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.  

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!

Australian Made … the only way to buy

This is going to be quite a short post, but we just wanted to let you know that we are excited to announce that we have recently teamed up with AMD Touring, Australia’s first dedicated Australian-made 4×4, camping and caravaning store.

Many people want to buy Australian Made products, now more than ever, but finding the products that you need can be difficult. That’s where AMD Touring come in. You see, they have done all the hard work and are out there every day adding new products to their website and it’s a one-stop-shop where you can find everything for your 4WD, camping or caravanning needs. And if they don’t currently stock what you are after, hit them up and they’ll try and get that company on board or even find an alternative Australian Made version of what you already use.

The website features many products already (with more being added all the time) and it makes it super easy for you to find quality Australian made products all in the one place. So next time you need something, check out this website first!

Don’t forget to use our Promo Code 𝗼𝗳𝗳𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗸 when you make your next purchase. You won’t pay any extra by purchasing via this website, but every purchase you do make will go a small way to helping us to keep travelling and doing what we love.

textile australian flag with crumples

Don’t forget that by purchasing Aussie made products, not only are you ensuring your money stays within our country, you are supporting local jobs and businesses and you have the knowledge that these products have been made and tested for use in our environment and for our standards.

Website: https://www.amdtouring.com

Champagne Pools

Champagne Pools is one of the more isolated destinations on the island and you’ll find it on the eastern side, just past Indian Head. Once at the car park it’s a short walk via the boardwalk and stairs to get down to the pools.

Champagne Pools are just beautiful and you really must visit if you have the time. This is a group of naturally formed swimming holes which have formed among the rocks and as each wave crashes along the rocks, it foams and cascades down into the swimming holes.

With each wave, cool water bubbles and fizzes around you, creating the Champagne-like feeling.

To see this in it’s full glory you need to time your visit outside of low tide, but not at full high tide!

Due to the more remote location of the Champagne Pools, the travel time it takes to get there and the eastern beach being inaccessible at high tide, you must plan your visit well and check tides before heading here.

The natural beauty of Fraser Island

Hands up who’s never visited Fraser Island …. if you are sitting there with your hands in the air, what’s wrong with you! You really need to get off your butt and get yourself up to this amazing part of the country!

You’ll find Fraser Island located off the east coast of Queensland, about 4 hours drive north of Brisbane. Covering an area of 184,000 hectares, it is the largest sand island in the world. But it’s more than just a bit of sand surrounded by water, it’s one of the most naturally beautiful places you’ll visit.

You’ll find some of the most beautiful lakes filled with crystal clear fresh water, ancient rainforests, long white beaches, coloured sand cliffs, shipwrecks and a splash of history thrown in.

Fun facts about Fraser Island

  • Fraser Island stretches over 123 km in length and 22 km across at it’s widest point.
  • Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world.
  • Fraser Island is World Heritage Listed.
  • The highest dunes on the island reach up to 240 meters above sea level.
  • Fraser Island is home to 40 perched dune lakes (which is half the number of perched lakes in the world!).
  • It’s said that over 350 species of birds live on Fraser Island.
  • The dingoes of Fraser Island are the most pure strain of dingoes remaining in eastern Australia.
  • Fraser Island is the only place in the world where rainforests are found growing on sand dunes at elevations of more than 200 meters.
  • 75 Mile Beach is a gazetted highway and all normal road rules apply, and police do regularly patrol.
  • 75 Mile Beach is also a runway and landing strip for light aircraft.
  • Fraser Island’s dunes have the longest and most complete age sequence of coastal dune systems in the world.
  • At 200 hectares, Lake Boomanjin is the largest perched lake in the world.
  • Fraser Island is home to half of the world’s perched lakes.

How the island formed

An island like Fraser Island doesn’t just pop up overnight, it has been forming over many hundreds of thousands of years and is still evolving to this day. Many years ago the wind and ocean currents moved sands from all around the world and it began to accumulate in one place and formed an island, therefore Fraser Island is made up completely of sand. Over the years animal matter and debris started to form a base which then allowed plants to start growing. A sand dune is considered stable when plant colonies start to take root and you can see this towards the centre of the island, where you’ll find huge trees and rainforests growing in the more sheltered parts of the island.

