How to survive and even enjoy a holiday in Australia.
There are at least 300 travel books about Australia around. Most of them will contain enough information to pick the corner you want to see, help you to find a decent pub, an interesting National Park and more.
But few of them deal with 4WD trips, even less offer the perspective of persons with limited time and resources.
Facts to consider before even deciding on when and how to go:
What you expect is climate, what you get is weather! Sandstorm approaching William Creek Airport
This is not the most dangerous life form you will encounter in Australia- but this species, the ordinary bushfly or pestilens supremum is certainly the most annoying one.
Len Beadell said your personal cloud of flies will give you some rare 40% shade, hard to find otherwise.
Flynets look stupid, see how pleased I am. But a flynet is better than spitting them out all the time or dragging them from your nostrils.
Get one large enough to cover your plate!
So you picked a reasonable season in between. How do you obtain your means of transport now?
There are, of course, rental cars at $100-120 per day. Usually, they make you pay an insurance on top of that. Be aware, though, that many companies have restrictions on the tracks you may use, and they might not have the sturdy kind of car you are used to. Insist on a written contract defining the model exactly. If they can't offer at least a Heavy Duty Series Toyota, (HJ 45,47, 60 or 7x) look elsewhere. (We ordered a heavy duty Toyota and the only car waiting for us in Perth was that one below!) Rigid axles are a must. The car must be suitable to sleep in, too. See my warning below..
Beware:The car above is a typical rental car from Boomerang-Reisen in Trier, Germany. It's a Toyota 80 model, to short to sleep in. The position of the spare wheel ruins your departure angle. The independent suspension turns washouts like this into a constant hazard, as your clearance is reduced to nil. The very soft powersteering makes it impossible to feel your way. There is no place to use a high-lift jack.
The engine of this car was worn-out and definitely lacking compression, the (wrong) fuel filter was almost blocked, according to Toyota. The brakes got terribly hot and that was no suprise by the looks of the disk. The jerry-cans and the roof were leaking, too. The spares lasted about 50 kms, they supplied no real jack and no spade. Their towing rope was an ordinary rope, not for vehicles, as the label stated. What is a winch for?
Their camping equipment may be quite suitable for a well-kept lawn on the east coast, but definitely not for the desert.
Don't rent a car from Dolphin Rentals, Perth or Skippy Camper rentals, Adelaide. The German rep is Boomerang, Trier. Yes, I asked my lawyer about that.
Personally, I can recommend buy-back-schemes. They allow you to pick your car, you are responsible for servicing the vehicle, but there are NO restrictions. Better still, you can equip it to your needs. I ended up buying one of these former buy back cars for good. There are many companies offering these schemes, lots of them near the major cities. Car Connection and Bike tours offer 4WD, Motorbikes and your choice of camping gear + tools except the sleeping bag.
If you want to come back to Australia (You will want to, trust me!) you might like to buy a car. Registration is easy, third party personal damage insurance is included in the fee. You can find a SIII 109 or an old HZ47 Toyota for $5000 to $8000 (Australian). 6-8 weeks of rent fees won't be less than that.
Gear you should pack
Gear you'd better leave at home.
by Annette Flottwell