In Australia outback trips are the stuff of dreams

Outback Australia free camp
Outback Australia free camp

In Australia, outback trips are the stuff of dreams! There are so many people, old and young who dream of touring the Australian outback.

The biggest problem for many is that they have no idea how hard it can be, nor do they understand what is required from you and your vehicle to get out and see the country.

During our most recent trips we have seen many people who have bought a new vehicle and caravan so that they can head off for months at a time, even a year or two.

This leads me to a topic which many people pay absolutely no attention: their equipment.

Our drive from Sydney to Perth

It was during this drive that I found that good preparation and careful planning are only the first steps to enjoying a great holiday.

Whilst I can “repair” most things in my vehicle and camper trailer and I was confident of my vehicle’s preparation, there is nothing better than actually doing your 2 month trip.

Why do I say this?

When you sit down at the end of your first long trip and say to yourself: “I learned a few things” then you will understand where I am coming from when I say this.

Things you cannot prepare for, nor fix!

  1. During this Sydney to Perth trip we visited some out of the way places, and in one instance I needed to unhook my camper trailer so that we could turn around!

Having driven into a dead end, and there being no room to drive out, the only solution was to unhook the camper trailer and then turn the vehicle around without damaging the vegetation too much.

In the process of turning around, I reversed into a hidden rock, hitting the exhaust pipe dead centre and putting a split in the “engine pipe” – the engine pipe is up near the motor and is actually attached to the exhaust manifold in my vehicle.

We were many kilometres from a repair centre, and there is not much that anyone can do to repair this damage “on the side of the road”. In fact, the repair can only be done by replacing the engine pipe.

By the time we reached “civilisation” the noise coming from this “split” was becoming unbearable and it was also causing the car to use a lot of fuel.

Steering failure
Steering failure

2. The other problem we had for which the “best” preparation did not locate and or prevent, was when the “split pin” holding the steering tie rod together was not put in by the installer originally or a subsequent repairer (luckily I didn’t do this one!) and not noticed by subsequent mechanical checks by mechanics (and myself, but I do not include myself as a mechanic).

The point in mentioning these two things is that when travelling it is advisable to not rest on your laurels because incidents do occur, and it doesn’t matter who or what caused it, you could be “stuck” in the middle of no-where.

What can one do to reduce the impact of these unusual problems.

Stay at Home! This was the advice that one of my friends gave me, and it suits his personality because he is the proverbial “stay at home king”! And that is his prerogative, he is perfectly happy with this style of living.

One other point here: It doesn’t mean that because your vehicle is near new that you are immune to these issues. On our 2 month trip we came across two “brand new” vehicles, on separate occasions, pulled over on the side of the road, both because of mechanical failure.


Known issues with your vehicle

If you drive a particularly new vehicle (ie less than 5 years old) it is advisable to find out what are the known issues relating to your vehicle, for instance:

Common rail diesel engines

The newer common rails have a DPF. These have been known to cause problems in a number of diesel engines.

Also, if you have a common rail diesel, your choice of service station could have a major impact, as “dirty fuel” is a bit of an epidemic at the moment. Common rail systems have very fine tolerances for “dirty fuel”.

Standard equipment fitted

Many new vehicles, 4wd’s included, are fitted with adequate equipment but this equipment may not be suitable for your intended purposes, or those suggested by the marketing of the vehicle.

Suspension and tyres are usually fitted to enable the vehicle to be safely used when driven in the city or on sealed highways. They are usually found to be less than satisfactory when:

  • Towing a caravan, and
  • Travelling “off road”
  • there will be more, so talk to your 4wd specialist about it.

General maintenance

Outback Australia - Giant Gum Tree
Outback Australia – Giant Gum Tree

If you are in the position where you are leaving work, selling the home and heading off on that exciting, once in a lifetime trip around Australia with your trusty 4wd and camper trailer, then this next bit could describe a “habit” you may need to employ:

Go over your vehicle and camper trailer at least twice a week checking for:

  • loose items,
  • leaks from anywhere,
  • dents or “things” sticking out from under your vehicle, or anything a bit “unusual”.

I tend to do it twice weekly, but if a track is bad or corrugations were bad, I do it daily. It is all about getting to know your vehicle and observing the tracks.

Many people have told me to do this every day!

If you have any specific tips that we all should know, please leave a comment below.

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8 thoughts on “In Australia outback trips are the stuff of dreams

  1. AV 2001 Reply

    Hey Steve! How are you doing?

    I’ve really enjoyed reading this article about In Australia outback trips as it’s interesting and fun.

    The drive from Sydney to Perth is absolutely breathtaking as the views are sensational and you can embrace nature during the whole drive. I’ve been to Sydney in 2013 and it was raining the day we arrived.

    We took the SUV and drove off  on the same trip as you have described, it was a blissful experience and one of the best road journeys in my life. 

    Thank you for writing this post. Keep up the good work!

    • Steve Post authorReply

      It certainly is a pleasant experience driving across our great country.

      We do plan to do it all again, but this time we will be taking some of the coastal roads when crossing the Nullarbor. The roads will be right along the cliff top of the Great Australian Bight, certainly making the trip a lot more difficult.

      Thanks for your comment and perhaps when you are out here again we can make the trip, or some other trip together.

  2. julienne murekatete Reply

    Thank you for sharing with us this great post on  Australia outback trips.

    I have been watching some movies showing the trips in Australia and most of the time the places are quite remote which can make it a frightful situation find  yourself in.

    I always think Australia as a peaceful place which can be good at travelling especially in family.

    Your post is showing everything needed to know about trips in Australia anytime I want to travel I will go to Australia to satisfy my curiosity.

  3. zuchii Reply

    Wow, sounds like a really good adventure for a young couple, however safety of the vehicle is really important as this can make the trip frustrating if a breakdown occurs.

    I totally agree with you about things you cannot completely prepare for, its an adventure; unforeseen circumstances will surely come up.

    • Steve Post authorReply

      Hey Zuchii,

      Just thought I would let you know that I am 60 and my friend is 65, I appreciate being called a young couple!

      I will add that whilst unforeseen circumstances cannot be unexpected, it is the additional things that we do, such as going off-road and doing some reasonably difficult dirt roads, which make it all the more probable that something will go wrong.

      That’s the adventure!

  4. Dianne Reply


    I’m one of those people who dream of touring the Australian outback !

    Sorry to hear about your splitting the engine pipe of your car, this must have been stressful for you but I guess you just cannot foresee these things happening. So you need to be ready to deal with anything that might occur, no way can you just stay at home!

    Great article, I guess taking a trip like this is all about being prepared to take on the world if needs be!

  5. Paul Reply

    Dear Steve,

    Thanks a lot for the great advice and sharing helpful information from your own experience. You have provided great information from your post as we all know “Information is Wealth”.

    You have not only discussed the problems we will face while preparing for the long trips but the best thing is you have provided with the solution as well.

    I got great insights from your post and I believe I need to share your post with my friends as well.

    Wishing you all success!


  6. Henry Reply

    Hi! Thank you very much for this post!

    Yeah, we can excitedly make up our minds to start a trip and obviously do some preparing. But it’s reading about experiences as yours that give our planning process a totally new perspective.

    I’m so glad I found your blog and will bookmark to visit regularly! Your experience is invaluable!

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