I'm looking at doing a Robe to Beachport run over the Australia Day Weekend. If you want to come, you should make sure you can get the Friday off work or meet us there early enough on the Saturday. I'd like to keep the number of cars to 8, though I'll cap it at 10 if need be. I have a couple of people I know tagging along, and there are a few people on this site that I've reserved spots for (you know who you are I'm sure. Just let me know if you're joining). If they end up not wanting to come, I'll add their spots to this trip page.
So, the trip plan so far is thus:
Thursday, 26th January (Australia Day) (N/A hours drive. Check location)
I've left this day open. I'll be camping somewhere around Ballarat. At this stage, it'll probably be Smythesdale Public Gardens or the Haddon Lions Park. Both are donation sites ($10 per car per night or something like that), and the Smythesdale has showers.
NOTE: I'm happy enough to look at camping closer to Ararat or Horsham if people want. I'm looking at a 3-hour drive to Ballarat myself though, so for anyone further east than Warragul this may become quite a long trip, especially if there’s bad traffic.
Friday, 27th January (Not a public holiday) (4.5 - 5 hours’ drive + Stops)
Intention is to leave camp early-ish. I'm not a morning person, so somewhere around 9:00am would be great. Earlier or later doesn't really matter, it's not a particularly long drive. Lunch spot is to be decided I suppose. If my trip up to Fraser Island was any indication of what to expect, then vehicle breakdowns, rest/supply/fuel stops, POIs and other distractions tend to throw lunch plans out the window. Rough plan is to make Hamilton by 12:00pm.
I'm looking at camping somewhere between Beachport and Robe Friday night. There's not much of a choice though according to WikiCamps. Long Gully Campgrounds or Old Man Lake Campgrounds seem to be the best bet ($15/night type deal again). There are Caravan Parks in both Beachport and Robe, so there’s options if you want a little more comfort. If you are bringing a camper trailer or caravan, my preference is you leave it at one of those caravan parks for Saturday. I suppose you may bring them on the beach and dunes, but I can't imagine it would go too well.
Camping spots will depend on how busy the place is. I may try to contact some people up that way and see if they know a good quiet camp spot, farm stay or something like that. If we get there early enough, I'm happy to go and play around on the beach for a bit. That will depend on how sick of driving we all feel.
Saturday, 28th January (All day drive - I think)
This day is pretty much the beach driving day. Ideally, we'll meet at Robe before 10:00am and hit the sand. I don't know how long this will take us. From all the sources I've read on the matter, its less than a day’s drive down the beach. I'm looking at spending quite a few hours in the sand. I'll add a map with a rough idea of the track we'll take, but it will be a case of making changes on the day. For those who have done it before, some tips on the matter would be great!
As for that night, this will depend a lot on where people are coming from. I'm going to make the entire trip home on Sunday which from Beachport is a 6.5-hour trip plus traffic. I'm fine with that, though anyone going further than that or who has never done it may want to chime in. Mount Gambier/Nelson area seems to have a few nice spots for the night by the looks of it. It will also cut about an hour off the drive home on Sunday for those needing it.
Sunday, 29th January (The "dammit, I have work tomorrow!" day)
This one is the drive home day. Whether we stick as a convoy is up to you guys. I'll let you know straight off the bat that my old Defender is not the quickest car out there. For those out there with a higher cruising speed than mine, you may want to take off and get home half an hour earlier or something. This day is a play by ear type day, so food/fuel/rest stops and the like will be on an as-needed basis.
First off, watch the videos of people driving on that beach. If you think it may be above your skill levels or your cars capabilities, then factor that in to your decision to come. I have every bit of confidence that something like a Subaru Outback could do the trip, but that’s fairly easy to say for a guy whose vehicle chassis can be seen from standing position. I'd prefer not to have to keep stopping and dragging people out of soft sand if I can help it. Likewise, I'd prefer it if I didn't have to be dragged out of soft sand as well.
EQUIPMENT (Can be shared between cars I guess)
Maxtrax (or similar) sand tracks
Sand Anchor (if anyone has one. I'll borrow one from someone)
Tire Pump/Air Compressor
EQUIPMENT (Needed for each person/vehicle)
CB Radio (Either fixed or handheld, I don't care)
Sand Flag (This is needed on all cars)
A Brain (enough of one to make logical decisions anyway)
Bring sufficient amounts please. There’s no milkbars or McDonalds on the beach as far as I can tell. I’m usually quite terrible at this myself though, so it could be me as ‘that guy’.
NOTE: I know there is quite a few people on this site that have done the trip before. If there is a lot of interest, it may be possible to run two separate groups. It would be much easier to run two groups of 10 than it would be to run one group of 20. Reason being if a car in the 20 group gets stuck, then the whole convoy stops. If one gets stuck in the 10 group, then only half the convoy stops... provided it’s not on a narrow lane or something. If someone wants to put their hand up for it, I'm happy enough to open the spots to accommodate.
At the minute we have Land Rovers and Jeeps coming on the trip. I'm sure this means there will be breakdowns on the way. Despite this, please make sure the car is in good working order for the trip. An old bomb used for a trip to the local Coles twice a week is probably not going to like being driven for 6 hours on the highway, for instance. Also, you guys out there with cameras, quadcopters and the like are encouraged to come along. I'm hoping to get some good footage for a video. I have a few gopros that I'll be using, so if you're part of a witness protection program, you may want to sit this one out. One of the 57 people who watch the video may be the person you're hiding from.
That’s about it really. I'm sure you all know what to do now.