Track in good condition, no ruts, probably recently graded. Grading work included some humps to help shed water off the track which act as giant speed bumps on the climbs and kill any momentum.
Quite a chalange in a vehicle without low range.
Not sure where the bit below came from - I don\'t think I added it.
What is it when reality exceeds expectations? Its a day trip around the Lerderderg Gorge just half an hour west of Melbourne near Bacchus Marsh. This folks is another Hooly Dooly What A Woopty Doo day trip.
We set off on the Sunday of the Queen\'s Birthday long weekend. The weather was fine after two days of drizzle and our expectations were for an easy site seeing trip around the area. Just about all the tracks are to be closed off for winter on the 17th of June, so it was ideal to get up here just before closure.
We drove into Bacchus Marsh to stock up on some nibbles, then proceeded out of town along the Gisborne Road. Just out of town is a turn off to the left to the Lerderderg Gorge, this isn\'t very well sign posted, so take it easy in case you don\'t fly past.
We continued straight ahead at the Cameron Road (we will return here for the start of the trip) intersection to have a look at the Lerderg River at this end of the gorge. I can remember coming here years ago and fording the river for a picnic on the opposite bank, but now there is a large car park with toilets and picnic tables. A short walk and we were at the river, if you can call it that, as it was absolutely bone dry.
A quick trip back to the Cameron Road intersection where we turned left. This is still bitumen for a number of kilometers, but eventually the gravel is reached. Keep left at the Seerey Road intersection continuing along Cameron Road.
TIP: Consider dropping tyre pressures when the gravel is reached. This will make for a more comfortable ride, but more importantly, you\'ll have more traction in the difficult stuff.
You will soon reach the management gates (these are shut during the winter months) where Seerey Road once again joins Cameron Road and Cameron Road now becomes Blue Gum Track, keep left and go through the gates. Shortly after the intersection with Holts Road is reached, turn right here along Holts. Here things start to look a little more like 4WD, in the dry pretty easy, but in the wet could be quite slippery.
We continued along Holts where there was a little ford to negotiate (just a couple of puddles due to the drought) and then to the intersection with Nuggetty Track. Hooly Dooly, we were presented with a very short, steep, damp and loose climb. A bit of a quick look around and we saw a chicken track around the side of the hill.
Today wasn\'t the day for a chicken track, so out of the Prado for a climb up the track to work out the best strategy to get to the top. That done, back in the car with first gear low range selected. Wow, the first three quarters of the track went well, when suddenly the Prado started to bog down in the loose wet stuff, leaving the only option to gun it. A bit of wheelspin and scrambling for traction and we were at the top.
Boy, this is a great way to start a day of four wheel driving. Now, once at the top, the only option is to come down (well not really the only option, but the one we wanted). First gear low range was still selected, so we pointed the Prado down the hill. Using our poor mans hill descent we made it to the bottom with only one slight slip in the damp loose stuff.
TIP:Here\'s a technique that really helps control a vehicle in a slippery situation like this. With the vehicle moving slowly in first gear low range carefully put your left foot on the brake and lightly apply. At the same time apply a little more accelerator until you reach a situation where your left foot has a reasonable pressure on the brakes, but the accelerator usage has meant the engine is revving at about 1,000 RPM and the vehicle moving slowly. This will help stop the wheels from locking in the slippery mud as drive through all four wheels is maintained.
Down the bottom again we decided to go up the chicken track. Nuggety Track is a terrific little track with lots of small rocky outcrops, some nice rutted sections (most have chicken tracks around them) and some firm bottomed bog holes.
Nuggety winds its way up the mountains and eventually joins Blue Gum Track, however just a couple of hundred meters before this we hit a very steep wet clay section with two 600mm high rock ledges. First gear low range was again selected and off we go. So far so good, it was really slippery and already the wheels were starting to lose traction but we were still moving. Next we hit the first ledge and we came to a wheel spinning stop. Hit the brakes and stall the engine to avoid a slippery slide to the bottom.
A few deep breaths to clear the head and a stall start in reverse is initiated. Once safely back at the bottom we climb the track to see if there is any way we could get up, but it is just too slippery, the only way would be to winch. So for us it was a U turn back along Nuggety and Holts to Blue Gum Track where we turned right heading for Ratcliffe Track.
We reach the intersection and turn right into Ratcliffe Track. This track is quite easy, in fact some way along we caught up to a Subaru Forester along with a Pajero and a Discovery. We stop for a quick chat and to warn them to avoid Nuggety Track. Proceeding on, the track starts its decline to Goodman Creek where there is a rough ford and the track changes its name to No. 1 Firebreak Track.
A bit of a climb out of Goodmans Creek and then a leisurely drive along No. 1 Firebreak Track until we reached Firth Road. Here we turned left and looked for a place we could pull over for lunch.
There are a couple of unnamed 4WD tracks off to the right that lead to Saltwater Road, so it was decided to take one of these. Well it wasn\'t long before we reached a monster bog hole, vehicles had obviously over the years gone wider and wider to avoid the main bog, only to actually increase the size of it.
I jumped out the Prado to have a good look to see if it was possible to get across. After careful examination I found a small section through the middle of the bog that was relatively high where someone had previously filled ruts with timber. A very careful drive in first gear low range across the hump and then squeeze between trees. This is all on our DVD, so grab a copy and check it out. We plugged on further, but the track kept getting worse, so I decided for the second time today to turn around and head back to Firth Road.
Back at Firth Road we turned right heading for Possum Track off O\'Briens Road to the right, but when we reached the intersection, we found it it closed. We kept driving along O\'briens Road until we reached Upper Chadwick Track off to the right.