Closer to the beach where the dunes are subjected to the more fierce weather elements you will see that they often only have a small covering of grasses and smaller plants that have learned to live with the constant battering of sand and wind.

Fraser Island Lakes

There are over 100 freshwater lakes on the island. The only area in Australia that has a higher concentration of lakes than Fraser Island is Tasmania. There are Perched lakes, Window lakes and Barrage lakes.

Perched lakes form when organic matter builds up in a depression in the dune. Leaves, dead plants, bark etc collects over time, slowly decomposing into the top layer of the sand and eventually forming a cement like crust which stops water from filtering through the sand. With the water being trapped it will eventually form a lake. Perched lakes are dependent on rainfall to maintain the water levels.

Fraser Island’s Lake Boomanjin is the largest perched lake in the world.

Barrage lakes form when moving sand dunes block off the path of a watercourse, creek or natural spring.

Window lakes form when a depression in the dunes exposes part of the regional water table. These lakes are generally found in dune depressions where the water table is higher than the ground surface level.

Fraser Island’s Lake Wabby is actually known as both a window lake and a barrage lake.

Whilst the lakes on Fraser Island are some of the most naturally stunning sights you’ll see, many of them hold nothing but water. Because of the purity and acidity of the water, they are not home to any creatures. There are a few lakes that do have fish and turtles living in them and a particular species of frog that have adapted to survive in an acidic and nutrient deficient environment.

Fraser Island History

Captain Matthew Flinders was one of the first white men to have contact with the islanders of Fraser Island in 1802.

In 1836 the ‘Stirling Castle’ was shipwrecked and after spending weeks in a lifeboat at sea, they landed on the island. The survivors lived on the island for a few weeks before being rescued. One of these was Eliza Fraser, the wife of the Captain, James Fraser. It was after Eliza, that Europeans named the island Fraser Island.

The Butchulla people are the indigenous people of Fraser Island and their traditional name for the island is K’gari (pronounced “gurri”), which means paradise. According to Butchulla legend, Fraser Island was named K’gari after the beautiful spirit who helped
Yindingie, messenger of the great god Beeral, create the land. As a reward to K’gari for her help, Beeral changed her into an idyllic island with trees, flowers and lakes. He then added birds, animals and people onto the island to keep her company.

The island is now referred to as both “K’gari” and ‘Fraser Island” (and “Great Sandy National Park”), and whilst the Native Title rights were handed back to The Butchulla people in 2014, the day-to-day management of the island is primarily the responsibility of the Department of Environment and Heritage (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service).

Fraser Island Logging history

Logging is a huge part of the Fraser Island story. Due to the abundance of timber available and the quality of the pines, logging on Fraser Island ran for quite an extended period of time, first starting in 1863 and continuing until the end of 1991.

Logging initially started near Wanggoolba Creek by ‘Yankee Jack’ Piggott. In 1913 the first State Government Forestry Camp was set up at Bogimbah Creek, later moved to Wanggoolba Creek and in 1920 this moved to Central Station. In 1918 building began on the first and only timber mill on Fraser Island at the McKenzie’s Jetty site. McKenzie Ltd. was responsible for this mill, a jetty and a number of steam locomotives and tracks servicing its logging areas. When the Forestry Camp moved to Central Station, there were workers and their families living there and a community formed, including huts, houses and sheds, a school for the children and nurseries and vegetable gardens.

Nowadays Central Station is a camping and picnic area, but it also includes plenty of information on it’s former life as a logging camp.

Fraser Island’s WWII Connection

Many wouldn’t know, but Fraser Island played an important role in WWII.

The Fraser Commando School trained personnel for the highly secret ‘Z Force’. These personnel lived on the island and were trained to operate undercover behind enemy lines. The ruins of the training school are found on the western side of the island near Kingfisher Bay Resort.

