Wombat State Forest Range Rover Club Trip 18th May, 2003

Trip Leaders

Mike Farrow & Sermin Tanyeri

Range Rover


Neil Buttigieg


John Cunning

Land Rover

Kwok Chan

Range Rover

Gareth Brown


Mark Fitzgerald


Tail End Charlie

Manole Ioannou


Report: Mark Fitzgerald

Mineral Springs Hotel before departure

We all met at the Mineral Springs Hotel, just short of Spargo Creek at 9:00, and after quick introductions, a run down on the convoy procedures, tyre deflations and a radio check we were off by 9:30.

We headed off the main road and were soon on the dirt, heading along Werribee Track, which was wet and only slightly rutted.  This track was of a reasonable standard, having a solid base and no clearance issues and was easily traversed in 2WD.  The track took us past a burnt area of forest which was set up as a Forest Effects Research Area.  Signs at each end indicated that this area of the forest was divided into 5 separate sections.  One area was left unburnt as a control and each of the other 4 areas were burnt at different set intervals.  From memory, one area was burnt every autumn & spring, one each year, one every 5 years and one every 10 years.  This was done to study the effects of fire on the forests regeneration.

At the end of Wombat Track, we turned right onto a 2WD gravel road and then turned left onto another track which took us past some farmland and up past Edwards Hill.  Again, this track was solid and posed no problems or challenges, being only slightly potholed, even though the track was quite wet from the days drizzle.  We drove past some recently logged areas, and areas signposted as being set aside for commercial logging as well as domestic firewood collection areas.

We took a right turn onto Mayhers Track, which soon started to climb with the track became rockier, prompting a precautionary recommendation to drop down to low range.  The track became in parts slightly overgrown; nothing too serious however with only some soft shrubs encroaching the track.  The track turned out to still be quite tame, having a solid base with a little water in some of the larger ruts.

From here we turned right onto a 2WD gravel road, which took us past Wombat Creek Road where it was getting quite misty and foggy.  We made our way right onto Leynards Hill Track, another 2WD gravel road then left, at a crossroads keeping us on Leynards Hill Track when the rain started to come down quite heavily.

We soon crossed a marker indicating the Great Dividing Range, with an elevation in the low 700s before turning right onto Post Office Track.  This track took us down to some more serious 4WDing.  We passed through some more heavily logged areas with the occasional Pink Heath along the track edge.  The track started to descend through some forest that didn't appear to have been logged for some time, the trees being much taller, thicker and denser than what we had passed earlier today.

Passing through the bogholes

The track was becoming wetter, with a number of bogholes; none which gave us much trouble as they all had quite firm, solid bases.  A left turn into Paddock Track brought us to some more substantial bogholes.

Gareth got stuck in one of these bog holes.  Mike and myself listened on the radio to see what the hold up was, and returned back through a couple of bogholes to see if any recovery assistance was required.  Everything was under control, and John performed a snatch recovery of Gareth out backwards.  Gareth's front diff was hanging up on the top of the rut in the soft clay.  He was easily able to bypass the obstacle by straddling the ruts on the left hand side.

Two bogholes further on however proved far more disastrous, with Gareth getting well and truly bogged.  He ended up taking on a good bit of muddy water to the inside of his car before being snatched out.  Mike made it through without any serious problems.  I got stuck half way through where the bottom had become quite soft and had to use both front and rear diff-locks to reverse back out and try it a bit faster; making it through.  John gave it an unsuccessful go, and I was able to snatch him out forwards, while the rest of the group drove around this one.

A number of other bogholes along this track were all passed without incident or need of recovery, as we continued through the mist shrouded gums.

We stopped for a late morning tea near an old rundown bridge.  The bridge ran across a steep railway cutting, which at one point in the past the rail line to Daylesford passed through.  Now it appeared to be a dumping ground for stolen and abandoned cars.  A track ran up and around a nearby graded mound, providing a very steep section which a number of us practised ascents and descents on before we all pulled up for a warm coffee and snacks.

After our tasty beverages, we were all back in our cars descending  a steepish track alongside the gas pipeline.  Climbing up the other side brought us to some more heavily logged areas, with the ubiquitous logging tracks meandering in all directions, many of which we took before finding ourselves on a track that seemed to have more trees growing on the track then along the sides of it.  A bit more backtracking and we were heading in the right direction, giving all of the cars an opportunity to show-off their turning circles.

We passed even more logged areas, where the track was well graded and covered in crushed rock as it was likely used by the logging trucks; but it soon became rougher.  We descended steeply into a lovely valley through some thick forest; the muddy boghole at the bottom of the valley had a small steep exit, but everybody made it through with no dramas.

We were now driving on the other side of the logged areas, and the track had become quite slippery.  There was a layer of wet clay on the track surface which clogged the tyre treads.  Kwok felt this the most, having to make a number of attempts around a sharp corner as he was running road tyres.  Everybody else with All Terrains or more aggressive got around the corner without problems.

Lunch time in the mist

We then arrived at our lunch stop, where we relaxed, ate and chatted until 2:15 when we packed up and departed as a light drizzle began to fall.  We turned right onto a 2WD gravel road alongside a clear felled logging area, and surprisingly at this late hour it was still quite foggy.

Turning left down Batson Still Track took us through some very scenic forest, which included a clear grassy area surrounded by trees which would make a good campsite.  There were a number of muddy patches, but the track was quite firm and not slippery and easily driven in 2WD.

We came out of the forest into farmland and private property, passing a number of very old rusting cars and truck bodies.  Before we knew it we were back at the Hotel, pumping up tyres, and giving our farewells and thanks to Mike before returning home.