Too much info?

Submitted: Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 22:03
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I picked up on something that was written in an Exploroz reply recently, that being; are we too reliant on internet forums for answers instead of doing our own research and giving it a go? I have often pondered this myself. The response revolved around road conditions that, it was pointed out, are much better than years gone by and traversed by vehicles that are also much better than the times when we had limited information so just threw caution to the wind, without the communication aids we now have at our disposal.

Is it because modern society feels the need for a guarantee for everything? Is it because we’re time-poor and can’t afford to take an unplanned detour? Have we just lost our spirit of adventure?

Don’t get me wrong, just throwing it out there for discussion, because I too scour the internet for info before undertaking a trip as there is some invaluable advice out there, although I tend not to plan much between point A and B and regularly find myself taking the road less traveled.
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Reply By: rumpig - Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 22:37

Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 22:37
one persons hard track to drive is anothers not that bad, so sometimes your best just going for a look anyway IMHO.
if i listened to everyone who told me Chili beach was closed still when we went to the Cape in 2006, then we would have missed out, it opened when we got there.
research before you leave is fine, but i like to see things with my own eyes to believe alot of the time.
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Follow Up By: Rose B - Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 22:54

Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 22:54
Hi Off-track - have just joined the website as my family and I are travelling to the Centre in a couple of weeks - have found this site absolutely fantastic as I don't have any friends that have actually travelled the outback so it is reassuring to read blogs and ask questions. I have also checkd out a lot of different sites online for different information... there is a world of info out there but sometimes it is just good to have a chat and be reassured by one of you more experienced travellers as it is all a little daunting to plan such a trip especially when not even an experienced camper!!! I can see that at the end of the day you have to make an individual decision but I am so glad that there is a lot of advise that can be very useful. I've taken on organising this trip and I suppose as a woman I like to have more details!!!! Anyway thanks again to all you travellers with so much experience to offer.
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Reply By: eighty matey - Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 23:01

Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 23:01
I use the forums as part of my planning, especially in the last 12 months or so, with all the rain we've had.

We still have to take a chance and be prepared to back track if need be. I've been really lucky in the last 12 months. Some roads opened a day or so before I went through and others being closed a week after I went over them.

The forums are a tool, I'm lucky enough to be able to use.

eighty matey.
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Reply By: The Explorer - Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 23:05

Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 23:05
Hello Willem

I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Follow Up By: Axle - Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 23:15

Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 23:15
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 23:21

Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 23:21
Yep No Name read correctly.

I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Follow Up By: Member - Jack - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 11:01

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 11:01
It must mean something to someone, but it is way over my head


The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. (Lewis Carroll-Alice In Wonderland)

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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 11:13

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 11:13
Gee...its not that hard to figure out - Off-Track's name is "Willem" and I said "Hello". He doesn't pop up that much and is very shy so thought I'd take the opportunity to greet him.


I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Follow Up By: Rockape - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 12:49

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 12:49
Hello Willem,

I have a look at your web page every now and then just to check where you have been and if you have been behaving yourself.

Have a good one,

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Follow Up By: Off-track - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 19:21

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 19:21
LMAO! I can guarantee you that I am not Willem. I dont drive an old Nissan, I dont live in SA and I have never been to South Africa. And those that have been around here long enough know that I am not his alter-ego mainly because he is much more switched on than I.
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Reply By: peterll - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 03:22

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 03:22
Hi Off-track,

I'm with you in the thoughts here. Well mostly as I have a few of my own.

My early days of wandering the unsealed roads and tracks taught me much that I tend to use today when returning to discover more of my country.

I learned to drive in the Territory when there was no Tanami road, it was just a route for moving cattle from one side to the other. Years passed and so I grew and returned following two rutted tracks from Alice to Halls Creek. Oddly enough, never used 4 wheel drive even though the vehicle had such traction available.
And now of course that road is just that on most occasions. Graded smooth for the tourist buses.

