranger. The camp sites are located a few minutes drive away from the main picnic and river side area, but are in a nice cleared section of bush.

As it is a National Park, day passes apply (unless you have an annual pass). It’s $12 per vehicle. You can find out more about these here. The Camp fee’s are the usual $7.50 per night.

The wildflowers are spectacular here in season, and with plenty of tracks to walk on you’ll see heaps of them. If you want to know more about the national park, you can read the full post here: Walyunga National Park.

walyunga-national-park-camping
Easy access, with fire rings available
avon-river-at-walyunga
Walking along the Avon River
picnic-facilities-at-walyunga
Enjoy a picnic overlooking the river
walyunga-national-park-bbq
BBQ Facilities available
wildflowers-at-perth-national-park
Lots of wildflowers around in season

Lane Poole Reserve

An hour and a half south of Perth lies Lane Poole Reserve, just out of Dwellingup. We’ve been going to Lane Poole Reserve every year for a long time now, and always love it. There are 10 different camp sites which vary from huge open areas to more private sites that only house two sets of campers.

The beautiful Murray River runs right through the reserve, and is fantastic for swimming, canoeing, white water rafting and fishing.

Fires are permitted when the fire danger is low, and it is a brilliant spot to enjoy a good fire on a cold evening. It does get very cold in the middle of winter, so take your warm gear!

There are plenty of 4WD and mountain bike tracks in the area too.

Again, National Park and camping fee’s apply. The entry fee is $12 per vehicle, unless you have a National Park pass. Camping fee’s range from $7.50 per night to $10, depending on where you stay.

You can read the full post here; Dwellingup. If you want to book a camp site, you can do so here.

dwellingup-murray-river
Fishing in a beautiful part of the Murray River

murray-river-fog-at-dwellingup

Watching the fog come in on a cold winters morning

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One of the huge open camp sites on a busy weekend

dwellingup-water-slide

Enjoying the little rock slides

dwellingup-beauty

What a magic place

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A good camp fire on a freezing night

105-series-at-dwellingup

Plenty of 4WD tracks around the place

Waroona Dam

Lake Navarino, or Waroona Dam, has long been a popular place to camp. You can stay at the Holiday park, or take the bush camping option (which we do every time!) and stay nearer the dam itself. Both are booked through Lake Navarino Holiday Park.

Waroona Dam is pretty big, and is well known for skiing and fresh water fishing. There’s also fantastic 4WD tracks around the Dam and plenty of places to relax and soak up the scenery.

Fires are permitted in season, and the camping fees range from $12 to $17 per person per night, depending on where you camp, if its peak season and if you need power or not.

camping-at-waroona

Camping within 50 metres of the Dam

waroona-dam-skiing

Plenty of room for water skiing and tubing

waroona-moon-rise

When the wind dies off its a magic place

waroona-dam-4wd-tracks

Exploring some of the 4WD tracks around the Dam

waroona-dam-sunset

Sunset over the orange gravel is spectacular

Belvidere

If coastal camping is more your thing, Belvidere is a great little spot we found a few years back. The actual camp site is a few minutes drive back from the beach, tucked in between Leschenault Inlet and Belvidere Beach. At only an hour and 40 minutes away from Perth, its easily doable on a Friday afternoon.

The beach here is soft, and you will need a 4WD to drive along it. It’s substantially quieter than Preston and Myalup Beach, but the fishing is just as good.

It’s a DPAW camp site, and the fee’s are $7.50 per person per night. There is also provision for camper trailer and caravan’s here, and the firewood is usually provided.

If you want to read the full post, you can find it here; Camping at Belvidere.

oztents-at-belvidere

Set up with the Oztents at Belvidere

belvidere-camp-sites

Your typical camp site at Belvidere

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Belvidere Beach; fishing for salmon

salmon-fishing-at-belvidere

Lots of opportunity for good fish

salmon-at-belvidere

We landed several nice salmon

Honeymoon Pool

If you’ve ever seen the Collie River, you’d know its a beautiful spot to stop and soak up the scenery. Honeymoon Pool is a DPAW camp site located right along the bank of the river, and is 2WD and 4WD accessible. It’s just 2 hours south of Perth, and is a stunning part of the world.

