“Magical Moreton tour” by Kathy Sundstrom
Kathy Sundstrom goes off-road with the girls.
My memories of four-wheel driving involve Fraser Island and a vomit bucket.
It’s not surprising then that I was sweating profusely and feeling more nervous than I did before going down the “aqualube” at Wet ‘n’ Wild. Heck, at that moment childbirth seemed less terrifying. I was at the wheel of a Jeep Wrangler on a Dirty Girls 4×4 weekend to Moreton Island. And we hadn’t hit any sand yet. We hadn’t even left the MiCat ferry.
I’ll be honest: my motivation for putting my hand up for the weekend with the eyebrow-raising name was pure and simple – Moreton Island. Of the at least 20 islands I’ve visited in Australia, Moreton’s my favourite. The snorkelling at the wrecks is the best in the country and there are so many different places to discover new and amazing things.
So what that I knew diddly squat about four-wheel driving, if it was at Moreton Island, it would have to be good. Then the car in front of us has got bogged and we were about 200m from the barge. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea?
But Bob Muller, the owner of Leo Muller Jeep Dealership and Global Jamboree seemed completely at ease with a novice behind his flashy Jeep Wrangler. He assured me it “can’t get bogged”. So I did it. I engaged four-wheel drive on the other gear sticky thingy, put my foot on the accelerator…. Within hours I was driving with one hand and revving up the bums of the other Dirty Girls on the trip trying to get to our next adventure point.
By the end of the weekend, I knew why four-wheel driving is something so many men go nuts about. Controlling a car as it spins its track on sandy stretches and leap-frogging over ditches and bushes that would take out my corolla is completely liberating. And not having your partner breathing heavily over your shoulder as you learn the ropes is refreshing. Within 30 minutes of driving my beast, I could do it with one hand.
The team behind the scene makes sure every little detail is taken care of, including a style-session with a group from Stefan. Our “glamping” accommodation at Bulwer was rugged luxury and the food… I could write a page on the food.
Our all too short weekend took in many of the highlights of Moreton Island. We enjoyed a guided snorkelling tour of Tangalooma Wrecks; we swam in Blue Lagoon, visited the lighthouse and Honeymoon Bay.
While Bob lent me his jeep, the weekend is usually done in your own four-wheel drive, giving gals the opportunity to learn how to master the car without the pressure of the hubby over the shoulder saying, “you are not doing that right”.
Bob doesn’t run the weekend to make a profit. With all meals, accommodation, barge fees, excursions included for about $400 per person – there is no way he does.
This is a fantastic weekend. It is the most fun a girl can have, whether she is dirty or otherwise.
Find out when the next one is on and book now. The chance to take advantage of this experience will fill up quickly.
TIPS FOR DRIVING ON SAND
- Maintain momentum and have tyres roll over the top of sand, not dig into it.
- Avoid violent or sudden major moves on the steering wheel. Straighter steering is better.
- Use existing wheel tracks
- Always pack a quality tyre gauge. Set tyres between 15 and 20 PSI for maximum safe width
- Reinflate your tyres when you leave the beach
- Beach driving is best just before low tide
- Avoid splashing through seawater
- Always carry a recovery quilt including snatch-strap, gloves and heavy-rated bow-shackles
- A bogged vehicle can be removed by cleaning sand from under car in front of the wheels (turn off engine and put hand brake on before doing this).
- An old trick: if a rear wheel is spinning while the other is not, gently pull on the handbrake
To book your Dirty Girls 4×4 weekend or to learn of others’ experiences, visit: dirtygirls4x4weekends.com.au
Words by Kathy Sundstrom.