Country 4-wheel drives

bruce duncan 1

Experience:  Many years leading, organizing and enjoying motoring trips

Age:              Geriatric

Career:         Worked for 40 years in banking

 Why do you enjoy long distance driving?

I find driving relaxing and, once out of the city, almost therapeutic. When you reach a remote area you are really on your own. Your skills and ability are what will make this a pleasant trip. The quiet of the desert at night and the clear sky makes this a wonderful experience.

What was your most enjoyable trip and why?

Sometimes the simple trips are the best. Some years ago I led a group of four wheel drive members of a club based in Sydney. We had been to Innaminka, Birdsville and were on our way home via Camerons Corner where NSW, Queensland and SA join. We had permission to follow the rabbit proof fence south into NSW from the Overseer of this section of the fence. I must stress driving along the fence line is not permitted without permission. One should also seek permission from the land owner before crossing their property.

We picked up a particular track and using a compass and old map drove out into the Strzelecki desert of South Australia. GPS was no use here. We used measurement and compass direction to decide when to head south, which we did until we reached Gonnana Bore. This bore gushes scalding water which becomes a creek for the cattle to drink after it has flowed for a distance and cooled. Here we camped. Unlimited hot water, a cloudless sky and later a sky filled with stars. It was the perfect place to camp.

Why was it so enjoyable? Just to see the looks on the faces of the 16 people in the group who had no idea where they were but relieved when we found the bore we had promised. I think it was THEN they felt I did know what I was doing !!

Highlight?

Every trip has a highlight of some sort. For me often the highlights are taking a group of city people who have really only used their 4WD locally out to remote areas where they can find interesting driving, solitude, magnificent scenery, wildlife and to start to realise the potential of the vehicle they own and how they, too, could do more of this type of driving.

Lowlight?

Always if somebody breaks down it can be difficult for the rest of the group. An infrequent flat tyre is about the worst problem we have had with the vehicle and a storm that arrives and turns firm tracks to mud. Much care is needed not to cut up the track and not have any accidents.

Best tips?

Do your research first. Find the latest map of the area. Speak with any staff or rangers and check out current road conditions in the area as you will be driving on sandy tracks and possibly a few very muddy spots.

The best piece of gear you can take with you is somebody else in another four wheel drive. Plus, of course, a tow strap and two rated D shackles in case you need to tow each other.

If this is going to be a family interest I would urge you to join a Four Wheel Drive club particularly one with experience with the brand of vehicle you have. The best 4WD clubs will have accredited trainers who will teach you so much related to your vehicle. Sensible 4 wheel drivers ask themselves three questions when faced with an obstacle.

  • “Do I have to go that way or is there a way around?”.
  • “Do I have the ability to drive the vehicle over or through that obstacle?”. Your ability will probably run out long before your vehicle’s ability does.
  • “Does my vehicle have the ability to tackle such an obstacle?”

Sensible people in 4WD vehicles take care not damage the environment, not to leave rubbish around and other simple things that are not difficult to do and will leave the environment pristine for others, too.  TAKE ONLY PHOTOGRAPHS AND LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS.

 

Bruce Duncan 2

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