Round Oz preperation

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 13:07
ThreadID: 53070 Views:3051 Replies:4 FollowUps:5
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Hi travellers.

The family (inc toddler & 5yo) and I plan to circumnav. around Oz this 2008 winter for 3.5-4 months. I have an excellent knowledge of where to go and distances, cause I have done it all before in stages. However, my dilemma is, that we want to do it with the purchase of a 2nd hand camper trailer and upsize our car, but don't know where to start, and if it is possible to organise in 6 months. We think we need to upgrade (trade in) our Subaru Outback, is this so?. Also, what are peoples thoughts on CB's GPS,wireless internet,1st aid course, vehicle suspension etc, considering the roughest place we plan to visit will be the Kimberly's?

Guidance will be much appreciated !
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Reply By: Footloose - Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 13:27

Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 13:27
Couple of thoughts for you.
Wouldn't the Subi be just a tiny bit cramped over long distances ?
CB's...grab a UHF in case you need to yell out or listen to trukkies etc
GPS..probably won't need it unless you go offroad, most places are signposted but take a map:))
Yes a 1st aid course is great, especially with kids etc.
Suspension, hard one. Unless taking tracks or towing something really heavy you shouldnt need to upgrade.
Your whole experience will be coloured by how much the kids enjoy it, plan to keep them happy and you'll be happy also.
Take a lot of $$$ and enjoy :)))

AnswerID: 279518

Reply By: Member - Troll 81 (QLD) - Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 13:27

Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 13:27
Have a look at the topics (top of page)
AnswerID: 279519

Reply By: Member - Pixie - Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 13:45

Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 13:45
I am going through this myself at the moment. My wife, two children (7 & 9) and I are travelling from Brissie across to Derby (also visiting Kimberlies) via Tenant Creek, Katherine and back through Darwin/Kakadu and along Savanaah Way then to Cairns mid this year. A 3 month trek but it feels like I have been preparing for past 2 years (in some way or another).

But it can be done in 6 months or even less if you focus on the important things and keep things moving along. Finding a suitable vehicle may take the longest to sort out. I was lucky with mine. Getting a camper trailer sorted to suit your personal requirements may also take some time.

Vehicle - reliable and robust enough for what you WANT to do and not what you might do. I have a '94 GQ Patrol diesel auto which I picked up earlier this year. It will get me further than I intend to go to for this trip but will also accomodate short 4WD weekends that I sometimes go on. Your Subaru may be fine, depending on how large a trailer you want to haul around on your trip. Maybe a suspension upgrade is enough. You will need to check it's towing capacity as some camper trailers get quite heavy. Creek crossings (and clearance) shouldn't be an issue at the time of year you are going. I chose a large older 4WD for the extra carrying capacity and for the ability to get repairs done anywhere. Also, it should stand up to a roo or emu strike if I am unfortunate enough.

Also, if you are running a 12v fridge (engel , waeco) you will need to consider alternate power. I will have a basic dual battery system but no solar power or generator. Get a cargo barrier installed for safety reasons. If you can get a vehicle that has had all this set up then you will save yourself some $$

I have tried to keep alot of the weight in the braked trailer so that I don't need to upgrade my vehicle suspension. If I have to then I will look at polyair bags first. For my day-to-day use the upgraded suspension is not necessary.

Camper trailer - I have had an off-road fully galvanised 7x4 box trailer custom built and then had a camper top made for it. It is not as fancy as the purpose built camper trailers (built in kitchens) but I wanted something that would double as a box trailer later in life. I have made some storage arrangements in the Patrol and trailer which i will post pics here one day. The weight of your trailer will likely influence the towing vehicle. Any subsequent modifications to the trailer or vehicle may take some time depending on how busy the companies are - allow 6 weeks.

Equipment - 4 months is a long time on the road (to me it is anyway). Clothes for all seasons if you are heading south. I am staying north so we won't need alot of warm clothes (I hope) but the clothes we will take will take up a bit of room. Take some basic recovery gear if you intend to go off road at all. A decent BBQ/burners and some good quality cooking gear will make your camps alot more pleasant.

I am taking a UHF for local communications and listening out for road trains that may want to overtake me. I may have access to a satellite phone also. Plus will have mobile phones (basic digital) and I will be reporting in departure/arrival times regularly. A HF radio may be worthwhile if you can't access a sattelite phone but I am not sure how long it takes to get a licence.

I am currently looking for a basic GPS (eg. Garmin 60) to run with a laptop and oziexplorer and some maps. You could spend all you want on communications and navigation equipment but you really need to consider where you will be and waht you want it for.

My wife has done a first aid course and I would like to do this also if I have time before I leave.

Then after all that - you will likely want a couple of practice runs on weekends to make final adjustments.

Have fun!!
AnswerID: 279523

Follow Up By: SteveL - Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 20:05

Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 20:05
I would seriously consider getting a HF radio for such a trip.Only need to be a member of VKS-737 or similar organisation to use it legally.This only takes a few days to organise.
FollowupID: 543773

Follow Up By: Mainey (wa) - Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 21:48

Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 21:48
Pixie, I would also consider (in your case) electric BRAKES for the trailer, because a heavy trailer will attempt to push a 4by or slide sideways when it can't on a dirt road when braked heavy, avoiding the roo's for example.
FollowupID: 543788

Follow Up By: Member - Pixie - Friday, Jan 04, 2008 at 00:33

Friday, Jan 04, 2008 at 00:33
thanks and yep - already fitted brakes to the trailer!!

just have to fit a prodigy brake controller to the vehicle which is currently sitting in a box beside the bed
FollowupID: 543824

Reply By: CeeJ - Friday, Jan 04, 2008 at 12:39

Friday, Jan 04, 2008 at 12:39
Any idea how a Nissan Pathfinder (low kms) with mod suspension, lift kit, accessories for electic brake trailer etc would handle Kimberly's?
AnswerID: 279739

Follow Up By: Member - Pixie - Friday, Jan 04, 2008 at 13:24

Friday, Jan 04, 2008 at 13:24
haven't been to the Kimberlies (yet) and have never had a Pathfinder - so no idea.

From what I have read, the previous models of Pathfinder (prior to current model) have been good performers
FollowupID: 543887

Follow Up By: CeeJ - Friday, Jan 04, 2008 at 13:31

Friday, Jan 04, 2008 at 13:31

Tks for both your follow ups. VERY useful so far. Did a Topic search on Pathfinders, and it looks like the concensus is the same. Pretty reliable.
May see you out there! Cheers CeeJ
FollowupID: 543888

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