We had decided on this track to visit the ruin up near Diggers Creak. However, once reaching the place where the ruin should have been we could only see someones camp spot. Anothre about face and back to O\'Briens Road where we turned right where we headed the short distance to XL Track. We turned right here and proceeded down some steepish sections track and wound our way to the ford across Diggers Creek then climbed out the the creek and wound our way along a nice little track to eventually come onto Chettle Road.
We turned left a Chettle Road and made our way to Ambler Lane where we turned left. These tracks are all in good condition and offer some really nice scenic driving. Ambler Lane winds its way down to Diggers Creek once again for another ford and then climbs out the valley until the intersection with O\'Briens Road is reached. Here we turned left and headed for O\'Briens Crossing where there is a great, although popular, picnic area, with plenty of water in this section of the Lerderderg River. A great place for the kids to have a run.
The whole trip is pretty easy (except for the top end of Nuggety Track if it is wet) with just enough tougher sections to keep everyones interests. This trip is for proper Four Wheel Drives with a good low range ratio and reasonable clearance. Although we saw a Subaru Forester on one of the tracks, we would not recommend this type of vehicle for the trip.
Conservation Forests and Lands Victoria - Lerderderg Gorge
This is a great day trip covering around 200Km from Melbourne and back. It offers some mildly challenging sections of track and beautiful scenery. There are plenty of nice areas to stop for morning tea and lunch or to just let the kids run off a bit of steam. DVD\'s of this trip and others are now available.
The starting point for this trip is the Lerderderg Gorge turnoff just out of Bacchus Marsh on the Gisborne Road.
If the tracks are dry you will be able to continue along Nuggety Track until you reach Blue Gum Track where you turn right (if, like us, you are unable to make it up the last steep section of Nuggety, simply do a U turn an go all the way back to Blue Gum track and turn right).
Veer right at Cameron Road intresection.
Keep left at the Seerey Road intersection.
Once again keep left at Seerey Road and proceed through the management gates. You are now on Blue Gum Track.
Right Turn into Holts Road.
Turn right at Ratcliffe Track and continue through the river crossing where the track now becomes known as N0 1 Firebreak Track.
Left turn at.Firth Road.
Left turn at O\'Briens Road.
Turn right at Upper Chadwick Track.
Keep right at the fork (track on the left is the return part of the loop).
Right turn where loop re-enters main track.
Right turn into O\'Briens Road.
Right turn into XL Track.
Left turn into Chettle Road.
Left turn into Ambler Lane Track.
Keep straight ahead after the Lerderderg River crossing.
GLeft turn at O\'Briens Road.
Keep on O\'Briens Road - nice stop at O\'Briens crossing.
Continue along O\'Briens until a right turn at Blue Gum Link Track. This is just after Possum Track on your left.
Keep left at unnamed track.
Right turn into Blue Gum Track.
Continue along Blue Gum Track until you are back where you started the morning.
|51806||Track was dry. Fairly easy going except for the 2 hill climbs. First one steep and second has some deep ruts.||Ford Ranger||Mar 8, 2015|
|56485||First Track! Steep in some places. Tree over north end of the track, easy to get around.||Isuzu Mu||Mar 8, 2015|
|51806||Good easy track to learn on||Ford Ranger||Mar 6, 2015|
|53777||Easy with low range gears||Jeep Wrangler Unlimited||Feb 4, 2015|
|49606||Had no issues doing the track in my D40 with 32" Muddies and a 2" lift. Was some decent hill climes good fun but nothing too challenging. Good starters track.||Nissan Navara||Nov 12, 2014|
|48989||Mitsubishi Pajero||May 23, 2014|
|39681||Good fun track recommended if heading to the area||Toyota Hilux||Apr 24, 2014|
|47699||pretty fun track through sections. I started at the top and worked down and then came back up again. The Steep section was moist but not to muddy on the way up. Needed a few sticks and rocks to overcome one part of the incline but otherwise no probs. My triton is stock with m/t tyres||Mitsubishi Triton||Apr 13, 2014|
|36900||Most of the state parks tracks were closed till 31-10. However Nuggety was open. Not a hard track by any means. Was very very easy going. Few little rough bits. Didn't find any fun tracks in the state park. Mostly just gravel roads. Wont be going back there in a hurry!||Suzuki Vitara||Oct 21, 2013|
|27226||Nice and easy track. Dry, no problems in stock JK.||Jeep Wrangler||May 5, 2013|
|39531||A dry day out at Nuggets, a good track for a bit of fun but nothing too hairy. Also had a stock Triton with me.||LandRover Range Rover Vogue||May 5, 2013|
|36969||completely dry just now, good fun for a beginner like me with AT's and no lift, would be a totally different track in the wet||Nissan Patrol||Jan 6, 2013|
|27884||Good trip in the wet, be good to try dry though...||Nissan Navara||Apr 23, 2012|
|27704||very loose gravel, had a fair dump of rain the night before but did nothing too the track. very quiet too, saw no one else..||Toyota Hilux||Apr 22, 2012|
|5249||Done this track25/2/2012 from holts track driving up nuggets track very try done it easy last hill climb is steep loose dirt got caught loose traction but got up ok had a beer to caller rate the climb||Isuzu D Max||Mar 3, 2012|
|25943||Track was greated but has started to wash out on the steeper part of the hill back to main rd. But still fun||Nissan Pathfinder||Feb 12, 2012|
|16052||Dry conditions - Renault Koleos||- No 4WD yet||Feb 26, 2011|