On Sunday, we went bush bashing.
In hindsight, I’m still not quite sure what made me agree so quickly to jump on board a whole day’s worth of 4WDing because it’s absolutely no secret that it’s not my favourite thing to do. It does happen, however, to be one of Wesley’s favourite things to do, and we must all make sacrifices in our relationships! So off we trundled at 7.30am with a packed picnic and plenty of reading material (for my sake) in tow.
We were heading to Walhalla, following the lead of Wes’s brother, Mark, who had also convinced his fiance, Kim, to tag along for the day with their two young children. (I believe we now share similar, if not exactly the same feelings about 4WDing.)
First stop, however, was for petrol in Morwell, because at $1.24 at home Mark was sure we could get a better deal over in the valley.
First servo – $1.36. Oh dear. But not to be deterred, Mark led the way to the next servo, convinced it had to be cheaper elsewhere.
Second servo – $1.36.
Third servo – $1.36.
Things weren’t looking positive and eventually, after plenty of swearing and grumbling, we had to admit defeat and fill our tanks with the 12c-more-expensive-than-home fuel. (We then discovered another servo down the road that was only $1.28, but let’s not mention it too much because it’s a bit of a touchy subject.)
It was time to let the real journey begin!
Lesson one learned – sometimes when you do things you don’t necessarily enjoy, you get to discover incredible little places you never would have visited otherwise.
Walhalla is simply stunning, and forgive me if I’m extremely late jumping on this bandwagon. A small gold mining town from the mid-1800s that’s basically built on the side of a mountain, the historic buildings have all been preserved and maintained, and there are plenty of little shops to explore (which were pretty much all shut when we passed through, but I still loved looking). Upon seeing a sign for ghost tours, I’ve already decided we’re heading back here for a weekend in a BnB and scaring ourselves silly.
We stopped in a park for a breather before we hit the 4WD tracks, so I took the opportunity to snap some photos (and I have to say, I’m really enjoying getting back behind the camera).
It was then (reluctantly on my behalf) time to hit the tracks.
It’s not that I don’t like exploring new places, or even heading up a hill to check out a stellar view. My issue with 4WDing is being thrown around in the passenger seat like you’re stuck on the Batman ride at MovieWorld for waaaay too long. If you don’t get motion sickness, there’s a good chance you’ll develop a slow, thumping headache. Or at the very least, end up with a sore hand from gripping onto the arm rest every time it feels like the car is about to roll backwards down the hill, flip over numerous times and end in a fiery crash. (Ok so I may be exaggerating a bit, but I did fear for my safety a couple of times.)
We stopped for lunch and I guess you could say our picnic was slightly hindered by the ridiculously steep track that loomed before us; a reminder of what was next to come. Kim blatantly refused to go up it in the car, whilst I listened intently to the motorbike riders who came down it discuss how difficult it would be for our cars to get up it. Mark had a crack (Kim convinced it was easier to drive than hike) and made it look easy. We finally embarked – my eyes squeezed shut and knuckles white – and half way up, we got stuck.
Back and forth we rolled, each time rolling a little further back down the hill. It felt like we were near vertical and I finally couldn’t take it anymore and (as I unleashed my inner drama queen) demanded Wes let me out. Upon getting out of the car, it was so steep I found myself suddenly hanging from the open door, my feet dangling below me like a scene from Cliffhanger. But I finally found my feet and perched myself on the side of the track while Wes got himself un-stuck and reassured me forward was the only way we’d be going from now on. *phew*
Did I mention I don’t like 4WDing?
Wes absolutely loves it though. He devours 4WDing magazines, can’t get enough of the adrenaline of powering up a steep track, and thrives on trying to work out the logistics of crossing an especially rocky creek. The request of ‘Another track?’ can be heard from the driver’s seat before we’ve even finished the last one. So I’m happy to tag along and attempt hide my obvious displeasure as best as possible and just try to enjoy the scenery (because there’s no way you’re napping on a 4WD trip; trust me, I’ve tried).
After numerous rocky tracks, Kim (with some enthusiastic support from me) suggested we turn home, not without some ice cream on the way. A win for all I believe! I didn’t get a huge amount of photos of the actual driving, but I snapped a couple and stole some from Mark too.
On a quick side note – on one of the last tracks we drove for the day, Mark and Kim discovered an abandoned, yet burning campfire in the middle of the bush. Not only is it illegal to light campfires this time of year, but to leave without extinguishing it is so incredibly stupid and dangerous. Wes got out his shovel and broke up all the embers while Kim and I poured a couple of bottles of water on it. I wish I could give the idiots that left it a swift kick up the backside, but instead I’ll just grumble about it here. Have some respect for the bush and the law. Ok, rant over.
So my overall thoughts on the day? It wasn’t that terrible. It was a great family outing and I really loved exploring Walhalla. I think I’d be a little more willing to head off on another trip if there was a hike involved to break up all the sitting (I know you’re reading this Wesley, so please take note!) and I really can only handle a few hours of being thrown around at a time. But we did it, it was some quality time spent together and I didn’t hate it.
And now Wes owes me a day out doing something I love…20km hike anyone? 😉