Used the 4 wheel drive on the Canning I seem to recall, a few times. Oh and there have been the odd occasions when I engaged the handy drive when traversing mud tracks.

My point being that we take for granted the need to have a $80k vehicle towing a $80k caravan complete with aerials of all discription, satellite comms etc.

I recently travelled along the AB and was passed a few times by Ford utes, Holden utes and a host of sedan vehicles. Thought to myself, if locals can get around with ordinary transport and no weather report then how come we "explorers" need to have all those.

Yes, we do take for granted so many things today.

We pulled over near Derby one morning, there in front of us were 4 or 5 vehicles, covered in appropriate aerials and the off-raod trailers. "Boys with Toy"s my wife muttered. For some reason everything on board was required for the Gibb River road. Caught the bus from Derby to Kununurra one time.

Yes, we take things for granted.

I tend to agree, modern society has some unknown need to guarantee. "I spent X dollars, ergo I am entitled to be there, drive like this, treat local people like that" etc. etc.

The number of times I read on forums like this.. "I have so many days to do this or that, what can I see in that time?"

Oh sure there are those who say well it is fine for you but I have X to do and dont have the time. Gosh is that right ? How about just doing one thing and maybe go and continue on the next trip ?

Or..breath ! What is that saying..smell the roses. old blokes just dont get it. Got no idea what it is like today ?

Nope guess not, but heck I and others sure saw more of this country using less without the Internet.

For many of us old blokes we would stop, have a chat to other travellers and share yarns and so learn about the next good camp site or waterfall or road conditions. Call in at the HS or stop to talk to the jackaroos mustering and ask if we could camp somewhere or if there were any interesting spots around.

Spirit of adventure ? If you find it on the Internet then it must be true ? Ha ha yeah right. Some research can lead to danger if you believe everything on the net is true.

Just wake up, get a map and say, let's go there and just do it. Now that is spirit of adventure. a ticket on one of those Kontiki buses

Just my two bobs worth


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Follow Up By: eighty matey - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 05:35

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 05:35
Hi Peterll,

it's good that you used to do all that stuff but the old blokes 50 years earlier would have said, "I walked that track, or I did it on a pushbike, I did it pushing a wheel barrow".

I reckon there's nothing wrong about using the available resources. I could grab my maps and head west in my old Dyna. She'd make it by why should I when my Landcruiser is perfectly capable of carrying me, my missus and the dog, and letting us spend a month or two buggerising about in comfort. It's not compulsory but it's how I like to do it now.

The option is there to turn the computer off and head off in the HQ with an esky, but those days are gone for me.

Hoo roo,

eighty matey

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Follow Up By: rainbowprof - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 13:34

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 13:34
Too true, where didn't I go in my old kombis or valiants on lpg/ petrol. And the valiant's came with their own hilift jacks and anchor points installed!
But we get the toys that suit our disposable cash constraints, eh...
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Reply By: Off-track - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 08:09

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 08:09
Or another angle; maybe the internet is giving the confidence to many people to undertake these trips that wouldnt otherwise do them? Maybe the internet is opening up a spirit of adventure of sorts.
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Reply By: Outback Gazz - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 09:06

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 09:06
Greetings to all ! The way I see it, is people these days do too much planning - take too much electronic equipment - take too many comforts of home - rely too much on what other people say and take more things on a trip than they actually need ! Where is the adventure ? Find your own camp spots, drive the track yourselves and just drive to the tracks condition, be prepared to take plan B and plan C if need be. If you can't get to destination A then go to destination B, C, and D coz I'm sure you can have as much fun and see and do things there that are enjoyable. Doesn't matter where you end up you are still NOT AT WORK !!! The one thing I have noticed when travelling with others is that far too many people don't take the most important and valuable piece of equipment you need on any 4wd / camping adventure - a happy and relaxed "nothing is a problem attitude"

See you in the bush - and I will be the one that is still laughing when I'm bogged, broken down or lost !!

