Travelling Aus.

Submitted: Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 09:13
ThreadID: 14199 Views:3135 Replies:17 FollowUps:2
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O.K. people, new member and a novice. Quick profile, 60 year old widower about to down size the big Syd. house, in between spend 6 to12 months travelling Aus.
The more I research, the more difficult the transport decision becomes. I intend to fit out whatever I use so as to spend as little time in caravan parks as parks as possible and free camp as much as I can. Budget not a big problem.
Option 1 ,small van i.e. Fiat Ducato, nice fit outs,self contained, bit lacking in storage, but overall not bad for one person,would handle the gravel and dirt but not the 4x4 tracks.
Option 2,4x4 cab chassis [Patrol 4.2] with a Suncamper/Matilda type conversion,
again good fit out,go anywhere,within reason, looks terrible,top heavy, this a travelling trip ,not a 4x4 trip, but a good solution.
Option3, buy a good tow unit, Cruiser,Patrol and get a small offroad caravan,about 14ft with shower and toilet , should handle most roads, but Im not
really into towing, but again a good set up and could sell van and keep vehicle when Im finished.
So this is where the problem is, and some advice from the experienced travellers
would really be appreciated.
Last question, what is the one piece of gear you would not leave home without,
apart from all the usual rec.equipt. sat. phone etc that I intend to have fitted??
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Reply By: Baz (NSW) - Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 09:28

Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 09:28
Welcome mate, where in Syd are you and have you thought about a campervan, in our travels have spoken to alot single travelers in campervans one that springs to mind was a fellow about your age in a converted mercedes campervan very well set out, lots of room.

AnswerID: 65471

Reply By: Willem - Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 09:37

Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 09:37
G'day Michael

Buy an ex- Hire Car Toyota Landcruiser 4x4 Diesel Camper for about $25,000 or less and take it from there. If at a later stage you feel that you need more space etc then you can add on or upgrade.

Don't leave home without your wallet or toothbrush :-)))))
AnswerID: 65472

Follow Up By: Member - Fay D Away (Vic) - Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 20:40

Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 20:40
Hi Willem, you have recommended a great touring machine (you should get one too) They eat up the miles and can go anywhere. the hitop or fliptop, I like the hitop as we can stand up inside without changing anything and it,s rare we have to move or cut overhead branches on the tracks, the stove and kitchen sink really make travelling enjoyable.

With the 3500KG towing caperbility we could add a caravan, off road camper or trailer with motorbike if that is required at a later stage of a looong trip

The Sand was great at LD but the Snow behind Lake Mountain on Sunday was even better
FollowupID: 326500

Reply By: Des Lexic - Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 09:50

Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 09:50
Welcome to the site Michael.
Personally for what your doing, I'd go with the van cruiser/patrol option. Small van you wouldn't know it was there and a bit of room to unwind in. I wouldn't leave home without a long handled shovel.
Before I went too far away from the main centres, I'd check out availability of parts etc for the fiat. Could be an extended wait in Alice Springs or wherever waiting for them to be delivered.
AnswerID: 65477

Reply By: Rosscoe - Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 11:43

Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 11:43

Have you done this sort of thing in the past?
All suggestions have their strong points and their weak points.
Do you intend travelling one out or with groups?
I started doing this, albeit with my wife several years ago. Firstly, we bought a 4WD for comfort and peace of mind and did a mixture of camping and satying in quality hotels/motels.
We enjoy the luxury but really liked being able to get to places not readily accessible in a normal vehicle.
Next we hired a Kimberly Kamper for a two week trip. This was really great. The trailer would easily go wherever the car would but at our age (similar to yours) we want a few more creature comforts but still be able to go down roughly formed tracks.
Our solution which we are very happy with was to buy a 16 ft dirt raod caravan.
If you want the independance to stop anywhere for as long as you like and go most places there are quite a number of vans available. At the entry level some of the Coromal vans meet most situations or you go to units like Trackmaster or Bushtracker if the bdget allows.
My suggestion is you to consider hiring a rig for a couple of weeks and see what you like. You can hire 4WDs, camper trailers, motorhomes quite easily these days.

Good luck and enjoy.

AnswerID: 65486

Reply By: Member - Roachie SA- Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 12:18

Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 12:18
G'day Michael and welcome to the madhouse...

In my opinion, even though you don't plan on this being a 4 wheel drive trip as such, you would be well advised to cater for this possibility. EG: You'll end up in Alice Springs at some point no'll probably find out that going to Kings Canyon via the Mereenie Loop would be a good trip. No worries so far. Then someone will suggest that Palm Valley would be worth a look. Suddenly, your non-4x4 is not gunna be good enough. All I'm saying is that you'd be better off taking a vehicle that would cover every (or at least most) of the possibilities you're likely to encounter.
Having said that, I'd go with the trayback complete with camper body....needs to be something easy to use by yourself to pack up and set up etc.
Not sure about "looks terrible" though; I think they look okay....especially with dual spare wheels on the back, both covered with EO wheel covers!!

