What can I do?

Submitted: Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 14:11
ThreadID: 15393 Views:2949 Replies:11 FollowUps:17
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Over the last couple of weeks I've been reading terrific trek notes, seen some phenomenal pictures and witnessed some dazzling dialogue and I've found myself getting excited by the prospect of an outback trip. My question to you wonderful men is what are the limitations of my Holden Cruze? Where can I go and what can I do? I know it's a 4WD but my partner tells me "there are 4WDs and then there are 4WDs".
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Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 14:31

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 14:31
Camp, don't let the thoughts of the Holden Cruze limit the imagination as to where you may like to go in Australia. There are many places where you can hire a 4by to take you where ever you may wish to go. What is more, it may be easier to fly to close to your desire and then hire the vehicle to take you further.

If you like though, your Cruze could take you to a lot of the outback provided you equip yourself for eventualities like breakdowns and holdups due to road conditions for the suitability of your car. You will be building your skills and knowledge too in that time. I think they are fairly short though and the suspension may be choppy on some roads.

As for wonderful men?????? Never take the situation too far, just a little learning at a time. Your car is meant for grip on roads not to be taken too far off road. The roads out to Camerons Corner from Sydney are not beyond you with care.....
AnswerID: 71738

Follow Up By: Camp - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 16:23

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 16:23
Thank you for your "wonderful" advice and your Cameron's Corner suggestion JohnR. So far, touch wood, my little Cruze has been very reiable so I would hope that breakdowns should not be a problem. How long would I have to allow for a trip from Melbourne to Cameron's Corner and what is there to see?
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 22:51

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 22:51
See? Lots actually all the way there and you could get even further if you were careful and go to Innaminka and soak up the Burke and Wills history up the Stzeleki Track. Camerons corner is the place where three states meet. You go to places like Tibooburra and Broken Hill on the way too absorbing heaps of history.

Gets a bit rough up further possibly for small cars but your I guess is high clearance. Remember that locals quite often drive two wheel drives up that way, not often if the have the choice though.
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Reply By: locallaw - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 14:44

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 14:44
Gidday Camp,Get out and enjoy.Aus is a big land and go and look before all the so called crats lock it up and the only way to see it is to walk.
One thing I would suggest is to join a 4WD club and learn how to enjoy the terrific world we live in.You dont have to own a 4by.One more important thing is if you take rubbish in take it out with you and if you can if there a bit more laying around (there is a lot of inconsiderate people out there).
Remember tread lightly.
Seeya Locallaw
AnswerID: 71739

Follow Up By: Camp - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 16:24

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 16:24
So you are on my side locallaw and I can go on most of the treks?
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Reply By: navaraman - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 14:49

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 14:49
AWD is great on loose surfaces such as gravel and beaches. I wouldn't be venturing too far off road though as with limited ground clearance and a fairly narrow track from memory you stand a good chance of getting stranded on many tracks. With no substantial recovery points (I'm guessing) I wouldn't want to be pulling you out either.There are still many places you can go but it would pay to travel with someone in a better equiped vehicle just in case. My theory is you don't know how far you can go until you get stuck, as long as you have the means to get unstuck again you're OK. if not you're in the p00h.
AnswerID: 71741

Follow Up By: Camp - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 16:27

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 16:27
How do I know if I've got recovery points and why wouldn't you pull me out (of the pooh)?
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Follow Up By: navaraman - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 16:53

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 16:53
Most "real 4WDs" (sorry to use that term) don't have adequate recovery poits as standard so your Cruze almost certainly won't have them. Attempting to snatch a vehicle without decent recovery points is fraught with problems. The risk of damage to either vehicle is significant, plus the risk of injury. As Mungo replied in his post a shovel and a push will probably suffice. To be honest if tyou really were in the pooh I help you but take a gently gently approach and hope for the best. I'd make you do the digging though, and buy the beers in the pub later.
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Follow Up By: Camp - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 17:03

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 17:03
The gently gently aproach sounds good to me Navaraman. Thanx.
FollowupID: 331943

Follow Up By: W from Jerilderie Motors Pty Ltd - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 18:29

