Roundtrip: "bushcamper", 4WD+trailer or rooftent ?

Submitted: Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00
ThreadID: 2641 Views:3216 Replies:6 FollowUps:5
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Hi,

We are waiting for our permanent visa for Australia. To get a permanent visa these days is quite a struggle. (I don't blame to Australian government for it, we just have to be patient)
When we arrive, we first want to travel for about a year and want to make a round trip through Australia. It's not the first time we travel in Australia, we did the east coast once and drove from Darwin to Perth 2 years ago.
We definitely want to buy a 4WD. We are not sure what to buy.
We would like to hear your opinion on which to choose: a "bushcamper" (Landcruiser troopcarrier), a "normal" (landcruiser or Nissan Patrol something like that) 4WD with a trailer or a 4WD with a rooftent.
We checked the rollavan website (www.rollavan.com.au). That seems to be a very nice camper, but a bit expensive because we would have to buy a 4WD ute and the rollavan camper.

Any suggestions are welcome. We will arrive in Perth and stay with relatives first. If you could recommend any companies near Perth, that would be great.

Kind regards,
Esther and Aad
The Netherlands
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Reply By: Member - Melissa - Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00

Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00
Hi Esther & Aad,

Congratulations on your upcoming visa and your "around Oz" trip. The "big trip" is something many Australians dream of doing.

As to which car, it really comes down to personal preference. The 3 vehicles you mentioned are all very capable 4WD's and immensely suited to touring Oz. You won't go wrong with any of them. Level of comfort is probably the biggest difference.

The Troopies are primarily a work vehicle used on the mines and by farmers etc. Therefore, it is fairly basic with minimal emphasis on interior trimming and other comforts and, hence no need to worry about the dirtying valour covered seats etc. Having said that, there are some little comforts sneaking into the latest models.

Both the Landcruiser and Nissan Patrol should be considered in the same category as they are both targeted at the same market. You are bound to get some replies pushing one over the other, but be aware that there are factions biased towards each make and will push one over the other no matter what. Truth is, one has no significant advantages over the other. These vehicles are targeted more at the recreational and family market and therefore have much more emphasis on ride and interior comforts. Personally, this is the category of 4WD I prefer because we use our 4WD everyday, not just when touring.

Hope this helps.

:o) Melissa

AnswerID: 9880

Follow Up By: Member - Chris - Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00

Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00
Mel,

What a thing to say about the troopy. With a few changes, like the passenger seat to a bucket, the truck becomes a reliable, go anywhere tourer. Yes it's not the speed demon or toorak tractor like the new softies, but who wants to go fast while looking at the coutryside.

One thiing overlooked by visitors, but not by Britz etc, is that 75 series troopys can be maintained anywhere and by often the most remote bush mechanic. Something not possible with a bells and whistles toorak tractor.

standing by for incoming

chris
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FollowupID: 5168

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00

Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00
Hmm Chris,

I didn't want to disappoint you so here goes...

Remind me again what it was I said about the Troopies that "upset" you. See my 2nd paragraph in which I said "The 3 vehicles you mentioned are all very capable 4WD's and immensely suited to touring Oz. You won't go wrong with any of them. Level of comfort is probably the biggest difference".

I stand by the rest of my post too. The Troopies are primarily targeted to the industrial/agricultural sector. See Toyota's own sales plug for the 75 Series:

"The Working 4WD for the Serious!
Known throughout Australia's mining, construction and rural industries as the workhorse..."

Check out what they say for the 78 Series:

"...Australia's most popular work-horse. It has proved itself time and time again in the roughest rural, mining and construction industries across Australia."

As for saying Troopies aren't as comfortable as the 80 or 100 Series and Patrols, I don't think there is any debate there. However, I did make a concession in my 3rd paragraph "...there are some little comforts sneaking into the latest models."

This from Toyota again on the 78 Series:

"We've made it heaps more comfortable, with a larger cabin and extra padding for those long days in the saddle. And added a stack more carrying space. We've also engineered in some of the Landcruiser 100's best features.

The 78 Series still has the family's rugged good looks, so while a lot of the changes may not be that visible you'll certainly feel them."

Clearly, Toyota have made my point for me...that comfort wise, there was plenty of room for improvement.

Standing by...

:o) Melissa






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FollowupID: 5178

Reply By: Tuco69 - Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00

Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00
Hi Ethel and Aad, your question poses a dilema that anyone who enjoy touring the outback must try and address. Unfortunately there is no simple quick and easy answer, because the three options that you suggest will all have for and against situations.

The Bushcamper or 4x4 with a rooftent could almost be grouped together because of their similar situation. The rooftent can pose a problem if you are in the tropical area of Australia during the wet season, when it rains nonstop for weeks and folding the rooftop in the rain or while the canvas is wet - may lead to wet bedding that you are unable to dry. The advantage of both of these styles though, is that packing your camp, having a light breakfast and getting 'on the road' is relatively quick and easy. However if you do decide to stay a few days or longer in one place, and add extra outside canvas, tables, shade - then you will find that the vehicle becomes unuseable as it is 'tied to the camp' so to speak. A simple requirement like going to drop a fishing line a short distance away, or maybe metal detecting, or even a short trip to the shop for milk - will mean that you have to pack everything up, just so you can use the vehicle. On the positive though, is that these styles usually give you the ability to access much harder, narrower tracks than you would if you had a trailer in tow. Even parking in towns and cities, or places of attraction, is much easier without a trailer.

