Around Australia with a Subaru Forester?

Submitted: Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 16:33
ThreadID: 74882 Views:16364 Replies:8 FollowUps:7
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I note a post regarding the kimberley and driving with a Forester, but not other information.

WE are looking at a 4 mth trip round oz, sticking to the main roads, but accessing national parks and the like. We want to be able to get off the beaten road - but not 4WD. We've also had mixed reports about the Gibb River Rd WA (we plan to be there at the start of the dry season May/June).

We will be towing a camper trailer. Anyone with a Forester done this? ANy problems? Any specific Subaru Forester issues we should be aware of? Any areas to avoid travelling too? What about towing on the east coast with steep inclines etc.

Any camper trailer recommendations for this car with low weights (we're upgrading to an off-road trailer)? It needs to be quick and sleep 4 (2A 2C). Any information or other forum sites much appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any recommendations.
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Reply By: Notso - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 17:41

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 17:41
I've met a few people travelling in Subarus, various models.

They seemed happy enough with them. Met two or three on the GRR.

You will need decent tyres on it though. Something a bit more Off Road than the standard I'd think. Not too sure about it's towing weights, but a fully loaded off road camper trailer will be up arount 1.2 to 1.4 tonnes.

AnswerID: 397608

Follow Up By: Pug8 - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 17:51

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 17:51
Thanks. Nice to know others have attempted the GRR with a Forester. We were starting to have doubts about whether we would be ok and were not keen on having to upgrade cars to something bigger and more fuel demanding!

Our current on-road camper is 650-700kg loaded and we do lose speed up some inclines already (97 model). We're trying to limit the maximum loaded weight of the new camper to 1 tonne (limits our camper trailer options substaintially though, especially to house us and the 2 kids).

When you say decent tyres - which brands are recommended, based on the majority of the driving on sealed rds?

thanks again for your help.
FollowupID: 666505

Follow Up By: Notso - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 18:09

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 18:09
You can wreck a set of tyres on the Gibb River Road in no time so if you plan to do it you should go for a decent set of at least AT spec, I don't know who makes tyres for your vehicle so check with a tyre dealer, tell em what you plan to do.
FollowupID: 666509

Follow Up By: Member - Sigmund (VIC) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 19:05

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 19:05
We recently did 6 weeks and 8k km around the Centre and SA in a Foz and a Johnnos light off road CT. Gross weight 700-800kg. Tyres: Bridgestone 693 II ATs which are a light truck construction. Did most of the Ood Tk, Mereenie Loop, Flinders Ranges and Mungo with no drama.

A rear window protector is a good idea; alloy sump guard is desirable.

Adjusting tyre pressures for the conditions is essential.

More on rugged use of Subes here.
FollowupID: 666515

Follow Up By: Member - Sigmund (VIC) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 19:07

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 19:07
Just to add: keeping the CT weight down pays many dividends. Most long haul travelers take too much the first time out. Check out Rivers' The Camper Trailer Book - lots of useful stuff.
FollowupID: 666516

Follow Up By: obee1212 - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 20:30

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 20:30
I lost a tyre to staking on the giibb road. Fortunately it was the cheapest tyre I could find.

FollowupID: 666527

Reply By: long haired nomad - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 19:38

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 19:38
Gday Pug8,
What others have said about tyres is right to some extent but dont be affraid of the GRR. Its just a dirt road with, if your going early in the season, 2 major obstacles, the Durack River, and more so the Pentecost River. Ive been along it for the past 5 years in a row, same time as your planing, and i do it in both directions each time. I've seen a few cars (2wd) along its length and none of them are pulled over with any problems. Im in a hilux 4x4 and i know nothing about towing, but just give it a go and you'll fall in love with the place like i have.
AnswerID: 397636

Follow Up By: Member - Josh (TAS) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 19:52

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 19:52
Agree with long haired nomad. It will depend on when you go but if it is rough let your tyres down a little and slow down a bit. When we did it it was like a dirt hyway. We got over taken by a commadore!!!!!! As said the Pentecost might be a problem if it's up a bit. It is at the Kunnunurra end so maybe start that end if possible. If the road is in real bad condition you would get in some of the way to at least see a couple of gorges.

