An exceptional 4x4 experience in the Deua National Park in the hinterland behind the NSW South Coast town of Moruya.
This trek of 145 km can be done in one long day but unless you are a local (like me!) I suggest you spread it over 2 or 3 days.
The first day could be spent travelling to Moruya which has all facilities. After stocking up on the essentials head NW along Araluen Road for 33 km to Dry Creek Campground turnoff on the left. This beautiful campsite on the Duea River would be a great spot for the first night.
Immediately the next morning is the Duea River crossing where care should be taken especially at higher river flows. Follow the Dry Creek Fire Trail west for 7 km where it joins The Merricumbene Fire Trail. A further 31 km is Bendethera Trig which is a short detour to your right and at an elevation of around 1000 meters. This is the third time since leaving the Duea River (elevation 10 meters) that this trail has ascended to 1000 meters so the 4x4ing is classic with several steeply eroded ascents (and corresponding descents) with tight corners to negotiate. Suitably prepared and capable vehicles with similar drivers are essential. Turn right after exiting Bendethera Trig onto The Bendethera Fire Trail. (The other road at this intersection leads to Little Sugarloaf Road which is the way out after visiting Benethera itself.) After 7 km of yellow clayey road which is treacherous in the wet you reach the Dampier Mtn Fire Trail which is avoided by turning right and then once again you cross The Duea River. There are numerous fantastic camping sites spread along the river for the next 4 km so take your pick for the second night. On the left is the turn off to Bendethra Caves (take your torch) which is a 4 km 1.5 hour walk. Further straight on are some great sites where I have camped during the height of the drought (and the Duea still flowed well).
There is lots written on Bendethera (try Google or any 4wdrive trip book) praising this beautiful valley and its wildlife. All of it is true and this is what makes Bendethera one of the premier 4x4 destination in Australia.
Next morning this trek unfortunatley backtracks to Bendethera Trig . The right turn is taken which leads to Little Sugarloaf Road, then right onto Western Boundary Road, then left onto the bitumen of The Princes Hway. A few kms up the road is the turn off to Tuross Head (where I live!) which is then end of this trek.
Lindsay and the magnificent polar bear
|47488||came in to bendethera from the dry creek fire trail then along mericumbene f/t great fun few steep sections had lunch at bendethera then back to moruya north head camp ground.took about 6 hours to complete with 1 1/2 hour lunch break||Toyota Landcruiser||Feb 21, 2015|
|10798||Drove in on the Dampier Fire Trail, camped at Bendethera for a couple of nights then tried to drive out the same way. The track was blocked by a couple of very large trees about 10k from Bendethera. Ended up following the Merricumbene Fire Trail out to the Araluen Road. River crossings were about wheel high. Tracks look to have been recently graded for the most part, a little wet but not difficult. Low range, low gear, aired down and taken steady. Made for a long drive out.||Toyota Prado||Jan 30, 2015|
|15609||October 2014 the Merricumbeen Track had been fully graded so is quite easy. However it has a lot of extremely steep sections. Its a great track to drive with excellent scenery and no risk of panel damage. Bendethera campground is outstanding. A very long steep climb out I wouldn't like to be towing anything.||Jeep Grand Cherokee||Oct 11, 2014|
|47921||Nissan Patrol||Apr 20, 2014|
|17302||I drove this in dry dusty conditions. All easy except one extremely dusty hill along Merricumbene Fire Trail. More notes added below.||Toyota Prado||Oct 5, 2013|
|29455||Merricumbene Fire Trail is fantastic drive, its still steep and quite rocky in sections. Took us 6 hours or so taking it easy. Well worth the drive. Bendethera is one of greatest camp grounds I've seen, so many place to camp its crazy! Caves are great and a swim in the river is fantastic!||Toyota Hilux||Apr 3, 2013|
|11304||Steep sections||Toyota Landcruiser||Mar 28, 2013|
|26511||great track mostly steep sections but overall good traction came in the dry and left in the wet and had no problems||LandRover Discovery||Jan 25, 2013|
|24489||Completed WC 09/01/12. Followed in a North to South direction. The track was quite easy, but did have a few steep up and downhill sections. Would be much trickier in the wet. Was a great scenic trip and Bendethera was fantastic as usual! Will be back again.||Jeep Wrangler||Jan 17, 2012|
|13718||Was great fun. We actually started at Braidwood and went along the Merricumbene to Moruya, crossing the Deua River last (cleaned the cars up nicely). There were a couple of hills that would have been handy to have diff locks (front or rear) or mud tyres, but most of these tracks were pretty smooth and easy. The up/down tended to get a bit monotonous though. Completed in stock (except BFG AT Tyres) Triton and 4Runner SR5||Mitsubishi Triton||Oct 31, 2011|
|21879||great track, but definately need a couple of days to really enjoy it||Toyota Landcruiser||Sep 18, 2011|
|20258||Mitsubishi Pajero||Jul 15, 2011|
|13084||Great fun track, which I've done twice. Can be done on road tyres if it's not been wet. Otherwise some small parts can get very muddy / slippery. The steep shaley sections down towards Bendethera valley are difficult.||Mitsubishi Pajero||Aug 4, 2010|
|11004||Not a bad trail into bendethera! i did enjoy it :) pretty easy can be done in a stock car with all terrain in the dry :)||Mitsubishi Pajero||Aug 9, 2010|
|4498||nice track just keeps climbing would be a handfull in the wet did it 6 months ago,good directions polar bear cheers||Toyota Landcruiser||Dec 17, 2009|
|5946||Jeep Wrangler||Sep 22, 2009|
|4735||Fun low range driving,track from Moruya end is steep but in very good condition(best after dark entrance)Valley and camp sites are really nice,left the valley and headed to the trig(steep rocky with cutbacks) then out via sugarloaf rd.||Nissan Patrol||Jul 20, 2009|
|4033||Toyota Hilux||Apr 11, 2009|
|3985||Toyota Hilux||Apr 7, 2009|
|2064||they tell me its hard||Toyota Landcruiser||Oct 17, 2008|
|1913||Nissan Navara||Oct 1, 2008|
|3466||Nissan Patrol||Feb 16, 2007|
|12401||Not hard at all if you have low range||Toyota Landcruiser||Nov 15, 2005|
|2524||great 4x4ing that is extremely slippery in the wet but an unreal track that doesn't let up||Toyota Hilux|