Personally I have tried all of your options and there is no easy solution as it depends on your personal likes, dislikes, and what you consider to be easy or not.

Presently we are having an off road camper trailer custom built, but do realise that there will be limitations on where we will be able to tow it.

Tuco
AnswerID: 9883

Reply By: CLIVEB - Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00

Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00
ESTHER AND AAD,
YOUR DECISION ON WHAT METHOD OF CAMPING IS DETERMINED BY YOUR INTENDED ITINERARY.
IF YOU INTEND TO TRAVEL ALMOST CONTINUOUSLY,A ROOF TOP TENT IS THE WAY TO GO
WITH THIS SYSTEM YOU REQUIRE YOUR VEHICLE TO BE FITTED OUT WITH STORAGE _Affordable_Storage_Drawers.aspx ,REFRIGERATOR ETC AS THIS IS YOUR KITCHEN.
WE HAVE TRAVELLED THIS WAY FOR YEARS ON OUR ANNUAL LEAVE TRIPS TO THE OUTBACK,AND FIND IT GREAT.
IF YOUR INTENTION IS TO TRAVEL TO BASE CAMPS IN VARIOUS AREAS,THEN RADIATE OUT ON DAY TRIPS THEN A CAMPER TRAILER PROVIDES MORE COMFORT AND ROOM.
YOU COULD ALWAYS TAKE A SMALL TENT FOR OVERNIGHT STOPS AWAY FROM BASE.
IF YOU DECIDE ON A CAMPER TRAILER,AND INTEND TO TRAVEL TO REMOTE AREAS,SUSPENSION SPARES FOR THE TRAILER ARE ESSENTIAL ALONG WITH VEHICLE PARTS.
SEEK ADVISE ON THIS FROM ANY REPUTABLE 4WD SERVICE DEPT.
ALTHOUGH I AM A NISSAN DRIVERTHERE IS NO DOUBT THAT TOYOTA HAVE A WIDER DEALER NETWORK,SO I SUGGEST A TOYOTA L/CRUISER WAGON FOR YOUR TRIP.
ANOTHER SUGGESTION IS TO CONTACT A 4WD CLUB PARTICULAR TO YOUR CHOICE OF 4WD IN AUSTRALIA.
THEY WILL GIVE YOU ALL THE HELP AND ADVICE YOU NEED-GOOD LUCK
AnswerID: 9891

Reply By: bruce.h - Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00

Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00
Gday
Esther & Aad
i would sujest that you not rush out & purchase any vehicle or tents or trailers ect. but hire them to start with & do a few short trips till you find which combination works best for your situation.that way you can aviod expensive mistakes
Regards Bruce
fingers crossed for you on your visa application
AnswerID: 9898

Reply By: Rob - Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00

Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002 at 01:00
We got a 12 month Visa and recently finished a 10 month continuous trip round Oz. An amazing trip, yet not enough time to visit everywhere!

We bought a Landcruiser 1HZ in Perth (watch out for the ex-mining vehicles). I wanted a roof tent to start with. I did see some excellent roof tents and trailer tents on our travels so they're available out there somewhere. The advantages and disadvantages have been well covered in the posts above.

After consideration - we ended up with a large canvas tent (from the Great Outdoors) and a mozzie dome. A self inflating mattress fitted in both. We used the tent for the wetter parts (Tassie!) and the dome for the rest. We were lucky with rain. I really recommend taking a dome as the feeling of closeness to the environment was great & there's no chance of uninvited guests during the night (crocs excepted!).

The tent took 7 mins to erect but longer to pack.

In my opinion, this was the best option for us as we were not cramped inside a van or rooftent & could set up camp & drive off if needed. Downside is the time to set up. We travelled with people towing trailers but would not do this orselves.

Good luck with the trip!
AnswerID: 9907

Follow Up By: Dougie - Sunday, Dec 29, 2002 at 01:00

Sunday, Dec 29, 2002 at 01:00
how did you get the dome and all its bits back in the bag?
the should supply another bag But larger
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FollowupID: 5397

Follow Up By: Rob - Wednesday, Jan 01, 2003 at 01:00

Wednesday, Jan 01, 2003 at 01:00
No problem - all slipped in quite easily once you rolled the dome round the poles. No real bits - just a few pegs which we never needed.
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FollowupID: 5438

Reply By: @@D - Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00

Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00
Hi all,

Thanks so far for your replies. We will take your advice seriously.
Looking at living space and the disadvantages of a bushcamper to have to break up camp everytime you need some groceries we tend to go for a camper trailer. We found some very interesting models on the internet we don't have in Europe. Especially the TVan looks nice.
We will take our time choosing a vehicle and a tent or trailer. We'll have lots of things to arrange when we finally arrive in Perth so a few weeks more to buy something worthwhile won't be a problem.
Any suggestions for websites about trailers are welcome !!

Kind regards,
Esther and Aad
AnswerID: 9941

Follow Up By: Wayne - Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00

Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00
Hi Esther and Aad,
Try http://groups.yahoo.com/group/campertrailers
Regards,
Wayne.
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FollowupID: 5183

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