Christmas shopping made easy

Our favourite time of year is nearly here …. yes, Christmas is on it’s way and after the year we’ve all had, it’s nice to have something to look forward to.

If you are looking for some awesome gifts to buy for your friends and loved ones, here are some ideas for you. As you know, we work closely with quite a few companies and some offer special discounts for our followers, some we are affiliates for and others are just great companies we want to spread the word about!

Of course, like every year, we are running our mega Christmas Giveaway again. There are some great products which have been donated this year and we have a mega prize pack valued at over $1,000! So if you want to score yourself some of these great products for free, head over to our Facebook page to enter.

Cost Effective Maintenance

First up let’s start with our amazing sponsors, Cost Effective Maintenance. If you haven’t already, check out what these guys have to offer. Basically they aim to provide cost effective solutions to all your engine problems, but rather than just a ‘band-aid’ fix, they work to solve your engine problems in two ways ….. 1) Corrective Maintenance and 2) Advanced Preventative Maintenance.

If you’re experiencing any of the following issues, give the guys a call and have a chat.

  • Overheating Diesel Engine
  • Common Rail Injector Rattle
  • White Smoke at Cold Start
  • Diesel Engine Sludge
  • Diesel Injector Rattle
  • Black Diesel Engine Oil
  • Crankcase Blow-By
  • Maximum Power – Minimum Engine Wear
  • Engine Carbon
  • Petrol Engine Sludge

Don’t forget to mention our code, “4x4OTT
(or use it at checkout for online orders) for a 10% discount.

Magnets $1.99 each (free postage within Australia)

These are by far one of the most popular items that we sell at OTT4x4 … these are our Fridge Magnets, all with a different travel or inspirational quote.

Each magnet is approx. 8 1/2 cm x 5cm in size.

Calendar $25 including postage (Australia only)

Who doesn’t love a Sunrise or Sunset? Check out our beautiful 2022 calendar with a different sunrise or sunset from across Australia each month. 

Size: A4 (20.3 x 28.7 cm) – measurement when closed
Calendar hangs vertically with spiral binding on the top and is printed in full colour on 200gsm satin paper.

Note that we have Limited Stock of this product remaining so get in quick if you want to grab yourself a copy.

Slide n’ Dry Pegless Clothesline $12.90 plus postage

At only $12.90, plus postage, these clotheslines are the best! No more carrying bulky clotheslines or rope or pegs, we keep a couple in the camper and use them all the time.

Aussie made, designed and manufactured in Melbourne. Each packet comes with 12 slides that have 24 points to hold your washing and 2 bungee cords to secure it, all packaged in a handy zip lock reusable bag!

The slides are made from UV protected plastic so they won’t go brittle or fade in the sun. They are compact and lightweight, which means they are perfect for caravanning, camping, cruising, backpacking, hiking, overseas adventures…or even at home!

Travel Journal $24.85 plus postage

This Australian made Travel Journal is jam packed with journal pages to document your daily experiences and look back on your memories in years to come. It also includes a plastic coated Checklist that can be used and re-used (simply tick the boxes with a non-permanent marker and then rub off after your trip is finished). There is also a plastic coated Address Book, as well as various Activity Pages which can be photocopied and filled in on each trip.

Log Book $10.80 plus postage

This 2 part A5 log book includes 160 entries of Trip Information, plus over 160 entries for logging your caravan/vehicle KM’s traveled and Fuel Consumption. The front part of the log book allows you to note down where you stayed, rate it and jot down any notes to refer back to later. The back part allows you to keep track of the km the vehicle/caravan/camper travels.

Auto Parts Co

APC is an Australian owned retailer of 4WD parts and accessories. As they are able to go straight to the importers and manufacturers, they can cut out the expensive middlemen and pass those savings on to you!

These guys are our go-to for everything!, particularly all of our suspension. Definitely worth checking them out next time you need anything for your 4WD. Give Jack or Jason a call and tell them we sent you!

At Checkout, use code “OTT4x4” for a 5% discount

AMD Touring

If you’re looking for Aussie made, you need to check out these guys. AMD Touring is Australia’s first dedicated Australian-made 4×4, camping and caravaning store and we teamed up with these guys not long after them starting up. They’ve got a great range of prodcuts available and if you have something particular you are looking for, hit them up and they may be able to source it for you.

Adventure Awaits

This site literally has something for everyone … kids, adults, Aussie Made items, travel gifts and practical items for all your caravanning and camping needs. Check out their huge range of available online, or if you happen to be in Victoria, you can visit their store located at 66 Melville Street, Numurkah.

Off Road Babes 4×4 Accessories

This small business offers a range of items for the female 4WDers in your life … anything from tumblers, clothing, Esky, stubby coolers, air fresheners, UHF radios, makeup and overnight bags, stickers etc. Check their website and/or Facebook page as items change all the time (and of course there is plenty of pink and purple items!).

Some more of our favourite stocking stuffers ….

Swig Cups by Love Your Travels …. Shelly loves hers! (she has the pretty sparkly charcoal one!). These are little magic cups that are insulated and keep your hot beverages hot and your cold ones cold! Perfect for frozen cocktails!


Macca’s BBQ Seasoning Rubs …. You know that guy “Macca”, the host of the TV show, What’s Up Downunder? …. well he’s brought out his own range of BBQ Rubs. Perfect for your next BBQ or campfire cook up, in the oven or slow cooker. We’ve personally tried them all and love them! There are four flavours to choose from – Great Southern Lamb, Captain James Chook, Great Barrier Beef, That’ll Do Pig.


