Question on your Australian travels - Vehicle selection and what to do?

danf

New member
Hi Guys,

Bit random, but we are planning a big trip around. Have previously done shorter trips such as Gibb River etc.

We are really stuck choosing our vehicle/camper type for the trip. We have narrowed it down to three possibilities:

- Large 2WD motorhome towing a small 4wd
- Large Expedition truck w/ Atv/Mbike
- Large 4WD and large Offroad spec Caravan

There are obviously positives and negatives associated with each, our main issues are that we want to get away from people and see wild australia, and have very little intention of staying in caravan parks etc. However the size of an expedition truck can be a problem, along with the fact that you don't have a comfortable vehicle to take down difficult 4WD tracks, you have to take your whole house with you. On the other hand, an expedition truck will much more easily be able to do remote overland areas such as the finke etc than towing an offroad capable large caravan.

Does anyone have any thoughts?'


Secondly, and this may feel strange, What do most of you actually 'do' once you are at somewhere nice and remote and camping? Obviously swimming, walking etc, but we have so many adventure hobbies that choosing what equipment to take will be difficult! ie. Offroading, boating, scuba diving, etc. I feel like I need to tow another trailer just with all the bits and pieces of equipment...
 

cowboyjack

New member
Well... since no one has answered... I did about 5,000 km “back of Burke” in a rented 2wd Toyota camper van back in 2012. Took it a lot of places neither Toyota or the rental agency ever intended it to go.

Of the three options you present, what I saw the Aussies using most were diesel Nissan Patrols or Land Cruisers with really cool little pop up off road trailers.

Most common activity I observed was folks sitting around talking and drinking beer. Sometimes they drove their 4x4s without the trailers somewhere else, THEN sat around talking and drinking beer!

Myself? What I wished for more than anything was a pop top Land Cruiser.
 
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wewillroam

New member
Hey danf,

Everyone's needs will be invariably be different, but happy to share a perspective or two based on our experiences so far and from conversations with travellers we've met. It all comes down to your preferred style of travel - activity, comforts and level of compromise. We're two months in to our lap and have met rigs of all shapes, sizes and characters. Tassie has been our warm up to the mainland and, long story short, we have everything we need in the back of a pop top Troopy and actually managed to overpack. Glad we'll be swinging back through Vic to drop a bunch of stuff off that we just didn't need to bring with us!

- Large 2WD motorhome towing a small 4wd - we've met a healthy number of big buses, motorhomes and RVs. All of them driven by retired couples who seasonally travel, set up shop somewhere for a long period of time and scoot about in the Jimny they tow behind. Most of these people rarely went remote and none of these folk were doing a 'lap', per se, they just picked a different spot to travel to each year.

- Large Expedition truck w/ Atv/Mbike - we've met two SLRVs, one All-Terrain Warrior, a UniMog and an Earthcruiser. All of them retirees with bigger budgets and different intentions on what they wanted out of travel. They are all travelling perpetually and have a passion for dirt bikes or watersports that they carry with them. All of them cited massive weight and cost of upkeep as a thing they underestimated, but it is what it is. I totally geeked out over their trucks too.

- Large 4WD and large Offroad spec Caravan - mostly families on holiday, weren't into 4wd'ing all that much but wanted to do the Gibb River Road, Flinders Ranges and such.

The above is by no means gospel of course, just interesting observations we've made of who likes to travel in what. We're always asking ourselves what we'd want to drive if we ever traded in the Troopy.

Hope this helps,
Ant.
 

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Peter_n_Margaret

Adventurer
Our choice was a "medium" expedition truck. Possibly the smallest possible that has room for a shower and toilet. Big enough to carry 280L of water and 280L of fuel. It is the water that determines how long you can stay remote.
We did not have the budget to buy what we wanted, so I built it myself and we have now seen quite a bit of Oz in it over the last 15 years (the last few are not drawn in yet...)
12-12-27cE.jpg
The OKA is more comfortable on bad roads and tracks than a Landcruiser.
If you want to travel difficult 4WD tracks or cross the Simpson (for instance), forget about towing anything. Most who cross the Simpson do so in 4-6 days because they can not carry enough water to spend a lot longer. We have spent a month in the Simpson.
Next choice would be an Iveco, or if on a tighter budget a Canter or similar with super singles and parabolic springs.
P1100091E.jpg
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
 

bus 4x4

New member
Have you considered a 4x4 conversion on people movers? We do 4x4 conversions on Toyota Hiaces and Toyota Coasters which are infinitely more comfortable than a 4x4 truck, better turning circle, more nimble and easy to park. We also build single-body walkthrough on Iveco Daily. Check our 4x4 conversions and 4wd buses on our website www.bus4x4.com.au or our campervan/motorhome conversions on www.4x4motorhomes.com.au. Also check our YouTube page for some fantastic videos around Australia
 

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tanuki.himself

Active member
you wil get as many opinions as there are vehicles....

We towed a 5th wheel caravan with a nissan navarra for 45,000km doing a lap and a half over 13 months. We didn't go days away from tarmac but it was OK for a few hours on dirt roads, and when we wanted to go somewhere a bit less accessible we just took the ute for the day. I would do the same thing for Oz in a heartbeat - enough space and creature comforts to be liveable for that duration, and flexibility enough to go where we wanted.

people we met on the road in a toyota bus like the above found they coudn't always get it into where they wanted - we took them for a for a day trip to the bungle bungles in the ute. And pop up caravan owners who hated having to pack/unpack every time they needed to collapse the roof and move - said it was OK for a couple of weeks but for an extended period it became a pain.

what to do? swimming holes, beaches, fishing, looking at the amazing scenery, watching thunderstorms rolling across the NT, watching the sunsets. And drinking our way around all the wine regions....
 

alanymarce

Active member
Of the three suggested - the expedition truck. Most capable of getting to "remote" places.

Our solution however is our current Mitsubishi Montero - converted to sleep inside. Can go more or less anywhere, has a potable water tank, upgraded/lifted suspension, winch, snorkel, bed inside, refrigerator, storage, and a few other bits and pieces. At the same time it's relatively fuel-efficient, comfortable, and practical. We travelled around Australia for 10 months/45,000 Km last year.

For more insight, look at https://discoverthedreaming.blogspot.com .

Things we do (not including what we do in towns/cities) - swim, walk (anything up to 15 Km), photography, birds/wildlife watching, snorkel (don't need to take as much stuff as needed for diving), stargazing, cook, read...
 
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