Being in the Wrong Place at the Right Time!
With Australia having one of the strongest off-road cultures in the world, there are still thousands of 4x4 owners opting for an off-road adventurous escape with little to no experience, getting themselves into many situations that often endangers the vehicle, or worse, endangering the passengers.
We have spent ALOT of time on the tracks and about 7 times out of 10, I have been stopped by other drivers to help navigate their way out hundreds of kilometres of track because they were lost. Whilst being lost momentarily can be fun, when nightfall sets in, the fun quickly fades away as fast as the evening light.
BITING OFF MORE THAN YOU CAN CHEW. THE WRONG TRACKS!
One story I'll share happened back in April this year at Imbil State Forest mid-morning. There were two fellas from Brisbane totally lost because certain sections of track were closed off due to an annual derby rally. This forced them to take one turn after the other and become entangled in a labyrinth of tracks. Imbil State Forest is over 40,000 acres and has a messy maze of hundreds of kilometres of track that can send you insane if you don't know what you're doing.
These Brisbane fellas, one with a Nissan Navara and his friends with a Hilux, asked me as they stopped by me asked "are they're any good four wheel drive tracks up here?". I replied that they were in 4WD nirvana. Mistake number one was they never knew what road closures took place on this particular day by not planning in advance. I asked if they had a radio and if so, what channel, and advised them that I will point them in the right direction. They were lost completely. Furthermore, they were going in the wrong direction in which they intended.
They followed me through a secret entry into the 4x4 play ground which I lead my tag-alongs customers into. After about 30 minutes, I told them over the radio that there would be a track coming up shortly that will awaken the adrenalin glands and from that point they would be on their own. I left them at that location and kept moving as I was doing Map Patrol. For the next 10 slow kilometres, I could here the boys trying to negotiate certain tracks that was well beyond their experience. I know this because I could here them over the radio. They're conversation also revealed over the air that they have gotten lost again as they both split up so both of them had no idea where they were. Mistake number two: NEVER EVER split from the group. Ever!
PIRATE MAPS AND WEDDING GUESTS!
As I had my family in tow, I pulled over at a cool spot for a bite to eat as by now it was lunch time. Im sitting on the tailgate eating a sandwich and sipping a coffee, when a lovely elderly couple drive confusingly toward me in a Holden Colorado.
They pulled up alongside me and I asked "Can I help you?". Dressed in their Sunday's best, he explained how he and his wife were on they're way to a wedding and showed me a map drawn on paper. I said it looked like a pirates map to which he laughed. I said to him there is no wedding reception grounds an hour in any direction from here. He had no CB radio (we supply these to our customers on our trips) and worse - there was no mobile reception. He was lost, confused and a little distressed.
I advised him that if he were to continue in the direction he was headed, he will delve deeper in the forests depth and have no chance in hell getting out. I also told him he will do better going back from where he came and start again on the bitumen. By now, he would have missed the wedding ceremony and a good chunk of the beginning of the reception afterwards. I also pointed out to him as I was leaning in on his window that he's down to a 1/4 tank of diesel. Red flag right there. Mistake number 3 - have a full tank of fuel.
BACK TO THE BRISBANE BOYS
About 4 hours had passed, it's 4pm, and my routine map patrol and track checks was complete and I was making my way back out of the forest to head home. By this time, the boys I ran into earlier in the day with the Navara and Hilux came back within range over the radio. Coincidently, a short time later, I could see them in the far distance and they were heading towards me. Fluke! They obviously saw me when I heard one say to the other over the radio: "Here comes ol' mate in the Triton. We're gonna have to follow him". I had to lead them out to civilisation. Nice fellas too they were.
4WD ADVENTURE SURVIVAL TIPS
1. Unless you know what you're doing, never go 4WDing alone, the same way a scuba diver never dives alone. Things can go pear shaped quickly if you don't know how to recover a vehicle. Having a guide vehicle leading you through like GONE Offroad avoids these pitfalls like the plague. Our job is to service you whole-heartedly and provide a great day out driving some real fun tracks.
2. Be prepared like a boy scout. Do you have satellite maps and a radio? GONE Offroad provide wireless UHF CB radios on the day for their customers so we can communicate on the fly.
3. Do you have ample food in case of emergency and you need to spend overnight in the wilderness? Be sure to have a good water supply. A good rule of thumb is 5-10 litres per person in the vehicle. You just never know when you'll need it.
4. Don't ever venture into the wilderness in your 4WD with an undersupply of fuel. We recommend all our customers come with a full tank of fuel for the day ahead.
5. Don't ever drive tracks that is beyond your level of experience. If you get stuck and you are on your own without recovery gear, you could be out there for days with no mobile reception to the outside world. Which means read point 3.
6. How good are you with bush mechanics? If you snap a tail shaft, bust your diff, or break a CV joint, what will you do?
These are just some of the things that can happen without a guide to help pull you through. GONE Offroad 4WD Tag-Along Tours have the experience to drive you through challenging tracks that test your abilities in a fun way WITHOUT endangering you or the vehicle, keep you on your toes and most of all, have the best time that you will remember for years and years to come.
Our tag-along tours offers our convoys a safe and fun passage through challenging terrain that can often become to technical for inexperienced drivers to negotiate on their own and without guidance. Book a tour with us for a hassle free day of adventure and smart exploring in your own four-wheel drive.
Here are our tracks that you will be interested in.
See you on the tracks,
The GONE Offroad 4WD Tour Team
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CALL US ON 0422 299 099