We use this handy little product and love it. The Shower Ezy ‘The Complete Set’ comes in a range of colours and includes 3 x Silicone non-drip, non-spill bottles, 5 x stainless steel D-Rings, Aluminium carabiners, 1 x detachable body loofah. This is all held on an easy to carry lanyard made from Neoprene (wetsuit) waterproof fabric, making it easy to carry around your neck, hang over the back of the shower door etc.There are also other products available to make your camping adventures easy ….. perfect for airline travel as well as the bottles are 98ml each.


If you like to travel, you can’t go past Hema Maps for all your maps and GPS needs. We never travel without our Hema 4WD Maps app and also our paper maps. The app is well worth the money as it offers offline 4WD maps for the whole of Australia, right there on your iPhone or iPad ….. and you don’t need an Internet connection. The app utilises offline mapping and your device’s own in-built GPS receiver to see where you are on detailed Hema maps, which feature roads, 4WD tracks, topographic information and points of interest. Of course, if you want a full on-road/off-road navigation system, check out the Hema HX-2 Navigator. Check out their full range of products via the link below.


The Scrubba Wash Bag is your tiny camping washing machine! It has a unique old school wash board inside, so when you add a small amount of water, your dirty clothes and a little detergent…your washing is done in minutes. Little tip, if you use wool wash instead of normal detergent you don’t need to rinse the clothes after washing so you save on even more water.

Click here to see a short video of how this works.


Navigator is an outdoor caravan, camping & adventure brand that provides a whole range of accessories and products to make your life easier. The pictures below are the dog bed, dog lead, dog car seat buddy, dog travel set, collapsible bin, shovel, folding stool and kitchen buddy. And that’s not all they offer, there is a whole range of products available … and yes, we have many of them!


Safety is number 1 when travelling so why not invest in a SPOT Gen4 Satellite GPS Messenger, we never travel without ours.

Always tracking your GPS coordinates, the SOS feature enables the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center to give your exact location to local response teams at the push of a button. You can also preset ‘check in’ and ‘custom’ messages to send to 10 family/friends via text or email, again including your exact location. Plus, there’s a Help/S.O.V. function that alerts your preset contacts that you need assistance (but not a life threatening situation).


For all you wine lovers out there, does your wine glass keep falling over? Well here’s the product you need, check the Winerest Camping Chair Wine Glass Holder!

Designed & developed in Australia so that it can cope with our harsh outdoor elements. Comes in a range of colours and can be used on most camping chairs and outdoor furniture. The arms of your camping chair should be thicker than 3cm and not ‘tubes’. 


Speaking of wine, Glass on The Grass have these Eco-friendly coasters that stabilise your wine glasses, perfect for picnics, BBQ’s, camping and poolside.

And don’t forget to check out their ‘ShooFly’ eco food covers to protect your feast from those pesky little flies!


Are you or someone you know new to 4WDing? Why not gift them a 4WD Training Course? Or alternatively book onto one of the many day, weekend or extended trips offered by Vic and the team at Great Divide Tours. They offer gift vouchers so this could be the perfect idea for someone.


Check out these pink and black soft shackles from Sabre Offroad! This 8mm soft shackle is designed to be safer, stronger, lighter and easier to use alternative than metal shackles. Rated to 9,000kg, this is a seriously strong soft shackle. Yes we may have these shackles in Leia!


Anyone heading off-road will need a tyre gauge, so why not check out the Bushranger® Tyre Gauge designed to accurately read tyre pressures, and control deflation on your tyres. Easy to read dial and comes with it’s own carry pouch.


As you all know, we love supporting our small Aussie companies and if we find a great product which works for us and makes our life a little easier, then we are more than happy to spread the word! So if you are stuck for gift ideas this Christmas, maybe check out some of these companies and give a little back to the small businesses which have all suffered these past few years.

Happy shopping and wishing you all a great Christmas!

This blog post may include affiliate links.  Click here to read our affiliate disclaimer.

New to 4WDing?

Ok, so you’ve just purchased your first 4WD and are ready to hit the tracks, you’ve been driving for years so what’s the difference in driving on dirt right …. WRONG!

There is so much that can and does go wrong and you need to be aware of that. This 4WDing gig can be dangerous, every time we hit the tracks we know there is the potential that things could go wrong, very wrong.

We don’t want to scare you, but you need to be aware that heading off-road without the proper recovery gear and the knowledge of what you are doing can end badly in terms of vehicle damage, injury or even death. You can take all the precautions in the world, but sometimes things just don’t go to plan.

Please take a few minutes to read through this and hopefully it will give you a few pointers on what to do and where to start. But don’t be afraid to ask questions (even if you think it’s dumb or people may laugh at you), we all started out as newbies at one point in time and no-one expects you to know everything.

Tyres

The most important thing when heading off-road is tyres.  These are the single most important thing that can make the difference between you getting past an obstacle or not.  Yes lift kits and lockers all help, but if you need just one thing, it’s tyres.  Think about where you are heading and how often.  A one-off day on a fire trail can be done on your road tyres, but if this is something you’ll be doing more often look at a good set off All-Terrain tyres (or Mud tyres depending on what you do).

Tyre pressures

Always remember, when you head off-road or onto the beach you must let the pressure down in your tyres.  It can mean the difference between getting a puncture or not, it can mean the difference between getting through or getting bogged.  Off-road it can make for a far more comfortable ride, it’s less harsh on the vehicle and it’s better for the tracks.

It takes a little trial and error to work out what works best for you, your vehicle, your tyre size and style and the terrain you are driving on … it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ type of thing, it all has an impact.

