Tag Along 4WD Trip Experiences

Submitted: Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 20:24
ThreadID: 117795 Views:3234 Replies:9 FollowUps:4
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Hi All,

I am considering a tag along tour across the Simpson Desert and up the Hay River Track in late July but not having done anything like this previously I am struggling a bit with the cost, which isn't cheap, and was wondering if anyone has done a tag along tour in the past and was it worth the money?

It is probably the only way I can do a trip like this and understand the safety issues that need to be considered and having an experienced trip leader looking after alot of the things for you is worth something.

The physical costs for the trip are nowhere near what is being charged so it's just a case of me feeling comfortable that the extra money is money well spent.

I appreciate anyones thoughts/experiences.

Thanks in advance, Lloyd.
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Reply By: Crusier 91 - Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 20:41

Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 20:41
They can be good................but....................it depends..............it can be like the lottery.............................its the others that tag along can make or break the trip.

AnswerID: 553555

Follow Up By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 21:22

Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 21:22
We only had one very good experience but we have often encountered others having a wonderful experience on their's. I've only heard of one bad experience which was due to a major refusal by a tagalong client follow the fairly basic rules of the trip, was chucked out of the convoy but continued along and made himself very unpopular.
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Follow Up By: Crusier 91 - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 17:16

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 17:16
Exactly Paul, we have steered away from tag alongs for that reason and only go alone or with very good friends that complement each other and keeping vehicle numbers down to 3 max. It seems to follow a hell of a lot better, see a lot more at a slower pace and everyone enjoys each others company.

Have heard many complain about other couples continually fighting, passengers plastered the whole way, young kids running amuck as well as few complaining continuously, and groups that cant agree which way to go.
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Reply By: vk1dx - Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 23:39

Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 23:39
A long term solution.

If you have time then join a club, do all their courses, go on a trips with them and learn, learn learn. Other club members are only too happy to help setting the car up as well. And don't forget the discounts. Our mob also get access to a lot of closed areas. Sure we help clean up and fix stuff but it's worth the extra areas we get to explore.

Then you can go on your own. Just like we do. Nothing beats sitting next to your own fire at some quiet spot in the middle of the Simpson etc, with your wife, partner etc, and just enjoying your own private space and time.

Clubs also do a lot of their own "tag alongs" and usually all are usually members as well so you already have things in common.
AnswerID: 553569

Reply By: The Landy - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 09:26

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 09:26

We did a couple of trips with a prominent Sydney based tag-a-long group when we first started trekking and touring in the outback many years ago and we found it very useful. The company, Great Divide Tours, is still going strongly and feedback I have received from others has always been positive.

In fact last year we did some refresher work with them and the TVAN on their property near Goulburn after purchasing a new vehicle.

The tag-a-longs we did gave us a taste for the travel we enjoy immensely these days and we developed from that into touring remote areas regularly by ourselves.

Benefits included being able to learn from a team that has a structure and discipline around the way they approach touring.

Most tag-a-long companies put as much into the time away as they can and this will usually mean early starts and arrivals not too far from sundown!

But a good way to tour with like-minded people, especially if you are not comfortable undertaking the trip by yourself.

On costs, it is always difficult to reconcile the costs of joining a tour versus undertaking it yourself. Although there are additional expenses they incur, including liability insurance and paying the cost of the guides plus their vehicles.

Is it value for money? We found it was at the time as we wanted to learn and experience and this was the way we chose to do it. As mentioned by others, clubs are an alternative if you do not want to pay the tag-a-long fees. My experience with clubs has been mixed and hence the reason we chose the path we did.

Either way, enjoy your trip...

Cheers, Baz – The Landy
AnswerID: 553574

Reply By: Member - Kevflo (QLD) - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 09:39

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 09:39
Hello Lloyd,
My first adventure into the desert was with a tagalong tour from the Alice.
East West crossing of The Simpson and North along the Hay River track..
A wonderful trip with a great bloke.. Jol Fleming.. check out his website.. direct4wd.com.au I learnt so much from that trip & the following year I went with Jol and 12 vehicles down The Canning Stock Route.. Another wonderful trip..
Can't say enough of the desert knowledge of Jol Fleming & his Crew..
So for me Tagalongs have given me the knowledge & confidence to travel to many great outback & desert tracks in my trusty Troopy..
Hope you will enjoy the camaraderie & gain as much as I did when you experience a Tagalong Tour... Kind Regards... Kev
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 10:48

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 10:48
When we first purchased a 4WD (Ford F350), we joined the Toyota Landcruiser Club in South Australia :)
We then did all of their excellent training and went on a couple of Club trips with them.
We also did a professional 4WD course (BOTH of us!)
We hated "tagging along" with the club trips but the training and experience gained over a few years was invaluable.
We have done our own thing ever since, usually alone, but occasionally with invited friends, and that is the way we much prefer it.

