THE NSW NORTH COAST’S BEST TRACKS AND CAMPSITES!

Shaun and Graham get to go 4WDing on some of the best tracks in Australia. How many of us out there have been itching to do the tracks you see on the DVDs? Recently, the 4WD Action team headed up north toward Forster for an epic truck bustin’ adventure, and I was lucky enough to ride shotgun with Shauno in the Zero Dollar Zook. Keen as mustard to show these tracks off to some good mates of mine that live and breathe 4WDing and to make the decision to head bush even easier, I told the blokes our final destination – the iconic Pub With No Beer in the small town of Taylors Arm out the back of Macksville.

Not needing anymore convincing, we saddled up and headed north out of Sydney for an unforgettable few days of 4WDing. There was an interesting range of trucks on this trip – There was Jake in his rare as hens teeth 1HD-FT Cruiser, Dom in his trooper of a BJ74 mid-wheelbase Cruiser, Jono in his coily GQ ute and Jock in his IFS HiLux. If you’re thinking that to do the tracks the boys do on the DVDs you need a four inch lift, twin lockers and 35s think again. In fact, the Luxxy was on a set of 31s and about 40mm lift and it kept up with the bigger trucks. All you need is a free coupla’ days, some top mates and a swag and you’re laughin!

If you are keen to start your trip with a bang – then look no further than Forster.  Not even 10 minutes out of town is a cracker of a track that leads to an absolutely beautiful little spot – McBrides Beach. It’s proper tough low range and the end result is nothing short of spectacular. When you pull up before the track to air down, send the fittest bloke down the track a bit on foot, to see if anyone is coming up.

This will save you pulling off to the side of the skinny track awkwardly and risk scratching the paint on your pride and joy. Unfortunately you can’t camp at McBrides, but it’s a pearler of a spot to stop for lunch. There are a couple of sections that will require a good line, and for you blokes with IFS it’s an awesome wheel liftin’ little track too. Depending on when you go, you might even be lucky enough to have the beach all to yourself. After wetting a few lines on the shore, and a pearler of a first track, we packed the trucks up and headed a bit further north to Kylies beach campground where we rolled out the swags for the night.

Up at sparrows fart the next morning, we headed out to the back of Wauchope to tackle the technical Cairncross creek run. Without a doubt, the blokes reckon this is one of the best tracks they’ve ever done. It’s tight, technical and deep in some parts. The fellas in your convoy with the smaller trucks will be laughing here, as there are some pretty tight sections to negotiate. We found that the mid-wheelbase Cruiser and the skinny HiLux were loving this track, and the 80 Series and Patrol had to readjust lines a few times – that’s not to say they weren’t having a ball though! Once you finish up the creek run, you come back out onto the main track up to the summit of Mt. Cairncross.

[blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]”Crack a cold one and watch the sun go down over the mountains.”[/blockquote]

Let me tell ya – the views from up here are nothing short of spectacular. You can see all the way down to the coast, and all the way back inland. It’s the perfect spot to crack a cold one and watch the sun go down over the mountains. If you’re anything like us though, you’ll lose track of time and get to camp after dark. We made a quick dash for Swans Crossing, which is a pristine, grassy campground out the back of Kew and is definitely worth stopping in at for a night if you’re up this way. There is also plenty of room at Swans Crossing for trailers if you are towing a camper trailer on your trip.

Unfortunately the next morning, Jono and the big GQ had to head back to Sydney for work, leaving the Toyotas to finish the trip. With a craving for a cold one at the Pub With No Beer, we packed up and headed north towards Taylors Arm.  The plan here was to dart up the highway a short way to Kempsey, before airing down again and heading through to Taylors Arm via the dirt. If you’re looking for a more touring based leg of your trip, then it’s well worth heading out the back of Kempsey.

Having said that, there is a lot more to Kempsey than meets the eye. There are mental tracks around and some absolutely stunning mountain views too. In fact if you wanted, you could spend a few days just exploring the multiple state forests around the area. We found that you wouldn’t be driving along the tracks for long before stumbling across an insane hill climb or rutted section to stretch the legs on!

Eventually, we met up with the blacktop, for a short run into Taylors Arm. As you head into town, you will see that famous sign on the side of the road for the pub. And how good is this – you can even camp across the road too!

The next morning saw us packing up and heading back down towards home. If you’re like us however, and you’re keen for a little more on your way back down – then Forster is the way to go. We headed into the famous Kirrawak State Forest to tackle what’s known as Slippery Track and the Fenceline Track. We were lucky enough to hit Slippery Track on a dry-ish day but if you happen to give it a crack in the rain or just after, even with 35in muddies you’d struggle.

The track is steep, rutted and full of mud – a 4WDer’s paradise. When you get to the end of the track, hang a right and follow the Fenceline Track, which as the name suggests, follows a farmer’s fence up a steep hill. It’s rutted, loose and rocky but is a heck of a lot of fun too.

NSW is home to some absolutely awesome 4WDing, camping and fishing. If you’ve got a spare couple of days, head north for an adventure you and your mates won’t soon forget. And heck, don’t think you need the biggest truck either; we went and did this trip after I was lucky enough to join the boys on a DVD. All you need is a spare few days!

FACT FILE

WHERE:
This trip took place along the NSW North Coast in Forster, Wauchope, Kempsey and Taylors Arm.

CAMPING & AMENITIES:
Kylies beach campground is located in the Crowdy Bay national park. Swans Crossing is located in the Kerewong State Forest. There are toilets at both campsites

WHAT TO TAKE:
pack plenty of recovery gear and spares as some of the tracks are pretty gnarly.

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL:
As the North coast is pretty popular, try and avoid peak holiday times.

FUEL & SUPPLIES:
Fuel and supplies are available in all the major towns on the North Coast

TRIP STANDARD:
In dry conditions most of the trip is rated a B and some parts rated a C, with A meaning only suited to vehicles with an extreme level of off-road modification and E meaning perfectly suited to all types of 4WD vehicles.

TRIP TIME OF YEAR:
December

RESTRICTIONS AND PERMITS:
Camping is not allowed at McBrides Beach. Kylies beach is 11 bucks a head each night and the office is at Diamond head campground nearby, where you can also buy firewood.
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