The Lennard 4WD track is well worth the drive, but be aware that it does get closed once the rain hits, to avoid substantial damage to the track.

lennard-4wd-track-collie-river

Collie River just off the Lennard 4WD Track

honeymoon-pool-camping

Amazing walks along the Collie River

Honeymoon Pool camping

You can swim, but it gets cold!

Martins Tank

An hour and a half south of Perth, 10 minutes drive from the coast lies Martins Tank. It’s another DPAW camp site, set amongst the peppermint trees.

This was done up in 2013, and caters for tents, caravans and camper trailers. Camp fires are permitted in season, and fees are $10 per person per night.

This camp site must be booked online in advance, which you can do here.

southern-beaches

Enjoying our own little slice of the beach

martins-tank-camping

Martins Tank Camp sites

camping-at-martins-tank

Enough shade and the usual facilities

Wellington Dam

The last, but certainly not least camp site near Perth is Wellington Dam. At just over 2 hours south of Perth its a great drive to an even better location. Potters Gorge is the formal DPAW camp site, which has recently been refurbished and caters for a number of campers. This site however, gets extremely busy very quickly.

If you have a 4WD, there are plenty of other camp sites around the dam if you are prepared to do a bit of driving. Even on a popular long weekend, we had no issues finding a handful of good campsites along the banks of Wellington Dam, and ended up camping in a beautiful location.

wellington-dam-camping

Could you ask for a better spot?

wellington-dam-4wd-tracks

We’ve had plenty of fun enjoying the 4WD tracks

sunset-at-wellington-dam

Sunset over the dam; what a way to end the day

camping-at-wellington-dam

Huge tree’s rustling in the breeze

Look after these places

It is a huge privilege being able to access these amazing camp sites. Don’t wreck them for everyone else; take your rubbish home, go to the toilets responsibly, have a fire with some common sense (when allowed) and don’t be a muppet.

The best geek prank collection can be found at GeekPrank.com. Play with the Windows simulator, the fake upgrade screens, the fake disk formatter and other pranks.

7 of the best low cost camp sites in Western Australia

There’s nothing better than throwing the camping gear in your car and getting away from the city for a couple of days. There are so many amazing places to camp at, and you don’t have to travel for hours on end to get to them. Here are 7 fantastic camp sites near Perth, where you can literally pack on a Friday afternoon, head away and still get a great weekend in.

Walyunga

Walyunga National Park is probably the closest place to Perth where you are allowed to camp in the bush. Located just one hour northeast of Perth, it’s a fantastic spot to check out. I’ve often described this place as a cross between Dwellingup and Serpentine. It has the beautiful Avon river flowing through the National park, a myriad of walking trails, BBQ and picnic facilities and most importantly, a place for you to camp!

You need to book the campsites, which you can do by ringing 9290 6100 and speaking to a ranger. The camp sites are located a few minutes drive away from the main picnic and riverside area, but are in a nice cleared section of bush.

As it is a National Park, day passes apply (unless you have an annual pass). It’s $12 per vehicle. You can find out more about these here. The Camp fees are the usual $7.50 per night.

The wildflowers are spectacular here in season, and with plenty of tracks to walk on you’ll see heaps of them. If you want to know more about the national park, you can read the full post here: Walyunga National Park.

walyunga-national-park-camping

Easy access, with fire rings available.

avon-river-at-walyunga

Walking along the Avon River.

picnic-facilities-at-walyunga

Enjoy a picnic overlooking the river.

walyunga-national-park-bbq

BBQ Facilities available.

wildflowers-at-perth-national-park

Lots of wildflowers around in season.

Lane Poole Reserve

An hour and a half south of Perth lies Lane Poole Reserve, just out of Dwellingup. We’ve been going to Lane Poole Reserve every year for a long time now, and always love it. There are 10 different camp sites which vary from huge open areas to more private sites that only house two sets of campers.

The beautiful Murray River runs right through the reserve and is fantastic for swimming, canoeing, white water rafting and fishing.

Fires are permitted when the fire danger is low, and it is a brilliant spot to enjoy a good fire on a cold evening. It does get very cold in the middle of winter, so take your warm gear!

There are plenty of 4WD and mountain bike tracks in the area too.