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 18:29
I may be wrong but I was under impression Cruz AWD was not full time AWD but just in emergency situation, ie like traction control ?,
thus being 2wd majority of time
if so tread carefully in 4wd country
but whoever saw it on 4wd trek wherever probably knows more about it
FollowupID: 331959

Follow Up By: navaraman - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 18:57

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 18:57
AFAIK it's full time AWD, if/as the front wheels lose traction drive is transmitted to the rear wheels.
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Reply By: marcus - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 15:23

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 15:23
Hi Camp,
Whenever i do even a week-end trip i find it a compromise between what i need to take and the weight that puts on the vehicle.I am pleased with the O.M.E. suspension and it works hard when the vehicle is loaded over rough terrain.When you put outback trip and Holden Cruze in the same sentence i worry how much gear can you carry,standard springs and small tank and find the vehicle very limiting indeed.It could be done with a small tent and travel very light and stick to main roads or consider a trade-in whilst their is still some equity in the car.
Cheers Mark
AnswerID: 71744

Follow Up By: Camp - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 16:30

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 16:30
We've got a small tent Marcus and surely you can purchase stuff on the road rather than carrying it? If I was to trade my little Cruze in what do you suggest I get?
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 22:58

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 22:58
Camp, just take it ewasy but be mindful of the caution from Marcus. You do see heaps of Subies out back however.

Remember years back much the outback travel was in Holdens and Falcons or light trucks
FollowupID: 331990

Reply By: Tripp'n Around - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 15:28

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 15:28
Hi Camp

Naturally, there are some rough dirt/gravel roads so check out how the roads are at time of travel, if YOU TAKE YOUR TIME along the way you will get there.

If in Qld.
Matilda Highway (as just recently posted) or any the outback highways would be worth a drive as well as staying on the black stuff.
From Brisbane/Gold Coast ? you'ld get to Birsville (we saw normal cars out along these roads) then head along the Eyre and Dianantina D.Roads, they are bitumen highways now, through Boulia to Mt Isa. Go the way you want to along the bitumen to Gregory Downs (from here the road is dirt/gravel and is normally well maintained due to the mine up there, but can be roughish), Adel's Grove/ Lawn Hill N.P. You could go down to the Riversleigh dinosaur fossils which was a good road this year, coming back from the N.P to Gregory R and head north to Burketown, Normanton and Karumba. You could even go along the Burke Development (this is a dirt/gravel road and even normal cars travel on this) and onto Chillegoe, Cairns or come back the Gulf D.Road through Croydon/Georgetown to Cairns, Mareeba, Cooktown, Lakefield N.P. (the road in and out is rough but well worth the trip) and finally up to Weipa.
You would have to come back through Lakelands as I wouldn't try Cape Tribulation in it, the road can get slippery when slight rain gets on it and there is a dog leg turn that is quite dangerous going up and down it.

It is getting quite hot now so go soon unless you like the hotter weather.

Other than that if you don't mind a bumpy road, don't treasure the Cruse too much(broken/chipped windscreens, rocks chipping paint from other cars/4wd's/trucks, hitting roo's/animals and alike) take and your time, plan well and always ask for info wherever you stop for the night then you should have fun.

AnswerID: 71745

Follow Up By: Camp - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 16:32

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 16:32
Wow Tripp'n what a suggestion when do I go and how long would it take from Melbourne? BTW I like it HOT.
FollowupID: 331937

Follow Up By: Tripp'n Around - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 17:08

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 17:08
Hi Camp

BTW.......I'm a wonderful woman here not man...... :)

