Trip Report: Caves to Caves

Group of 4x4s lined up at an angle with their owners standing next to their trucks.

We kicked offTents and 4x4s on open grass with trees behind at 7.30 am from Penrith. Our troop consisted of nine 4×4’s two of them towing camper trailers.We passed just one good fox (any dead fox is a good fox) on the way to Oberon. Arriving there at 10am we had a pit stop and a top up. It was quite cold in Oberon and most people were making use of their new club hoodies and polar fleeces. We were all realising that it may be a very cold night. Thanks to Andrew missing the turn off, we enjoyed a scenic drive around Oberon, before heading in the right direction to Yerranderie.

The dirt road was Girl about 10 holding hand out feeding a Kangaroo on grass with 4x4s in background.in good condition and we didn’t have any dramas along the way, just the usual dust problems so the 90 odd km’s went quite quickly.We arrived at Yerranderie camp ground just after 12 noon and the caretaker was there to welcome us in no time at all. To our surprise, the temperature was quite warm – very similar to Sydney so the thoughts of a cold night disappeared. The camp ground was fantastic, with a flat green grass area to set camp on, fire pits with log seat surrounds, fresh water taps, flushing toilets, hot showers, camp kitchen and fire wood already chopped, stacked and ready to use. Birds and kangaroos were all around and there was an abundance of peace and quiet.

After setting camp, we had a lTwo wagon wheels nailed to a tree. Picture angle is taken looking trhough one of the wheels.ook around the old town which had lots of memorabilia in old tools, wares, furniture and buildings. The children were so excited, thinking they had found silver in the rocks that they were collecting and wanted to take them home (much to the delight of their dads). After a short walk to the silver mine it was time to relax around the fire.

After dinner some of the fellers went for a night drive to Dingo Dell. In the morning they reported that they all had a good drive and sighted lots of wombats along the way. Andrew was pleased they hadn’t taken that route with the camper trailers.
We broke camp Sunday morning, leaving Yerranderie at 10.15am, heading for Wombeyan Caves. There was only one mishap on the way and that was a flat tyre on Bruce’s Hilux. This meant Shane got to Group of people sitting around a camp fire.use his high lift jack while the front half of the convey had a morning tea break further up the track.
Our convoy arrived at Wombeyan Caves for a late lunch, photo opportunities and pit stop before heading home. A few drivers chose to continue on the dirt to Mittagong then join the freeway while the rest headed for Goulburn on the bitumen before joining the freeway. We saw one more good fox on the way home.

Thanks to Linda and Andrew, and to all for a great weekend.

Steve and Rhonda

Trip Report: The Glow Worm Tunnel

A rock face in the dark being lit up by light coming from small star like dots - glow worms.

Another MR&Rs bites the dust (yes I went there) and just happened to be my first attempt at leading a trip. It also happened to be Timothy’s (my blood related boy aka son) birthday.
Recently our family has had the addition of a little furry friend, Ralph, a chocolate Labrador puppy and as such required a puppy sitter to enable the whole family to enjoy the day out. This is the reason I was the successful applicant in writing this report as the meeting time had to be pushed back from 0800 to 0830 at good ol’ Richmond Maccas.
We started with 6 vehicles with Ben joining the convoy during the transit to ZigZag. Then there were seven.
The days main feature, as advertised was a trip to the glow worm tunnel so once we aired down, debriefed and a quick prayer (thanks Des) off we went. I was so looking forward to being in front and not having to see through the normal dust storm but I was out of luck. It was the same day the Scouts decided to go hiking from a point just near our destination in a convoy of about 10 sedans! We did however manage to overtake them…twice.
On to the glow worm tunnel via the traditional Wombat ruts short-cut (short-cut by distance only  ). Everyone that attempted the ruts, be it left hand or right hand exit made it through easily.

“It is at this moment I will thank Chris Toranto for guiding me once my truck was at an approximate 30-35 degree angle…moving on.”

The journey to the tunnel takes approximately 30min from the top of the ruts where a bush view can be enjoyed on the way. We arrived shortly after 1130 and arrived back to the tunnel car park just before 1pm for lunch and Timothy’s cake.
During the tunnel tour we experienced a great bush walk that everyone seemed to enjoy, although there was an odd remark or two along the lines of “the reason I bought a 4×4 was so I didn’t have to walk”. The Tunnel lived up to expectations again with a full show of glowing worms. With the torches off it was like looking up to a clear night sky.
Glow worm facts:

  • Glow worms are found in bush land all over the world except the Americas.
  • Most species of Glow worms are actually beetles and merely only resemble a worm.
  • It is only the female glow worms that actually glow as they spend around 2 hours every night in the mating season with their bottoms in the air, trying to attract a mate. The male glow worms are attracted to the glowing object in the foliage but have also been known to be attracted to man-made lighting such as street lights.
  • Glow worms predominantly prey on snails and slugs which make up the majority of the glow worm’s diet. Glow worms also prey on other insects and small invertebrates.
  • Glow worms are considered to be a species that is threatened with extinction as the glow worm population numbers are drastically decreasing. The main reason for the lower number of glow worms are thought to be the expansion of human civilisations. Glow worms are known to be particularly vulnerable to changes in their environment including habitat loss, noise and pollution.
  • Typically, the female glow worms lays between 50 and 100 eggs in moist areas, over a period of a few days.
  • The blue/green light is a product of a chemical reaction between luciferin (a waste product), the enzyme luciferase, adenosine triphosphate (ATP – the energy molecule) and oxygen.

(Sources : http://www.wettropics.gov.au/fireflieshttp://a-z-animals.com/animals/glow-worm/ )

After lunch it was time to give in to that great longing, a powerful desire of passion, the one great test that brings the four forces of the world as we know them best into one fulfilling action…it was time to drive some tracks. (Crowd cheers)
We headed back towards the main picnic area, took a right hand turn followed by a swift left and right again. This portion of the powerline track was a fun drive which has the centre piece laid as a series of wombats. The first time I tackled this track our faultless president purposely led me into a position that was merely degrees from licking dirt and so this time I was determined not to require help to get through. It is at this moment I will thank Chris Toranto for guiding me once my truck was at an approximate 30-35 degree angle…moving on.
Once again all who tackled it got through with Ben and Chris showing us how big wheels and lifts make an interesting track boring, Bruce demonstrated the advantages of lockers, while Dez was getting so bored he gave us all some winch training.
Heading back towards the standard wombats for a downhill run we had to pull over on the Beecroft track (Black-fellas) to wait for Chris to go back and find the last 3 trucks – Bruce, Louf and Dez (tail end) as he FAILED to stop at a right hand turn and broke convey procedure (Oooooooo) . Once we heard over the CB that they were found, I quote “Ok I can see the tractor coming down towards us now”, we headed off, down the ruts and off into the sunset. Well back to ZigZag to air up at least, anyway.
A few decided to hang around and try out a few other tracks like the Pipeline and Moon rock. Photos of this can be seen on facebook.
Thanks for reading and as always…YeeHa,
John