We had Four novice four wheel drivers on the trip, Todd who was the lucky CTEK prize winner brought along three mates, Andrew, Steven and Fawzie. The XDrive Land Cruiser 100 series was fully loaded with two fridges stocked full of all the essentials we would need for the weekend before we set off from the Sunshine Coast to catch the barge from the Port of Brisbane across to Moreton Island.
We would be relying heavily on our batteries over the weekend, one being Century batteries and two being Optima batteries and we were grateful to have them ensuring everything would run smoothly. The weather was on the fair to wet side but thanks to our new Trico windscreen wipers, we had clear vision all the time.
The ferry trip took 90 minutes and as we watched the Brisbane skyscrapers shrink into the distance I handed out the XDrive GME TX6150 two-way radios that would ensure we all kept in contact no matter where we were on the island.
Disembarking from the ferry was quick and after hitting the beach just North of Tangalooma, originally part of the whaling station, we turned sharp left and headed north to our destination, Bulwer under the guidance of our Hema HN7. The run up the beach was really pleasant with an outgoing tide and plenty of sand to drive on.
Before reaching Bulwer, we took time to visit the concrete ‘gun placements’ which were a remnant from the second world war when Moreton Island was a strategic location to protect Brisbane from a Japanese air strike. 900 Troops were once stationed on Moreton Island to protect the Port of Brisbane, with both anti-aircraft guns and mine control buildings.
At the beach access to Bulwer, we were presented with a group of wrecks and made a short stop to have a look around. Inside one of the wrecks were the remains of a sea turtle, still quite intact but missing a flipper. Then it was off on our way to Castaways in Bulwer. The tented camp introduced us boys to the world of ‘glamping‘ and we enjoyed the luxury of sleeping in style.
Since Steven had elected to catch the later ferry across to Moreton Island due to work commitments, we made a return journey to Tangalooma to fetch him. This time we took the inland track and visited Cape Moreton and the Lighthouse. The lighthouse has an interesting but turbulent history. It was constructed by the convicts of the day using local sandstone and there are numerous gravestones which tell the tale of life and death on the island which was certainly not the idyllic place we visit today.
High Tide After collecting Steven, we took a turn and visited the Tangalooma Resort for a while and then it was time to head back to camp. By this time the tide was turning pretty quickly and the light would soon be fading, so with radios at the ready, we were on our way. The beach had taken quite a pounding from high winds and surf over the past week and as such now that the tide was in, we found that there was very little beach to drive on, thus forcing us to drive on the narrow verge above the high watermark. Even this proved difficult at times with the verge becoming too narrow and forcing us to ‘drop’ off the rather steep ledge onto the sand, and then time our run between the waves as they pounded in. Our novice drivers learnt quickly that following orders was essential, and to their credit, they shadowed our vehicles and safely negotiated some rather large ‘drop-offs’ and wash aways. When one of the drop-offs was just far too steep, we dropped onto the stream bed and with a quick turn and splash onto the beach. The light was fading by now but thanks to our Hella spotlights, we arrived safely back at camp. This experience became known as the “high tide adventure” and one of the highlights of the prize.
The Desert Paul from Bainbridge/CTEK was due to arrive the next morning and after a good nights sleep, we headed back to the ferry to collect Paul who was going to spend some time with us and meet Todd the Bainbridge/CTEK prize winner. On the way to meet up with Paul, we took a short detour through the Middle Road to visit The Desert. There were some eager visitors doing ‘sand surfing’ and Todd and his mates wanted to take a closer look.
Paul, in the meantime had disembarked and called us from his mobile phone. Well, all I can say is “don’t rely on mobile phones when you are on the island” as this was a classic example of how mobile phones can be unreliable when travelling. After many calls backwards and forwards and a few runs through Middle Road, we eventually met up with Paul on the Eastern Beach. On this side of the island the wind was blowing gales so we moved on and travelled further south, passing a skull of a whale which had washed up on the beach.
TIP: Driving on the beach after it has rained does not present any real challenge besides the main issue of keeping your speed down and being on the look out for wash-aways or items that may have been washed up during the high tide. It is a good idea to keep in mind that people sun tanning or fishing on the beach do not always hear vehicles coming above the noise of the wind and waves. As a Four Wheel Driver, it is imperative that we keep a look out for people or animals on the beach especially in the High Season.
Fan belt fun At Mirapool Lagoon, Paul told us that his vehicle had thrown a drive-belt. So, after a picnic lunch and a few rounds of softball, we attended to Paul’s vehicle. To ease some of the tension off the drive-belt we loosened it slightly. Paul’s Mazda BT50 has two drive-belts and fortunately at this stage only the one had broken completely, however, that being the case, the second one was only hanging on by a thread, so we hoped to nurse the vehicle back to camp.
