Driving across Australia in a 2WD hatchback?

Submitted: Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 00:35
ThreadID: 103757 Views:7121 Replies:11 FollowUps:5
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So I'm planning a 2 month trip from Perth to Brisbane via the southern coastal route. First time doing it. And I was thinking of doing it all in a small 2wd hatchback. Even with all my camping gear I'm a fairly light traveler, so it's not like I'm hauling a tonne of gear around.

Do you think by taking such a car I would be seriously impeding my trip? Will it inhibit me from seeing and doing a lot of good stuff?

I know I couldn't drive along the beach in such a vehicle for instance, but I figure I'd mostly just park the car and walk down to the beach in such cases anyway.

I love to get out bush and camp in the wild where I can, and I imagine that even on most dirt and gravel roads I could get in/out with a 2wd anyway - as long as it hasn't been raining.


I could be compelled to sell the 2wd car and buy a 4wd if it's really worth my while, but so far I can't see how it would be...?
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Reply By: bluefella - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 06:48

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 06:48
That's pretty well thought out James, if you stick to that plan you'll be ok. Before heading of into the scrub ask the locals about the road conditions.
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 08:20

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 08:20
I am sure you can James , I suspect most of us did , with probably 1/4 of what we now carry.

For me it was a VW beetle and I went to lot of places you can't now because they have built fences around things.

It would be great if you could sleep inside the car somehow as it makes for a lot more flexibility when you just need to stop for a few hours on the roadside.

Your 2wd can also be much enhanced by simply using tyre pressure management and if you could add in a traction aid like extra person to push or some short maxtrax or similar.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 12:04

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 12:04
Ditto. For us it was either my Kingswood or my wifes Mini delux. The Mini had trouble some times but with the extra sump guard we always "got through".

You will be fine mate. Enjoy the drive.

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Reply By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 09:42

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 09:42
Hi James,
Make sure the vehicle is mechanically sound, you have the right attitude & mind set to long periods of driving & you will have a ball.... in your little buzzbox.... good on you for going out there & DOING it
Insanity doesnt run in my family.... it gallops!

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Reply By: Bushranger1 - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 10:08

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 10:08
G'day James,
You will be fine. In my younger years I did some really long interstate trips in a 1967 model Mini & a small hike tent.
Then I ugraded to an 800cc Suzuki 4wd & toured the inland deserts. Everyone said I was nuts but I had the time of my life. Not many people out there in those days but lots of travellers around these days to assist if you run into trouble.

AnswerID: 516377

Reply By: jamesgill - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 15:46

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 15:46
Ok thanks for the encouraging thoughts so far.

My colleagues at work are convinced that I'd be mad to do it in a 2WD.

They admit it's certainly possible, but they reckon you can see and do a whole lot more in a 4WD. They say and without it there are so many places you simply won't be able to go (side trips, great free camping spots, etc.) and that it would be a whole different experience with a 4WD.

What do you think? Is there much truth in this or are they really overstating things?

Very keen to hear your opinions!
AnswerID: 516393

Follow Up By: Bushranger1 - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 16:36

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 16:36
I have owned a 4wd ever since I was 19. A long time ago!

But we like to get WAY off the beaten track. There are plenty of spots you can visit WITHOUT a 4wd.
I drive interstate a lot & take my other car (Ford falcon) because it's quicker & more comfortable on the open highway but I still deviate to places off the highway while I am away.
Sure I cant go really remote like i do in the 4WD but with a bit of care & slowing down there are lots of great spots to camp & visit off the beaten track with a standard car.
Just look at some of the places the European tourists vist in old 2wd cars they buy for peanuts & they seem to get in to a lot of remote interesting places
Go for it & take the hatchback then when you return buy a fourby if you feel the need.