For more information, see our previous blog post here

Have a basic Recovery Kit

Before heading off-road you should at the very minimum have a snatch strap, dampener, rated shackle, (and rated recovery points on the vehicle) and a tyre gauge. Remember, you will need to let your tyres down before going off-road or on the beach, so how will you know what to let them down to without a tyre gauge?  Also keep in mind that you need to reinflate them afterwards, so if you aren’t anywhere near a servo, carry your own air compressor as well.

Most people are happy to help if you are in trouble, but if they are helping YOU, always offer to grab and use your recovery gear first.  No-one wants their gear lost or broken or have to go home and clean it when they were helping out a stranger.  It’s common courtesy to always use your own gear (or at least offer) in this situation. Check out this recovery set

Make sure you have RATED recovery points

No, we aren’t talking those little tie down points on the front of your 4WD, they are not a rated recovery point, they are simply used to tie your car down during transportation.  You may be surprised to know that most 4WD’s don’t actually come standard with any form of rated recovery point. 

You need to invest in a proper aftermarket recovery point suited to your vehicle which is suitable for snatching and winching.  Ideally you’d have one on the front and the rear of your vehicle to ensure if you are stuck you can be snatched out either way, but ONE at the very minimum is required before you even think of heading off-road.

Check out the guys at APC and they can help you with all your needs ….. If you use our code “OTT4x4” they’ll give you a 5% discount (off all items on the website, except already discounted items).

Know how to actually engage 4WD

Read your vehicle manual and learn how to actually engage High and Low range (or lock your hubs if you have manual locking hubs) and do some research into when and why you would use both of these gears. Also be aware that many of the newer vehicles have traction and/or stability control that you may need to manually override when off-road, particularly on sand.

Know what to do in a recovery situation

At some point in your 4WDing life you will get bogged, or you will need to be involved in the recovery of another bogged 4WD.  Before you even contemplate a 4WD recovery, do your research and know exactly what to do, take all the precautions and know the risks.

Recoveries are dangerous and things can and do go wrong and result in damage to vehicles, injury to persons and unfortunately death. This is serious stuff and we cannot say this enough … you really do need to know what you are doing.

Don’t go by yourself

This is particularly important when you are first starting out.  Even now, there are places we would never head into by ourselves, even if there may be other vehicles around.  You just never know what may happen (just a while back a mate got himself stuck at Lithgow and luckily managed to get enough phone reception to contact us and we were able to drive out and help him – keep in mind that this was a 1 ½ hour drive each way for us, plus the recovery.  Had he not had phone reception or had we not been available, he could have been spending the night there alone stranded in the bush). 

Another reason to go with a mate is so that you have a spotter to help you. Quite often you are on such angles that you can’t even see where your 4WD is on the track. Having a spotter on a portable handheld CB will allow them to be your eyes and guide you. 

UHF Radio

This is an important one and if you are heading out in a group or doing alot of 4WDing as it will enable you to communicate with others.  More often than not, you won’t have mobile phone reception.  They are relatively cheap to purchase and there are so many on the market. Whether you buy an in car one with antenna or a portable one is your choice. To be honest though, you’ll probably end up having both if you do get bitten by this 4WDing bug!

Of course, if you intend on longer, more remote travelling you’ll want to consider other forms of communication as well, such as Satellite Phone and/or a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger.

Don’t over commit

Even now, after all these years, there are still tracks that we look at and say ‘nope, not going up there’!  It’s ok to say no if you don’t feel comfortable or turn around if things are getting a little hairy, it’s ok to take the chicken track.   People look at some of the things we do and think we are crazy, but we now know what our vehicles are capable of and what both of our driving abilities are, it’s takes a while to gain all this knowledge so at first it’s totally fine to be afraid and err on the side of caution. Always ensure you drive to your own abilities, not other peoples.

If heading on the beach, take a shovel!

Sometimes a little bit of digging is all you need to get you going again, and if you are by yourself and no-one else around to snatch you out, you’ll be glad you had that shovel with you! If you intend to stick with 4WDing, considering investing in a set of TRED boards which are awesome on the beach, as well as the bush.

Water Crossings and Bog Holes

Everyone loves a bit of water, but 4WD’s not so much! Sometimes you have no choice but to drive through a muddy bog hole or a creek crossing, but always be careful. Walk it (if you can, think crocodiles!), measure the depth with a stick if you aren’t sure and consider a snorkel if you are going to be doing a lot of water crossings. Try your hardest not to drive through salt water (and wash your vehicle down afterwards if you do). It’s very easy and very common to write of your vehicle in water crossings or bog holes so always check them out before jump straight in!

Please don’t be a dick

Now this is an important one, one we shouldn’t have mention, but unfortunately we do. Us 4WDer’s can sometimes get a bad name and it’s always because of the minority of people thinking they are better than anyone else, doing the wrong thing and rules don’t apply to them.  The truth is though that most 4WDer’s are friendly, respectful and helpful people who respect the bush and want to do whatever we can to look after it.  Unfortunately, it’s the minority that ends up ruining it for everyone else and we have tracks closed down, tougher restrictions put in place and end up being totally locked out of certain areas.

This rule also includes rubbish and property.  Whatever you take in should be taken out with you, never leave your rubbish for someone else to clean up.  Always extinguish fires completely and do not light them at all in areas which do not allow them, or when there are fire bans.  Do not damage other people’s property and DO NOT leave your toilet paper laying around, Dig – Do – Burn – Bury ALWAYS!

We are all responsible for looking after and respecting the bush, and with so many amazing places for us to explore across Australia, why wouldn’t you want to. It’s a real privilege to be able to jump in our vehicles and go to some of these places, so please think about this before you go ahead and ruin it for everyone else.

