Bright and early, we packed up the Troop Carrier and headed up to Williamtown Museum, our meeting place for our four-wheel drive adventure. With UHF radios (provided if you didn’t have one) set to the same channel, we rolled out of the carpark and began the quick drive over to Stockton Beach.
Helping the 4WD newbies deflate their tires, we set out onto the sand. It didn’t matter if you were an experienced driver like some of the people there, or were putting your car into 4WD for the very first time. Everyone was welcome, and everyone was able to get something out of the day.
Learning recovering techniques used in 4WD vehicles stuck in sand
Heading out onto the sand, we admired the Newcastle’s beautiful coastline before setting out further across the sand. The first dune approached, and while some cars got a little stuck, we all became familiar with a vehicles and how to best maneuverer them on the sand. Putting his car into reverse, our guide then managed to get himself firmly stuck in the sand, introducing us to our first major sand driving lesson – tow recovery (a technique that became quite valuable throughout the day). Laying out the equipment any 4WD will need if they plan on going offraod, our guide expertly walked us through how to properly and more importantly, safely, use snatch straps, dampeners and shackles. Never step over a live snatch strap if you plan on having children, gentlemen. Once our guides car was back on (reasonably) solid ground, we got to soak in our incredible surrounds with a warm cuppa in hand. Whilst some of the much younger members of our group created a sand fort, we got to chatting about our vehicles and the awesome day we new we were going to have.
With teacups back in the truck, our adventure continued. Up and down, across fantastic dunes we learnt how to handle our cars, how to approach hills and how to get ourselves out of sticky situations. By the time we got to the largest dune on the beach we were feeling a little worried about our capabilities. But with encouragement from our guides, and everyone else on the radio, we ‘drove it like we stole it’ straight up the dune. Cars you didn’t even expect to make it up such a dune came racing by, huge smiles across the young ladies’ faces.
As the hill became more crowded with other adventurous drivers, we continued on down the beach. Trying out different styles of driving, and learning the rich history off Stockton beach, we pulled up near the Stockton Beach Shipwreck and got out our lunch. While I sat down with my little salad, and the man beside me got a meat pie out of an inbuilt pie oven (something we all need to invest in), I realised some people were more prepared for four wheel driving than I was. But that didn’t matter. In fact, it didn’t matter if you had never driven off road before, you were able to learn and comfortably explore your vehicle and offroad driving.
Setting off again, we experienced more recovery situations, from using Maxtrax, to trying to get all four wheels back on the ground. Ripping up the sand on ‘the plateau’ and attempting tricky little dunes, we spread out across the beach for a bit of free play. By the time we all came back together, shouting encouragement across the radio, it was safe to say we had the best experience. By 3:30 it was time to drive back to the carpark, pump up the tires, and say goodbye to the lovely people we had spent the day with. If you’re looking to learn some new skills, or just go out on a driving adventure, this experience is the perfect choice for you!
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