4wd club

Watagans Day Trip

trip report

Written By ~ Sheila Eiffert

Participants ~ Ian & Sarah - HiLux Ute - Trip Leaders Malcolm & Arron - Pajero Lutz & Innes - HiLux Alexander Fry - HiLux Ute Josephu Che - Pajero John Difazio - HiLux Ute Steve & Valerie - 100 Series Richard & Sheila 100 Series

Duration ~ One day
Destination ~ Watagan Mountains


A wonderful day out with great people in the Watagans.

trip report
trip report
trip report
trip report
trip report


We were all due to meet at Mooney Mooney for 8:30am, but as it was a beautiful crisp morning most of us were early.  We were on the road by 8:40am heading off down the freeway towards our destination which was the Watagans. It didn’t take long for the fun to start. As I had never been to the Watagans, I had no hesitation at following our leader off at the Doyalson exit and as we were in perfect convey procedures everybody else followed too. It wasn’t long before we were in beautiful rural surroundings just enjoying being out in the country.

Then our intrepid leader started doubting that his GPS was playing nicely with him and reported that we may be slightly off course. None of us minded as we ended up doing a bit of a loop through the country side to find ourselves re-entering the freeway where we had exited. All part of the fun.

Up the freeway again, with Ian now trusting himself instead of his GPS, we exited at Mandalong Road and quite quickly found ourselves in the Watagans and almost immediately started hearing the calling of the Bell Birds. We took the Rock Forrest Road which led us into some tricky bits of road where all the guys got their first bit of fun playing with their rescue gear and winches as Ian got himself stuck almost vertically. 

We moved on into the Jilliby State Park to our next adventure which was traversing the very steep side of a small vertical hill. Not all of the group attempted it as it was obvious you either needed a monster vehicle or diff locks, but it was just as much fun watching as doing it.

John who had a monster HiLux Ute with what to me looked like a 20 inch lift and gigantic tyres, just ate the climb alive. I don’t think anything could have stopped his car. The real drama’s came when Innes decided to give it ago. 

Innes knew the car could do it as Lutz had already run the course, but for her, the car didn’t want to behave. After quite a few attempts, much noise and a bit of smoke Innes made it up the hill. Whilst most of the guys had concerned looks on their faces, I have to admit that as Innes had kindly allowed me to join her as a passenger I had a great time. Well done Innes. I would like to think the looks of concern were for us, but I am sure it was for the car!  It was a fun hill and most of the HiLux’s did it with ease.

We continued along a very narrow bouncy track through to Prickley Ridge Road where we found a really big deep mud hole. So, of course that had to be driven through with Alex getting stuck, but it made more fun with the need for another rescue. 

We stopped and had lunch at Olney Camping Area which I was quite surprised to find was fairly populated with campers as it was just a normal weekend. It started raining just when we were finishing lunch. We started off down an overgrown track which didn’t seem to be that challenging and we all assumed it was going to be one of the easier tracks of the day. Suddenly, the track turned into a major drama, as we met a very tight U bend that had a rock jutting out at an angle which really gave most of us difficulty getting around it. This was immediately followed by an extremely steep hard climb which was now a bit slippery.

We slowly managed our way around the rock only to find Ian stuck towards the top of the steep climb. With everyone else still getting around the rock, Ian had been on his own, but luckily had a winch on his car which he used to pull himself out of his predicament. 

Now we each had to get up the steep slope. Everyone was standing around the top of the slope assessing it and next it was Richard’s turn. Richard having watched the difficulty Ian had getting up the slope suddenly changed from the placid driver he normally is and gunned it, charging up the slope like a torpedo, scaring everyone to death and scattering them. He was told he was very impressive.

It took us a while to get everyone around the U bend then up the slope. We all had a bit of fun getting up the slope. 

Unfortunately, it took its toll as Alex realised his brakes had been affected and on removing his wheel discovered the brake line had been ripped off. After discussion, we crimped the brake line which meant Alex just had the use of his other brakes. Back on the tracks again, we soon stopped for an afternoon tea break. 

We started heading out of the Watagans through Walkers Ridge, going out the same way we had come in, down beautiful Watagan Forest Drive, towards Prickly Ridge Road when Ian decided to do a detour over a hill at Cut Rock Road which Alex had noticed when we drove in. Again we thought this seemed simple enough but it ended up being one of the most scariest things some of us had ever done in the 4WD. At one point whilst we were actually safe, the angle of the hill made you feel like the car was going to roll over onto its side and go over the edge of a cliff that you were hanging over. It was probably the most exhilarating ride of the whole day and then we decided to head home. 
It was a wonderful day out with great people. Thanks of course to Ian for being such a great Trip Leader and organising such a memorable day.