Sydney - Perth: Pick-up new vehicle & camper & drive it back

Saturday, Apr 06, 2019 at 21:50

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

We seem to have become good at procrastinating over big decisions and purchases so upgrading our 80 series Land Cruiser and buying a camper trailer was never going to happen unless the circumstances fell into our lap - and as luck would have it that's exactly what happened...

Got a call out of the blue from the family a few weeks ago, asking for our advice on selling their LC200 and Ultimate Odyssey as a package and rather than give advice, we bought it for ourselves.

David flew to Sydney to get it, and drove back to Perth with my Dad so he could show him the setup whilst on-the-road. A short trip away from home for the both of them and a chance for David to test out various things, including the latest changes in the ExplorOz Traveller app, and his new toy the DJI Mavic Pro drone.
Here's the User Trek saved from their track logging (using the ExplorOz Traveller app). You can see that took a few side trips to get off the blacktop but didn't have time to truly explore.

And here are some photos they took along the way - some obviously with the Drone, others with the Canon 50D.

And here's some video from the Drone. Unfortunately, it was apparently very very windy the day they had to do cliff footage and it was David's first time flying over the ocean. This is also his first video production (made using Adobe Premier Pro).

Since they've been back there has been a fair bit of work done to both the camper and the vehicle. They had a mechanical mid-way along the Old Telegraph Track - finding a lot of grease leaking out from the CV boot on one of the front suspensions so they had to take it easy driving home and it went straight into Toyota service for a replacement of the driver's side drive shaft which solved the boot issue.

Then because this vehicle had NSW registration it had to go over the pits for vehicle inspection to be able to change to WA registration and they pinged it because of the Outback Roller Drawers installed without an engineer's certificate to change the vehicle's passenger capacity from an 8 seater to a 5 seater. We didn't want to have the seat-belts removed and wanted to keep it flexible so we brought it home, removed the roller drawers, installed the back row of seats (foldable) and took it back for inspection, which it passed. Then brought it back home, removed the seats and installed the roller drawers again. It was the easiest way around the issue, and sure took a bit of effort, but was quicker than arguing and cheaper than paying and gives us the future flexibility we want.
David is also very particular and wasn't happy with the condition of the body work on the LC200 and set about buffing off scratches until it shone like a brand new car (any excuse to buy a new tool), and then he cleaned up the underbody of the Ultimate and sprayed on the black noise deadener paint (Septone). We had to replace the tyres on the LC200 also, so we got a full set of new Toyo Open Country AT tyres, got the windows tinted, and added tinted window weather shields and now its starting to feel a bit more like ours. David still has plans for further tweaks, depending on what trips we intend to take but as we have no major long haul trips on the cards, just local/regional trips it's pretty much right to go now.

We're a bit unsure about the suitability of the fridge in the camper however - having only ever used 40L Engel's, having a 3 way Dometic fridge is a totally different thing to manage, so we'll be doing some small trips to get used to it before we make any more changes.

But there is one additional thing we have planned and that is to put it into the signage shop for a matching ExplorOz Traveller paint job on the vehicle + camper. I'm thinking of printing the EOTopo map with tracks and Places highlights for all the iconic destinations in Australia on it.

The best thing, is the appeal of the easy hook up and go aspect of having such a setup and lovely big king size bed for comfort. Trips away used to be quite an ordeal to plan and setup for and now we hope to be more spontaneous. Ideally, we're keen to get a few nights away in the Perth Hills or South West with our mountain bikes for some lovely forest camping and daytime exploring without the long drive home. There's also a list of "not-quite close enough for a day trip" locations that I really want to take the kids to for a visit before they are too old to want to travel with us. One is already 18 at at Uni, the other is about to turn 15 and fully committed with horses when not at school.

So, this is an exciting new change for us. But I have to laugh, only a few days before the vehicle+camper package presented itself to us, I laughed at David's continuing reluctance to take a family camping holiday - and said next thing he'd be a caravan owner.... and now look! I was right. The Ultimate is a hybrid between a camper trailer and a caravan, with completely off-ground sleeping and cooking areas, but requiring a small canvas roof pop up/pull down to remind you it's a camper trailer. But it's the build quality of the Ultimate that really sets it apart - it really is the ultimate in offroad towing, so for this stage of our lives, its the perfect solution for our needs.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Travelling fulltime in 2024
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