|Destinations: 5 Rocks on the Australian Coast||Short Cuts|
By: Rob Tait - 02/2001
|The Ferns Hideaway in Byfield|
‘Twas the day before Christmas, and the Taits decided to take a little trip in "The Truck". Well actually the story started a few days earlier when our friends Lee and Stephen suggested we should go out for dinner on Saturday night. Pam rang the people at Ferns Hideaway in Byfield for a booking. Actually we had a booking for dinner plus a booking for a cabin for 6 as well. The cabin had been cancelled by the previous people at the last minute so we were able to take it for one night.
Saturday we were up and away early to first visit with some relatives in Rocky. This and a few other things were to take up most of Saturday and we would be leaving around 3:30 to head off to Byfield, which was about 85 kilometres from Rocky. We arrived just after 5 and found the accommodation and settled in. By the time we had checked the place and surrounds out, had a nap and got ready to go out, it was too late to check out the Carols at Waterpark Creek. We were getting hungry and the restaurant was calling. We headed off to the restaurant and avoided too close a contact with a wallaby on the way to arrive around 7:30. The entertainment was already in full swing. We were entertained by our host, a guest pianist and quite a few of the guests from the audience throughout the night.
Meals were excellent with the Redclaw featuring on my plate and Stephen’s plate. Pam had curried lamb and Lee had chicken. Stephen shared a dessert with Pam and then we enjoyed the rest of the entertainment non stop until just after 12:00am. Back to the cabin and we all had a good nights’ sleep to arise early the next morning. Bowls of cereal followed by bacon and eggs prepared us for the day to follow.
We had the offer of a day of canoeing on Waterpark Creek included in our cabin hire. As we headed to the Ferns Hideaway, we talked about checking out Five Rocks. Pam and Lee had not been there so this seemed like a good idea. So a right turn instead of left and we were on our way.
We rattled along a dusty forestry road for a few kilometres and came to a sign that proclaimed the way to Five Rocks. We headed off down that road. Shortly we came to a very sandy track sandy road and made our way carefully along it until we came to a sign that suggested we let some of the air out of our tyres for easier and safer sand travel. At this point we were not really seriously going to take on hard sand driving so we just continued on. The sand was getting finer and the hill was getting steeper until soon we were just spinning all wheels and going nowhere. This was it, we decided to try with less people in the vehicle as we were only 150 meters from the top of the dune that I recalled from years ago as the worst part of the trip. After several attempts it was obvious that the tyres were too tight. I let quite a bit of air out and then tried again. Still no luck as they were still over inflated for the sand. I was just about to resign to reversing back down the hill and giving up when another visitor came along in a Pajero. He had a tyre gauge so I let the tyres down to 18 psi. This did the trick and I was able to make the last part of the climb. It was still heavy going but at 18psi I would be able to travel back to Yeppoon without damaging the low tyres.
|I ham it up for a picture at "The Shower".|
The rest of the drive in was uneventful as we made our way over very rough sandy dunes on the way to Stockyard Point. Here there is now quite a thriving settlement with quite a few permanent "shacks". Most have wind and solar energy as well as solar hot water systems. I am not sure how many live there now but I expect most of the dwellings are used mostly for holidays. We passed by and a little further on was the well presented camping area and parking for day trippers.
|The view of Five Rocks from just below the camping area.|
We parked our vehicle and headed off to the beach which was around 500 metres down lots of steps. We had the whole beach to ourselves so we wandered around for a while and took in all the wonderful view. Pam, Stephen and Lee waded out a little while I kept up the beach a little.
We took a few pictures and after a while decided we would head back up and have our lunch in one of the pleasant areas that we had passed on our way down. Here we ate some of the bread and cold meat we had brought along for our lunch. We had not expected to be at Five Rocks for lunch though!
|On the beach......||Some debris on the beach.||A large spider found around the toilets!||Tiny crabs make balls of sand.|
Everyone thought the view and lunch area was well worth the drive. We then decided that after lunch we would head over to Three Rivers for a look around there. The drive started out fairly easy but soon got a little hairy. We were heading down some BIG dunes and realised we would have to get back up. This was much harder going than the trip in so far but we now had no way to turn back. Just as we were coming to realise that we may have bitten off a little more than we could chew we came around a corner and suddenly we were face to face with a Nissan coming up at full noise! Both of us chucked out the anchors real hard and skidded to a stop with only a few feet to spare. Since it was a hard uphill run for the other vehicle he reversed back to a point where he could start off again and tackle the dune. We slipped past and you guessed it we were faced with the worst down hill stretch yet. I had no idea if "The Truck" would make it up again. I think we all had visions of being stuck on Three Rivers beach for Christmas eve. Shortly down on the beach we headed along to the end and then turned back and returned to where we had come onto the beach. We stopped here for a couple of pictures and then decided our only chance was to let even more air out of the tyres for the return trip. There were a few vehicles at the end of the beach so we headed of to see if someone had a pressure gauge so we could get the pressures even in all tyres.