To mod or not to mod?

There are so many 4WD accessories out there today and you could spend thousands doing up your vehicle, but it’s not always necessary.  Think about how you will be using your 4WD, where you will take it, how often you’ll be heading out, will you be hitting the hard tracks or a simple dirt road, heading to the beach, going by yourself or with others? Owning a 4WD can be expensive and you’ll realise this real quick if you start adding various accessories, so take your time and have a think about what you actually need and what you want!

Other things to keep in mind

  • Check the weather – don’t head out if you know it’s been raining a lot or if rain is anticipated. Not only is it dangerous, but if can ruin and potentially close tracks.
  • Are you allowed to be where you are? – just because your 4WD can go off-road, doesn’t mean it’s allowed to be there!  Watch out for private property signs and gates.
  • Insurance – check if your vehicle is allowed to do what you’re doing and go off-road, particularly water crossing etc.
  • Track Closures – always obey track closures signs, note that not only can you be fined, insurance will not cover you if you are found to be on a closed track.
  • Keep water and a blanket/warm jumper in the vehicle just in case you get stuck.  We’ve had one night where we didn’t get home till early hours of the morning due to being stuck on a track in the bush, so be prepared.
  • Always tell someone where you are going so emergency services have an idea of where to start looking should you fail to return home.
  • Carry a first aid kit in your vehicle at all times.

Lastly, we all need to learn somewhere and you can’t learn until you get out there and put yourself into the situation. But please don’t do it by yourself, head out with an experienced friend or join a 4WD club, many run their own private training courses for members and they have regular day/weekend/longer trips that members can join. Pick one that suits your needs and is in your area and if you contact them most will allow you to join a meeting or event as a trial to see what you think.

Alternatively (and this is what we both did when we started out), invest in a 4WD Driver Training course which will cover everything you need for off-road driving, as well as recovery.  Courses like those run by Great Divide Tours run over a weekend and include accreditation (which can be used to save on your insurance).

Just remember, we all started where you are now. It just takes time to build your confidence and your skills, so don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be embarrassed if you get bogged. Most of us 4WDer’s are friendly people who are more than happy to help and we’d rather you ask for help, than potentially damage your vehicle or yourself. There have been many times where we’ve needed to help others out of difficult situations (bogged in sand, bogged in water crossings, rollovers etc) and George has even got in and driven other’s vehicles out of the situation as they weren’t comfortable doing so themselves. So definitely don’t think you need to know it all at first and definitely don’t think that you’re the only one to have ever found yourself in that situation, we were all there once! As long as you have your own recovery gear, are willing to accept help and/or education and acknowledge when you’ve f**ked up, we will all be there to help you out!

Note that this blog post contains some links that will take you through to an external third party company.  On some occasions, if you do click through and ultimately make a purchase we will earn a small commission on the sale.  Note that, although we may receive a commission, this is at no additional cost to you.  Ie, you would pay the same amount if you went direct to the product provider.  

The new wave of Aussie tourists

Are you thinking of hitting the road this summer, you need to read this.

COVID has changed our lives in so many ways and one of these is the closure of international borders.  This has meant that many people who would normally take their yearly trip to Bali or Thailand or jump on a relaxing cruise no longer have this luxury and are looking for alternatives for their family holidays.

This leaves no other option than to travel Australia, something we have been doing for years!  There is a whole wave of new people buying 4wd’s and caravans and travelling this great country of ours.  From our friends and contacts within the 4WD and camping industry we can tell you that they are all busier than ever trying to keep up with the demand.

Whilst this is all new and exciting for people, travelling remotely is very different to rocking up to a resort and having everything within arms reach.

Travelling remotely within Australia is something you do need to be prepared for, there are safety precautions to be aware of and you need to do your research and have an idea of what you may be in for … what will the road be like, will there be phone reception, will there be shops, how much fuel do I need, do I have enough water, how will I power my devices … these are all questions you should be asking yourself (and having an answer to!).

It’s a very different world out there, you can’t just pop round the corner to the next servo if the fuel is too expensive.  Quite often places can run out of fuel and you’ll be stranded there for a few days until the tanker can make it into town.  Bad weather can close a road for days or even weeks at a time, meaning not only you could get stuck, but supply trucks and fuel trucks are also stuck.  What if there is no internet or ATM?  Do you carry enough cash to cover a tank of fuel or some groceries?  There are plenty of things to think about that you wouldn’t need to worry about in the big cities.  Of course if you’ve never experienced this before you wouldn’t even think of it being an issue, but this is why you need to do some research.