The other Melbnites may know how long it would most likely take you 2 to get to Birdsville from Melb.
Then it depends how fast and how far you intend to drive in a day would also make a difference, so I would not give you start and finish points for those reasons.
We plan to get somewhere and aim for it and if we don't get there because we sightseed, went off the track to look at something or took video/photos then we don't care.
We never really stick to an itinerary for that reason except for when we had the kids with us.
I hated that and now we enjoy it more by just allocating so many weeks and do what we can within them.
Best time to travel here in QLD is June/July/August for around the outback/gulf and top with the later 2 months being our option when we travel.
The days are cool/cold in lower areas of the outback and warmish/cool/cold from the gulf areas and up.
Do take into consideration that sometimes the weather is not on holiday too with you.
In 2002 we were swimming at Adel's/Lawn Hill during the day with nights being nicely coolish but up the road in Normanton is was quite warmish during the day but windy and cold to mid morning and again in the late afternoon.
Then when we got to Elliott Falls in the top of the Cape we were in 32 degree heat for 3 days and the 5 days we spent at the very Top was almost as bad.
But if you like it hot then maybe August/Sept and Oct might be more your style, but remember it is a different hot up here.
Always drink water when traveling in the car, especially in the afternoon if you are traveling with or into the sun.
It is quite intense, even with tinted windows.

FollowupID: 331944

Reply By: Member - Mungo Explorer (NSW) - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 16:06

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 16:06
The Cruze will get you reasonably far as long as you take it easy and make sure there's no rain. I used to have a Daihatsu Terios, also an AWD with no transfer case (although it did have a difflock, does the Cruze have that?) and went to lots of places from Cooktown to Innamincka and Maree. But you do need some recovery gear, especially a snatchstrap (if you have somewhere to attach it to). As the Cruze is so light, a shovel and a push will probably get you out of most trouble provided you don't get too deep into it in the first place.
Don't know where you are, but a good beginners' place for a softroader, with a real outback wilderness feeling, is Mungo National Park (between Mildura in the south and Broken Hill in the north). It's not too far away from civilisation (150km to Mildura), it's not too isolated so you're likely to get help if stuck, the dirt roads into the park are okay even for 2wd if you take care though rough enough to give you that "4wd feeling" (but don't go when wet, you'll get bogged), and there's a choice of accommodation. Plenty of wildlife, beautiful scenery, roughish tracks etc without any real risks even with a Holden Cruze.
AnswerID: 71747

Follow Up By: Camp - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 16:37

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 16:37
Sorry Mungo Explorer but what is a transfer case (I guess something to do with petrol) and I'm not even going to guess what a difflock is. Mungo Park looks like it is on the way to Cameron's Corner maybe I could combine your suggestion with JohnR's. Where do I buy a snatch strap?
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Follow Up By: Member - Mungo Explorer (NSW) - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 17:09

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 17:09
A transfer case gives you a second, low range of gears but you don't have one so don't worry about it :-) A lockable centre differential allows you to maximise traction to both axles in the wet and sandy stuff but I don't think the Cruze has that either. Never mind, you'll get to Mungo without either as long as it's dry and you go slow enough to survive the bulldust patches.
Mungo is on the way to Cameron Corner if you're coming from Victoria, and more or less so if you're coming from Sydney. If the latter, the easiest approach is via Wagga-Hay-Balranald, as the alternative routes from Wilcannia southwards or from Hillston westwards are a bit rough. From Mungo, there's a reasonable road via Pooncarie and Menindee to Broken Hill and then up to Tibooburra and on to Cameron Corner. I personally wouldn't go on beyond that towards Innamincka etc in a Cruze.
You can buy a snatchstrap from all 4wd dealers. But as others point out, make sure you have a trustworthy recovery point to attach it to - no point buying one if you haven't (too dangerous). But to be honest, if you're not going further than Mungo and/or Cameron Corner there's really no need for one. But take a shovel, a spare tyre/wheel, and a puncture repair kit. And ALWAYS enough water/food/blankets in case you get stuck somewhere late in the day and noone turns up to help you until the next morning.
FollowupID: 331945

Reply By: Leroy - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 17:57

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 17:57

I think it was 4wd monthly that took one across the Simpson recently as my mate saw it at Birdsville at the end of it's trek. You should try get that issue as it talked about what to pack and take etc.