The Maheno shipwreck, located on the eastern beach, was also used during the WWI as a target for explosives training.

Christmas Shopping made easy

So our favourite time of year is nearly upon us …. yep that’s right, only 31 days until Christmas! 🎄 🎁

If you are looking for some awesome gifts to buy for your friends and loved ones, check out these products below. We have joined forces with some of our favourite Aussie companies who we personally use and recommend and some have agreed to offer a discount just for our followers. Note that, unless stated otherwise, there is nothing in this for us, it’s purely just to share our love of these products and give a little back to you guys!

Click on the links below to be taken directly to the websites to order. If you want to try and score yourself some of these great products for free, head over to our Facebook page and enter our Christmas giveaway competition as a few of the companies below have kindly donated products! Click here for details on how to enter this great giveaway 👉http://bit.ly/2KcYZm5


Cost Effective Maintenance

Cost Effective Maintenance 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.

Not only have we been using their products in our vehicles for years, both of our vehicles are also now officially sponsored by Cost Effective Maintenance. We’ve seen a noticeable difference in the Prado and the Hilux since using a number of CEM products, so we can certainly recommend them. Check out their website or give them a call to have a chat. They offer free delivery Australia wide.

Here are some common engine problems / mechanical problems which they can help you with:

  • 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

At Checkout, use code “4x4OTT” for a 10% discount.


Auto Parts Co

APC is an Australian owned retailer of 4WD parts and accessories. Check them out for all your 4WDing and camping parts and accessories and you’ll be impressed with their prices. 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!

Over the years we’ve gathered a lot of our products from APC and most recently we ordered all of our suspension for the Hilux and the whole process was quick and easy. Definitely worth checking them out next time you need anything for your 4WD.

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


Swig Cups – $24

These Swig Cups by Love Your Travels are amazing, Shelly loves hers! (she has the pretty sparkly charcoal one!). And what’s better is that if you order using our code, YOU get a 10% discount!

These Insulated Swig Cups hold 400ml, are durable and tough, perfect for day to day life and an ideal camping accessory.   They will keep your Hot & Cold Beverages at their optimum temperature for hours. These Double Walled, Stainless Steel Swig Cups are made from 304 Stainless Steel and all cups come with a BPA–Free secure push on slide lid with a silicon seal.

Check out the ‘Love Your Travels’ website for the huge colour range available.

At Checkout, use code “Offthetrack4x4” for a 10% discount


Shower Ezy – The Complete Set – $34.50

This is a product we found a few years ago and we now use them in the car and for when travelling. There are so many uses for the various handy little products that Shower Ezy have available for sale. The showpiece seller though is ‘The Complete Set’, which really is the perfect gift for any camper or traveler.

This 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.


Macca’s BBQ Seasoning Rubs – $9.99

For those that know “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, or even just at home in the oven or slow cooker.

Available in four different flavours:

  • Great Southern Lamb
  • Captain James Chook
  • Great Barrier Beef
  • That’ll Do Pig

These are available from the Caravanning With Kids website. By ordering through the link below, we will earn a small commission, but this will be at no additional cost to you.


Scrubba Wash Bag – $69.95

The Scrubba Wash Bag is one of those great little Aussie inventions. It’s basically a little tiny washing machine …. well kinda! But for those who are travelling, free camping or living on the road, you’ll know that you can’t always be around a washing machine (or in fact, have access to a lot of water). Well that’s why you need this Scrubba bag!

The Scrubba Bag 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.

These are available from the Caravanning With Kids website. By ordering through the link below, we will earn a small commission, but this will be at no additional cost to you.

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


Slide n’ Dry Pegless Clothesline – $12.95

This Aussie made product is designed and manufactured in Melbourne and it’s one of those things that every camper needs! We recently purchased one and it’s so easy and compact and no more carrying around clotheslines that get tangled up and pegs that either get lost or are bulky to store.

Each packet of Slide n’ Dry Pegless Clotheslines 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!

And for those environmentally conscious people, these are made with the highest quality materials with a PET 5 rating ensuring they are recyclable!