Now this certainly isn’t the case with everyone, but there are a portion of people who think that it’s as simple as buying a 4WD and caravan, hooking it up and hitting the road – it’s not, and this thought process could lead to disaster. Obviously you always hope that things will go to plan, but you always need to prepare for the worst possible scenario.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • Check road conditions of where you are travelling. If you are travelling on an outback corrugated dirt road you need to know that your vehicle/caravan/trailer are set up for this.
  • Does your vehicle have the towing capacity for the caravan/camper you wish to tow?
  • Do you have appropriate tyres for where you are visiting? Do you have enough tread left for your journey? Are you carrying spares in case of a flat (and the tools to change it!)
  • Can you carry enough fuel to get you from A to B? (remember, fuel can be pretty scarce once out of the big cities)
  • Are you carrying water? Again, plan for the worst. What if you break down or get bogged?
  • Do you have a satellite phone or emergency device? Australia is a big place and there certainly isn’t phone reception everywhere, you may not be able to just jump on google or call someone for help. Maybe consider a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger. A UHF/CB in your vehicle is also essential for outback travel.
  • Do you have a rough itinerary or idea of where you are headed? Always leave this with someone back at home and check in every few days. This way, if you fail to turn up as expected or fail to make contact, emergency services will have some idea of where to start looking for you.
  • Carry cash with you. Not everywhere has internet or EFTPOS or ATM’s and even if they do, they are quite often not working.
  • Carry adequate food – like the water, always plan for the worst case scenario.
  • Know the times of the year to travel, eg you wouldn’t head into the desert in Summer as it’s far too hot, the top half of Australia is cut off during the wet season.
  • Other Costs – Be prepared as food is more expensive in remote areas due to costs involved in freight etc and keep in mind that items like bread and milk are quite often sold frozen to prolong shelf-life. Of course, you don’t have the same variety as back in the big cities, so please don’t take it out on the staff in store if you can’t find everything you would normally purchase at home .
  • Road Trains are everywhere, do you know what to do if you come across one? These can reach over 53 metres in length and the dirt kicked up when you pass one is unbelievable, you need to be prepared for this or it can end in disaster.
  • Don’t rely solely on a map or GPS Maps may be showing there is accommodation or a service station nearby, but these can quite often be closed permanently or only open for certain hours of the day.
  • Always carry a basic First Aid Kit and a Snake Bite Kit – should something happen, help can often be hours away and your first aid kit could potentially mean the difference between life or death.
  • If you do break down, ALWAYS stay with your vehicle – it’s much easier to find someone from the air if they are with something large like a vehicle, than individual people wandering around the bush. Remember temperatures in outback Australia can reach well over 40°C so you don’t want to be wandering around in the heat of the day.

Hope all of that gives you an idea of what you need to be prepared for. It’s ok if you don’t have off-road experience, we all started somewhere.  You do need to do a little research though and see what you may be in for … ask questions of family or friends who have done this before, visit our site or ask people like us who have been doing it for years, maybe even consider doing a towing course or join a 4WD club, there are plenty of ways you can find help.

But above all, get out there and enjoy what our big amazing country has to offer, there is so much more than most people could ever begin to imagine!

Note that this blog post contains links that will take you through to an external third party company.  If you do click through and ultimately make a purchase we will earn a small commission on the sale.  Note that, although we may receive a commission, this is at no additional cost to you.  Ie, you would pay the same amount if you went direct to the product provider.  

Things we’ve learned while camping & travelling

– It’s inevitable that bugs, dirt and sand will become like seasoning to your meals! Yes, there are many times a bug has flown into dinner and Shelly has either picked it out or just stirred it into the meal!

– Baby Wipes are your best friend, we have them everywhere! They are our daily shower, they clean our hands, they wipe down tables and clean the benchtop, and they’ve even been used to wash cutlery and plates when we haven’t had water!

– Your feet will always be dirty, you just live with it!

– White clothing should never be taken camping!

– Swimming is perfectly acceptable to class as a ‘shower’.

– We can go days without a shower and don’t even miss it …… until you eventually have a nice hot shower and you realise what you were missing!

– If you travel the outback, be prepared to throw out your clothing upon return, as everything will end up a slightly pink/brown colour as it’s tinged with red dirt.

– There is this small window of the day where you are completely bug free – that changeover period between where the flies go to bed and the mozzies wake up. It’s that miniscule window of time, of total bliss, where there are absolutely no bugs around at all!

– Once you’ve done one outback trip your 4WD will forever bleed red dirt. No matter how many times you wash it or think it’s clean, it will never ever be that case again! The only way to rectify this is to sell it and buy a new one!

– Always replace a beer when you take one out of the fridge, one for one every time! No-one wants to find no cold beers in the fridge!

– Hold back on the packing as you will always take more food and clothes than you really need.

– We love Zip lock bags! OK well Shelly does, but she’s converted George too!

– Zooper Doopers are not just for kids! Nothing better on a hot day than taking a nice cold ice block out of the freezer.

– Corn chips are a great firelighter.

– Lock up your food and garbage, hungry animals are hiding everywhere! Our very first visit to Fraser Island a dingo took George’s roll within about 15 min of us arriving at camp, lesson learnt! ….. OK maybe we did have another small incident with a cow at Mt Elizabeth Station in WA, but we won’t go into that!

– It’s perfectly acceptable to wander around a campsite, chatting to others, in your PJ’s.

– If you just expect that outback toilets will contain a frog or a snake, you won’t get such a surprise when you lift the lid!

– Always have a wet weather bag handy, nothing worse than having to throw wet or muddy clothes or snatch straps in the car.

– Some of the best adventures are the unplanned ones. Take that unmarked track to the river, take that detour, talk to the locals and take their advice.

– Sing and sing loudly and don’t worry who’s watching! It makes everyone happy (well maybe not those around you, but the one singing!!) Shelly is known to give many car and campsite ‘concerts’.

– Sometimes cheese and crackers and chips is a perfectly acceptable dinner.

– Always have a snack box in the car which is handy at all times, saves having to actually stop and rummage through food boxes all the time. Particularly if you have a Shelly who is always hungry!

– If you leave home and look at a tyre and say, ‘i really should change that before we leave’ ….. you probably should, otherwise you’ll be sitting on the side of a track doing it!

– It doesn’t matter how prepared you think you are, you will always forget something! Thank god for friendly camping neighbours who are always happy to help out!

– When free camping with no-one around, it’s amazing how trees, wind, rain, mice, snakes etc can all sound like a mass murderer coming to kidnap and kill you!

