By Don Bambry (I apologise in advance for the length of this report)

Trip Leader: Ian (every color but) Brown


A few weeks before the Levuka Trip, Bryan Davis removes a superfluous item from the front of the engine of his trusty best of British. The Land Rover could do without it and as it was simply a bolt on item, Bryan removed it, thriftily keeping the bolts for spares. Within the hour, a small, nearly invisible, drop of oil seeped out of one of the bolt holes. Slowly but steadily increasing in volume.

Yes, Bryan and Jill were looking forward to the Levuka Trip in just a couple of weeks.

2017 Levuka 4x4 Park - Queesnland 4x4 Club
Levuka 4x4 park october 2017

Meanwhile, Charlene Brown is out shopping for a pair of shorts for husband Ian to wear at the Levuka Trip. Hell, Col Ashton won’t be there, so lets get a pair of Fluro green and orange shorts.

Just so everyone knows who is leading the trip.

The scene was set…………………………….


Thursday night, my phone rings. Ian Brown is just checking on who is convoying to Levuka and who is making their own way. He very clearly tells me “we’ll see you at 7 for a 7.30 departure”

No worries. I get off the phone to tell Annette to make sure I‘m gone by 7 for 7.30 at Anaconda North Lakes. Must be leaving at 8 she thinks.

I don’t think at all…….

Saturday: Ten past seven and my phone rings. “where are you?”

And this, my friends is why I get to do yet another trip report.

And away we go. Down through Logan and onto the Lindesay Highway. Taking in the scenic beauty of the Scenic Rim as we cross the border into NSW and enter the bush, popping out at Levuka. The early starters were already set up and the rest of us corralled around the fire pit. Within minutes the camp is set.


The Battle of Britain

Now at QLD 4X4 Club we don’t pay out on any particular vehicle brand, DO WE!!!!

No, we just tell a truthful version of factual events whilst not letting the real truth get in the way of a good story enabling our members to form their own opinion of different vehicles. If we were to pick on any one particular vehicle like a Land Rover, for example, that would be unfair wouldn’t it? So we won’t. We won’t mention words like Land Rover again, or make statements like “quality British reliability”. NOT.

Levuka has numerous trails, tracks and play areas. Dressed in his dynamic fluro green and orange shorts with matching green and orange shoes and, god forbid, green and orange laces, Captain colorful led us out on a trip before lunch. We were excited. Nice gentle slopes, ruts and not any real sign of the infamous Levuka mud. The driving was nice and sedate. On one trip we gingerly enter the rainforest section with Bryan following Captain colorful in.

Within a couple of hundred meters the slow seeping oil in Bryans Land Rover reached a critical mass and erupted onto the main drive belt at the front of his car.

First we saw the smoke as the belt slipped, burned and then snapped.. Then the radio barked, “I’ve lost power steering”, then nothing. Just silence. As we all stopped and waited……………………..

With its last few breaths the Land Rover was turned around ready to be towed back the way it had come.

The Land Rover had no steering, no foot brake and when running, no cooling.

What we needed to keep Bryan and Jill going was a miracle.


The Few

Now, as you know, to tow up and down hills you need someone up front pulling and someone behind restraining.

So off they go.

President Craig up front towing and Captain colorful at the back with snatch straps in between.

Now lets just picture this for a minute. Is this a convoy with a Land Cruiser being towed by 2 cars?

Or a Patrol that can’t pull a Land Cruiser on its own? Or as fate would have it, a Land Rover that needs pushing and pulling?

You decide, but some outsiders watching on drew their own conclusions.

Back at camp and the Team McLaren pit crew ripped and stripped and degreased and replaced.

Can you believe it? Bryan has a spare belt. Bryan has the offending bolts to fill the holes.. Bryan has spare oil.

What we have here is the miracle we desperately needed.

But Bryan is not happy. Tactically parking the Land Rover next to an outhouse, just in case he needs to dispose of this vehicle.

But the team pulls through. Head mechanic Captain colorful has the bleeding engine patched up and Bryan has the new belt on. Test drive and ………….. perfect!

We’re off again.

“Never in the annals of 4 wheel driving was so much owed by so many to so few.”


