Car advice - moving to Katherine, NT

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at 18:21
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Hi all, I am hoping you all can help me. I'm moving to Australia from the US for 2 years and will be living in the Northern Territory (Katherine). We know we would like to buy a car that can do some offloading in kakadu, but we are not sure how much of a vehicle we will need when it comes to ground clearance during the wet season. Would a Subaru work or the Toyota Kluger or do we need the size that comes with the Prado? Most of our daily driving will be on sealed roads and I can see us going back and forth to Darwin often.

Also, we are a little worried about selling the vehicle when we leave in 2 years so is there a car on the market that has decent resale value?

We've never been to Katherine and we have to buy a car when we land in Sydney next week so any feedback or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Reply By: jamdan - Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at 18:55

Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at 18:55
Hey Alison, i would go an 80 series Landcruiser. Good tuff car.
But thats just my opinion :-)
AnswerID: 478740

Reply By: KevinE - Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at 19:04

Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at 19:04
Hi Alison,

Firstly I'd like to say welcome to Australia! :)

Most of the roads around where you said you want to travel are bitumen. Even the old Jim Jim road in Kakadu is like a dirt version of a 6 lane hwy, except for the one small river crossing at the southern end. So, I guess it depends on where you want to go?

Most of the roads up there are "do-able" in a 2WD car. The more adventurous you are, the more vehicle you're going to need.

In 2 years, you're going to have plenty of time to travel further afield & you will need a high clearance 4WD. Which one is up to you, but my experience is that all 4WD vehicles in a given class of a given year fetch the same price 2nd hand here (excepting Chinese, Korean & Indian vehicles). So, why pay more for a top brand, only to receive the same as a cheaper car when you sell it?


Kevin. :)
AnswerID: 478742

Reply By: Rangiephil - Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at 19:27

Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at 19:27
QUOTE We know we would like to buy a car that can do some offloading in kakadu, but we are not sure how much of a vehicle we will need when it comes to ground clearance during the wet season. Quote

Katherine is situated on the main highway from Darwin to Adelaide and as such is mostly open .

Now when it rains in Katherine it REALLY rains and the floods can be up to 20 -30 METRES above the river level. In this case it doesn't really matter what ground clearance your car has, you don't go anywhere. (except maybe to high ground)

The main reason to have a proper high clearance 4X4 like a Prado or Landcruiser would be for recreation /touring. For example to get to Jim Jim falls in Kakadu , you have to ford a 50-60CM deep creek crossing which will certainly stop a Kluger. All the major roads in Kakadu are bitumin. This is in the DRY season . Another example, Lorella Springs North of Borroloola can be cut off for a minimum of 6 weeks up to 3 months in the wet season.

Very few people will move off bitumin roads in the wet season as you just sink in the mud.
However if you want to really explore the fantastic touring opportunities in NT and the Kimberley during your stay I would recommend a real 4x4 , as although you may only need it 5% of the time, that 5% can be very important. Toyota Land Cruisers are the weapon of choice though Prados, Hiluxes dual cabs are popular. Nissan Patrols are tough and cheaper and there are many 4x4 dual cab utes available from Nissans to Mazda to Ford rebadged Mazdas.
All these if diesel and fitted with snorkels are able to wade to reasonable depths.
Regards Philip A

AnswerID: 478747

Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at 20:37

Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at 20:37
Hi Alison. I guess you mean "offRoading" in Kakadu. As stated, one of the larger 4wd would probably suit you better. I would also add to buy a DIESEL engined vehicle as the resale should be much better when it comes time to sell it. When you open your post there is a linked article box that comes up in the Right hand corner. There should be some valuable information if you read through it. Hope you enjoy your time in Oz. Cheers,Bob.

AnswerID: 478764

Reply By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at 21:15

Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at 21:15
I would recomend looking at ex Government vehicle sales outlets, I bought one as shown in the below link in 2002 with 106,000 Klms logged, I still have it with now 762,500+ Klms, Ex Government vehicles have been serviced and looked after. look for an outlet in Sydney, mine came from Brisbane.


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AnswerID: 478774

Reply By: Dawg13 - Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at 22:03

Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at 22:03
Hi there Alison,
I am currently living in Katherine (or Tindal to be exact as i am currently based at the RAAF base there). i am wondering if your husband is a pilot replacing Monk, but more of that offline due to the related security reasons i guess...

Anyway i moved up here about 18 months ago and had a Nissan x-trail as it was a nice sized car for the family. (i have 2 young kids). after a few camping trips i upgraded to a Nissan pathfinder and haven't been happier. Kakadu wont really push the extremes of 4WD'ing but there are plenty of other places that will, especially in the wet season, so definitely get a 4WD, not an AWD. Also the larger storage area helps with packing everything you need for a comfortable weekend away...
Most of the guys here on the base have bought their cars down south and driven them up mainly due to both the expense of vehicles up here as well as the choice...vehicles are very limited up here so have a good look around the Sydney area and grab one there if you see a bargain...
if you have any other questions about this area or this topic please do not hesitate to ask, and welcome to Australia and the outback !!!!
AnswerID: 478777

Reply By: Member - Allan K (NT) - Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at 22:11

Sunday, Feb 26, 2012 at 22:11
Hi Alison,
As already noted, no matter the choice of vehicle, there are plenty journeys and destinations to be had in the NT. Even getting from Sydney to Katherine can be as easy or as challenging as you wish to make it. There is a lot more to see and do than just Kakadu. Most of the gorges / fishing / camping spots around Katherine can be access with normal cars or soft roaders, however the more remote and secluded sites require a more capable 4x4. When you get to Katherine, say hello.
Cheers, AllanK
AnswerID: 478778

Reply By: Alison F - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 04:07

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 04:07
Thank you all so much for the great feedback.
AnswerID: 478795

Reply By: Member - Richard H - West NSW - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 11:03

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 11:03
Just don't get a Landrover.

I had one and needed work done on the radiator in Katherine. I was seen coming, and there are virtually no Landrover agents in the N.T. despite the Australian Army using these vehicles.

Toyota seem to be the vehicle of choice up there, and there is a pretty good infrastructure for repair work.

Regarding purchasing a government vehicle. Yep, a good idea, but try and find out it's history. For example, the vehicles that my department had, ranged from being very well cared for, and not flogged to death, to absolutely wrecked, when they were replaced.

Make sure it has air conditioning and it works, because you'll need it in Katho.
AnswerID: 478815

Reply By: Member - nick b - Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 21:42

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 at 21:42
Hi Alison : I would look at Prado late model for your resale . need some thing that is easy to resell .... or cheap throw away that doesn't matter about resale .... & you might find cars cheaper in Katherine & Darwin than Sydney...

what about trying to buy someone's car that is going back to US ....

P.S do you like "HOT" weather .....

cheers nick
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Reply By: Croozerute - Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 08:34

Thursday, Mar 01, 2012 at 08:34
G'day and Welscome.
You're moving to the best part of Australia, hands down.
I spent a couple of years doing 4wd tours around the Top end, and while yes, access roads are bitumen, and alot of good dirt roads, there are a LOT of roads/ tracks you can do that are not good access, and do require high clearance 4wd. o, if you want to have a real good look around, and not just do the grey nomad loop, then you will be far better off with the like of a Landcruiser or Patrol. (i'm biased Landcruiser).
Resale value on a Cruiser is far better than any other you can get, so keep that in mind as well.
Main accessory you'll need to make sure it has, is a snorkel, and good tyres.
There are some decent water crossings on some of the better tracks that are still deep enough well into the dry.

AnswerID: 479045

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