– Wild animals are cheeky and brazen and will take any opportunity to get to your food (and they don’t care how much mess or destruction they leave behind!). We’ve seen dingos actually walk into someones caravan, wild horses tear up a campsite and a snake chase a mouse into someones car! And don’t forget the cows, birds, wild dogs & even emu’s and kangaroos, all will take any opportunity. It’s hard sometimes, but never ever feed them, no matter how hungry or skinny they look.

– Always take ear plugs with you if you want a good night sleep, it’s amazing the many noises you may need to block out from time to time!

– No matter how much open space there is, someone will always set up camp right next to you!

– Aloe Vera, Tea Tree oil and Manuka oil are a must as they will treat so many issues.

– If you ‘wonder’ whether you should visit a place or do an activity, just do it! You’ll regret it later (we totally regret not doing the helicopter flight over the Bungle Bungles).

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Our World Record Attempt

Back in 2019 we attended our first Big Red Bash and we loved it so much we got tickets for the next year. Unfortunately COVID resulted in last years concert being cancelled, but all tickets were carried over to 2021.

For those that aren’t aware, the Big Red Bash is a 3 day concert with camping onsite, held at the base of Big Red in the Simpson Desert, just out from Birdsville, QLD. It’s the world’s most remote music festival.

But it’s more than just a music festival, it’s a means to bring much needed spending to outback Queensland communities and also helps to raise money for charities. Each year, the Big Red Bash raises over $75,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

One of the ways they raise money for the RFDS is via the ‘Nutbush World Record Challenge’. And guess what …….

THIS YEAR OFF THE TRACK 4×4 ARE JOINING THE WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT!

But that’s not all, this year we are also trying to beat the record for the ‘Largest Twist Dance’ as well!

In 2019, 2,330 Big Red Bashers smashed the World Record for the most people dancing the Nutbush! The current record for the Worlds Largest Twist Dance is 3,040 in the USA.

All records are adjudicated by The Australian Book of Records and every cent of our registration fee, plus all your generous donations, go to the Royal Flying Doctor’s Service to support their amazing work in the outback, ensuring everyone has access to medical aid, emergency services and other vital health care support.

Our Off The Track 4×4 team is made up of us, George & Shelly, and our mate Stewy.

Got some spare cash, want to donate to a good cause and support our team? Whether it’s $2 or $200, it all helps.

The world record attempts will take place at 9.00am, Thursday 8th July at the Big Red Bash in the concert area.

LAST POST CEREMONY

Recently we visited the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, which we both thoroughly enjoyed, it had been many years since our last visit so we were keen to get back there, there is so much history, you could literally spend a whole day walking around and reading everything. But this visit was different to previous ones as we experienced something we had never experienced before, we went to the Last Post Ceremony.

Neither of us knew about this until a guide at the information centre mentioned it to us, but we were definitely interested so we booked our tickets. The Last Post Ceremony is held daily in the Commemorative Courtyard at 4.45pm. You can be involved in this moving ceremony, where every night they share the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour.

We expected this to be a moving and emotional experience, but the tears started much earlier than expected, in fact before the ceremony even started! Whilst we were waiting for the ceremony to start we were speaking with one of the staff members and she told us a little about the story we were going to hear. She said that it was a special one as the family, including the deceased’s only child, was in attendance and would be watching and laying wreaths. The deceased’s 101 year old widow was also going to be watching the live stream online from home.

The ceremony started with the national anthem and was followed by a lament on the bagpipes whilst family and visitors laid wreaths. Next we were told the story of Flight Sergeant John McAulay Morrison, born in 1918 in Lismore, NSW. John applied to join the Royal Australian Airforce in April 1940 at the age of 22. He also had 5 brothers and all served during the second World War. In May 1940 John married and later welcomed a daughter. John was called up and enlisted in the air force in September 1940 as a pilot. Unfortunately, like so many others, Flight Sergeant John McAulay Morrison never made it home to his family and on 28 June 1942, at the age of 24, he was killed when the Kittyhawk he was flying crashed. His remains are buried in Grafton Cemetery.

Lastly, the ceremony ended with a reading of the Ode by Defence Force personnel and the sounding of The Last Post.

To watch a replay of this live stream, click here – https://www.facebook.com/AWMemorial/videos/808828923353086

To read about John McAulay Morrison, click here – https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/R1719540

This was a great experience and definitely one to do on your next trip to Canberra. It’s emotional and interesting and a great way to pay your respects to those who gave their all for us to live the life we do today.

To attend this ceremony you must have a ticket which you can arrange via their website, but there is no cost involved. The tickets allow you entry from 4.20pm and you can walk around the Commemorative Courtyard, the Pool of Reflection, the Roll of Honour halls and the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier (also amazing and something which we had never seen before). The service is streamed live every night on YouTube and Facebook and into RSL clubs.

A Country Practice … a trip down memory lane

Growing up I remember sitting down every week and watching A Country Practice, it was certainly a very popular show back in it’s day and reruns now are proving popular with everyone reminiscing and remembering their younger years. A Country Practice ran from 1981 to 1993 and was based around a hospital in a rural country town called Wandin Valley, following the lives and stories of the patients, the residents of the town and their ups and downs as they went about their daily lives. It was just a down to earth wholesome show, but one which did delve into some of the more serious issues of life from time to time. Everyone had their favourite character, who was yours? Was it the fun and quirky Molly, Sergeant Frank Gilroy, the town busy body Esme Watson, larrikins Bob & Cookie or was it Dr Elliott or Matron Sloan? There are far too many to choose from!

Now for those that don’t know, most of the outdoor scenes were filmed in and around Windsor, Pitt Town and Ebenezer in western Sydney, NSW. We recently decided to go on a trip out that way to visit some of the places that featured in the show. If you google enough you’ll find information and addresses on these locations, but we have provided information below that we found. Please do keep in mind that most of these places are private residences so remember to respect the owners privacy and do not attempt to enter their property.

