Dills on wheels

LOCHIEL’S picturesque Lake Bumbunga has enjoyed a spike in tourist numbers over recent years but a number of dipsy drivers keen for a closer look are getting bogged in the salty surface.

Given those driver then need rescuing means the beautiful landscape, which is regularly used for photo shoots, is blemished by wheel tracks.

Wakefield Regional Council elected member and Lochiel local, John Nicholls, said the town’s progress association has fenced off areas to prevent access but drivers still find their way into trouble.

“It’s a bit of an awkward issue to address,” he said.

“I don’t understand the mentality of some of these people going to great effort driving around a fence to get out there.”

The lake was a hive of tourist activity over the Easter weekend.

“There would have been 20 or 30 people on the lake at any given time across the entire weekend, so I reckon we had more than a thousand visitors over the four days,” Cr Nicholls said.

Sure enough, one avid adventurer bit off more than he could chew in a relatively new Ford Ranger Raptor with 5000km on the clock.

“It was $70,000 worth of vehicle out there, bogged up to the axles in a salt lake,” Cr Nicholls said.

“I don’t find the whole situation overly funny though, the tracks take a long time to disappear and it just makes a mess of the place.”

Another motorist also coerced onto the lake to assist and also became stuck (right).

WRC mayor, Rodney Reid, said council was aware of the issue but there was no specific item on the agenda looking into initiatives to address the matter.

Greg Simmonds, owner/manager of Simmonds Garage at Lochiel, is often the man called to haul the bogged drivers out of the lake.

“It’s not as simple as just driving out and towing them back in,” he said.

“I have to use specialised equipment.

“There are not as many people getting bogged these days but they are still making a mess.”

• Pictured: A $70,000 Ford Ranger Raptor became very stuck on Lake Bumbunga, Lochiel, over the Easter weekend. It is a continuing issue for the town as more tourists are lured for a look at the lake, with bogged vehicles leaving deep track marks (inset).