Weekend trip to the coastal dunes


This details a few of tracks that lead through the dunes in the south west


South West of Australia near Pemberton


Trip Report 

On Boxing Day, we made a rush decision to visit the south and do some driving along the dunes. We found some fantastic chalets called Karri Glades. We had the place to ourselves, which was really nice. We were also surprised at how cold it was. We had to buy some rugs to keep us warm.

We wanted to do the Yeargerup Dunes with Paul, who would be doing his first trip. The karri forests are an adventure in themselves and we took tracks where we could to get the D’Entrecasteaux National Park. At the parking bay we dropped our tyre pressures to 10psi as recommended by the DPaW signs. The tyres at this pressure are very soft and the vehicle handling is different, but the results on the sand speak for themselves.

You can see where people have to rev up to keep going because the track becomes very lumpy. Right at the base of the dunes we were stopped by people who had only then decided to let down their tyres. The flying sand is an indicator they should have lowered pressures even further. One bloke tried, but failed and dug in. When he backed down they pulled off the track to let us pass. We suggested 10psi and they must have gone down this low because they caught up with us not long after.

Our ascent of the hill was without any dramas or wheel spin from three vehicles, which was pleasing as the other people were watching.
We travelled the very narrow track towards the ocean. I was extremely vigilant because it was holiday season and people were roaring around the tracks as if they knew no one else was around. We saw a couple of times where head on crashes nearly occurred because of this.

We were held up at the top of the dune with people trying to come up. They had very long run-ups and lots of sand flinging wheel spin…. Quite a few vehicles accumulated at the top and once the others were up, we went down quickly to free up space. We pulled off at the base to let the faster vehicles rush ahead.
At the beach we were amazed to see that the Warren River had deviated again. We drove down to where it went into the ocean, at nearly the same location where Julie’s Dad is. Julie and I stood side by side for a few quiet moments, and reflected on the trip down Calcup in convoy when we scattered his ashes a few years previously.

The wind was up and it was a bit sandy. A full on recovery was going on where someone had driven close to a small pool of water and become bogged to their eyeballs. They didn’t need any help.

I had no trouble getting off the beach, Paul had a couple of goes, but I think he was not using his gearshift properly and it kept changing up a gear and losing momentum. Steve, with the bigger car had some trouble. After a few goes he got stuck on the crest, and with my suggestion he rolled back a few inches and then forward to make a slightly harder base, before having a last go to get over. He made it.

The ascent up the dune was pretty easy, with Steve and I getting up from a standing start half way up the dune. Paul was still having issues with his gear shift, but he got up no worries. We had waited a fair time before trying the run up, as there is a blind crest and no way of knowing if someone is coming down. We sent up a lookout, though a few people just drove on up.

The exit to the park was like a beehive with the sound of small pumps putting more air in tyres.

We chose a route to Calcup through the forest again and pleasantly had a couple of river crossings. We drove into the Calcup area (though Paul got stuck on a slope because he had re-inflated his tyres to highway pressures, while Steve and I had stayed down to about 24psi).

Once again the drive in was very pretty. We stopped at the top of Calcup and watched a few people having numerous goes getting up, loud engines and rooster tails. One bloke got all the way and stopped to celebrate, but couldn’t take off again, and he had to go back down.

We decided not to travel down because of the issue with Paul's gear selection and lack of time. For this Paul broke my rear wheel carrier.

On the way back we saw a big tiger snake which tried to hide in a hole in the bridge. It eventually fell into the creek below. It was then back to the Chalets. The next day we were to follow another sandy track to Black Point. We followed tracks all we could and had more water to cross. At one we pulled up and used the freshwater to make a cup of coffee. It was very pretty there.

We stopped at Lake Jasper, which has had enormous work done to provide facilities for the public.
The track to Black Point was a good 4WD track, though again there was needed a bit of vigilance to avoid a head on. We explored the point for a while before heading towards the bitumen and then home. A couple of days with no firm plan in mind made for a great short break.

Places to See

Black Point
Yeargerup and Calcup Dunes
Warren River Mouth

Degree of Difficulty 

I rate this as moderate. High ground clearance is needed, low ratio. 

However, the sand dunes are difficult. You absolutley need to lower tyre pressures. Only dicks persist in attempting these dunes with pressures higher than 10PSI, and consequently completely piss off the locals and ruin the track.


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