FollowupID: 666522

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 22:50

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 22:50
If you don't hurry, the Pentacost will be concrete....

OKA196 Motorhome
FollowupID: 666556

Reply By: Fiona & Paul - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 20:05

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 20:05
Pug8 we have a 2005 Forester X with 2 speed box and towed a 670kg (900kg loaded) camper trailer, 900kg Coromal Magnum Rally XC and now a Coromal Compac 402 Van all over the place. Bathurst (NSW) home to Ayres Rock, Kings Canyon, Cooper Pedy via Broken Hill. Also been to Cooktown and up the back road through all the creeks and rivers (7-8 crossings - no trailer on then though) and to lots of other remote places, Bourke, Thargominda and back down through Tibooburra & Menindee Lakes, Mungo NP twice and going back again.

Some very rough roads with the new van between Nockatunga and Tibooburra so we slowed to 5kph when required, drove to conditions with Yokohama A Drive tyres (equivalent of 8 ply I think but quiet).

With the camper trailer fully loaded I did stop on a steep incline once and had some difficulty taking off again as the Low Range isn't high or low enough, entry and exit points don't give you a lot of room to move and you have to be careful when travelling in extremely rough areas (not 4WD stuff) but in deep gutters and washaways, etc.

Mate we are happy with the Subie and are usually prepared to camp anywhere for a few days especially when we are out west a bit should we get caught up in some wet weather (unexpectedly).

If you should get stuck on a steep incline just kick the other half and the kids out till you get to a bit of level ground and all will be OK, I just don't stop on hills, even in suburbia.

Ope this is useful to you.

Regards Paul & Fiona
Paul H
OZ Downunder

Lifetime Member
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AnswerID: 397640

Reply By: Fatso - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 21:55

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 21:55
Met a couple in the Flinders Ranges in 09 that towed a CUB camper behind a Subaru. It was a small light on road one. It sound like you will not need high clearance for where you say you are going.
You may not need to go for a heavy weight off roader. Just keep it real light & you should have no problems.
As for tyres. A combination of speed & load is what kills tyres. Not roads.
AnswerID: 397659

Reply By: get outmore - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 22:31

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 22:31
I think you would have problems with the King Edward river in a subie if going to mitchell falls but no issues with the rest with decent tryres. its actually a very good dirt road
AnswerID: 397670

Reply By: Member - Royce- Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 23:22

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 23:22
We travelled across the Tanami track towing an offroad trailer with an '84 Subaru wagon. Two teenage kids in the back, bikes, canoe.... what an adventure. Didn't do the Gibb River road, but came back down to Kalkaringi through on the Bucanan hwy. Broke a pin in the rear suspension... battery caught on fire.... a couple of punctures.... bogged the trailer. Lots more adventures. Enjoy... Subies can do anything... well the old ones anyway.

AnswerID: 397676

Reply By: Member - Bucky - Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 08:12

Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 08:12

Forrester's are gr8 little 4B' question about it..
Pic supplied is of a 16 y.o. ,,on "L" plates negotiating Big Red..

Image Could Not Be Found

To do the Gibb, it may pay you to think of a lift kit, (they are about), and that will get you almost anywhere, especially towing.

Please check out the abovr URL


AnswerID: 397700

Reply By: Member - Driverdon - Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 13:16

Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 13:16
Hi Pug, used to drive 4wd tour buses up GRR & to the M/ Plateau etc. GRR should not be a prob if vehicles and tyres are in good cond., but early in the season some of the crossings could be a prob. . .the Kalumburu M/Plateau Rds would have some reservations about mainly because of clearance. Have seen lots of broken vehicles and trailers on these tracks. If you can get up just after grading it's terrific. . . but goes down hill really quick. The Scoobys are great vehicles but have there limitations and any thing will break up there when it gets rough
Good luck
AnswerID: 397737

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