AnswerID: 71764

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 18:15

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 18:15
4WD monthly took a Suzuki Jimny across the Simpson, with a 4.8 Patrol along for support. I would suggest you join a 4WD club Camp and then go on a few outings with thm. That'll give you a feeling for what the Cruze will and wont do. As has been said, its really for onroad traction that the Cruze has AWD, but gently gently has got many a good aussie into out of thw way places.
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FollowupID: 331957

Follow Up By: Member - Mungo Explorer (NSW) - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 22:00

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 22:00
There's one hell of a difference between a Jimny and a Cruze - proper chassis, transfer case, ground clearance, etc.
FollowupID: 331984

Reply By: Member - Camper (SA) - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 19:53

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 19:53
Hi Camp,
In SA you could do most of the Flinders Ranges (in the 1960's I did lots of it in a HD Holden). And you could get into the Gammons to Arkaroola because the road is so good. You wouldn't try the 4wd tracks there tho, but you could join the tour in their vehicles to see lots of the rough stuff.
Camping at Innes National park would be a breeze as would Kangaroo Is.
AnswerID: 71786

Reply By: W from Jerilderie Motors Pty Ltd - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 22:04

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 22:04
Followup to Navaraman.
Lucky you know what is going on,
Your answer
"Its full time AWD, IF the front wheels lose control/drive it TRANSFERS to the rear wheels"
sounds like 2 wd to dumb old me
" great marketing by the general"
as If they would tell us anything that it is not !
Transfers in my mind says from front to back or vice versa not AWD/4wd @ all times as we all imagined

for example
SAME as in their brochure/website
CD Astra has ABS standard
I went to deliver one in Syd one night
the young lady daughter of well known barrister who is previous client of mine, looked out the window of multi storey block of luxury units near harbour bridge & said that car has not got ABS, I said yes it has & showed her GMH Staff Car Sale auction catalogue, where it stated ABS was on this vehicle
she said no it hasn,t I said what makes you think that as we were @ least 6 storeys from it, & looking out the window @ the car
she said it only has 4 wheel stud/nuts, ABS has 5 stud alloys
on further investigation on GM website
YES CD Astra Convertible Turbo has ABS standard but nothing said re normal Astra CD
GREAT marketing, we see website & take for granted all CD Astras have ABS Standard which is not the case
in my opinion same as AWD Cruze,
as you say it transfers from Front Wheels to Rear Wheels if it LOSES CONTROL
in my eyes/ears that = 2wd with traction control
not AWD all the time as we EXPECT/BELIEVE from its marketing
I stand to be corrected on my thoughts as they are only my personal thoughts but I believe you answered my assumptions as I believed 2wd @ all times, when those 2 get in trouble it transfers to the other 2 , but still only 2 working @ once
AnswerID: 71809

Follow Up By: navaraman - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 22:14

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 22:14
Found a couple of test reports.

"And off-road? We ventured down a sloping muddy clay track and got back out without a problem. However, on another steep off-road climb the Cruze got stuck, one front wheel and a diagonally opposite back wheel spinning. But with a little run-up, again the barrier was overcome. For occasional slippery off-road conditions - eg along a beach or in snow - the Cruze is far better than a conventional two-wheel drive car."

"The Cruze is essentially a part-time all-wheel driver, a bit like the Honda CRV. The front wheels provide power, but when these slip, a viscous coupling differential kicks in the rear wheels as well. The thinking behind this was that buyers of the Cruze wouldn't want a whole mess of knobs and levers operating four-wheel-drive-this and locked-diff-that."

From the first one if they got wheels spinning front and back I reckon that makes it AWD.
FollowupID: 331985

Reply By: W from Jerilderie Motors Pty Ltd - Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 22:48

Sunday, Aug 08, 2004 at 22:48
You are telling the story, I believe you but on past experience with that Astra, & the advertisements on TV when they were plugging them daily when first released I just remember they were " guarded " in their words re " 4wd " on the ad & it made me sceptical.
AnswerID: 71817

Reply By: Member - Sam - Monday, Aug 09, 2004 at 10:37

Monday, Aug 09, 2004 at 10:37
Thanx for all the wonderful replies guys (and Tripp'n). It is obvious that we have a huge learning curve in front of us with regard to our capabilities. Maybe we should start off somewhere close to home like the Otways or the like, or maybe join up with one of the trips organised by Exploroz like the ones to Mt Skene, Gembrook or Robe. Anyway if you see a little blue Cruze stuck in the pooh somewhere you know I bit off more than I could chew. lol.
AnswerID: 71847

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