Again, National Park and camping fees apply. The entry fee is $12 per vehicle unless you have a National Park pass. Camping fee’s range from $7.50 per night to $10, depending on where you stay.

You can read the full post here; Dwellingup. If you want to book a camp site, you can do so here.

dwellingup-murray-river

Fishing in a beautiful part of the Murray River.

murray-river-fog-at-dwellingup

Watching the fog come in on a cold winters morning.

lane-poole-reserve-camping

One of the huge open campsites on a busy weekend.

dwellingup-water-slide

Enjoying the little rock slides.

dwellingup-beauty

What a magic place.

camp-fire-at-dwellingup

A good camp fire on a freezing night.

105-series-at-dwellingup

Plenty of 4WD tracks around the place.

Waroona Dam

Lake Navarino, or Waroona Dam, has long been a popular place to camp. You can stay at the Holiday park, or take the bush camping option (which we do every time!) and stay nearer the dam itself. Both are booked through Lake Navarino Holiday Park.

Waroona Dam is pretty big and is well known for skiing and fresh water fishing. There’s also fantastic 4WD tracks around the Dam and plenty of places to relax and soak up the scenery.

Fires are permitted in season, and the camping fees range from $12 to $17 per person per night, depending on where you camp, if its peak season and if you need power or not.

camping-at-waroona

Camping within 50 metres of the Dam.

waroona-dam-skiing

Plenty of room for water skiing and tubing.

waroona-moon-rise

When the wind dies off its a magic place.

waroona-dam-4wd-tracks

Exploring some of the 4WD tracks around the dam.

waroona-dam-sunset

Sunset over the orange gravel is spectacular.

Belvidere

If coastal camping is more your thing, Belvidere is a great little spot we found a few years back. The actual campsite is a few minutes drive back from the beach, tucked in between Leschenault Inlet and Belvidere Beach. At only an hour and 40 minutes away from Perth, it’s easily doable on a Friday afternoon.

The beach here is soft, and you will need a 4WD to drive along it. It’s substantially quieter than Preston and Myalup Beach, but the fishing is just as good.

It’s a DPAW camp site, and the fees are $7.50 per person per night. There is also provision for camper trailer and caravan’s here, and the firewood is usually provided.

If you want to read the full post, you can find it here; Camping at Belvidere.

oztents-at-belvidere

Set up with the Oztents at Belvidere.

belvidere-camp-sites

Your typical camp site at Belvidere.

belvidere-fishing

Belvidere Beach; fishing for salmon.

salmon-fishing-at-belvidere

Lots of opportunity for good fish.

salmon-at-belvidere

We landed several nice salmon.

Honeymoon Pool

If you’ve ever seen the Collie River, you’d know it’s a beautiful spot to stop and soak up the scenery. Honeymoon Pool is a DPAW campsite located right on the bank of the river and is 2WD and 4WD accessible. It’s just 2 hours south of Perth and is a stunning part of the world.

The Lennard 4WD track is well worth the drive, but be aware that it does get closed once the rain hits, to avoid substantial damage to the track.

lennard-4wd-track-collie-river

Collie River just off the Lennard 4WD Track.

honeymoon-pool-camping

Amazing walks along the Collie River.

Honeymoon Pool camping

You can swim, but it gets cold!

Martins Tank

An hour and a half south of Perth, 10 minutes drive from the coast lies Martins Tank. It’s another DPAW camp site, set amongst the peppermint trees.

This was done up in 2013 and caters for tents, caravans and camper trailers. Campfires are permitted in season, and fees are $10 per person per night.

This campsite must be booked online in advance, which you can do here.

southern-beaches

Enjoying our own little slice of the beach.

martins-tank-camping

Martins Tank Camp sites.

camping-at-martins-tank

Enough shade and the usual facilities.

Wellington Dam

The last, but certainly not least camp site near Perth is Wellington Dam. At just over 2 hours south of Perth its a great drive to an even better location. Potters Gorge is the formal DPAW campsite, which has recently been refurbished and caters for a number of campers. This site, however, gets extremely busy very quickly.

