The Trip started on a cold Sunday morning in Byford. Shortly after nine o’clock, Brad and Bob Swift in a 105 Toyota Landcruiser, Mark Grey and his daughters in a Kia Sorento, and Trip Leader Gilbert Karel in his 150 series Toyota Prado headed to Wokalup, to meet Andrew and Jo Newhouse in their 120 series Toyota Prado with Jo’s parents Peter and Marilyn.

Time to hit the track. No one in the group had done the track before, so its condition was unknown. We suspected that the heavy rains in the week previous to the trip would have adversely affected the state of the track. It started as an excellent graded gravel road without any problems. There was logging activity in the area. While airing down, some had the forethought to collect some firewood.

We followed the track to a gravel pit with pools of water – a combination that provided us with excellent photo opportunities.

After the photoshoot we continued along the track. It was getting more technical.

And it was not long before we hit our first bog hole. Mark required a quick snatch from Brad to get his vehicle through the boghole.


Further along the track we determined that 4WD was not correctly engaging in Mark’s Sorento. With that in mind, we decided to retrace our route back to the main road.

Unfortunately the return track was now uphill and the Sorento couldn’t make it up the steep ascent without 4WD. We opted to winch it up. The next obstacle was the boghole we had negotiated on the way in and the Sorento had the same issue as previously. A quick snatch easily solved the issue.

We found a place for lunch near the main road. Still unable to get his vehicle to engage 4WD, Mark decided to head home. We remaining three drivers got our vehicles back on the track again. It was not long before we had some challenging hill climbs with a lot of low range action. Mudholes in the low lying, soft valleys.

We then arrived at a significant hill climb. It was to be the highlight of the day – a steep, rocky hill climb with a deep drain gully. I was first to tackle the hill. At the top the Prado slid into a drain – virtually a gully. It was at a precarious angle.

After a shout on the UHF, the others walked up the incline and we all assessed the situation.

Under Bob’s direction and some extra weight on the front provided by Andrew, I was able to reverse the Prado out of the gully. Eventually it was on even ground again.

Andrew was the next to try to conquer the hill.


Open diffs and no traction control was not going to cut it on this hill. Andrew got his Prado about halfway up before it lost traction. Clearly another method was needed to continue the hill climb. He offloaded his passengers and decided to use his traction boards. They were in the back of the Prado and when we tried to access them, the freshly collected firewood rolled down the hill.

With the traction boards in place and the Prado a bit lighter (no passengers, no firewood), Andrew made another attempt on the hill. He managed to take the Prado to the top of the hill with some timely application of the right foot and clever steering.

It was now Bradley’s turn to attempt the hill in his Landcruiser. He made it looks easy. The ‘Cruiser walked up the hill.

We continued on interesting tracks, using 4WD as the need arose, for about another hour.

It was late in the afternoon when we reached the main gravel road so we decided to call it a day and return to Cockburn.


Thanks to everyone who joined the trip and see you all on the next one.

Gilbert Karel

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