Words by David Munday
Pictures by assorted AJC members
Australia Day long weekend 2007, Cape Jaffa Trip
The January long weekend saw some 22 Jeeps from the Adelaide Jeep Club head down to Cape Jaffa caravan park for a great weekend of 4WDing, fishing, wine tasting and naturally devouring some of the local crayfish. This was the largest group of AJC members on a single trip ever.
As recent new members we set off in “C2” (Jeep Commander CRD) + hired camper trailer on Thursday 25th January with nervous excitement. This was our first trip with AJC and only our second camping trip as a family. We also had a long term friend Daryl Burford (keen fisherman and country GP from Balaklava) along for the ride.
The trip down to Cape Jaffa was an uneventful drive and we arrived at the caravan park early evening with enough daylight to set up camp next to Anders & Anita (Commander) + Steve & Cathy (Grand Cherokee). They and others nearby including John & Jenny T made us feel most welcome and we soon discovered the club “mess tent” and enjoyed some late evening wine tasting (Cape Jaffa of course) thanks to JJ.
The following morning Friday 26th January provided several choices of activity including fishing, 4WDing along the beach to Nora Creina or relaxation of your choice.
A few members from the more local Wattle Rangers Club joined the large AJC group and quickly assessed the 2 Commanders as not ideally suited to the deep beach sand between Cape Jaffa & Nora Creina (due to a relative lack of clearance) and so (slightly disappointed-esp Anita!) we had a quieter morning exploring the local coastline while the more adventurous tackled the deep soft beach sand (some more successfully than others)!
We then joined the rest of the group at Nora Creina (via the bitumen) for a slightly less demanding but fun 4WD trek from there to the Millicent Sand Buggy Club sand dune area. Here we witnessed Steve’s clever demonstration of how to balance his car on top of a sand dune (and then dig it out) and Adam’s aerial acrobatics showing us all how to fly a Wrangler completely over the top instead!
In contrast we learnt some of the basics of sand driving with lowered tyre pressures and experimented with high & low range. John Tuckwell provided me some helpful sand driving hints whilst the kids had a great time climbing the brilliant white sand dunes playing with new friends Jarrod and Sean (Paul & Fatima’s sons).
We all returned to Cape Jaffa late afternoon just in time to witness JJ’s expert cooking of some nine large fresh crayfish (3+kg each!) sourced from a local fisherman. Before dinner we took the kids down to the local jetty and had about as much luck as the rest of the group (1 single leather jacket to Nicholas being the only catch!). However JJ impressed us all having caught several good sized snapper off the beach earlier in the day- a feat that impressed Daryl B immensely (actually he was quite jealous)! Our dinner of superb freshly cooked crayfish and wine was definitely worth coming for and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The rest of the evening was spent chatting at the club tent sampling some of the local wines and enjoying the excellent company.
Saturday 27th January saw us heading south to Beachport with a smaller group of 5 Jeeps including both Commanders. This was an opportunity to see what they could handle on the sandy 4WD track from there heading north back to Nora Creina with a little fun on the 5 mile drift sand dunes. Much to the surprise of several members the Commanders performed well and the trip over 3hrs was a great experience guided by Steve S on radio in DD’s Cherokee ahead of us. Paul and Fatima and family brought up the rear in their trusty Rodeo (a last minute replacement vehicle –another story in itself)!
The return journey included lunch at Cape Jaffa Winery and the chance to sample a number of excellent wines with accompanying food platters in an outdoor covered pergola area-very easy to take. The rest of the afternoon was free and most of us headed into Robe to look around as well as visit the local ice-cream shop! That evening we enjoyed a BBQ tea which including cooking of JJ’s snapper. Then we were amazed to see a Plasma screen come out to show videos taken during the previous 2 days 4WDing.
Sunday morning came all too quickly and typically the previously good weather turned to some light showers while we tried to pack up the camper trailer (trying to avoid folding up wet canvas!). All too quickly we were heading back to Adelaide in a small convoy. By this stage we had the UHF pretty well mastered and enjoyed keeping in touch with Bob & Sue, Norm & Tina on the way back.
Reflecting on the whole weekend we had a great time getting to know numerous members of the AJC and are very grateful for their warm friendship and helpful advice. Any slight concerns we may have had at the start of the trip re going away with a large group of people we hardly new were quickly dispelled. We all agreed that if this is a guide to how enjoyable AJC trips are then we will certainly be back for many more in the years to come. We also learnt a lot about how our vehicle handles in reasonably challenging (for us!) situations and already feel a lot more confident about what we can do off road.
To any new or potential members in 2007 we highly commend AJC to you not only as a great way to learn about your Jeep and its off road capabilities but also to meet a whole lot of friendly, helpful & supportive club members. Special thanks to JJ and David S for their excellent organization of this trip.
We look forward to our next AJC trip (Bendleby Ranges) in March and hope to see some of you there.
David, Rachel, Nicholas, Becky and Alison Munday
+ Daryl Burford
Call sign: “C2”