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Journeys : Apr May 2012
Life on the move Off-roading Simone Lea talks to our RACT Circular Head agent about safe and sensible four wheel-driving Tasmania’s wild West Coast offers breathtaking beauty, where the Tarkine’s ancient rainforests meet the ocean’s thunder ing waves. Off-road explorers can choose their own adventures in the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area, from four-wheel driving and bushwalking to surfing, fishing or just relaxing in a camp chair with a good book. But the dark side of this paradise is its unforgiving terrain, poor mobile phone reception and the lack of people around to help should the unfortunate happen. Chris Gray, R ACT Roadside Approved Repairer and tow ing agent in Circular Head, has rescued many ill-prepared adventurers in that area. “Leaving the bitumen behind for irreg ularly serv iced gravel roads on the Western Explorer or for the sandy dirt tracks in the Arthur-Pieman reserve is not something people should do without proper preparation,” Chr is says. “ The joy of being alone in nature is also the bitter sting if something happens to the vehicle or to yourself.” Chris urges people to drive vehicles with four-wheel capacity on the unsealed Western Explorer Road between Smithton and Rosebery-Zeehan. “Many drivers don’t realise the distance or how bad the road can be,” he says. “It’s not unusual to come across fallen trees or bad weather. Punctures are also common.” On one recent Roadside call-out, Chris rescued a German tourist who had flipped his 4WD into a drain beside the road. He said the driver didn’t think his speed was excessive, because he was only doing 80km in a 100km zone. Recovery from remote locations can be very expensive, depending on how difficult the retrieval is – and adding to this driver’s woe was the unexpected cost of his written-off, minimally-insured 4WD. “The answer is to drive to your ability, not to the road’s speed limit,” Chris says. “If the road is powdery and dusty or wet and slipper y, slow dow n and give yourself enough time to enjoy the experience, to pull off and take photos.” Off-road explorers in the far North West must buy a 4WD track permit, in addition to a camping permit if applicable, when entering the Arthur-Pieman area. The licence can be bought online at www.parks. tas.gov.au or at the Arthur River Parks Office and it must be carried in the vehicle at all times. This fee goes to track maintenance, land management and staffing within the Arthur-Pieman area and not towards car recoveries or search and rescue costs. Chris Gray warns that some insurance companies will not cover recovery and damages incurred in the area, if the fee was not paid prior to entry. “Off-road drivers in this area should carry a detailed map and stay on marked tracks because it’s the safest way to go,” he says. “Keep away from fenced areas because they protect sensitive Aboriginal cultural sites and private properties.” Chris Gray is an experienced four-wheel driver and these are his tips: • First, be an R ACT Roadside member • Ser vice the vehicle pr ior to the off-road escape and ensure it has comprehensive insurance • Carry enough cash to cover fees and costs, as EFTPOS facilities are not always available • Check the tyre pressure, including the spare, and make sure they are roadworthy • Have enough fuel for the jour ney • Car ry a jack, wheel brace, winch, radiator stop-leak, spare radiator hoses and fan belts, and know how to use them before your leave • Car ry a first aid kit, a torch with spare batteries, and food and water in case your jour ney is delayed • Have sturdy shoes and a warm, wet-weather coat • Travel with another vehicle and always tell someone else where you are going and when you plan to return • Carry a satellite phone, PLB or UHF radio because only Telstra Next G has limited coverage in that region • Avoid travelling between dusk and daw n when wildlife is most active • If the worst does happen, stay with your vehicle until help arr ives “ But most of all enjoy it!” Chris says. “Few par ts of the world like this are accessible to the public. Use it with care and respect and open your senses to its natural beauty.” www.audioclinictas.com.au FREE HEARING AIDS AT A CLINIC NEAR YOU Take Advantage We are an accredited provider of free hearing aids & services to all eligible pensioners under the Australian Government Hearing Services Program. We have clinics in: Rosny Park, Hobart, Glenorchy, Kingston Beach, Devonport & Launceston with regular visiting services to other areas across the State Call us today 1800 057 220 Ask us how to apply today Chris Gray, RACT Roadside Approved Rep airer and towing agent in Circu lar Head, with the German tourist’s 4WD April / May 2012 23
Feb March 2012
Jun Jul 2012