On Fire Creek Road, just outside of Raglan, one of the Gladstone Region’s great undiscovered weekends away is waiting for you and your 4X4.
Set amongst rolling hills in natural bushland in Raglan, owner/operator Jeff Minter opened up his property to the public as the Dalliston Vale 4X4 Park after running two very successful Winch Truck Championships, the last in 2013.
The 260-acre site has more open space than you know what to do with, crossed by ‘quite a few’ kilometres of track of different grades and boasts 8 acres of comfortable campground with fire-rings, cold-water showers and amenities.
“There’s natural bushland, hills, creeks, and quite a few kilometres of track catering to all levels,” owner/operator Jeff Minter said.
“Everything from mild to wild,” he said.
The park’s operators are happy to run visitors through safety procedures and manoeuvres and to drive one of the on-site buggies around the trails so visitors can check out the hazards.
“We had a lady come down a few weekends ago in a brand new 200 Series Land Cruiser. That’s a $160,000 car. I said to her, “I hope you don’t mind getting scratches on it,” because, when you drive through a patch of lantana, it’s going to get scratched, we call those bush pinstripes,”
“That’s what I bought it for,” she said, “And she took it out and went hard, and when she came back you couldn’t wipe the smile off her face,” Jeff said.
And unlike a commercial 4X4 park, the serenity at Dalliston Vale has to be experienced to be believed – it’s still a relatively undiscovered gem with visitor numbers at a steady trickle of around 5-10 visitors on an average weekend.
A weekend visit costs $30 with $25 for a day pass. Even for the non-4WD enthusiast, there is local wildlife to enjoy, a swimming hole for the warmer months, open fires and starlit heavens at night.
“There are plenty of animals, wallabies come through every afternoon and there’s a little pig family somewhere out there; there’s emus, who’ve had two litters of chicks and of course the usual slithery things on the ground that people don’t tend to like,” Jeff said.
Gladstone 4WD Club President James Maroske gives Dalliston Vale the big thumbs up: “It’s a great place to either do a day trip or camp overnight, with the owners being very warm and welcoming.”
“Raglan pub is not far away so a day trip to the 4WD park and a meal at the pub before travelling home is a great way to spend a day,” James said.
And for those of you who cannot re-enter the city of Gladstone without mud to the axles, you will be well catered for: “Most of the young ones who come down here, I tell them “Stay out of the mud-pit – there’s a fifty-dollar fee to get you out of the mud-pit.”
“That’s just an open challenge for them to get straight in there. And the mud goes everywhere,” Jeff Minter said.