Moore River 4wd Adventure

Moore River 4wd Adventure

Moore River has been all the talk in W.A. this summer. Plenty of pictures of people set up in the shallow water of the river, passing by a hot summer day. Plenty of video’s of people driving downstream, and plenty of stories of people having guns pointed at them for trespassing on private property! We decided to head up there and see what its all about


_DSC0912Let’s start with the general location.

The length of the Moore River which can be explored by 4wd is bounded pretty much by a state forest which is located east of Indian Ocean Dr, and stretches from Gabbadah to Ledge point 130km north of Perth. The total length of the forest is about 25km. The rules on 4wding and camping in the Moore River region are a VERY grey area. Generally speaking, you are safe to be in the state forest and along that side of the river; and the eastern side of the river is mostly private property. However there IS sections of private property on the state forest side, and even a few places which aren’t private property on the eastern side.

Heading east on Bennies Rd, we took a few right’s, and a few lefts skirting the properties that mark the northern reaches of the forest. We encountered fences and signs that suggest the locals take trespassing seriously! These fences didn’t prove to be a problem for us however, we simply followed along the sandy but well maintained fire break until the property ended; and we were faced with our first obstacle. The steep hill climb we were up against has been quite carved up, probably thanks to too many hard tyres and wheel spin. Oh, and storms had bought a small tree down through the guts of it! Four blokes with machetes and hatchets made light work of that, but the next difficulty we were to face was physically smaller yet much more terrifying!


It came as we settled in to lunch on the bank of the river, and Naomi  (or ‘Nomes’ as we call her) was poking a small spider hurrying towards her in the dirt. “That’s not a spider Nomes, that’s a tick!”. We all ran for the bushman repellent at this point, except Beau who ran screaming like a banshee seeking safe haven in the river. Not that I didn’t warn everybody about the ticks; one of the few reliable pieces of information to be found on the net is concerning the plague proportions of ticks throughout summer. Make sure you take along a good insect repellent with AT LEAST 40% DEET to try and deter them!

Now, sometimes an obstacle you have been through before can become something entirely new when seen from a different perspective. And that hill descent was an entirely different beast when viewed from below rather than above! I went ahead to weigh up our chances. “Not a hope in hell!” was my verdict. We had to turn towards the river, something I had really wanted to avoid. We walked the first few crossings; clean, white hard sand and only 20cm or so deep. We drove them with ease and eventually had to head straight down the middle of the river a few hundred metres to reach our next exit. It was all sunshine and lollipops. Excited chatter over the UHF, water showering the windscreen and then I felt the Patrol lurch as it hit the soft sand. I nailed the throttle and just managed to smash my way out of the soft section before quickly getting on the radio to warn the others to pick up the pace. But for Dylon in the Prado it was too late.


The spot where he went down was a tricky one, right in the middle of the river where the water was almost knee deep. We joined two snatch straps and backed the Navara into the water, trying to get close enough but being careful not to back up into boggy sand. By the time we had got the recovery gear out and got everything in place, the likelihood of this being a simple “hook it up and pull it out” affair was looking pretty slim. We needed to do some prep work and it was all hands on deck, two digging and on the Hi-Lift jack, and two collecting rocks and big logs for traction. I tell ya what, I absolutely love that Hi-Lift jack for recoveries! Combine it with the Lift Mate accessory, simply hook it up to the spokes on your wheel and you’ve got a huge amount of travel to lift your vehicle out of trouble and pack plenty under the wheels. It’s fast too, and we had to work fast as the river sunk the vehicle almost as quick as we could jack it out!


It worked though, and with about half an hour of hard work we were ready to try the snatch recovery. It went exactly as the rulebook says it should. A bit of momentum in the Navara, a bit of a lurch as the elasticity in the strap did it’s job and the Prado popped straight out of the muck. Thank god for that, we still had some ground to cover! We made our way out of the river bed eventually when we found a track up a much easier hill and back onto the fire break we started on, heading south. We sailed through the sandy scrub easily for a while and got ourselves back on track time-wise, but it was inevitable that we would come across private property again. 


_DSC0796Our camp that night was a beauty! It took us a while, but my trusty method of marking out likely clearings on Google Earth gave us plenty of choice. Of the three we had to choose from, one was mostly burned out from a recent bushfire, another was overrun by large ants and the final one was perched a couple of metres up on the riverbank overlooking a beautiful big bend in the river. You can guess which one we chose! A quick splash around in the river was refreshing after a day running around in the hot sun, but one had to be constantly mindful of leeches. Geez, this place offers no sanctuary!

