Farina ….. An abandoned town in the outback

Who has visited Farina in South Australia?

As you drive along the dirt roads of outback South Australia, you see many ruins along the roadside and scattered throughout properties, some in remarkable condition and some basically a pile of rubble. But one of the most complete is when you visit the town of Farina.

This was our second visit to this amazing place which, in the 1890s, had about 600 people living there, but now it’s nothing like it would have been back then. Although it is slowly being transformed by an amazing group of volunteers, from ruins to a town that once was.

Back in the day Farina was home to two hotels, a school, post office, a railway line .. but over the years people started to move away and by 1957 the school was closed and apparently the final permanent residents left in the late 70’s/early 80’s.

This is one place you should visit. Do yourself a favour and head out and take a walk around the town, read the signage and try to imagine what life would have been like there back in the day.

Farina is also home to the most remote underground bakery in Australia. There is no guessing where to go, the smell as you walk from the car directs you exactly where you need to be! This fully functioning underground bakery was the only mainly intact building on the site and volunteers were able to get this bakery back up and running, a feat in itself, considering it had laid unused for 80 years or so.

The bakery itself only opens for about 8 weeks each year around May-July. This is all run by volunteers and the new ‘cafe’ building, next to the bakery, provides a huge range of breads and sweets, coffee, souvenirs and a seating area. Yes, we did sample quite a few of the goods on offer!

There is a great camping ground to stay as well, just behind the town. We drove through on our way to the cemetery (as you do!) and it looked like a great campground, plenty of room, shady sites, toilets and fire pits. We will definitely spend a night there next time we are over that way.

The cemetery also reflects the town’s diversity. There is a well marked Afghan section in one corner. Chinese, Aboriginal and Hindu burials are also recorded here.

Several hundred people are recorded as being buried in the cemetery, however most graves are unmarked.

We must end by congratulating the volunteers on the truly amazing job they are doing in preserving Farina and bringing it back to life. It’s important that these places are here for future generations to see and learn about. The interpretive signs along the way reveal much of the town’s past, and every volunteer we met was so happy and proud to tell us about the town and the work that is going on. Whilst you can visit Farina at any time of year, it’s great to be able to visit whilst the volunteers are there and have a chat with them to learn a little more … and of course to visit the bakery!

We are Nutbush Record Holders!

We’ve briefly mentioned this, and those who follow our social media pages would have seen photos, but this year we participated in the Nutbush World Record Attempt.

We got so many messages and were tagged in many posts about it being on the news back home too, so you may have even seen us on there!

Both of us, and Jacquie, all went in it, but Duck was recording his radio show so missed out (that worked out well for him, can’t say he was disappointed in missing it 😂)

The previous record was 2,878 and we smashed it with 4,084 dancers!!

We all lined up in rows (we were in row 4) on the arena and danced for a full 5 1/2 minutes to Tina Turner’s hit Nutbush City Limits. You don’t realise how long that song is until you need to dance the whole time!

WE ARE RECORD HOLDERS!

All funds from the $15 per person entry fee goes straight to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. This year you could also pay double to guarantee a spot in the first row. Just this event alone raised $65,000 for them.

Our days at the Big Red Bash

Whilst the concerts don’t generally start until around 12 or 1pm each day, there is still plenty to do. And this event isn’t just about music, it also raises alot of money for the Royal Flying Doctors Service. Entry into the drag race and nutbush alone raise a significant amount of money for this amazing and much needed organisation. We hope we will never require their assistance, but we do regularly donate and take comfort in the knowledge that they will be there to help if ever needed in our remote travels.

The Bashville Drags are hilarious, men (and some woman and kids) dress up in drag and funny costumes and run down big red and through the campground, before parading on stage where the winners are picked. It really is a sight to see, you’ll never see so many men fondling their boobies 😛

Each year there is a Nutbush World Record attempt which we entered this year. George was far from excited about this, but it’s all for a good cause and we all ended up having a bit of fun. Doing the nutbush for 5 1/2 min is hard work!

Whilst there was a lot of sitting back and people watching at camp, we also took a few walks around Bashville checking out the vendors and food trucks. Ran into Adele from Caravanning With Kids, who we’ve been dealing with for years so was nice to finally meet her in person. We also went for a wander round the camp ground on a Recon R2 hunting expedition! We ended up finding a few, we just wanted to see if we could chat with current owners to get the real life comments on the camper we are buying. Nothing like first hand experience.

With our media passes we were able to get backstage so that was exciting to see the concert and crowd from a different perspective.

Of course climbing Big Red is a highlight for a lot of people. We went up to watch the sunset, but plenty of people were up there for sunrise each day. There was morning yoga up there each day and throughout the day there was volleyball and sand boarding. A couple even got married up there on one of the first days!

The Australian Book of Records were right next to us and over the course of the event they had people beating records, one young girl in particular who hoola hooped nonstop for 1 hour, 31 min.

Other activities available included camel rides and helicopter flights, both of which were very popular.

George on radio!

For everyone who has been asking, here is the link to George’s segment on the Camping & Off Road Radio show from last week.

This was recorded from a free camp in Eulo as we all sat by the campfire watching and listening and for his first radio segment we think he did great!

What do you think?

Betoota and beyond

Our stay at the Betoota Pub was great, camped out the back with the most amazing outback sunset that was constantly changing, the colours were like nothing you see in the city.

None of us had been to the pub before and whilst we are glad we visited, we didn’t even step foot inside! The line was so long with people wanting to get inside that we took our photos and had a look around outside, but will visit again down the track when it’s not so busy.

The town of Betoota has a population of zero and the pub is literally the only thing in town! This hotel ran for 44 years before shutting it in 1997 and becoming derelict. Someone took on the big job of cleaning and refurbishing the hotel and it reopened again over 20 years later in 2020.