All the best

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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 09:28

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 09:28
G'day Gazz,

I think you are on the money about having the right attitude when travelling but it helps if there are no time constraints. I have fond memories of our trip to the kimbeley where the only "locked in" destinations was Darwin for a family meet, Kulumburu and Broome everything else was whatever, although we planned a return via the Simpson, it was all flexible. Ah yes, the various mechanical issues still have us in fits of laughter.

Kind regards
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Reply By: The Landy - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 10:07

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 10:07
Thought provoking, and some fair points made throughout, I guess our take on it is we are constrained by work and school timetables, but travel as much as we can when time permits.

As far ‘gadgets’ and mod-cons, we have a few, especially communication. We first took our young bloke across the Simpson when he was two with a group, and back again when he was three by ourselves. We added a HF Radio to the vehicle to ensure we could contact someone in need (and for whatever reason).

Possibly we take both more, and less, than others. But when it comes down to it, it is about travelling the way that best suits your requirements, and your level of enquiry on road conditions, destinations etc, comes down to the level of planning you either want to make, or need to make. We are going north in another week towards the Gulf Savannah, and whilst we have a plan around were we are going, we’ll be flexible depending on weather.

Sure, in days gone by people did ride, camels, horses, push-bikes and push wheel-barrows across much of the Australian outback, but I suspect that was the only mode available to them at the time. I guess things evolve....and so do we and our needs.

Make the most of whatever is available to you, and as someone said, don’t forget the most important thing, a happy and relaxed attitude...
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Reply By: Member - Jack - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 10:58

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 10:58
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Any good information is useful, and I also do research on my larger trips.

Having said that, such research has never prevented me from going anywhere I wanted to go. In many instances it has made it possible. Gotta love this site and the Internet generally.


The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. (Lewis Carroll-Alice In Wonderland)

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Follow Up By: rainbowprof - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 13:23

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 13:23
All true. Adventure needs the right attitude, too much planning means less spontaneity. But considering that a number of outback routes require permits to cross private land (basically all those aboriginal reserves, IPA's, trusts, etc are just private land) we have to preplan to be at certain points to be within the constraints of the travel dates on the permits. My question: who has had their permits checked and where were you?
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Follow Up By: Outback Gazz - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 17:30

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 17:30
Howdy Rainbowprof - I have crossed the Simpson Desert ten times - at different times of the year and on every track in the desert and in all directions and NOT ONCE have I been stopped / asked if I had Desert Parks Pass by anyone, whether a ranger or not !


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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 13:41

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 13:41
I have a different tack on the question.
Those who wandered about in the desert 30 or 40 or more years ago had no choice but to wing it. There was no one to ask about conditions out there. If they could get a map with a line scratched into it they were grateful enough.
They were rare people and often travelled alone. They were almost explorers.

These days, those tracks are roads and there is lots of information about them and there are hundreds, no thousands, out there in that country.

But the few "explorers" are still around. They don't bother to ask about the condition of the 'track' (if there is one) because it is unlikely that anyone will know, and if someone does they will know them by name already, but the information will be so old as to be pretty useless anyway. And they are still searching for that scratch that might be an old track, but they search on 1:50,000 and Google Earth.... or just go and have a look!

Only explorers "just go and have a look".
It is possible to explore some hidden corner of the Gibson, or it is possible to explore the Oodnadatta Track. There is little difference. It is a state of mind and involves seeking out the unknown (to you).
Fill yourself up with information and you are travelling, but not exploring, but that's OK too.

OKA196 Motorhome.
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 16:30

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 16:30
Hi Off Track,

You raise a good question and have had some interesting replies.

I recall when we were in the same position that Rose is now in - about to head off into the deserts/red centre ie the great unknown. We didn't know anyone who had been there or done that. So when we found a work colleague who had been to some of the places we wanted to go on a motor bike we jumped at the chance to seek advice. Or was it more about reassurance....?

