FLEXIBLE 4WD Solutions is often asked where novice off-roaders can go to learn how to handle their vehicles and experience top-notch camping, and our answer is always Levuka 4×4 Park in Urbenville, NSW.
Not only are we massive fans of Levuka, but it is also where we cut our four-wheel-driving teeth. To truly understand how beautiful Levuka 4×4 Park is, you need to experience it yourself, however in this article I will do my best to paint a picture. Levuka is an extremely scenic property located on the southwestern edge of the Scenic Rim. Entering from either Woodenbong or Urbenville, you will find yourself on Beaury Creek Rd before turning onto Plantation Rd and arriving on the property.
Robert and his wife Rosemary are extremely passionate about their property, the environment and four-wheel-driving and strongly believe in sharing their passion with the community. Both Robert and Rosemary continue to have significant involvement with environmental agencies in order to ensure they can both protect the environment and share their beautiful land with all who are interested. In 1908, Robert’s family won the property in a land ballot, and Robert has lived on the land since birth, eventually buying the property from his father in 1990.
After five years, Robert and Rosemary made the decision to turn the property into a nature-based tourist attraction and Levuka 4×4 Park was born. Levuka is the pinnacle of rainforest camping: with over 700 acres of tracks and 150 acres of campsites covered in lush green grass, nothing beats it. We have explored nearly every square metre on the property. From midweek trips to Easter charity events, we have never once felt cramped or become frustrated from overcrowding while on the tracks. With flushing toilets, free hot showers, cheap as chips firewood and 2WD accessibility, nothing is stopping you from checking out Levuka.
Now I’ve mentioned the picturesque camping, it’s time to get into the nitty, gritty, filthy mud-filled fun side of the park. Levuka’s tracks are effectively the old logging tracks, which wind through the thick rainforest and can get truly slippery with just slight drizzle. Please be aware of the conditions and talk with Robert and Rosemary about the tracks before venturing out on your own. The tracks range from easy (1) through to extreme (5) and are well marked at intersections. Now, I could talk about the easy tracks, but where is the fun in that? Some of Levuka’s most legendary tracks include Test Track, Rosemary’s Road, Play Pen, Track 4 and Rock and Roll Gully.
Let’s start at the Test Track, and as the name suggests this track is designed to test your 4WD and ensure a quick introduction to what you are in for. Sitting just next to the homestead, this track features a short muddy section to test your diff clearance and articulation in a safe, localised area. The track then drops into a sticky mud hole before providing a photoshoot opportunity while you perch your rig up on some rather large logs, but please ensure you have a spotter on hand if you aren’t confident with wheel placement as it is unforgiving if you get this section wrong. From here the track makes a muddy loop before spitting you back out next to the logs ready to give it another go.
Rosemary’s Road is one of those tracks we all love and can never skip when we venture out to Levuka. Starting at the base of the Test Track, Rosemary’s Road drops straight into the hard stuff. This track makes a steep off-camber descent before crossing through a small running creek and back up one of the slipperiest climbs you’ll come across.
Following the track down through the next gully, you will find another creek where you can take one of two lines – one over a large log and the other over some fun-sized rocks that make for a short technical section. Straight after this creek you will come across a large hillclimb that seems to go forever, so if you are playing in the wet you are best to keep up your momentum until you eventually hit the top. The cheers from our mates when we first took them up this hill in the wet were second to none – I had never seen them so pumped. After defeating this hill, the remainder of the track consists of one large descent and a lot of tight, windy sections that provide a great rainforest vibe followed by a relaxing drive out to the open.
You’ll be as happy as a pig in mud when you hit Play Pen. This track is most fun in the wet and it provides a proving ground for all levels of experience. With observation areas, picnic tables and straight slippery climbs, the Play Pen allows for a common area where the masses gather to watch peers attempt the climbs and listen to everyone’s rigs roar into action. During our last trip, we sat down with Rosemary and had an in-depth conversation about the environmental impacts of running the park and the measures they had taken to ensure the park leaves the smallest possible footprint.
Rosemary largely talked about the park’s creeks flowing into the Clarence River, explaining the largest impact is the silt being dispersed from cars driving through the creeks – one of the biggest ones found in the middle of the Play Pen. To counter this, downstream from these obstacles Robert and Rosemary have placed a number of silt traps which have proven quite effective. Additionally, they test the waters up to three times a day during the peak season and will close tracks if the environmental impacts are above acceptable levels.
Track 4 has such a simplistic name, but what a track! This track drops directly down a slippery slope before entering a long bog hole that winds through a number of trees before exiting up another slippery slope. This little track can’t be described well enough with text – all I can say is walk it first and make sure you are ready to get filthy!
Rock and Roll Gully
Rock and Roll Gully is one of our favourite tracks. During our lengthy discussions with Rosemary she outlined the history of this track. Essentially, this track was created due to Robert and Rosemary’s overwhelming hospitality. Numerous visitors had requested a track that drove up a creek, and so Robert and Rosemary developed Rock and Roll Gully. With minimal flow in the dry and natural silt traps in the wet, the chosen creek was the perfect spot for a tight, challenging track for more adventurous visitors.
Rock and Roll Gully lives up to its name too, consisting of a gully full of large rocks. We have conquered this track a number of times now and each time the challenges have differed. With a very tight one-way track and large boulders, we urge all who are contemplating this track to walk it right through to the end to be quite confident your vehicle will make the distance. The end of this track features oversized boulders that you will need to climb over while simultaneously turning almost 90 degrees around a tree and going up another muddy climb before exiting back onto one of the access tracks.
Levuka 4×4 Park is an amazing haven for four-wheel-drivers and lovers of the outdoors. If you have not been yet, I urge you to make the trip. For more information on the park, visit levuka.com.au
I hope to see you on the tracks and will catch you again next month for one of our more intense adventures, so stay tuned.