If you have a 4WD, there are plenty of other campsites around the dam if you are prepared to do a bit of driving. Even on a popular long weekend, we had no issues finding a handful of good campsites along the banks of Wellington Dam and ended up camping in a beautiful location.

wellington-dam-camping

Could you ask for a better spot?

wellington-dam-4wd-tracks

We’ve had plenty of fun enjoying the 4WD tracks.

sunset-at-wellington-dam

Sunset over the dam; what a way to end the day.

camping-at-wellington-dam

Huge tree’s rustling in the breeze.

Look after these places

It is a huge privilege being able to access these amazing camp sites. Don’t wreck them for everyone else; take your rubbish home, go to the toilets responsibly, have a fire with some common sense (when allowed) and don’t be a muppet.

7 of the best free camps in Western Australia. Number 3 has amazing views!

There’s nothing better than throwing the camping gear in your car and getting away from the city for a couple of days. There are so many amazing places to camp at, and you don’t have to travel for hours on end to get to them. Here are 7 fantastic camp sites near Perth, where you can literally pack on a Friday afternoon, head away and still get a great weekend in.

1. Walyunga

Walyunga National Park is probably the closest place to Perth where you are allowed to camp in the bush. Located just one hour northeast of Perth, it’s a fantastic spot to check out. I’ve often described this place as a cross between Dwellingup and Serpentine. It has the beautiful Avon river flowing through the National park, a myriad of walking trails, BBQ and picnic facilities and most importantly, a place for you to camp!

You need to book the campsites, which you can do by ringing 9290 6100 and speaking to a ranger. The camp sites are located a few minutes drive away from the main picnic and riverside area, but are in a nice cleared section of bush.

As it is a National Park, day passes apply (unless you have an annual pass). It’s $12 per vehicle. You can find out more about these here. The Camp fees are the usual $7.50 per night.

The wildflowers are spectacular here in season, and with plenty of tracks to walk on you’ll see heaps of them. If you want to know more about the national park, you can read the full post here: Walyunga National Park.

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Easy access, with fire rings available.

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Walking along the Avon River.

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Enjoy a picnic overlooking the river.

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BBQ Facilities available.

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Lots of wildflowers around in season.

2. Lane Poole Reserve

An hour and a half south of Perth lies Lane Poole Reserve, just out of Dwellingup. We’ve been going to Lane Poole Reserve every year for a long time now, and always love it. There are 10 different camp sites which vary from huge open areas to more private sites that only house two sets of campers.

The beautiful Murray River runs right through the reserve and is fantastic for swimming, canoeing, white water rafting and fishing.

Fires are permitted when the fire danger is low, and it is a brilliant spot to enjoy a good fire on a cold evening. It does get very cold in the middle of winter, so take your warm gear!

There are plenty of 4WD and mountain bike tracks in the area too.

Again, National Park and camping fee apply. The entry fee is $12 per vehicle unless you have a National Park pass. Camping fee’s range from $7.50 per night to $10, depending on where you stay.

You can read the full post here; Dwellingup. If you want to book a camp site, you can do so here.

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Fishing in a beautiful part of the Murray River.

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Watching the fog come in on a cold winters morning.

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One of the huge open campsites on a busy weekend.

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Enjoying the little rock slides.

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What a magic place.

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A good campfire on a freezing night.

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Plenty of 4WD tracks around the place.

3. Waroona Dam

Lake Navarino, or Waroona Dam, has long been a popular place to camp. You can stay at the Holiday park, or take the bush camping option (which we do every time!) and stay nearer the dam itself. Both are booked through Lake Navarino Holiday Park.

Waroona Dam is pretty big, and is well known for skiing and fresh water fishing. There’s also fantastic 4WD tracks around the Dam and plenty of places to relax and soak up the scenery.

Fires are permitted in season, and the camping fees range from $12 to $17 per person per night, depending on where you camp, if its peak season and if you need power or not.

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Camping within 50 metres of the Dam.

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Plenty of room for water skiing and tubing.

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When the wind dies off its a magic place.

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Exploring some of the 4WD tracks around the Dam.

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Sunset over the orange gravel is spectacular.

4. Belvidere

If coastal camping is more your thing, Belvidere is a great little spot we found a few years back. The actual campsite is a few minutes drive back from the beach, tucked in between Leschenault Inlet and Belvidere Beach. At only an hour and 40 minutes away from Perth, it’s easily doable on a Friday afternoon.

The beach here is soft, and you will need a 4WD to drive along it. It’s substantially quieter than Preston and Myalup Beach, but the fishing is just as good.

