Date Registered: 01-2015
TOTAL POSTS: 16
Byfield National Park (North of Yeppoon)
I just thought I'd share my recent experience trying to get to Nine Mile Beach at the Byfield National Park as I couldn't find anyone having done a trip report in the forum when I was researching this camping spot.
So my partner Cate and I were travelling from Brisbane to Mackay to see her side of the family and we wanted to break the driving up over two days, what better excuse to do some camping, test out the new camping fridge and exploring of new areas!
After doing a bit of looking around at potential camping sites we settled on a camping site called Pandanus at nine mile beach, byfield national park north of yeppoon, qld. The sites were back off the beach on the dunes with views of the beach and water and were quite small in numbers. Sounded perfect!
We had hit the road at 4am on boxing day morning to beat the traffic and also to get up there at a reasonable time as the drive was approximately 8 hours from kilcoy where we'd had Christmas with my family. Anyone in coastal qld will know the weather was pretty miserable that day, we were driving mostly between overcast and rainy skies. The good thing i was thinking was that the sandy track to get to the beach might be compacted because of the rain and make it easy going.
Byfield National Park is about 30 minutes drive north of yeppoon and based right near a forestry so there is quite a mix of scenery of forestry type pine trees, bush rainforest and beach scrub. There was a nice picnic area accessible by 2wd on the edge of the park where we stopped for lunch. You could also camp in this area which was the rainforest part of the park.
From here it is about a 15-20 minute drive through the forestry and the hard sandy/rocky track to the tyre pressure bay before the real fun began. We pulled over and let our tyres down to 20 psi and took off.
The inland track to the beach is probably 6km long and forces you to go up a big sand dune aptly called "big sandy". There is a mix of one way and two way tracks so be wary of oncoming cars, we had to back up a few times. You also can tune into the local uhf channel 40 to talk to cars on the track which helped us immensely!
Big Sandy is deceptively long and steep, especially towards the end and the track, conditions were pretty bouncy which meant i couldn't carry too much speed up the dune for fear of damaging vital bits of the car. So I left the car in first gear, 4wd lock and took off up the dune (i tried 2nd gear and auto on various occasions but the car would slow down to a stop almost immediately).
We were within 20 metres of the top of the hill when the dreaded 4wd overheating issue occurred and the car reverted back to 2wd and we stopped immediately. We weren't bogged, but had no flat area to reverse to get a run up. Once the 4wd system had cooled down a little bit, we gave it another couple of goes but would only get 5 metres or so until it would lose power and overheat.
By this point we'd blocked one of the lanes for people coming down the dune and a nice convoy offered to tow us up but I wasn't confident being dragged up a hill from the front of the exxy. So we aired down to 16 psi, reversed back to the flattest part of the slope that was nearby, got the recovery tracks out to try and get a bit more momentum and gave it one last crack. The recovery tracks did their job and I got some good speed and momentum and looked like i was going to make it! Unfortunately for one last time, the 4wd system overheated and we were defeated. I didn't want to risk doing serious damage to the car so we made the longggg journey reversing down the dune until there was an area we could do a 3 point turn and drive out with our proverbial tail between our legs haha.
Apparently once you got to the top of the dune it was pretty easy going down to the beach so we were especially disappointed at being defeated by Big Sandy. We didn't get any photos due to me driving and Cate being busy on the uhf radio directing traffic around us and also guiding me down the dune. She deserves a special mention running up and down the dunes in the humid weather, thanks Cate!! Needless to say were both a little sweaty and worked up when we got down the bottom that a cold beer was had to calm the nerves while the car cooled down in the shade.
Now because I don't like losing at anything amd I've done a fair bit of beach driving at fraser, Double Island and Bribie Island with no issues, I'm going to ask forum members if they have had issues like this before and what my downfall might have been, I see three main possibilities:
1. It was just too steep a hill in the soft sand for the exxys 4wd system. Was this affected by driving 8 hours to get there? I am not sure...
2. As we are on the road for at least a week we had a bit of gear with us so were carrying a bit of extra weight. The car wasn't sagging as we have heavy duty springs and a lift kit, or dragging on the sand but it did seem to struggle for pick up in the sand on the hill.
3. Maybe the car was just slightly under powered for the job. Watching other cars tackle the hill, they were all diesels and absolutely fanging it up to get through the choppy sand. Their driving style also led to the track being in pretty rubbish condition, another rant for another time...
I am slightly disappointed we didn't get to our camping location especially seeing as we didn't get bogged, but you live and you learn. Still proud of the exxy. She then turned around and drove us to Mackay. All up about 14 odd hours spent in the car that day.
P.S. I'm happy to answer any specific questions people may have about the day or my car.
2010 T31 4WD ST-L Manual
Pedders 35mm lift kit
Yokohama Geolander A/T 225/65R17
ECB 63mm bulbar, 23" LED light bar
Rhino Roof Racks with awning and half basket
27/Dec/2016, 7:30 am