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“I wonder who buys a Mahindra?” I say to my husband on the drive to the Micat ferry at 3:30 a.m. on a Friday. The girls in their pyjamas are in the back of the borrowed Mahindra Scorpio, which we loaded with all our camping gear.

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We didn't know at this stage, but they're the very best kind of people!

The Mahindra Adventure Club is for Mahindra vehicle owners; multiple times a year, owners have opportunities to go on a group adventure to different locations on various kinds of driving adventures. With Mulgumpin (Moreton Island) just across the water from us, we took our family along to see what the Mahindra Adventure Club is all about. Given a shirt and Mahindra cap, the kids have fun “customising” them!

The 3:30 am start was a rude awakening, but the ferry over at dawn was enjoyable and meant we could get the most out of the day. As we drove onto the Micat, the dude guiding us into our parking space said, “What's this, the tow-off convention?” which made the kids (and me to be honest) a little nervous as we could see some much bigger utes and 4x4s surrounding us!

We deflated our tyres and settled in for the 90-minute journey with much-needed caffeine. We knew we had a very packed itinerary on this trip, and the kids were using the cartoonish map on the wall of the ferry to spot all the things we were going to be doing.

We drove off the ferry when we reached Mulgumpin and onto the sand. We all pulled over to meet each other and have an initial briefing. I was nervous about how it would be as my kids are ‘full on', but straight away, I could tell this was a friendly group. As my kids made sand angels, other drivers built sandcastles with them and laughed and played.

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

Relaxing into it, we introduced ourselves, and I got to see who owned which vehicles. There was a mix of Scorpio, Mahindra's six-seater 4×4 SUV, and Mahindra dual-cab ute owners.

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

Gene Corbett did the initial briefing. Gene was awarded the Guinness World Record in 2023 for driving the Mahindra Scorpio across the Simpson Desert in the quickest time in two factory-spec vehicles. The only thing they changed was the tyres.

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

Far from that desert now, Gene's plan is to head to Combouyuro Camp Ground as a group and set up everyone's tents, have breakfast and then head out on a fun-packed day of sightseeing and 4WDing!

We have driven many different vehicles on Mulgumpin (Moreton Island) from VW Tiguans to Nissan Patrols and are interested in seeing how the Scorpio goes. As we drive up the beach, I am constantly pleasantly surprised and feel like I expected us to be bogged by now!

The ocean looks beautiful. Yellow sand, turquoise sea and blue skies it is a beautiful morning and worth all the effort to get to the Micat for 3:30 am!

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

We all follow in a line, Gene in the lead car and Mahindra staff in the last car. With walkie-talkie radios in each car, there is a bit of banter and friendly morning chatter.

We take the Cowan Cowan bypass and the inland track to Bulwer. We pass through a beautiful forest that looks even greener and lusher than when we were here five months ago!

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

The tracks are very firm. All the rain we have had has made some of them like driving on bitumen.

However, I am incredibly surprised at the Scorpio's ability and how easy it feels on the sand. You don't feel the ruts and corrugations like you do in heavier vehicles. It's as if it glides over the top because it's so light.

We reach Combouyuro Campground, and each finds a spot and sets up camp. I set my two girls up at their camp table with scratch art to keep them amused while we set up our swags and gazebo. Members of the Mahindra Adventure Club wander over and offer their help setting up our camp and just for a general chat, which is lovely.

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

Once we're done, the kids and I head straight to the beach for a swim!

While we're off enjoying ourselves, a team tow in a big white trailer and the smell of breakfast starts to waft around the camp! Perfect timing. After a swim, we are all hungry for a bacon and egg roll!

The weather forecast has changed dramatically from clear sunshine for the whole three days to sunshine on Friday and rain and storms on Saturday and Sunday, so the itinerary is changed to try and fit in as much of the beauty spots and fair weather activities to Friday and save other not weather dependant for Saturday and Sunday. With this in mind, we have a briefing, and we all hop in our cars. We pop by the shop at Bulwer to get our girls a promised ice cream.

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

With just enough time for an ice cream…

… and a play on the swing, too!

Then, we rejoin the group for the drive up and across the island to Champagne Pools. The drive is stunning, with changing tracks and scenery.

Thick green lush forest with tall scribbly gum trees and grass trees.

To suddenly vast open expanses and breathtaking views of the ocean and low scrub bush.

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

On the way, I realise how different it is to drive in a group. For those who are new to 4WD-ing and driving on sand (a lot of those with us on this trip), it will be so comforting to be part of this group. It takes away the stress of off-road driving, so you can enjoy and learn from it.