First up and probably the most recognisable house from the show was the house that Frank and Shirley Gilroy lived in, as this was also the house that appeared in the opening credits.  

LOCATED:  Corner of Buckingham Street and Chatham Street, Pitt Town (opposite Pitt Town Primary School). (Private residence)


Next up is the Wandin Valley Church which featured in many weddings and funerals. This beautiful old church was actually Scot’s Church in Pitt Town, built in 1862.

LOCATED:  99 Bathurst Street, Pitt Town (corner of Buckingham Street)


Another unforgetable property was the Wandin Valley Police Station where Sergeant Frank Gilroy was based.

LOCATED:  17 Johnston Street, Pitt Town (Private residence)


The location of Muldoon’s Store has now been converted into a service station.

LOCATED:  85 Bathurst Street, Pitt Town (on the corner of Church Street)


The Wandin Valley Store is a pub, the Bird in Hand Inn in Pitt Town. 

LOCATED:  81 Bathurst Street, Pitt Town (intersection of Eldon Street)


The Wandin Valley School was Pitt Town Public. 

LOCATED:  17 Buckingham Street, Pitt Town


The Country Practice clinic

LOCATED:  Corner of Arndell Street & North Street/Court Street, Windsor (Private residence)


The property used as the Wandin Valley Hospital is a beautiful historic private residence in Oakville called ‘Clare House’, which was built using convict brick in 1828.

LOCATED:  29 Clare Crescent, Oakville (Private residence)


The local high school featured in the show was Windsor High.

LOCATED:  Mulgrave Road (turn off Windsor Road), McGraths Hill


Now this is one that everyone will know, who can forget the night Molly died, most of Australia was in tears that night! The filing location of Molly’s farm is located in Maraylya.

LOCATED:  St John’s Road, Maraylya (on the right hand side of the road, just up from the intersection with Cattai Ridge Road)


Doctor Terence Elliot’s home after he moved from upstairs at the clinic is located in Ebenezer. We didn’t get any photos of this one as the large property and house is built back off the road and hard to see.

LOCATED:  695 Sackville Road, Ebenezer.  Camelot (private home).


Historic Ebenezer Church (which is Australia’s oldest church) was used in several weddings for the show.

LOCATED:  95 Coromandel Road, Ebenezer


I’m sure there are plenty that we’ve missed as numerous buildings and houses in the area were used in the show, do you know any others?

Just a reminder though, please do keep in mind that most of these places are private residences. Respect the owners privacy when viewing and/or taking photos and do not attempt to enter their property without prior permission from the owner. The information given in this blog post is already freely available on the internet, but we have put it all together in one easy to find location.

Travel … we love it, but why do we do it?

Let’s be real here, who doesn’t love travelling?  You get to explore new and exciting places, you spend time with family and friends and you make memories that will last you a lifetime. Why wouldn’t you want to travel?

The thing is though, traditionally a lot of people have disregarded travel within Australia, in leiu of the ‘more exciting’ overseas travel. Australia is this huge vast land with some of the most spectacular scenery and many Australian’s never even get close to seeing it all. We all travel overseas to Europe, Bali, Thailand …. but we forget about this marvelous place that is right here in our own backyard.

Camel riding at Uluru, NT

The realization of this came years ago when George met a traveler from overseas who was telling him about all the places he’d visited during his holiday to Australia ….. he asked “Have you climbed the Harbour Bridge”? … No, “Have you seen Uluru”? … No, “What about snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef”? … No. It was at the moment that George decided that it wasn’t right that foreigners have seen more of our country than he had.

Uluru, NT

Luckily we both have the same love of Australia and of camping so this was the perfect plan! Over the years we have tried to experience as much of our country as we can, making the most of every experience that is thrown our way.

We can now say that yes we have climbed the Harbour Bridge, we’ve watched the sunset at Uluru on top of a camel, we’ve snorkeled the reef, we’ve explored underground mines, flown over a pearl farm in a helicopter, watched the sunset over Cable Beach, seen the Staircase to the Moon in Broome, held a baby crocodile, played with a baby lion and Tasmanian Devils and traveled through every state and territory in Australia. We still have so much more to explore, but we are getting there bit by bit. You see, the thing we decided to do was to just get out there and do it. We didn’t want to wait, we didn’t want to lose our chance to see the country.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

This all really hit home to us when Shelly’s mum passed away quite suddenly at the age of 71. It was then that we realized just how short life can be, you never know what lay around the corner so never ever put something off. We wanted to make the most of life and experience all the weird and wonderful things that come along with that, whether it’s standing on the tip of Australia, driving a racecar around a circuit, cuddling a Tasmanian Devil or even spending nearly $2,000 for a day trip to the Horizontal Falls, we want to do it all! There may never be an ideal time to travel, you may never have enough money, and you may never have enough time …. But if you leave it too long, you might lose that chance altogether.

We met back in 2003 and now 18 years later we have so many memories and experiences we have shared together. We both still work full time, we are paying off a mortgage, we have pets and families, is this the ideal time to be travelling? Maybe, maybe not? But we make it happen, we work hard to save money for our travel and we fit it in between work. We aim to take one extended trip of around 2 months every 3 years, with many, many smaller trips in between! We don’t have all the time in the world and we certainly aren’t rich, but we make it work for us.