These are available from the Caravanning With Kids website. By ordering through the link below, we will earn a small commission, but this will be at no additional cost to you.


Winerest Camping Chair Wine Glass Holder – $16

For all you wine lovers out there, does your wine glass keep falling over? Well here’s the product you need, check this out!

This product is designed & developed in Australia so that it can cope with our harsh outdoor elements. Sun, dirt, sand, wind, water …. no worries, it is designed to deal with all of this!

This 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’. 

These are available from the Caravanning With Kids website. By ordering through the link below, we will earn a small commission, but this will be at no additional cost to you.


Icy Pole Holders – $10 for a 4 pack

Perfect for kids (and big kids like George – he loves them!)

Easy to pop over your icy pole to keep kiddies happy and save on using paper towel or tea towels etc. These are made from high quality neoprene, double stitched at each end and sewn and glued…making them super durable … and machine washable.

These are available from the Caravanning With Kids website. By ordering through the link below, we will earn a small commission, but this will be at no additional cost to you.


Travel Journal – $24.95

This Australian made Travel Journal is 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.

These are available from the Caravanning With Kids website. By ordering through the link below, we will earn a small commission, but this will be at no additional cost to you.


Log Book – $10.95

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.

These are available from the Caravanning With Kids website. By ordering through the link below, we will earn a small commission, but this will be at no additional cost to you.


Hema 4WD Maps App & Hema Navigator

Hema are Australia’s leading GPS navigation systems for on and off-road travel. 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 on detailed Hema maps, which feature roads, 4WD tracks, topographic information and points of interest to guide your travels off the beaten track.

Check out their full range of products via the link below.


All of these are items which we use and can recommend. 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!

We love being able to give back to you guys, so we have been busy lately working with various companies to bring you some discount codes to be able to give a little back to you ….. at the end of the day, it’s a win for everyone!

So come on guys, show them some love and check out the websites …. maybe you’ll find something you love too!

Winton, Outback Queensland

After leaving Boulia we said goodbye to Stewy and the kids as they headed back to Queensland and we also started off on our journey home. We had no plan, but we had about 6 days before we needed to be back in Sydney so we had a quick check of the maps and decided to headed off towards Winton.

After a week of no showers (thank god for baby wipes!) we decided to check into a hotel for the night and make good use of their shower and bed! We also took a night off cooking and headed to one of the local pubs, The Winton Hotel, for dinner.

The next morning we were up early to get in some exploring before the relatively short drive to Longreach, where we planned to spend 2 nights. We’ve visited both Winton and Longreach before, but it was nice to be back and spend a bit more time looking around.

If you ever find yourself in Winton, here are a few of the highlights for you to check out.

The North Gregory Hotel

Established in 1879, The North Gregory Hotel was reportedly the site of the first public performance of Australia’s unofficial national anthem, ‘Waltzing Matilda’, on 6th April 1895.

The original North Gregory Hotel was was pulled down in 1900 and rebuilt, only to burn down in 1916 and again in 1946. The building that stands now was built in 1955 and nowadays this hotel is not only a reminder of the past, but also a great place to eat, drink and sleep.

Located in the centre of town, this hotel provides hotel rooms and non-powered caravan sites.

Address: 67 Elderslie Street, Winton
Phone: 07 4657 0647


Qantas Airfield Commemorative Cairn

This location marks the site of the first landing ground of Qantas. When most people are asked where Qantas was born, they think Longreach, but it was in fact Winton. The local saying about Qantas is that it was conceived in Cloncurry, born in Winton and grew up in Longreach.

The Qantas story officially begins with it’s ‘birth’ in Winton on 16th November 1920, with the initial registration of the company. The Winton Shire Council was the first local authority in the world to support an airline, contributing financially to the purchase of the first landing field. The first Board Meeting was held at the Winton Club on 10th February 1921. There is a commemorative cairn in Elderslie St and also at the site of the landing field.

Price: Free!
Location: Located on Hughenden  Road, behind the Diamantina Heritage
Truck and Machinery Museum 


The Winton Club

On 10th February 1921 the first Qantas Board meeting was held here. We believe there is quite a range of Qantas memorabilia on display, but the club has never been open while we are there.