|Looking towards Five Rocks.|
Pam and Lee decided to wait on the beach while Stephen and I headed along to the Five Rocks end of the beach. When we got to the other vehicles I was a little relieved to actually see a truck just like ours with a heavier load. The driver loaned us his tyre gauge for a few minutes after he told us that he had no trouble getting out and that he ran around 13psi in his tyres. I decided to drop out tyres to the same so we had an even chance. We wished the group there a merry Christmas and then headed back to where the girls were waiting. As we approached they very predictably thumbed us for a lift as if they were trying to hitch a ride. We decided we better stop and offer them a lift. All on board again and we start off up the dune. I have the truck running 2nd low and singing at 3,000 revs. We are making progress up off the beach and suddenly as we take a turn we lose power and slowly grind to a halt. There is no way we are going to start off again here so we reverse back down for another attempt. It does not look good and I can sense the tension. This time it is even worse, we grind to a halt even sooner and it seems like we may be spending Christmas on the beach. At least we are not alone on the beach, YET!
I decided to run back a bit further so I can get a bit more speed. This time I wind the revs up to over 3,500 and make it howl for mercy. I have never run the poor truck so hard before but the prospect of spending more time here is not my idea of fun either. We hit the bit before the turn quite a bit faster and bounce violently into the turn and lose lots of revs. It is losing more revs as we proceed and I can sense everyone urging her to hang in and keep going. We are getting seriously out of the power band and still have about 2-30 metres bits to go before we are clear. For a moment we gain a few revs and then a couple of really bad bumps and we lose some revs. Still the truck struggles on and slowly she luggs further up the hill. We are now in serious danger of stalling only metres from the top of the section with the engine just hanging in. Ever so slowly and with little to spare we made it past that section. The rest of the return trip is relatively easy from there. Even though some of the sections are steeper, the sand is harder and easier to climb.
|The view down from the lookout.||The ladies at the Lookout.|
We made our way up around 150 metres above sea level and soon stopped at a viewing point to take in an interesting view of Five Rocks. Here we stopped to admire the view of the rocks down below and take some photos of ourselves on the lookout. We resumed our journey out and followed a sign that said "Yeppoon". This track was easy travelling over a different path finally placing us on the road we had driven in on just past the first dune. We picked our way down a different track on the same dune, sometimes driving through ruts that seemed impossibly deep. A little later we stopped to get some action pictures of the truck going over some rough road. The pictures don’t really show how steep or rough it really is though.
|Some hard driving.||Splashdown!||Me and Pam's truck.|
It was as Pam was about to get back into the car that the only real disaster of the day became evident. A bottle of Aerogard which had been placed in the glove box had managed to lose it's cap. The white liquid had run all through the glove box and dripped through onto all the gear on the floor. Pam spent quite a while when we stopped at the creek a little later mopping up.
|A beautiful picture of one of the creeks.||A native checks us out.|
Next we come to a gully with water over the crossing. We stopped here for a while to take a look around and rest a while as we are now nearly out to the forestry road. Before we left I splashed into the water a few times to wash the sand from under the car. All aboard again and we drive back to the Byfield store to pump up the tyres for the trip home. On the way we decided it would be nice to return to Waterpark creek after we had been to the store and have our supper. At the store we bought some sausages and onions. Armed with provisions we selected an electric barbecue and after getting it clean from the previous user, we cooked the sausages. We ate our sausages with bread and the cooked onions and there was still a little of the day left to go for a bush walk.
|Stephen stops to hug a tree.|
Lee said the trip was the highlight of her visit here. Pam had never been to Five Rocks and found it to be a very beautiful place worth the bouncing trip in. We all agreed that the run to Three Rivers was hard and rough and not necessary for a good outing. On future trips we would probably just do the run to Stockyard Point and spend longer on the beach. We would probably take more water as well. It was a really excellent day out.