Happy travels mate.
AnswerID: 65488

Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 13:02

Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 13:02

Welcome and I guess you have decided to jump in the deep end with a membership. That is great.

You are looking for some flexibility there and I can understand that. There is a suggestion above to hire an outfit like you may be interested in for a couple of weeks and that to me is very good.

You are saying it is not going to be anything specific in your travelling but I tend to look to option 3 that you have spelled out. Some of the snails I have seen( big shell on the back) have really set me against them even though I have seen them atop Big Red! (four people aboard at that) You are having to break camp nearly every time you want to get to the fish shop or the bank.

Yes, you made that statement you are not so comfortable towing I can understand. You could try to break that in slowly.

I agree with Willem about the wallet, but I am sure he carries a spare toothbrush in Rosie for a quicker get away. Build your kit as you need to feel comfortable and have a few practice runs not a long one first up. Make lists for your self too and organise in plastic boxes where you can.

Have fun Michael, all the advice from the folks above is impeccable.
AnswerID: 65498

Reply By: Member - Bob - Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 15:57

Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 15:57
I'd get one of the common diesel 4WDs (Pajero, Toyota, Datsun, Landrover etc) and take the back seats out to make room for gear and a place to roll out the swag if its too wet on the ground. As well as the swag, you'll need an Engel, a gas stove and a compressor with tyre repair plugs. To me, a GPS and mapping software are important. How about an iPod with all your favourite music loaded? Mate, off road vans are for blokes dragging the reluctant missus around (or for blokes who reckon they may get lucky ;-) Keep it simple.
AnswerID: 65527

Reply By: marcus - Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 17:05

Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 17:05
Hi Michael,
I have the big Goldstream Soveriegn camper which is super comfortable inside and tows well with little wind resistance and the turbo diesel has few problems towing it.I took it on a two thousand klms trip and thought it was good but would like to improve the set up if on a longer trip.If setting up in dark too much work to do for an overnight stop,was still a little too heavy as it has everything on board although when rolling was o.k.My set up is good for the way i use it but for long term travel i like the Windsor rapid for ease of set up,easy pop top and all the comforts for life on the road including shr and toilet if required.( are loads of choices out there and good luck with your homework.
cheers mark
AnswerID: 65538

Reply By: Lone Wolf - Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 17:30

Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 17:30
Hey......... Michael!!!

Welcome Aboard Mate!

Can't help ya with your questions, but I reckon ya have come to the right spot mate.


AnswerID: 65542

Reply By: crowie - Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 17:30

Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 17:30
Michael B

You don't say whether your looking to do a lot of serious off roading or not.
You can drive around Australia and see a fair bit of it in a sedan (or a light Van) without resorting to a 4WD. They do however provide you with some security when it rains on some of the dirt and gravel roads.

If you want to travel some of the real outback tracks a campervan is no good. They can't drive them and they would fall apart anyway. I'm your age and if my wife didn't need a few more comforts while driving I would go the Toyota Troupie route. They have enough room to store all you need and you can sleep in the back if you set it up right. Have a good look around, go to the shows and read the mags. Have a look at how people set them up.

Take your time becaause the next time you turn around you will find someone with a better idea. As someone said make sure that you buy a vehicle that agencies around Australia otherwise you could be waiting and paying a lot to have parts flown in.
AnswerID: 65543

Reply By: Member - Jiarna (SA) - Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 20:25

Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 20:25
I'd agree with crowie, for one person you couldn't go past a Toyota Troopie. With a properly thought out interior, you'd have all the advantages of a camper without the hassles of not being able to go to the best spots. You might not think you need 4WD, but it's not just 4WD ability that you get, it's much stronger build than a sedan or van. That way it won't fall to bits halfway into your trip.

