If you have a passion for Troop Carriers and looking for other people suffering from the same illness, then look no further. The Troop Carriers of Australia (TOA) facebook group is 3,000 members strong and growing daily. In July each year they hold their annual Winter Ramble in the Coorongooba Campground in the Wollemi National Park.
The event usually starts on Friday and goes until around lunch time on Sunday. We headed off around 03:00 on Friday morning from Brisbane. We decided to take the Newell Hwy even though it was slightly longer, and I’m glad we did. We had a fantastic drive down hardly seeing any other vehicles or trucks.
We stopped at the small town of Dunedoo for a pie from the bakery on our way through with about 2 hours to go. From here we started to really see the mountains come to light. The last hour of the drive in from the North is spectacular and we arrived around 16:00.
When you finally arrive at Coorongooba Campground nothing can prepare you for what you’ll see. It was bloody “marvellous” – Troop Carriers everywhere in one of the most scenic settings you’ll find in the country. When we arrived the sun was setting and the mountains were lit up. In the valley below approx 140 Troop Carriers and their passionate owners! As we did a lap of the camping area looking for a spot to setup you started to feel the atmosphere. I have to admit that I’d only joined the group 3 weeks before the ramble so didn’t really know anyone well.
We pulled up and setup camp which was difficult given the light and scenery (both natural and man made) being a constant distraction. While setting up introductions were taking place with other Troopy Legends and the story telling began. As the rums went down, the night grew cold and the fires bigger, we met and talked to a large number of people realising three things. We weren’t the only people that had made some effort to come – there were people from WA, SA, VIC, NSW and QLD. A large number of people attending were first timers. You didn’t need to know people to have a great time.
We walked around from fire to fire. Before long I wish I’d brought a small esky as it was too cold to hold rums in my hand and getting more and more difficult to get back to the car to get more from the fridge. We were half way around and it was already into the early hours of the morning – given our early start the day before we hit the sack – but had a list of Troopies to come back and visit to see better in the daylight!
My plans to sleep were foiled – for what ever reason I found it difficult to sleep. This wasn’t helped by the fact that I could hear car doors opening and closing that sounded exactly like mine! Of course, what else could you expect when they’re all Troop Carriers! 🙂
Up at 05:00 and the thermometre for my fridge showed a cool -3.0 degrees. First job was to get the TOA fire put going thanks to Matt Boughton who organised them especially for group members. Before long people were stumbling out of their Troopies and picking up where they left off the night before. I don’t know what happened to the earth on Saturday, but before we knew it the day was over and we were back around the fire sharing tales of adventure, modification and future trips.
Sunday morning came and it was time to have the traditional hearty camping breakfast (sausages, bacon, eggs, hashbrowns covered in a tin full of spaghetti) before packing up and saying good bye to our new found friends. We were hoping to stay for the group photo (line up) but it ran late and we had a long drive ahead of us. At 11:30 we headed off on the drive back to Brisbane, arriving at midnight.
The next couple of days at work were tough, but made easier by the photos and stories posted to the TOA group on facebook. The stream of stories shared from the weekend before. If you’re looking for a family friendly, inclusive group to join than you should consider Troop Carriers of Australia! Looking forward to getting down there again next year and congratulations on the group – you are Legends!