The next day we were greeted with a beautiful cool morning, birds singing, river flowing, crows….crowing. The perfect setting to cook up some beer flavoured pancakes and bacon! I won’t go into the beer pancakes, because you can find a recipe for that one HERE or see the cooking in action by watching the trip video. We were rather late to hit the tracks that morning, too nice a morning to want to rush things! But when we did finally get packed up, we found our journey alongside the river was only a few hundred metres from ending! A well used and slightly rough track took us directly west and out to the highway directly across from the turnoff to Seabird from here. I had hoped and expected that we would be following the river further south after camp, but once again private property had encroached upon the land. Oh well, I guess that’s all part of the package when it comes to such adventurous business!




Alex Garner






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  1. Larry
    February 23, 08:26 Reply
    Excellent. I enjoyed that a great deal. Looks like you had a good weekend. Needing Moore River was a groaner. Keep it going. Larry
  2. seekingthrills
    February 23, 10:56 Reply
    Nice write up mate, having stayed at the same campsite before I was thinking I wonder where he is going to go from here ? There isn't really anywhere to go is there! Funnily enough the reason we were down at that campsite was said angry farmers but another group had arranged a trip with over 100 listed attendees that weekend so we could certainly understand their attitude, that area just isn't cutout for that sort of traffic, I really don't know what they were thinking. Looking forward to checking out the vid on my lunch break!
    • Alex Garner
      February 24, 07:15 Reply
      Yeah mate I was ready for a full day of action and we met the end not far from there! Yeah I bet the farmers get a few idiots through there which stirs them up a bit, 100 attendees is crazy for that area!
    • Alex Garner
      February 24, 12:24 Reply
      Cheers Michael! Yep, learning bit by bit as we go along :)
  3. Aaron at 4WDing Australia
    February 24, 16:16 Reply
    Nice work mate. I've not actually been there before, but have added it to the list of places to explore. Cheers for putting this up!
  4. […] plastic lens. I hung the lantern upside down above my gas stove while I cooked up a meal during our Moore River Adventure¬†and turned it to torch mode. The direct but not harsh light was more than enough to see exactly […]
  5. Glenn
    May 23, 21:13 Reply
    Having trouble downloading way points to hema. Any suggestions?
    • Alex Garner
      May 24, 12:19 Reply
      I'm assuming you've got them off the website already Glenn and the issue is getting them to show up on the Hema? If so, try using this method: Take the SD card out of the hema and plug it into your computer. Open the memory card in a new window, find the folder names "OziExplorer Data" and copy the waypoints in here. Now put the card back into the Hema, open up 4WD navigation (OziExplorer) and go into Waypoints mode. Then go "Import Waypoints", this opens up a small window. Keep pressing the "Up One Level" option as far back as you can go. There you will see the SD card as a folder named "sdmmc". Open that, you will see "oziexplorer data" folder, open that as well, you should see the waypoint file in there. Select that, hit okay and it should load up!
      • Glenn
        May 25, 06:19 Reply
        I download to my tablet which has hema installed. When i open the link it says it's expired link?..
        • Alex Garner
          May 28, 19:59 Reply
          Hmm, I'm not familiar with the Hema Explorer apps Glenn, perhaps they work in a different way? Try looking at Hema's tech support for mobile apps here: or downloading my waypoints in text format and manually entering them.
  6. Phil
    October 25, 12:16 Reply
    Hey Alex, Did you really hack a lamb up for it's kidneys?
    • Alex Garner
      October 25, 18:57 Reply
      Oh hey Phil! Nah we didn't really hack up a lamb for it's kidneys, but I'm sure somebody must have! About $5 for a tray of kidneys at IGA :p
  7. Alastair
    January 11, 18:09 Reply
    Hey Alex, I am planning to do this trip and the Guilderton - Seabird trip over a weekend and wondering how long it would take, could i squeeze it all into 2 days or do you need to allow 3 days to properly take it all in? Regards, Alastair
    • Alex Garner
      January 11, 21:47 Reply
      Hi Alastair, I believe you could squeeze it into a 2 day/overnighter quite easily yeah. Plenty of people go up there for a quick day trip, it's only a little over an hour out of the city :)
  8. Pschaps
    February 11, 18:39 Reply
    Hey mate, Have subscribed to your site but wanting to find out how to "unlock" the whole article (paragraph explaining location) and the HEMA co ordinates.. Cheers!
  9. brad
    December 13, 09:02 Reply
    HI there, how do i get the password to unlock the KML file ?

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