Luck was not on our side, before we even entered back onto the beach, the second belt snapped as well. Now there was no choice, the BT50 would have to be towed all the way back. With our Bubba Rope hooked up and GME TX6150 hand-held radios close by, we set off. Once we got the vehicles up to a comfortable speed, with a flick of a switch, we locked the LandCruiser’s Wholesale Automatic‘s Torque Converter up in third gear and watched the temperature of the automatic transmission sit at a comfortable 75° whilst we monitored all the vital signs on our REDARC gauges.
The XDrive LandCruiser had recently been serviced and all the fluids had been replaced with top of the range, fully synthetic Nulon products, including the automatic transmission fluid, engine oil, transfer gearbox and differentials. Apart from our oils and fluid replacement, we also replaced all the filters. For complete peace of mind on the trails, we always carry a complete hose and belt kit suited to our vehicle from Terrain Tamer. This kit is supplied with all the correct components in a convenient bag easily stored under the seat.
TIP: I live by the old adage ‘oils are cheap, engines and mechanical components are expensive‘. Unfortunately, most manufacturers have ‘sealed for life’ automatic transmissions and people neglect to service these components. Remember our Four Wheel Drive vehicles are subject to far more extreme conditions than ordinary vehicles and all oils should be replaced on a regular basis.
Once we arrived at the Tangalooma Resort, we were lucky to locate a belt that fitted the Mazda and finally it could be driven under its own power back to camp. Back at camp, Paul gave us a really interesting talk on Bainbridge Technologies and showed us a new product called ‘Power Top’ which was already set up in his vehicle.
POWER TOP by Bainbridge Technologies
Power Top is essentially a ‘dual battery system’ set up and ready to go. There are various options available ranging from a USB to cigarette lighter sockets and even their own unique socket, which stops the leads from falling out due to vibration.
Fishing and Snorkeling Before it was time to head back to the mainland, we stopped at the wreck site to do some fishing and snorkeling. It had rained the previous evening so it was easy going for the vehicles on the damp sand. Fawzie decided to swim out to the wreck but it was further than he expected and the option of jumping aboard the inflatable boats that head out with tourists to the wrecks to snorkel got the better of him, and he jumped on board for a lift. It is important to note that even though the day was calm, while Fawzie was snorkeling, he ended up a considerable way down the beach and had to trek a fair distance back to us, which shows just how fast and strong the ocean current can be, even on a calm day.
Tasks that keep you prepared for next time Once we were aboard the ferry heading back to Brisbane, the Cooper tyres on our vehicles had to be re-inflated before dis-embarking and driving on tar roads once more. After fond farewells, we all headed back home. Traffic was particularly heavy and in some cases we were forced into a bumper to bumper position. The XDrive LandCruiser coped well with this traffic due to our RDA EBC brake discs and pads we had recently fitted.
There are some important duties to carry out once you are back home that will make life so much easier before heading out for your next trip.
- The Centuary batteries and our Optima Deep Cycle batteries were placed on the C-Tek Battery Charger (the C-Tek battery charger ensures that all batteries are fully charged and ready to go at a moments notice. Owning one of these smart chargers ensures that your batteries are kept at their optimum charge which will allow your batteries to last longer and work well.
- The LandCruiser was thoroughly washed and our Trico Windscreen Wipers were cleaned including our Hella lights and all fluids were checked and topped up using Nulon products. Our RDA EBC brakes were checked for wear due to the abrasion of sand and pronounced good for our next trip
- The GME 6150 hand-held radios were put on charge
- Our Hema HN7 navigation system was synced with our computer and all way points were logged for future reference
- Our Wholesale Automatic Transmission was checked, ready for use
- Our recovery gear from Terrain Tamer was repacked along with our first aid kit from First Aid Kits Australia.
- We also repacked our SafeJack and Pull Pal.
- Our Hi-Lift jack and Jack Mate was cleaned and greased and our Maxtrax repacked
- Our Bubba Rope was thoroughly washed and dried before being recoiled and stored for use next time.
- The Sandgrabba Mats proved to be really useful and easy to clean as all the sand was contained. This made cleaning the interior of the vehicle quick and easy.
- Our Wittam synthetic winch rope and extensions were cleaned and re spooled on our Warn Winch and ready for use
- Red Arc supplied our solar panel which was cleaned and repacked and all our Red Arc gauges and DC DC charger were checked and pronounced fit for our next trip
Thanks to all our sponsors for a successful trip and we look forward to next time ….
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