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

The Scorpio is so light now our camping gear is out of it that it just skips over any ruts in the sand.

You have the security of knowing if you get bogged you have people with you to help you out, so going in groups is fun.

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

You can also radio back any tricky bits, soft patches, etc.

The track opened out onto a beach with some runoff, and we stopped for a little lesson from Gene on checking the water depth for a route to drive through.

Walking the route, watching for dark patches (deeper water), large obstacles, tree branches and anything sharp that could damage a tyre.

With our route chosen, we took it in turns to drive through.

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

While we did that, the kids took a dip in the beautifully cool, tea tree-scented water.

A little further along the beach, we all pull up alongside each other for Champagne Pools.

The setting and beach are stunning. Rich turquoise water, bright blue skies, sea eagles circling overhead.

We all jump from our cars and scatter! Most head up to the Champagne Falls, others fish, and others walk up to the lookout.

The kids grab their beach toys and get digging!! Set up behind the row of cars they have a ball!

The sea is so inviting I run in for a swim. So refreshing and enjoyable.

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

The Champagne Pools are beautiful. As the tide is coming in, aerated bubbly water pours over the rocks – it’s like a jacuzzi effect! The kids love getting washed around by the tide.

Back at the car, I appreciate the boot door opening outward. It makes a great privacy screen from the car next door and enables me to get changed discreetly. It served well at this at the campsite too.

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

After a beautiful time enjoying Champagne Pools and on the beach, we jump back in our cars and head to the lighthouse. It’s another great drive through some beautiful tracks. Half the enjoyment for me is the nature and wildlife we see between each destination. Driving the Scorpio is fun, and I feel I’ve got to know it now. My little one is so relaxed she’s asleep within minutes!

The walk up to the lighthouse is gorgeous. You can watch the turtles swimming below, and the enormous ocean stretches out in front of you. Every stop and sightseeing is an opportunity to get to know the other members of the group more and exchange experiences in the Mahindra vehicles.

While we’ve still got sun and dry weather, we head to the Desert for sandboarding! I'm nervous on this track; it's renowned for getting bogged on, so I expect it here! It's not my vehicle, but along this track, one of the vehicles near the back of the group gets bogged! While those of us up the front of the group stopped for a chat about how sketchy some of it was and areas we felt we came close to getting stuck, those at the back set off to pull the vehicle out. It doesn't take them long, and a procession of Mahindras catches up with us quickly!

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

I am worried about the Desert's car park. It's a well-known spot for getting bogged because the sand is super soft. So we park around the edges of the car park instead of going across the middle, but I'm soooo tempted to try it while I've got the group there to pull me out if I get stuck!

I don't because my youngest daughter wakes up, and late afternoon wake-ups are always a bit tearful and clingy! (All parents know what I mean!)

It is a beautiful time of day, the last of the late afternoon sun. Everyone has a go, walking up to the enormous sand dune with their boards, waxing them at the top and then flying back down the dune with sand spraying in their faces. It's a whole lot of fun!!

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

We don't stay long because the sun is almost setting, and we want to return to camp before dark. We follow the track back through the forest and out onto the Western Beach, and by the time we get there, it is almost dark. It's an incredible drive with the late sun set over the ocean and all the campers huddled around their campfires along the beach.  They love seeing the long snake of Mahindras making their way up the west of the island, and we get a lot of shouts and waves from groups of salty kids.

Back at camp, we swing by the showers. The water pressure has called it a day already, and the kids are not impressed with the cold sprinkles from the showers!

Back at camp, comfy and cosy in pyjamas, we all gather in the camp kitchen where “Luke the Super Chef”, as my daughter affectionately named him, is cooking up a storm. All hungry from a big day driving, a lovely dinner and a glass of wine go down a treat.

It's a great time to talk to the other campers and find out what they thought of the day, how they found their vehicles, what they thought of driving on the sand and whether they enjoyed it.

After looking at the stars, we head to bed, snuggled up with our girls in our swags; we all have a great night's sleep.

As soon as my youngest opens her eyes in the morning, she wants to head through to the beach for a swim!

It's a lot of fun taking turns to tow her on her bodyboard!

While our eldest digs up the beach.

Back to camp in time for Luke, the super chef, to have cooked up a yummy breakfast of pancakes and watermelon for the kids.

During breaky, one lovely Mahinda-owning couple gave the kids a pretend snake toy, Lucy, which became their entertainment for the rest of the trip. They put it in people's tent doorways, under their seat cushions, draped it around people's necks and it even showed up in the camp kitchen pantry! Everyone was such lovely sports and got their own back on the kids, putting Lucy in their child seats, in their swag, etc.