So we walked back to camp and spent the night by the fire and the amazing sunset and night sky. This was our last night camping with Steve from MDC as he will be camping with the MDC Owners Group once we head to the bash. For this last night we also met and were joined by Vaughan, the owner of MDC Campers & Caravans. It was a great night all round.

It was an early pack up in the dark (and cold!) the next morning for the drive to Birdsville. Love the early morning, watching the sun rise as we drove along, no-one on the roads, except for hundreds of birds soaring above. This really is the life.

We arrived in Birdsville around 9am, went straight to fuel up with only 2 vehicles in front of us. We later spoke to people who arrived later in the day and were lined up over the bridge on the approach to Birdsville and waited over 2 hours for fuel … and the diesel eventually ran out too! Well worth getting up at 6am!

Duck went and grabbed our passes for us and we headed off to Bashville – about 35km or so from Birdsville. It did take us quite a while to get in, probably about 2.5 hours in total, but it’s a huge job to get this many people in and set up so we weren’t complaining.

Camping fun in outback QLD

After a night camped at Eulo we left to start the drive to Windorah, our home for the night.

An easy drive of about 500 km on mainly sealed roads, but the landscape is so green. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen it so green out here. Areas that were bone dry and rich red dirt during our last trip out this way are now covered in differing colours of green grasses and shrubs.

Plenty more traffic heading our way today too and everyone you speak to is heading to the bash. Every conversation starts with ‘where you headed?’ or ‘off to the bash?’

Arrived in Windorah late yesterday afternoon and headed straight to fuel up. With one fuel station in this small town, and being a major thoroughfare for a lot of the 10,000 people making their way to the bash, you can imagine the lines and wait times! Luckily we are early and didn’t need to wait too long.

We had intended on camping behind the servo as Duck knows the owner, but their pet donkey wouldn’t let us in the gate! It was hilarious watching it all unfold and we weren’t sure if he was friendly and just wanted play, whether he wanted to escape or whether he wanted to kill us 😂, plus, once we got through that gate we had a horse to deal with at the next one! There was an evil looking cow also eying us off, so guard donkey got his way and we decided to move on!

So we headed off back out of town to free camp on the banks of the Cooper Creek, but after a little rain yesterday that wasn’t an appealing site at all, so back to a rest area we headed which was on mainly gravel and far less muddy!

Ended up being a great night, even the small amount of rain didn’t worry us.

Today we are off to Betoota to camp at the pub. None of us have been before so are looking forward to checking out the iconic pub. The pub is literally the only thing in town!

Quick side note … it pays to check fuel prices as we filled up yesterday in Thargomindah at 21 cents a litre cheaper than the others! FuelCharge app is a lifesaver with outback travel.

Bound for the bash

So it’s finally arrived and we are off to the Big Red Bash! An early start to day as we headed out to North Richmond to meet the first of our travelling companions for the next week or so, then off over the mountain to meet another just out of Lithgow.

That first night we pulled in to the little pub in Byrock called the Mulga Creek Pub and camped out the back. Of course you can’t stay at a great country pub without having a beer or two, so we headed over for dinner and drinks. Great food, great service, friendly staff and locals and a great little pub all round.

Day two we continued our journey towards Birdsville, via the Dowling Track, an easy 4WD track. We had a quick lunch stop at Hungerford and a quick visit to the Royal Mail Hotel. This pub was established in 1875 and is the last remaining pub used by Cobb & Co as a staging point enroute from Bourke to Thargomindah.

Ended up in Eulo where we decided to stay the night in a nice little free camp by the river. Quite busy with travellers, but still plenty of space around. Beautiful sky at sunset, we love our outback sunsets and can’t wait for the next week where they will hopefully just keep getting better.

This was also the day that George made his radio debut! He’d been so nervous about it for days, but he didn’t need to worry, he did great! All recorded from our camp on the river in front of the camp fire.

Stay tuned for more on this soon where we will share a link to his segment on The Camping & Off Road Radio Show so you can listen on replay!

We arrive at Bashville

The area where the concert is held is on a privately owned organic cattle farm which gets converted into ‘Bashville’, a mini pop up village in the middle of the desert. The workers build everything from scratch on site, including the stage, toilets and even road markings, laneways and campsites.

This year we are camped right on The Plaza with direct view of the stage, no need to even leave camp to watch the concerts. Couldn’t have a better campsite and friends to share it with. Pays to know the right people!

We arrived two days before the concert started so had plenty of time to settle in, buy our merchandise and check out the stall holders before the actual concerts started.

We are camped next to one of the food vendors and have all visited a few times already trying out their food, nice people, yummy food and very conveniently located!

It already feels like we’ve been away from home for a month, doesn’t take long to relax once you hit the outback. Our days are spent wandering around the bash site, chatting with people, sitting and back and drinking beer by the fire … what more could you want!

We’ve had plenty of people visiting, including Greg Donovan, the owner of the event. What a great guy he is, and when you hear the story of how this all came about, it’s quite interesting.

The Redarc guys have been around helping with a few charging issues, a few of the MDC Owners Group came to visit and lots of fans who listen to The Duck on the radio or podcast, everyone is so friendly and great to talk to.

There are 3 days of concerts which generally run from about 1-8pm each day. Mornings are filled with different activities run by the event, or you can simply relax and do your own thing. Around our camp Duck was working on a podcast interviewing Jimmy Barnes, and Shelly also did her first interview, link will follow at some point!

The first of the concert days started yesterday with 7 different artists performing, finishing with Jon Stevens, he was awesome. Cannot wait for the next few days.

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.