We need other people to realise that you can do it, you don’t have to wait, you just need to find what works for you and your family. It’s great now that we are starting to see so many young families travelling and doing the lap, the life experiences those children are going to learn just can’t be taught anywhere else. We are both very passionate about travelling Australia and want nothing more than to share our adventures and inspire others to do so as well. And now with Covid and travel restrictions in place, maybe it’s the perfect time for you to get out there and explore what Australia has to offer as well?

For this reason we have our website, blog and various social media pages where we document our 4WD adventures and share our experiences with everyone. We all like to pry into other people’s lives don’t we, well here’s your chance! Hopefully we inspire others to also follow their dreams and get out there and explore our great land. There are so many new adventures waiting to unfold. Life is too short to live with regrets ….. So go on …. get out there!

Tailem Bend, South Australia

Tailem Bend is a small town located about an hour out of Adelaide, SA. This rural town is built on the banks of the Murray River and was once an important service centre for the South Australian Railways. It was proclaimed a town in 1887, not long after the railway line went through.

Nowadays though, Tailem Bend is more likely known as the home of Australia’s newest racetrack, ‘The Bend’. The Bend is Australia’s only track to comply with the latest FIA Grade 2 and FIM Category A standards, making it eligible to host international categories such as the World Endurance Championships, IndyCar and MotoGP. It’s also the second longest permanent circuit in the world, after the Nurburgring in Germany.

Construction started in 2016 and the first Supercar Championship race meeting at the track was held on 24–26 August 2018. The track and precinct is very impressive and it’s not even finished yet, plenty more plans in the works.

This was built on what was once Mallala Race Circuit, which for some time was also Mitsubishi’s testing facility. The track was purchased by the Peregrine Corporation, owned by the Shahin Family. This is the same family who is responsible for the OTR stores in SA (if you don’t know about this family and their story, look them up. It’s quite interesting to see where they have come from and what they’ve built). What they’ve done with the OTR stores in one thing, but this whole motorsport complex at The Bend is something else.

We will say that the one thing that we really loved about this whole story is that the Shahin family really do seem so down to earth and very involved in all aspects of their businesses. The way the staff at the hotel spoke of this family was great, you could tell they all appreciate them and have a genuine like for the family. We heard that they actually do spend a bit of time in the complex and meet and speak with the staff.

THE BEND MOTORSPORT PARK

Now we haven’t attended a race meet here or personally raced on the track, but we’ve both been to plenty of racetracks over the years (and George has raced on them) and this one stands out by far. Not only do you have the world class racing circuit, there is karting, drifting, rallycross, a 4WD adventure park, private villas, a Rydges Hotel and a Big 4 caravan park all onsite.

RYDGES PIT LANE HOTEL

You’ll find the hotel located within the main building of the pit lane complex. The hotel offers 100 guests rooms, some with private balconies and views over the racetrack and pit lane. Also the Apex Bar and Restaurant, Apex coffee lounge and obviously plenty of meeting rooms and event spaces.

The hotel has a very modern vibe and we really liked that. Our package deal came with a bottle of champagne on arrival, dinner and breakfast for 2. The food was great, we definitely couldn’t fault that! And the cocktails, yum – do yourself a favour and try a Lemon Meringue Martini! Lastly the staff were all great, ultra friendly and always happy to have a chat or a joke. We all know customer service is important, but when you have a stay like we did, it really makes you remember the place in a very positive light.

The thing that sets this hotel apart from others is the car museum in the foyer. As soon as you walk in the front doors you are greeted with millions and millions of dollars worth of rare, historical and unique Supercars and sports cars. Most are apparently part of the the owners own personal collection and some are still taken out on the race track from time to time. One of the brothers, Sam Shahin is actually quite an accomplished race car driver.

Contact Details and Location

Rydges Pit Lane Hotel

543 Dukes Highway, Tailem Bend SA 5260

Phone: (08) 8165 5730

The World’s Biggest Rocking Horse

Anyone that knows us, knows that we love to visit all the ‘big things’ across Australia and have a whole page on our website dedicated to this! Well on a recent trip to Adelaide we called in to visit The Big Rocking Horse in Gumeracha (only about 40 minutes from Adelaide).

At 18.3 metres high and weighing 25 tonnes, not only is this Australia’s Biggest Rocking Horse, it is the biggest in the world and it’s in the Guinness Book of Records to prove it!

Although it’s free to visit and take photos, for $2 you can climb the rocking horse, which has stairs inside which lead to viewing platforms in the head, on the saddle and one on the rocker near the base. You’ll also receive a certificate of achievement for climbing!

Toy Factory

Also in the complex there is a toy factory which sells some really great wooden toys which are made on site. You don’t see this type of old school workmanship too often these days. As well as the wooden toys there are plenty of other gifts and souvenirs and a range of lollies and chocolates.

The Shop is open 7 days a week (except Christmas Day) from 9am – 5pm

Wildlife Park

We can’t forget the Wildlife Park! For $2 entry per person (and an extra $2 if you want a bag of food) who could say no ….. well George could have, but Shelly wanted to go play with the animals!! Although it’s set on 7 acres, the wildlife park itself isn’t anything too exciting, but it was something to do and gave as a few laughs, and for $2 why not!

There was a range of animals including Alpacas, Sheep, Goats Kangaroos, Emus, Ducks, Cockatoos.

The Wildlife Park is open 7 days a week (except Christmas Day) from 9am – 4.30pm

CAFE

Lastly there is a cafe on site selling a wide range of food at reasonable prices. We grabbed a salad wrap and plate of chips and both were huge!

The Cafe is open 7 days a week (except Christmas Day) from 10am – 3pm

Where to find The Big Rocking Horse – 452 Torrens Valley Road, Gumeracha, South Australia.