Location: 27 Oondooroo Street, Winton
Contact: wintonclub@hotmail.com


Jolly Swagman Statue

This statue is dedicated to Banjo Paterson, who wrote Waltzing Matilda. It’s also a tribute to the many swagmen who lie in unmarked graves across Australia.

Price: Free!
Location: Elderslie Street, Winton
(outside the pool at Barry Wilson Memorial Park) 


Musical Fence

This is a strange, yet fun!, place where you can ‘play’ musical instruments made from various everyday items. This is the worlds first musical fence!

Price: Free!
Location: Located on Hughenden  Road, behind the Diamantina Heritage
Truck and Machinery Museum 


 Banjo Paterson statue

A statue of Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson, who wrote Waltzing Matilda. Note: A fire destroyed the Waltzing Matilda Centre in June 2015 but the statue of Banjo Paterson was undamaged. The new centre re-opened in 2018. 

Price: Free!
Location: Elderslie Street, Winton
(located outside the Waltzing Matilda Centre)


Waltzing Matilda Centre

This is the first museum in the world dedicated to a song! This centre tells the story of our unofficial national anthem, Waltzing Matilda.

Unfortunately the original Waltzing Matilda Centre was completely destroyed by fire in June 2015 and very little was able to be saved from the ashes. We did visit the original centre and it was great.

Price: $30 per adult, $10 per child (age 5-11) as at September 2019
Location: Elderslie Street, Winton


The Age of Dinosaurs Museum  

If you like Dinosaurs (and lets face it, who doesn’t!) then this museum is somewhere you need to visit. This is home to the largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils in the world.

Years ago while out this way we visited Lark Quarry, the site of the world’s only known record of a dinosaur stampede, that was pretty cool! So this time we visited the The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum to learn a little more about these amazing prehistoric creatures.

We even got to touch a fossilised dinosaur bone, how awesome is that!

The tours are split into 3 sections, but we didn’t have time to see the Dinosaur Canyon, but we did join the guided tour of the Fossil Preparation Laboratory and the Collection Room. Great few hours and highly recommended to visit if in the area. If you are limited for time, just let them know when you arrive and they will happily work out which tours you can do.

The Fossil Preparation Laboratory shows you where palaeontologists expose the fossilised bones, you can actually see them working.

The Collection Room is where you’ll find the bones of ‘Banjo’ (Australovenator wintonensis). ‘Banjo’ is the most complete Australian carnivorous dinosaur ever discovered.

We didn’t visit the Dinosaur Canyon but this area is part of a dinosaur dig where bones are currently being found.

You can even book in to a ‘Dig-a-Dino’ experience where you take part in a real life dig for dinosaur bones. You live and work and learn onsite for 5 days. Definitely something we’d both be interested in taking part in at some point in the future.

Price: Prices vary depending on which tours you do. See website
Website: www.australianageofdinosaurs.com/
Location: Lot 1, Dinosaur Drive, Winton
Located about 25km from Winton. Turn off the Landsborough
Highway onto Dinosaur Drive (it’s well signposted). We were towing
the camper and there is plenty of room for parking.


There is plenty more to do around Winton, and there are some great pubs and eateries and bakeries. Another must visit (which we went to on our last visit and loved it) is the Diamantina Heritage Truck & Machinery Museum. This features many restored heritage trucks, tractors, machinery and memorabilia.

Boulia Camel Races

In all our years of travel we’ve never seen camel racing, we’ve seen camels running in the wild, we’ve ridden camels and we’ve visited camel farms, but never been to a racing meet. It’s something we’ve been trying to get to, but dates of events and other commitments just never seem to align. So when we found out the Boulia Camel Races were being held straight after the Big Red Bash we knew we had to visit.