FollowupID: 795751

Follow Up By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 18:47

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 18:47
Hi james, treat this trip as a reccy for the next one. You can't see it all in one go anyway. Perth to Bris via coast is tar all the way. Head down the Eyre Peninsula, take your time on the Great Ocean Road etc. The Nullarbor needs a good book like Ron Moons "Across the Bight and Nullarbor" This has plenty of options. What about the Esperance area?..... W

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Follow Up By: Erad - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 09:08

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 09:08
Probably around 95% of the regular tourist spots in OZ can be accessed with a 2WD. Most of OZ is covered by sealed roads these days, and even the unsealed roads are mostly kept in good condition. Even the Oodnadatta and Birdsville tracks are fine for a 2WD - if it is not raining. The main requirement is ground clearance. If heading along these tracks, consider carrying an extra spare wheel or at least a tyre and tyre changing kit. It is only when you head seriously off-road that a 4wd may be required, and even then common sense will get you further than an idiot in a 4WD.
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Follow Up By: WBS - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 12:53

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 12:53
While there are certainly more possibilities with a 4WD I wouldn't want you to think that what you originally proposed wouldn't be a great big adventure in itself.

There are so many things to see just with a 2WD you could quite easily fill every day of your trip seeing great places.

Is it worth it to you to spend the money on a 4WD?
Do you have the time to do extra stuff if you had a 4WD?
Do you have a list of places you must see?
Do you have a list of places you want to see but cannot in a 2WD?

Enjoy your trip no matter how you do it, just make sure you do it.

FollowupID: 795791

Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 16:04

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 16:04
Prior to getting a 4wd my wife and I did the half block in my wife's station wagon. When we got to a town we'd look at what was available whether it was a boat trip, 4wd tour or whatever and put the car on the ferry to cross the Tasman to Tasmainia. . We did boat trips in Hobart, Darwin, Murray River, Kakadu x2, Katherine Gorge, Gieki Gorge & a fishing trip in Exmouth. 1 day 4WD tours through the Flinders Range & 2 X Kakadu. Got a fee helicopter flight in Tassie (wife's friend) & I got a free flight out to Kalumburru thanks to a mate of mine and then a paid helecopter flight over the Bungles. Sure we didn't have the freedom & access that a 4wd will give you but I don't think that we missing out on much with the time we had available to us. The cost we paid for the tours was acceptable to us as at the time.
Make sure you give back more than you take

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AnswerID: 516395

Reply By: Barbera72 - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 20:44

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 20:44
You'll be fine. We once did 16.000Km on a Hyunday Accent including some dirt tracks to some remote spots. The only thing I recall wrecking was the cd player over corrugations. A Canadian friend of mine went from Briz to Perth and back on a 3cyl daihatsu, alone and without radio cassette across the Nullarbor: how cool is that.
AnswerID: 516411

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 21:50

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 21:50
My first 'offroad' vehicle was a 1970 Corolla.
You'll be fine - just do it.
AnswerID: 516418

Reply By: Kilcowera Station Stay - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 07:13

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 07:13
Just go for it James, you'll have a ball. Lots of good advice on here for you. The people who say u need a 4 wd have no sense of adventure. We are in a pretty remote location here at Kilcowera but still get lots of travellers in 2wd cars, even towing vans and trailers! Have fun! Toni
AnswerID: 516428

Reply By: Winner W - Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 12:21

Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 12:21
You are crazy, only option is a Twin turbo v8 cruiser with twin lockers,maxtrax,winch,camper trailer and second car as back up !!!!!!!!!!!
Obviously I am kidding.
Go for it. Nowadays with internet you can check the route, see photos of everwhere, updated traffic reports, use google streetview for lots of areas and ask on forums for info .
Then you can plan accordingly. There are so many spots you need a 4wd but even many more that you dont have to have one and a stack more of spots where you are not allowed to go in the 4x4 anyway.
Have the car in good mechanical condition .
Just use you brains and common sense on non sealed roads and be weather wise for rain
GO FOR IT MATE and enjoy !!!!!!!!!
AnswerID: 516515

Reply By: jamesgill - Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 22:33

Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 22:33
Awesome..thank you all for your help!
AnswerID: 516550

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