OKA96 Motorhome
AnswerID: 553576

Reply By: pmk03 - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 12:23

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 12:23
There are probably some very good tag along companies out there but I choose to always travel alone or sometimes with friends.
I have travelled Australia a lot over the past 30 odd years & seen many so called Tag Along trips arrive late...... depart early....... & go flat out all day to try & cram as much into one day as possible.
I was nearly ran off the track on a Cape York trip & abused on the CB for being in a Tag Along trips way - I chose to pull over & wait for them to pass. I spoke to the Driver at the tail end & he said he was tired of trying to keep up & decided to go at his own pace & catch up at the end of each day......... Just one experience but........
Not my idea of a holiday & also usually expensive too.
If I was starting out again I would do a 4WD Driver training course or get the experience travelling with friends until I was confident of travelling alone....... Which is what I do now.
But then I'm just a miserable old Bast***
AnswerID: 553580

Follow Up By: Joe Fury - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 18:50

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 18:50
G'day pmk03

I don't know if my reply will last long on this forum seeing I am an "actual" tag along tour operator, with no financial attachment to ExplorOz my guess is that my reply might be taken as promoting "self" and rapidly moderated.

Firstly: Lloyd W1

If you have any real doubts about traveling solo anywhere in the remoter regions of our big country, by all means research your options in respect of taking a tag along tour, there are many very respectable long standing organizations that might just offer the type of tour experience you are looking for, as I say research your subject closely.

Do take on board any information given to you by your chosen tour operator in regards to vehicle set up, tyres and equipment as these tour operators actually have first hand knowledge and experience in the region they operate tours in.

Obviously listen to a person who is "spitting chips" about how crappy his/her experience might have been on an organized tour and usually you can work out why things went so wrong ~ for them.

Yes there are tag along tour enterprises that over book a tour and yes they run late and start cutting corners the further they fall behind in what ever schedule they commit themselves to. There may well be genuine factors that cause an itinerary blow out, the guide or a participating tour guest who becomes seriously ill or possibly a catastrophic failure with a vehicle, the list is long and the possibilities are endless.

From my very personal experiences, the only issues I have encountered that are note worthy and relate to my tag along tours all stemmed from people who chose to tour solo through the remote regions of the inland Pilbara, under prepared, ill equipped and with next to minimal information or knowledge about where they were travelling and one such solo explorer was responsible in part for the landing of a deep space probe and Comet fairly recently ~ go figure?

Safe travels : Joe
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Follow Up By: Joe Fury - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 21:50

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 21:50
Bummer, the last line of my reply sounded okay in my head as I was banging away on the key board, it should have read.

"one such solo explorer was responsible in part for the landing of a deep space probe on a Comet fairly recently ~ go figure?

End of Bummer!

Safe travels : Joe
FollowupID: 839487

Reply By: deserter - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 17:26

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 17:26
Why don't you post on here


and organise your own tour group ?
AnswerID: 553589

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 18:38

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 18:38
Only done 2 paid desert tagalongs, and both were superb (Madigan Line and a trip following Cooper Creek).
As someone who has run many club and group trips, it was great to just look after yourself and relax. The fellow participants were usually a mixture - most people were great company and well prepared, others were not, but for a 2 weeks trip you can put up with anyone. Not a lot had formal 4wd training, so if someone got bogged....look out!!! Just remember that you are the paying customer, so don't let anything else bother you and you will have a great time.
AnswerID: 553593

Reply By: Michael H9 - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 20:13

Monday, May 11, 2015 at 20:13
I've done tagalongs, club trips and solo. I prefer solo, but the others are fine especially as a bit of a mixup that reminds me why I prefer solo. The longer the trip, the more I prefer solo. The club trips have a better trained bunch of drivers and you usually know what to expect personality wise. I've often NOT done a club trip because of the personalities already registered for the trip, but then done the trip on my own afterwards. Driver training with a club is great value because its basically free with membership. The tagalongs that I have done have all been quite excellent except for noobs getting stuck in simple places and holding up proceedings. I haven't met a bad operator yet. I'd be happy to do more but they are a bit expensive.
I've also done trips organized on different forums. Not bad either.
AnswerID: 553604

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