The sky looked pretty threatening as we all headed off this morning to Mount Tempest.

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

The drive across the island is great, with beautiful scenery, trees, and bush. With rain in the air, the smells of the rain and plants were wonderful as we drove with the windows down. The track through to Mt Tempest had a few wet and gnarly sections that the Scorpio took in its stride, and Hubby had fun driving them!

The walk up to Mt Tempest is gorgeous. Enormous grass trees over two meters tall would be so old…

… and they're surrounded by banksias and all sorts of flowering Australian wildflowers.

You get glimpses of the ocean and the view as you climb higher…

… and the view from the top is breathtaking. You can see 360-degree views around the island and out to the ocean.

I reluctantly let Hubby drive. That's what happens when you have two people who both love driving! We head to the Blue Lagoon. I was only here four months earlier, and the track into Blue Lagoon has totally changed. Due to all the rain, the track was quite flooded, and we got to drive through some great water sections.

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

We all parked up and walked through to the lagoon, and just as we reached it, the sun came out! It was a glorious swim in fresh tea tree water and the cleanest I'd felt since leaving home! The kids had a ball, and it was a welcome swim to break up the driving!

As it clouds over and threatens rain, we all head back to our vehicles and out onto the eastern beach. We are all happy campers after a fun morning!

We settle in for the drive down the eastern ocean side of Mulgumpin when suddenly, everyone slams on their brakes and pulls over.

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

One of the couples has spotted “pippies” in the sand. They teach us how to look for the little mounds in the sand and dig down with our toes until we find them. Before long, we have a nice amount to take back to camp for dinner.

The drive down Eastern Beach is windy, so it's not the usual windows down, blue sky, and ocean we've experienced before. The ocean is looking pretty moody, and rain comes on and off. The Scorpio drives really confidently over the sand.

As we near the south of the island, the incoming tide cuts off the beach, and we take some little tracks through the dunes to Kooringal. Gene noticed he had a flat tyre, and it turned out he had two punctures. The only one not in a Mahindra, we can't offer him our spare, and he spends time with a repair kit patching it up enough for the drive back to camp.

We arrived at the Gutter Bar later than planned, and with the tide coming in fast, there was not enough time for the leisurely afternoon we had planned.

Instead there's only time for a quick chat with everyone about the drive down and a quick drink and snack before we jump back in the vehicles to head up the Western beach.

The drive up the southwest coast is the only part of Mulgumpin I've not driven before, so I am very excited! The first section is through mangroves, and they are teaming with birdlife.

As it opens out onto the beach, the sky and sea are beautiful. The sun is starting to set and it's an incredible view.

We realise the tide is really high, and at some points, we have to time it between the lapping waves to get through.

If we'd left any later, we'd have been in trouble! The drive up the southwestern beach is glorious; it feels very remote compared to the other parts of the island and has a more Robinson Crusoe feel.

Being in a convoy with the Mahindra Adventure Club meant I wasn't worried, but I can imagine if I were driving back along there alone I'd feel more worried driving at high tide.

After a few wrong turns and many beach water crossings, we made it back to camp in the dark! The campfire was already roaring, and we all sat around it and shared cheese, dips, and wine.

Great conversation, stories and laughs are shared well into the night around the campfire. One lovely camper has a guitar with him, and so songs are sung too as the rain really starts to come down! The kids eat their body weights in toasted marshmallows!

Another good night's sleep to the sound of rain hammering outside and feeling lucky none of the kids woke up needing the toilet in the night! The rain is on and off in the morning as everyone packs their camps down. We're booked on a ferry the following day, so we don't need to pack down with everyone else, so give a little help to a neighbour squeezing his tent into its bag in the rain.

Once they're packed down, everyone communes undercover in the camp kitchen, discussing who stayed dry in the night and which tents leaked and got wet!

It's time for our last breakfast from Luke, the Super Chef! Just as the heavens open and the rain really hammers down, Gene says his wheel is not repairable. Could we swap our spot on the ferry tomorrow with theirs today? We need to be ready to leave in an hour!

With the clock ticking, we asked our girls to play with their new friend, Amelia, and her Dad looked after them while we set about taking down our camp. As we got started and felt the panic of taking down a big set-up in the pouring rain, the village arrived! Like Noah's Ark, they came two by two and helped us take everything down and pack it away.

There were jokes about how much we managed to fit in and a little love for our stack of drawers!

