Travelling the Australian Outback (In Style)

Simpson Desert, Outback Australia

Travelling and photographing the Australian Outback is a great privilege that I never take for granted.

As a family we visit it often and we have a couple of spectacular desert trips planned this year, the first one coming up in a couple of months time.

Recently we upgraded our touring vehicle to a Toyota 79 Series Dual Cab that we have modified to cope with the harsh environment it will be asked to operate in.  It is also capable of pulling our off-road camper Trailer, a Track TVAN.

The TVAN is the go anywhere camper trailer with suspension built to military specifications. 

Depending on conditions, the vehicle has a range of approximately 1,700-kilometres and all electrical equipment we require is powered by two 120-watt solar panels on the roof charging a 150-amp battery.

It is also equipped with a High Frequency radio for long-range communications. For those not familiar a HF Radio is capable of transmitting over large distances and with the right atmospheric conditions we can speak with someone thousands of kilometres away.

Now I’m not going to “rabbit” on too much here and I’ll let the photographs do the talking, but a little while back I asked for you to submit some designs for a mural to go on the vehicle and I’m pleased to showcase the final product that was inspired by a design suggested by Sassy, who writes a blog titled Sasieology…

Custom four-wheel drive
Toyota 79 Series Dual Cab

The mural reflects the travel the vehicle will do, across the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the Sydney Opera House and into the Australian Outback.

And I hear you ask what about the Crow?

Well Charlie, he travels with us everywhere!

We captured the photographs as we put the vehicle through its paces with the TVAN in tow in the Australian Bush last weekend.

It passed with flying colours, but I’m still trying to wrest the keys back from Janet who is a rev-head at heart, especially behind the big gutsy V8 engine!

Janet a Rev-Head - You Decide!
Janet a Rev-Head – You Decide!
Photos: Baz, The Landy – Janet Planet, and TomO

We’re heading Outback for a few days – (In The Landy)

The Landy and T-Van Trailer
The Landy and T-Van Trailer

Touring the harsh environment of the Australian Outback is best done in a robust vehicle designed for the job.

Mind you, in days long gone people travelled the Australian Outback in old Model T Fords…

The Landy - straight from the farm
The Landy – Straight from the farm
The Landy - Straight out of the workshop
The Landy – Straight out of the workshop

Our vehicle is a Landrover Defender 130 Twin Cab manufactured in 1995, and completely rebuilt from scratch in 2006. Up until the time we purchased the vehicle it had been used as a farm vehicle in the wine growing region of the Hunter Valley just to the north of Sydney.  We reconfigured it for long-range travel and it can cover a distance of around 1,800 kilometres without the need to refuel.

Strewth, that would be 1,100 miles…

We intentionally chose an older vehicle so we didn’t have to deal with a “computer failure” disabling the vehicle in the middle of no-where. A rare occurrence mind you, but it is a long walk from the middle of no-where in the Australian Outback!

The Landy + T-Van
The Landy + T-Van

It uses solar panels for power management and has a High-Frequency Radio for long-range communication that enables us to stay in contact even in the most remote parts of Australia.

And it can carry 100 litres of water in a specially designed stainless steel water tank.

Inside the canopy we carry an inflatable boat and outboard motor for touring the creeks and billabongs we come across in our travels, has a 60 litre fridge, and we carry a comprehensive range of spare parts, tools and tyre repair equipment.

The Landy - packed ready for adventure
The Landy – packed ready for adventure
The Landy - acked ready for adventure
The Landy – packed ready for adventure

After all, in the event of a break-down help can be hundred’s of kilometres away. We also carry a substantial medical kit.

And to enable it to cope with the harsh environment we travel in, it has specialist suspension.

The Landy and T-Van, no show ponies here!
The Landy and T-Van, no show ponies here!

The camper-trailer, a Track T-Van, is every bit as tough as the vehicle and was designed by a company that makes trailer equipment for the Australian army. It doesn’t come on all our trips, but crikey, we need to find a good reason not to take it, as it makes for a very comfortable night’s sleep.

Our go anywhere T-Van camper trailer
Our go anywhere T-Van camper trailer

Quite a change to a bivvy bag and sleeping bag on the side of an alpine mountain in the freezing cold!

Anyway, make sure you give us a wave if you see “The Landy” Out and About.

Landrovers, I love ‘em so much that I’ve got two (Janet rolls eyes 😉 )

Our other Defender - Red Rover
Baz’s Commute Vehicle  – Red Rover