Have fun deciding.
Those who say something cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

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AnswerID: 65576

Reply By: Member - Pesty (SA) - Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 20:25

Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 20:25
Hi Micheal, I would go with the Deisel Troopie with dual fuel tanks and a dual wheel carrier on the back, with the camper convertion, plenty of room for one, and two if neccesary, and if you find you are accumilating to much stuff for 12 months on the road buy a small offroad trailer that locks up and it will tow easily. The beauty of the camper is it will go most places and you can pull up and go to bed with out setting up anything, or pull up for an easy meal and rest. The only thing on your list that is not on board is the shower, but there are several heat exchanger setups that fit into your vehicle and im sure an outside curtain attachment can be fitted to the troopie along with a porta potty, or a shower tent, and in many places there are toilets and if remote enough you probably wont need the curtain. There are plenty of good members on this forum in your neck of the woods and im sure some will meet with you to help you sort out what you need while setting up.
For your first few trips do some tag alongs until you can feel your way, and you may even find good friends on this site to travel with sometimes, as there always seems to be some one going some where, and above that they are scattered far and wide of this great country and most open their doors to EO member.
AnswerID: 65577

Reply By: Member - Rick (S.A.) - Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 22:06

Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 22:06
Last item I would not leave without?

12 V light, and a socket in the rear of the vehicle (whatever you decide..........lotsa advice here........) so you can see & work/cook/set up at night.

Half the fun is getting it all set up & planning your trips.
AnswerID: 65596

Reply By: gonebush - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 00:07

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 00:07
Hi Michael,

There are many excellent suggestions above and the 'try b4 you buy' is one of the best ways of finding out what would suit you the best.

I would advocate a 4x4 as they can also be set up similar to a small van however the 4x4 offers you the flexibility to go places that the van can't and there are many wonderful spots in Australia that require a 4x4 to access. Additionally if you get 'caught' in a sticky spot e.g unexpected rain then the fourby offers obvious advantages.

I would suggest that joining a four wheel drive club, or going along as a visitor, is another way of finding out what may suit you. Talking to people with the variety of rigs you find in a club and their general experience in travelling and set ups can be invaluable. Additionally you can learn some driving skills, gain confidence and experience the whole new world that comes with owning a 4x4.

As for the piece of gear..........I always carry my extensive medical kit wherever I go and I would suggest a First Aid course as a must for remote area travelling.

Good Luck

AnswerID: 65620

Reply By: Member - Michael B (NSW) - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 07:58

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 07:58
Thanks for all the ideas,4x4 seems the way to go, still a toss up between the Patrol
campervan and towing a small offroad van. Looked at the Troopie and if I was 20
years younger thats way I would go. At my age like my comforts,good bed,toilet &
shower are must. No, never done it before, but thats never stopped me from trying new things in the past. Intend to travel on my own, stop and stay where
ever I like. Golf,fish,drive,and I do enjoy driving,a lot of racing and rallying in the
younger days. Will be doing a 4x4 course befor I go,I know my own limitations.
Doing some short trips to get used to the whole thing from both a lifestyle and
driving experience is a very good thought. Have been to all the shows Syd/Bris.
reading all the mags, thats why I'm having hard time making up my mind!
Again thanks,will be asking questions later on the fit out , when I get closer to
setting up.
AnswerID: 65624

Follow Up By: Troopy Travellers (NSW) - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 13:21

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 13:21
Hiya Michael

Well we are probably your age and are newies also. The short story is that we bought a Troopy and Oztent and so far are very happy with them. On the first test camp we bumped!! into another Troopy on a test run before a big trip and they had the sliding drawers etc etc and were happy to show us their rig. Even for two if you set it up right you can sleep in it without having to set up the tent. As someone else said the more you look and read the more ideas you see. Its simply amazing how helpful and friendly other Oz Explorers seem to be. On the same trip we spoke to a couple pulling van which was exactly what Kevs friend plans to get and we were shown all its features and the trusty digital recorded the details.

We have booked in for a basic lesson at Braidwood in a week or so and will test out actually sleeping in the Troopy. I hate the idea of getting a bed organised when I am tired at night so for me this seems ideal for one night stop overs on a trip.


When Two Troopys Meet LOL

FollowupID: 326575

Reply By: ianmc - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 13:02

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 13:02
Hi Michael B. I am 68 & single & still enjoy a kip in the back of my Triton ute or at times putting up the One Minute camper tent which is real simple.
Keep it simple until U find out what U really want.
U rarely need 4x4 for outback, just high clearance & reasonable traction & the last
depends on good suspension & few would claim that for a troopy.
Have a look at the new high clearance big wheeled Falcon ute with locker diff I think.
With a canopy it would carry all your extras & then maybe add a light flip top
camper for your kip later if U wish.
The ute would be a better all round driver & still get U almost anywhere except
extreme tracks & dips.
AnswerID: 65651

Reply By: Member - Bob et Joëlle (NSW) - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 21:34

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 21:34

A question of money to some extent.

A good strong turbo diesel (opinions vary wildly here youwill see between Nissan and Landcruiser - for us L'Cruiser) towing an Ultimate.

Not to be without - a good old fashioned camp oven and ..... time.

Bonne chance

AnswerID: 65721

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