Known as the Melbourne Cup of camel racing, the famous Boulia Camel Races is held annually on the third weekend in July and apparently attracts people from all over the world! Like Birdsville does at Big Red Bash and Birdsville Races time, the population of Boulia dramatically expands during the racing period. For a town of about 300 people, this can swell to 3000 during the 3 day racing carnival. Just think of the funds this puts back into the community and surrounding areas …… just take a look at the constant line up for fuel and you’ll see how much money is being put back in! Again, thank god for long range fuel tanks!

The party starts on the Friday night, with live entertainment until late into the evening. The racing starts on the Saturday morning and continues on all day, along with a bar, various stalls, food stands and entertainment. Saturday night is party night again with bands and fireworks. The racing starts again on Sunday morning and finishes with the main event, the “Boulia Camel Cup” in the early afternoon. The Boulia Camel Cup is the longest camel race in Australia, at 1500m long.

So what’s it like? …… well lets just say that camel racing is like horse racing in slow motion! But the camels are much more naughty and opinionated than horses! We saw a camel finish a race and try to break through into the crowd, one that wouldn’t let it’s jockey off, and one that turned around half way through the race and started heading in the wrong direction …. yep, it was pretty entertaining! And let me tell you, when you are standing there waiting for the camels and jockeys to walk the whole 1500m round to the starting line before the race even starts, this is a very long process! There is a lot of waiting for something to happen.

But you know what, once those camels start racing, you can’t help but get into it. Watching these huge creatures hurtling down the track, the commentator getting into it, the crowd yelling and cheering hoping to win some money, red dust flying everywhere, it’s actually pretty awesome …. Another thing ticked off the bucket list.

If you looked closely to the beginning of the video above, you may have noticed that the jockey was Nick ‘The Honey Badger‘ Cummins. We are not exactly sure why he was there, but he was racing in one of the races and competing in the camel tagging – and looking quite nice with his shirt off when Shelly saw him at camp in the morning!

I think we already knew what to expect as we’ve done so much travel and spent so much time in the outback, but for someone from the city this could be a bit of an eye opener, but also so much fun! There’s a lot of drinking and there’s a lot of Akubra hats (yep we fitted in well)!

Not only are there camel races, but plenty of other entertainment including yabby and novelty races, camel & sheep tagging competitions and nightly entertainment.

Camping is included at the racetrack as part of your ticket. There is plenty of land available to camp on. Many people camped right up towards the track and were quite crammed in, but we had plenty of space to ourselves, just meant a slightly longer walk to and from the track.

Like at Birdsville, the weather at night was still very cold, as were the mornings. It didn’t take too long to warm up in the mornings though and it was hot during the day, but once the sun went down the camp fire was a very welcome addition that’s for sure.

Another dinner cooked over the fire

One of the other things Boulia is famous for is the Min Min Lights. This is one of those stories where you really don’t know if its a myth or not. These unexplained balls of glowing light were first sighted in the Boulia area in the early 1890’s. The first reported sighting was over a grave at the rear of the Min Min Hotel (no longer standing).

Over the years there have been numerous sightings by travelers and local residents, stories of these balls of bobbing light that follow you along lonely roads at night or visit you while camping in the area. Whilst there are theories, there is no scientific explanation of what the Min Min Lights actually are.

The Min Min Encounter is a great attraction to visit to find out more about these strange lights …. they say ‘you don’t find them, they find you’! It’s a really interesting place and definitely one to visit if you are in the area.

We have visited Boulia before so didn’t visit the encounter again, so whilst Stewy and the kids went off to the Min Min Encounter, where do you think we headed …. the pub of course!

George indulged in a camel burger (they have a whole ‘camel menu’) and Shelly had to drink XXXX out of a maroon can – what’s up with that! Sorry to our Queenslander followers!

EVENT DETAILS

Price: $80 (for a 3 day pass), single day passes available as well.
Children under 18 are free.
When: Held annually on the third weekend in July
Location: Held at the Boulia Racecourse in Boulia, Outback Queensland.

Free camping onsite is included in the price of your ticket.
Get all the details at www.bouliacamelraces.com.au

Day 3 at the Big Red Bash

Day 3 of the Big Red Bash arrived and it was the day most were waiting for, it was Midnight Oil day!

