Date Registered: 10-2010
Location: Bathurst, NSW
TOTAL POSTS: 147
Re: Bathurst and beyond
Had nothing to do on New Year's eve so a last minute decision saw me heading West out of Bathurst about 3pm on the Ophir Rd.. I've done this trip before so I decided to check out some of the dirt side roads which saw me zig zag from Ophir Rd, via Cashens Lane, back onto the Mitchell Highway and then onto the Guyong Byng Rd weaving my way via Lewis ponds to the Ophir reserve.
At this point the plan was to go through to Orange then head home via Cowra, so I made my way via Lookout Rd to Mullion Creek, but once I hit Long Point Rd and saw the 4WD sign my plans quickly changed.
After reviewing some maps I thought I'd give the 'shortcut' from Orange to Hill End a go. Although I've lived in Bathurst for over 20 years I'd never travelled this road and I vaguely recalled Toddy having posted a Trip Report about this some years earlier, so I thought what the hell!
Enough fuel - tick; enough time - by now it was closing in on 5pm but that shouldn't be a problem; Correct shoes - unfortunately no I only had the Pirelli Scorpion Verde shoes on - but they 'should' be fine.
Long Point Rd was in pretty good condition as it wound it's way down to the Macquarie River crossing. The crossing was very rocky with a depth of around 3/4 wheel height, but made it easily. (I'd say probably around the same depth as when Toddy posted his original trip report)
The track out (Dixons Long Point Rd) was tight, twisting and a little rutted which provided some wheel spin on the fully inflated road tyres, but was fairly straight forward. Not far after the crossing I came to a cattle grid with a lowered Holden ute parked in the middle with it's bonnet up. They had a bung water pump and were refilling to get themselves home after having gone down to the river for a swim. While chatting I told them where I'd been and got the usual Xtrail nay sayer question, 'Did you cross the river in the that? Was it hard?"
Anyway radiator finally filled (their's not mine) and I continued to Hill End.
At this point the sun was starting to sink into the West and I was going to head straight back to Bathurst, but no once again the plan changed. I decided I'd head across to Sofala and then via the Upper Turon to Dark Corner onto the Highway and back to Bathurst. I've been this way a couple of times before, but on both occasions I'd travelled East to West so it was going to be interesting to see which way was easier.
The Turon River crossings were all really low, but some of the track was rougher than I'd seen before with small washouts and rutting in places, so a little slow, but still easily managed.
Okay so now it was time to enter the 'gated zone', which is usually the roughest part of the track and today was to be no exception. For about 90% of this I was in 1st gear, with some significant stone out crops to traverse. On one slightly up hill section and trying to be as careful as possible to not drop down onto a rock I found myself having to ride the clutch to keep the revs up, but at a snails pace. Yes I did stall it 3 times, but the lack of traction from road shoes didn't help there . On a couple of the downhill sections I found myself alternatively creeping down on 3 shoes, but only needed to call on the bash plates once.
The rest of the trip back was relatively easy, except for the fading light and hordes of kangaroos, but as was par for the day I again changed my mind and instead of going via sunny Corner I decided to take Mt Horrible Rd and come back into town through Limekilns.
So what started out as an afternoon drive ended up being a 6 hour adventure through some stunning country. The majority of the trip was relatively easy and I'd say that the crossing of the Macquarie river was the most concerning on that part of the trip. As for the Upper Turon gated section it's a lot rougher than I remember and definitely the trickiest and most difficult part of the entire trip. I think that West to East is slightly harder.
Next time I'll make sure I get some footage.
2010 T31 Series III Manual TL Diesel Flint: Bash plates,Strut Bar,bonnet struts,Nudge Bar & lights,Bonnet & H'Light protectors,Side Steps,Roof Spoiler,Towbar,Kick plates, Pedders lift, dual battery, etc..
1/Jan/2017, 1:32 pm