Since then outback travel/grey nomads etc thing has developed into an industry complete with all the high tech aids as well as hi tech vehicles and mobile accommodation, not to mention web sites like this one. Many folk feel the need to keep up with all the latest - whether it is the latest gadget or vehicle or information. Few of us are immune to that - even those of us who drive old vehicles still like to have moving maps, mobile phones and digital cameras etc.

But the need to have and to know can all become rather self reinforcing - "its available, so I must have it" attitude, even if its just the latest road report. Unfortunately while it has become easier to source information there are some people who expect it all to be handed to them on a plate - witness the questions asked on here when a few minutes searching would have found the answer.

On our early adventures we planned everything in great detail but soon realised that it is more fun to find things out as you go, rather than following the "travel recipe" laid out on the advice of others. Its the difference between getting to a destination or enjoying the journey. And as others have said, having a fixed schedule and commitments along the way is a sure way to reduce the pleasure.

Now with a bit more experience we take what we have learned to be useful for reasonably comfortable travelling but don't put too much effort into planning the "where to and when" aspect, unless we are going remote when its necessary to plan for fuel, permits etc. Now this is fine as we have time to wander and stop where we find something interesting. Its different for those who have to fit their travel into work and school holidays. But I suspect that many succumb to the time pressures and go for the destination rather than the journey. But I do wonder whether its worth all the effort and cost just to be able to tick off a destination or a track and be able to say "been there, done that".

I think that Peter is close to the mark in distinguishing between travelling and exploring. We can all be explorers given a bit of patience and imagination, just enjoying the journey. Maybe as fuel prices go up we will become less inclined to be travellers who just want to get to their destination.

But while there are relatively cheap gadgets to be had we will continue to use them as well as the technology which is getting better all the time. More people will get out there and experience what the country has to offer and those of us who like to get away from the crowds will find new back tracks in our search for the ideal camp!

Just my musings.



J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
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Follow Up By: Off-track - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 19:49

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 19:49
That is EXACTLY where I am coming from.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011 at 15:18

Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011 at 15:18
and that is EXACTLY why we decided to create
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!

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Reply By: eighty matey - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 20:18

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 20:18
It's great reading all the different points of view answering Off Track's question.

I have always been keen to pick people's brains about where they've been and what is there. I reckon forums, and the whole Explore Oz site, is me picking a whole heap of brains.

Even though I do a fair bit of research before I head off, my itinery is never what I end up doing. It would be too much stress for me to stick to a plan and timetable, but some people really need that structure to their plans.

It's great having the options we have today, whether we use them or not is up to us.

As for adventure, it's out there to grab. We've had some huge adventures travelling around. The feeling getting to the end of a flooded track, or an isolated beach run, that could have gone really bad is a buzz. The hardest part is explaining to people back home what a huge sense of achievement we feel doing the run. More often than not they just don't get it.

Hoo roo
eighty matey
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Reply By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 20:32

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 20:32
Just noticed a signature line from a contributor named Pete Jackman in another thread, but I thought it relevant to this thread. It says "Any mug can be uncomfortable out bush."
It is important to always maintain a sense of proportion

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Reply By: Rip64 - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 21:07

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 21:07
G'day off-track, I wrote that reply the other night sitting at my PC in Torquay it was 5 deg and bleting down with rain. (Winter blues !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
28 years ago we quit good jobs and took of with 2 cattle dogs in a old Kingswood wagon with an ashtray full of 20c coins to call home if a phone was available. No real plan - no real spares - a couple of maps - Chock full of excitement and wonder. 7 months later (Kingswoods could go anywhere) we arrived back home and have done similar ever since.
Toyota replaced holden and yes planning is now involved - but the excitement and expectation is still there every trip.
No doubt, as you know, you just gotta go with the confidence that you can deal with anything you may be lucky enough to encounter.
Safe travels.
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