Like the previous day, we loaded up all our gear and made the trek down to the plaza to claim our spot for the afternoon. The lines to enter the concert area were huge and people were lining up well before gates opened to ensure they got a good seat for the final concerts of the event. By the time Midnight Oil were on, I think nearly every person was in that concert/plaza area! It was their first headline festival appearance in more than two decades, so die-hard oils fans were ready to party!

With 10,000 people around from all over Australia, you would think you wouldn’t run into anyone you know, right? Well we did! We ran into Shelly’s old school friend at the Birdsville Hotel and numerous times at the bash, we ran into Jim & Jacky (Jacky in the pic below) who we met when they came up to Cape York with us last year) and we also ran into Matt from Cub Campers! From chats with all, it was clear that everyone was absolutely loving the experience.

The whole Big Red Bash event was delayed by a week, the dates were changed purely to accommodate Midnight Oil’s tour schedule. As Peter Garrett took the stage he said, “We were in Dusseldorf, Germany two days ago so this is unreal”. To see the oil’s play in their only Australian gig of the year was amazing.

Artists for the final day of the bash were as follows:

  • Neil Murray
  • Busby Marou
  • Steve Kilbey
  • Kasey Chambers
  • MIDNIGHT OIL!

Kasey Chambers

As the sun started to fall for the day, the dune filled with people waiting to get that perfect desert sunset shot. Among those on the dune was a group proudly waving the Australian flag. There was something about this sight that made you feel like you were somewhere special, that you were proud to be an Aussie.

Again, it was a fabulous afternoon and evening of music, the crowd was absolutely into it, the artists were rocking it and the atmosphere was awesome! Watching Midnight Oil play in the middle of the desert, while the full moon rises and lights up the night sky was something we will never experience again and something we will never ever forget.

Arriving at Bashville

It was a four day journey to get here, but to say we were excited by this point was an understatement! We arrived on Monday afternoon, set up camp on the town common, unhooked the camper and drove into town. The line to pick up our Big Red Bash passes and vehicle stickers wasn’t too long so we decided to get these organised and then headed over to the pub for a beer while we waited for Stewy and the kids to arrive.

Whilst standing in the beer garden of the Birdsville Hotel we ran into one of Shelly’s old high school friends! It’s amazing who you run into when travelling! Whilst they were also waiting for family to arrive, we all spent an hour or so catching up before we headed off back to camp to wait for Stewy.

Tuesday morning was officially ‘Bash day’! This was the day we’d been waiting for. We all packed up and headed back into Birdsville, George & Stewy lined up to get fuel (only a 10 min wait this time!) while Shelly took the kids to get their bash tickets and vehicle pass. We then made our way out to the bash site, about 35km out of Birdsville.

Bashville, as it’s known, is located on private property, an organic cattle station named Adria Downs. Due to the organic nature of the property, you need to be well prepared as no greywater (dish-washing, showering etc) can be emptied onto the ground, all water must be collected and taken out with you (or disposed of at the grey water disposal tanks provided at the toilet blocks). Any blackwater (toilet cassettes etc) had to be taken out of the site with you. Same with rubbish, whilst there were rubbish bins in the concert and plaza area, it was your responsibility to take all camping rubbish out with you and dispose of at the tip in Birdsville. There was also no running water on site so all water for drinking, cleaning, cooking, showers and toilets needed to be brought with you.

Our campsite

Now the way this event is run is amazing, all the volunteers have a job to do and they get it done! There are staggered event roll in and roll out times, early entry passes and early exit passes, separate areas for people camping with dogs and areas for people with big rigs. As we entered, we were guided to an area for us to set up our camp for the next few days. We ended up being in the back row of the camping, which was great as we had more room and weren’t as closed in with other campers, but it also meant a long walk to the stage and plaza area ….. particularly when carrying chairs, clothes, food and beer!

Relaxing on the first night back at camp ….. listening to the music from the concert area, cooking pizza over an open fire, under a million stars ….. this really is the life!