his 4WD trip has both easy and hard sections and will provide enough challenges for both the novice and experienced off-roader!
Back in 2010 we ventured out with the team from ARB Penrith on another one of their customer drive days and at the top of this post you can watch the full video.
ARB Penrith run a few of these events each year and it’s a great opportunity for their customers to go out and put their accessories to the test with the people who sold it to them present to offer specialist and general off road advice.
Getting ready to go four wheel driving in the wet can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable and this trip was VERY wet!
The trip was just west of Litgow in the area around Lake Lyell. And the first task for the day was to get in a bit of practice before we headed into the Lidsdale State Forest and then Marrangaroo National Park. The plan was to travel to the top of Mount Walker for a picnic lunch, which turned out to be a bit of a challenge with the amount of rain that had fallen in the days prior to the trip.
Lake Lyell is a lake formed by a dam on the Cox’s river and the water from the dam is used to cool the two nearby power stations. And just down near the lake is a bit of a quarry, which is the ideal place to get the heart rate up and do a bit of hill climbing. The generally abrasive shale surface was not quite so grippy in the wet and was proving to be quite a test. Especially when you have a wheel base as long as the Ford F-250 Truck.
Warren from ARB was on the radio offering some guidance for those who wanted to take on the hillclimb challenge. But it doesn’t always go perfectly to plan and in the video you’ll see one of the 4WD’s glance off a tree… The altercation was luckily kind to the car and also to the tree, with both coming off undamaged. But enough practice, it was time to head over into Lidsdale state forest to start the trek to Mount Walker.
There is a fair mix of vehicles on the trek with a few Utes, some Nissan Patrols, A couple of Landcruisers, and a giant Ford F250! This trip features some pretty mountainous tracks and there are plenty of long downhill descents to tackle. And of course, because of the rain, which hasn’t stopped all morning, there is plenty of large puddles and water crossings to keep us on our toes.
And if there is lots of descents, that usually means there will be plenty of climbing to do as well. The slippery hills proved to be a lot easier than expected considering the sloppy surface.
As we got nearer to the first crossing of the cox’s river, the vegetation was slowly closing in on the track and we were wondering if we’d made a wrong turn. We soon got to the side of the river and the rain we had had over the previous week was keeping the river flowing at a fairly fast pace. But the depth at this crossing was only about 300 millimetres deep so it wasn’t going to cause any dramas and on the other side of the river the track opened up again, so we were on the right route.
On the other side of the river, the road out was starting to get interesting with a bit more thought needed to navigate this tricky section. Picking your line is important and when you watch the video, it’s interesting to see the different lines taken by different drivers.
Mount Walker is located in NSW and is less than 6 kilometres from the centre of Lithgow the way the crow flies, but you wouldn’t know it looking at the dense bush surrounds, it feels like the middle of nowhere. And of course it takes a lot longer to get there when you have to wind your way through Lidsdale State Forest and Marrangaroo National Park. Some of the features of this tip include several crossings of the Cox’s River and some steep climbs through Natural Eucalypt and Pine plantation forests.
As we get closer to the top, there were a few side tracks short cutting the main road and these provided a great opportunity to take on some climbs that were a bit more difficult. As you can see in the video, the rain hadn’t eased up at all and the surface was getting very slippery. Whilst it doesn’t look particularly steep in the video, there was many steep hill climbs.
The roads in this national park are in great condition and provide a low level of difficulty when it comes to off road know-how, however once you get closer to the top of Mount Walker, there are a few side tracks available for the more experienced and extreme off roaders. At the top of the 1187 metre high Mount Walker, which was engulfed in cloud and fog the day we visited, is a very rocky climb and is not for everyone. Lots of clearance and some good tyres are well and truly needed to get to the top of Mount Walker. But it’s not just about the truck your in, you need to pick the right lines as well.
After a lunch stop we were back down at the Cox’s River for another crossing and this one has a very muddy entry. After we all crossed the river it was then into some open country before our last challenge for the day.
Like most hills in the bush, there is usually a few ways up. The easy way and the hard way and it wouldn’t be a 4WD trip if a few of the group didn’t have a go at the hard way. Trip leader Warren from ARB had a second attempt at the big hill, but was having about as much success as the first time. A few of the others also gave it a go, but it’s a lot harder than it seems, especially in the wet. Most of the cars head up the easier track along side, but over on the hard track there was still a few attempts going on.
It’s a great trip to Lithgow and Mount Walker. We’d recommend putting it on your trip list.