It’s a DPAW camp site, and the fees are $7.50 per person per night. There is also provision for camper trailer and caravan’s here, and the firewood is usually provided.

If you want to read the full post, you can find it here; Camping at Belvidere.

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Set up with the Oztents at Belvidere.

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Your typical camp site at Belvidere.

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Belvidere Beach; fishing for salmon.

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Lots of opportunity for good fish.

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We landed several nice salmon.

5. Honeymoon Pool

If you’ve ever seen the Collie River, you’d know it’s a beautiful spot to stop and soak up the scenery. Honeymoon Pool is a DPAW campsite located right on the bank of the river and is 2WD and 4WD accessible. It’s just 2 hours south of Perth and is a stunning part of the world.

The Lennard 4WD track is well worth the drive, but be aware that it does get closed once the rain hits, to avoid substantial damage to the track.

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Collie River just off the Lennard 4WD Track

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Amazing walks along the Collie River

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You can swim, but it gets cold!

6. Martins Tank

An hour and a half south of Perth, 10 minutes drive from the coast lies Martins Tank. It’s another DPAW camp site, set amongst the peppermint trees.

This was done up in 2013 and caters for tents, caravans and camper trailers. Campfires are permitted in season, and fees are $10 per person per night.

This campsite must be booked online in advance, which you can do here.

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Enjoying our own little slice of the beach.

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Martins Tank Campsites.

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Enough shade and the usual facilities.

7. Wellington Dam

The last, but certainly not least camp site near Perth is Wellington Dam. At just over 2 hours south of Perth its a great drive to an even better location. Potters Gorge is the formal DPAW campsite, which has recently been refurbished and caters for a number of campers. This site, however, gets extremely busy very quickly.

If you have a 4WD, there are plenty of other campsites around the dam if you are prepared to do a bit of driving. Even on a popular long weekend, we had no issues finding a handful of good campsites along the banks of Wellington Dam and ended up camping in a beautiful location.

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Could you ask for a better spot?

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We’ve had plenty of fun enjoying the 4WD tracks.

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Sunset over the dam; what a way to end the day.

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Huge tree’s rustling in the breeze.

Look after these places

It is a huge privilege being able to access these amazing camp sites. Don’t wreck them for everyone else; take your rubbish home, go to the toilets responsibly, have a fire with some common sense (when allowed) and don’t be a muppet.

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Historic Bodalla Anglican Church

Rob and I love looking at the architectural structure of old buildings particularly of old churches. And the Historic Bodalla Anglican Church doesn’t disappoint. It was built in 1881. You can read the details of the history at the Narooma Anglican.com.

So feast your eyes at some of the images. You are welcome to visit and take photos. It is a working church and thus has a communion service on Sundays. You can also enter the building to see the effect of the stained glass windows with the glorious light streaming in.
Remember you can click on each of the photos to bring up a larger view!

Free camping on the Snowy River

We drove into Orbost around 2pm where we went shopping then headed for a free camp out the Marlo Road, free camping beside the Snowy River.

The Snowy River runs into the sea nearby at Marlo. There are several free-camps right on the banks of the Snowy River just south of Orbost and north (west) of Marlo from which you can free camp, fish or even launch a kayak.

We have a fantastic spot right on the river which we are sharing with a bout 6 other campers. The local council even encourage free camping here for 48 hours. They even mow the camp grounds. Our camp (the one closest to Marlo) has a small fishing jetty which was popular even with the locals. We had one returned local fishing at the same time as a camper and one caught maybe 6 mallet however the other guy caught nothing. (We are like the unlucky fisherman, we just don’t seem to have the knack!)

We camped just 3m from the water. What a wonderful place to sit and watch the waters pass by. The only drawback is that it is alongside the only road between Orbost and Marlo and surprisingly quite busy, well busy enough to make it not a peaceful camp.

From this camp ground we took a couple of trips leaving the motorhome behind to Cape Conran and Marlo where the Snowy River actually runs into the sea. We also did our grocery shopping in Orbost and I can highly recommend the sausage rolls at the bakery in the middle of the main street!
We enjoyed sitting at the tables under the trees watching the world go by.

We were totally fascinated with the white eyes of this dog.

 

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