While loading everything on the roof, we realised we had lost a strap somewhere, so one of our group kindly lent us their spare strap. All loaded, we are just in time for departure and know we would still have been at it an hour later if it wasn't for the help of the Mahindra Village!

I'm excited for today's drive down the length of the western side of the island to the Gutter Bar, it's a great place to hold up in the rain! I'm so happy it's my day to drive!  We take the beach exit out of Combouyuro Campsite rather than the inland track via Bulwer. The beach drive has changed a fair bit in the four months since we were here last. Where we've had so much rain, there are lots of water crossings with steep steps and drop-offs.

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

The drive did feel different with the weight of all our camping gear on board. It was more like other 4WDs; it didn't skip over the top of the sand. The beach and the inland tracks were quite different today after all the rain. They're all churned up and much more like we're used to seeing on Mulgumpin on previous visits. I'm a bit nervous we'll get bogged today!

Mahindra Adventure tour beach driving on Mulgumpin

We do have to take the Cowan Cowan by-pass and the Tangalooma by-pass, both inland tracks. There is some friendly banter over the radios from all the vehicles about how different it all looks. As we get down the southwest of the island along the beach, the lead car comes to a stop and radios there's a turtle. We all pull up and get out. There's an enormous, beautiful turtle washed up on the beach. With no obvious injuries but not alive, it is incredible to see and very sad, too. It wasn't there when we drove along last night, so it must have come in on this morning's tide. We drive on and let the rangers know when we reach Kooringal.

The Gutter Bar is popular today in the rain and the tables are all full of sheltering campers! A delicious burger for lunch and more great chats and laughs with our new friends from the Mahindra Adventure Club.

There's a little break in the rain and time to explore the local beach, where armies of soldier crabs run and hide beneath the sand as we try to get close to them.

The tide is out, and the little pools of water are teaming with life. We follow a hermit crab and a green snakey worm! It's great fun as everyone explores the beach life.

We find the barge that takes vehicles across from Kooringal to North Stradbroke Island. We'd been discussing it earlier on the drive down. We're quite surprised by its size, though, and wonder if this is our next family travel adventure!

Everyone is back in their vehicles, and we drive back up the Western Beach with a little bit of time to hang out before getting the Micat back to the mainland. A lovely couple boils their billy, and we have a nice cup of tea and a chat while we're waiting!

The kids take the opportunity to play on the beach and to do some last-minute scaring with Lucy!

Gene gives us an un-bogging demo on the beach while the sun sets and it gets dark.

As the Micat arrives, Genes's new wheel is on it, and he is happy as we leave him on the sand with his new wheel and a lift on its way to meet him.

We're the last vehicle on to the Micat, and we have to reverse on. I think to myself, “They were wrong- we are not the tow-off convention!” Absolutely exhausted and looking forward to getting home to bed, we're glad we're not staying another night, and we're heading home with everyone else. The 90-minute ferry ride allowed us to re-inflate the tyres, have a pie and a cuppa and have one last chat with our new friends.

Mahindra Scorpio on way to the Micat

The questions I wanted to ask everyone were; have you enjoyed it, do you feel confident now to go off-road on your own and would you go on another Mahindra Adventure Club trip? The answers were yes, yes and yes! In fact, it was such a good group we're already talking about organising another trip together!

We all farewelled as we got back into our Mahindras in the pouring rain! The drive home was very late, dark, and wet, but as we hit the highway, we discussed our original question—”Who buys a Mahindra?”

Mahindra Scorpio on the Micat

So, in answer to “Who buys a Mahindra?” The best kind of people. Not only are they a lot of fun, but they're incredibly kind, too! So, if you want an affordable 4WD and a fantastic group to adventure with and learn how to drive offroad, buy a Mahindra and join their adventure club; they're a fantastic bunch!

Mahindra Adventure Tour Mulgumpin 2024

And.. if you're wondering what happened to Gene, well the poor guy had to roll his new wheel for two hours in the cold rain and the dark up the beach towards Combouyuro. Eventually, he came across the ranger's station, and they gave him and his wheel a lift to Combouyuro campsite.

In the morning, it took him two hours to get the punctured wheel off because it had fused on! Exhausted and probably a bit over it, he got his new wheel on packed up and made it down for the Micat. Bless him 🙂

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Tace Clifford
About Tace Clifford
Tace Clifford founded BabyDrive in 2017 after discovering a huge information gap in mainstream car reviews that left new parents and expanding families in the dark when it came to one of the biggest purchasing decisions of their lives.

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