Cows, Dogs and 2 wheel drives

The AFL final was played. Nobody cared.

Sunday night and the camp split as half headed into Urbanville to watch the NRL final at the Pub.

The biggest meals in the world but not very nice overall. The beer was cold though.

Levuka is a cattle farm and the cows are friendly and expect respect when traversing the trails with us vehicles. The owners have a few dogs and a couple of them decide our camp was the place to stay for the weekend. They integrated well with the dogs brought by our members and kept us all entertained whilst in the camp. Gotta watch those ticks though. Matilda, the Huntaway sheepdog copped a tick right above the eye and that little sucker was dug in deep.

So whattya do with a farm dog with a farm tick you ask?

Take her to the farmer dummy. Robert gets a vice like grip with his fingernails and rips out the offending tick and then snaps it in half right in front of us. Then asks Matilda if she wants to stay or go back to the camp. Matilda jumped back in the car and waited for us to return. We were still staggered at how quickly the tick died.

Driving on one of the dedicated obstacle tracks was fun. As we went through a rutted section, we approached a log section and overcame it with ease. But what’s this? President Craig Colhoun with Warren as co pilot have launched up the log section and stopped dead. Rear wheels spinning, a bit of smoke and not looking too professional at all.

“Everything all right there Craig”?

“ummm haven’t got it in 4 wheel drive” came the sheepish reply.

Seriously!!!!! The Club President!

Now these trip reports aren’t about Frog Fine dobbing. But I’ll leave it up to you the readers. Me thinks the Frog needs feeding from this one.

So now he’s in 4 wheel drive and ole “2 wheel drive Colhoun” is on his way.


All I See Is MUD

On our last day and after plenty of rain it finally happened.

Captain Colorful launches himself into a mud hole with no escape. We watched as he smashed backward and forward inching further and further in until he was offered a tow. “I’ll not be towed outa here” was the stern reply.

After another 10 attempts at reversing back out and finally in high range he emerged from the mud pit from hell.

“2 wheel drive Colhoun” was next to have a go. And have a go he did. In fact he had over 20 goes at it only to reach the same point as Captain Colorful. All to no avail. After being given the secret about high range he too escaped by the skin of his teeth.

So clearly no one was getting through that mud hole today right?

But wait!! We have a resident lunatic from New Zealand who happens to drive an excavator for a living. “I’ll DO IT”

“But from the other end”

Steve lines up. And BOOM, launches into the mud with blind fury churning up mud and pushing to the point of no return. And Stops.

Flings it into reverse and screams back again to stop. Forward again, harder this time and stop. Into reverse pushing the mud aside and stop. 20 more times he pushes the limits. But this time, from this end, getting out was going to be impossible.

But not to Steve. No Sirree.

This maniac has no boundaries and after another 20 attempts and at an impossible angle, he pops out the other end from whence ha came.


After a few laughs and a bit of Band of Brothers stuff with Captain Colorful and  “2 wheel drive Colhoun”, Steve decides to have another go. This time from where the others had failed. No matter that the Club President couldn’t do it. No matter that the Club Trainer couldn’t do it. Steve was gonna do it!!

In he goes. Wild and crazy. Screaming engine, spinning tyres. Mud flying 30 meters into the air. One sloppy globdule hitting his wife Cheryl squarely on the forehead. This was getting serious folks. Backwards, forwards, backwards, forwards, endlessly looking for the secret sweet spot to get through on.

But in the background the Kookaburras were laughing. They laughed and laughed. Because only they knew. He who goes into the mud pit from hell NEVER comes out the other side.

And so it was.

In high range and on the limiter, Steve backed out from his final attempt at failure. Even lunatics don’t always make it.

2017 Levuka 4x4 Park - Queesnland 4x4 Club
mud on the tyres



The Levuka Trip was a cracker. What a great mix of characters and a fun experience. But in closing I feel the last words must go to Bryan.

They are: Stoic, committed, Stiff Upper Lip, Resilient and lastly Relentless.

For Bryan came through his ordeal. We all did. He stuck to it. He drove every drive and made it home.

So be mindful fellow members when the Frog Fines Fly.

Bryan and the Land Rover were indeed the very Best of British.


Check out more photos HERE