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Otways, Victoria - April 2010. Words and Pictures by John Cullen

After months of planning and anticipation, the time had finally arrived on Thursday 1st April for the first group to meet and head over to The Otways for our 2010 Easter Trip.

5 vehicles met and made the long journey to Forrest, Vic to the caravan park, which was to be our home for the next four days. There was a second group that left on the Friday giving us a total of 11 vehicles including 4 JK Rubicons, 1 KJ, 1 Grand, 1 XJ, 2 Pajero’s, 1 Patrol, and 1 Prado.

The 5 vehicles that arrived on Thursday left early Friday morning to explore the tracks on the map given to us by the MJOC. We started with some D grade tracks but made our way up to the C grade ones when we could find them. Stunning forest scenery was the order of the day as there was nothing that was overly challenging, with the tracks being a little damp but not too muddy. There were a couple of small waterholes here and there to get the cars dirty and have a bit of a splash which did make for a lot of fun. That afternoon the rest of the group arrived and we sat around and chatted before a group went on a night nav just to see if the tracks marked on the map as being closed were still that way and alas they were.

The next morning saw a 9am start (SA time to give us an extra ½ hr) and most of the group decided to explore some more tracks. Again we went in search of some of the harder tracks from the MJOC map and again they proved to be a little elusive. There was, however, one very steep descent that took a lot of concentration, having two spotters along the way, and nerves of steel, but all of us made it down without too much difficulty once we knew the right lines to take.

After lunch we broke away from the main group to head toward Gentle Annie’s which is a produce farm. While there we were able to pick our own raspberries and apples before having scones in their tea room which made for a very pleasant afternoon. We made our way back to Forest through the National Park and found ourselves an exciting muddy track along the way.

That evening Simon and John took their Rubicon’s along with Norm and Michael as passengers on a night drive and found a track called Noonday. It was quite a deep descent down into the valley, with the track being quite slippery in parts. There were several sections that were very muddy, and one incline that say John have his lockers engaged with all four wheels spinning with no forward progress being made whatsoever. With the help of the two passengers, the winch was pulled out and hooked up and the recovery was made. We continued out of the valley on more slippery tracks before making our way back to the caravan park.

The next morning saw us head in different directions with some heading back to Noonday Track (a bit tamer than it was last night with the sun drying it out somewhat), while others went to Apollo Bay, and others went sightseeing to the local waterfalls and attractions. From all reports a great day was had by all before coming back to camp late that afternoon and having a happy hour and sitting around and chatting.

Monday morning saw us pack up with most of the group heading off back to Adelaide while some had the luxury of staying on at Forrest or alternatively driving the Grat Ocean Rd over a couple of days.

Overall it was an excellent trip with our location in Forrest being relatively central to everything, the weather being kind to us, the tracks being fun, and the scenery being absolutely stunning!!