When the weather forecast says rain all weekend you could stay home… or you can do like Max Shoeddert and the Southern Cross 4x4 Crew and go anyway! These legends met through Instagram and have created a weekend adventure crew! They escaped Sydney for a weekend of off-roading, fishing and camping and despite the reports there wasn’t a single drop of rain. When you brave the elements to explore and adventure you’re always rewarded.
All images supplied by Max Schoeddert through Instagram @lil.m80
Where: Bridle track, Hill End, NSW
When: December 2017
Vehicle: 1993 Toyota 80 series Landcruiser
Rhino-Rack: What was it you intended to do/see/ experience along the Bridle track?
Max Shoeddert: We have been on a few challenging 4WD expeditions recently and were definitely keen to have a chilled weekend fishing, relaxing and just mucking around. I had been to this camp spot before and was determined to find it again. I had only driven it in the dark though so it was a bit of trial and error. But we made it to the epic riverside camp.
Rhino-Rack: Did you accomplish that?
Max Shoeddert: Yeah it was an EPIC weekend. No fish though.
Rhino-Rack: How does your prep for a relaxing weekend differ to one of those challenging 4WD expeditions?
Max Shoeddert: I practically strapped the swags to the Rhino-Rack and we were ready to go! Nah, just kidding. Going camping and 4WDing in a semi-remote location requires little, but some planning. In terms of the vehicle preparation, I did the usual check over of the truck. As it is my second vehicle I drove it the week before to make sure everything was in working order. I also updated my HEMA maps and made sure I knew where we were going. I always like to be prepared for the unexpected! Carrying a spare tyre is a must. For me, tools are always in the truck for quick fixes.
Rhino-Rack: What are the weather and terrain conditions like?
Max Shoeddert: The forecast had predicted it was going to be raining the whole time we were there but we must have caught a lucky break because it was hot and sunny. The Bridle track is an unsealed clay and rock road. It would have been used as an old access road to link Hill End to Bathurst back in the gold mining era. It is a little more stable and maintained now though. This track winds all the way down to multiple campsites along the river. The track is surrounded by steep hills and epic drops, getting two cars passed each other can be very interesting! The view is worth it for sure though. Depending on where you want to roll out the swag or throw up the rooftop tent, there are a few river crossings you need to be aware and prepared for. All crossings were fairly easy with a rocky bottom though so don’t let that slow you down.
Rhino-Rack: What do you think of the off-roading / 4x4 / 4wd lifestyle and scene in Australia? Any good and bad things?
Max Shoeddert: I think the 4WD scene is awesome in Australia. It is pretty much one big unconventional family. Everyone is always willing to give you a hand and everyone is passionate about the same thing. 4WDing has a massive social media presence and is the reason why SouthernCross 4X4 exists! We all met via instagram and we come from all over NSW! Sadly though, there are some people who don’t respect the areas they 4WD into and I think this can be a downfall in Australian 4WD culture. Illegal access to fire trails, leaving rubbish behind and destroying bushland gives the 4WDing community a bad wrap. But on the whole, it’s a welcoming community that has the best for our natural landscape at heart.
Rhino-Rack: Were there any lessons learnt?
Max Shoeddert: Don’t take the inflatable swan down the rapids!
Rhino-Rack: How did Rhino-Rack products help to facilitate your adventure?
Max Shoeddert: My Rhino-Rack platform is always a staple on my trips. It is a perfect spot to tie down my swag and bulky equipment that I don’t want in the cabin. I use the Rhino-Rack Rapid Straps and these are currently the best straps I have used to date. They are super simple to use and hold my gear in place on the highway and off-road driving.
Rhino-Rack: Did you face any obstacles along the way and how did you get around them?
Max Shoeddert: Travelling with a trailer was tricky at times with narrow tracks and minor landslides. Spotting and communicating made it easy for us to avoid any sticky situations. We checked out tracks with other trucks or by foot and spoke to locals before heading down the tracks we had not been on before.
Rhino-Rack: What is it about the destination or the journey of your adventure that makes the trip worthwhile?
Max Shoeddert: Getting away from the daily routine and sleeping under the stars makes any camping trip worthwhile. The boys would shoot me if I didn’t say their company truly makes every trip.
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