The time has come, we have bit the bullet and planning to do our half lap. We have been discussing and dreaming this trip for years, but there has always been a reason why it wasn’t the right time. Work, Children, Money… but after a while we decide, stuff it, life’s too short, let’s do this!
At that point we had a 2011 Nissan Navara and a full off road camper trailer. We sat down and got serious about a budget and what we think we will need to complete this trip. Our main concern was fuel, the never ending expense for travelling this beautiful country. We know what fuel consumption we already got when towing our trailer so we quickly worked our what we will be spending on our trip. This price scared me a little, but again its all worth it!
A few weeks later we get an amazing offer. My parents decided to upgrade their current full off road caravan and have offered it to us at mates rates. It was too good of an opportunity to say no so we quickly purchased it before they changed their mind. That’s when we realised that we need to upgrade our tug in order to tow the new caravan. There was no decision needed as we had always wanted a Landcruiser Prado. So after some shopping around we acquired ‘Patsy’ the Prado.
Thankfully the caravan we bought off my parents was already set up with batteries and solar panels so we didn’t have a lot of work needed for the van. With Patsy the Prado she needed a lot of modifications done. When i picked her up from the dealers i drove straight to our local tyre shop. After having a bad experience with dealer fitted tyres from our old 4wd we were pretty keen to get a good set of all terrain tyres. They did a deal where they took our original tyres as they were obviously brand new and gave us $100 off each new tyre we purchased. We added a set of Mickey Thomspson ATZP3. We have previously used this tyre for a long time now and they have been such a proven brand for us that we couldn’t go with anything else. To accomodate for the larger tyre we had to place a wheel spacer on the back of the spare tyre carrier. This also made it possible to add a rear work light on the back. This worked out fantastic but the rear spacer has a really annoying rattle that would drive us batty. A little bit of electrical tape and loud music helped solve the problem.We knew we immediately needed bar work. When travelling outback Australia, the wildlife is abundant so we ordered ARB’s summit bull bar, side rails and under body protection. We feel it is so important to have bar work on our vehicle just to make sure our car and ourselves are protected as much as possible, as you need to be prepared for anything. We also added a roof rack as we had found it so handy with our old 4wd for larger items or even just picking up some firewood. We got an auto electrician to install a dual battery system to Patsy so we could confidently run our fridge in the car and charge things without the worry of any batteries going flat. Another purchased i never thought would be so important as i do now is seat covers. We have always used seat covers in all our cars but just the usual basic styles. We wanted seat covers to protect the new seats from some of the worst forms of stain known…..toddlers!! As with all children it doesn’t matter how careful they are everything always gets spoilt or accidents happen so i wanted to protect everything as much as i could. We came across Black Duck seat covers which we had seen on friends vehicles but never used them ourselves. We purchased a full set to do the front and middle rows. I can honestly say now spending that extra bit of money was the best decision we had made to protect the inside of the car from the onslaught that is our children. I especially love that no liquids at all would soak through and made for such easy cleaning.
After all that work done she was ready to go.
The exciting part is always working out where we are actually going. We had a ruff idea which was we want to go to Darwin and also Litchfield National Park. All the bits between were just bonus’. We love anything with history so our main idea was we wanted to explore the war history of the top end of Australia. We wanted to spend as much time possible in Northern Territory so the plan was to get out of NSW as quick as we could and head north from there. We tried to keep the itinerary pretty flexible to accommodate changes like closed roads or even times where we didn’t want to move on from our camp.
After many weeks of discussions, researches and many many changes we had the plan. We would go up through Broken Hill, past the Flinders Rangers and along the Oodnadatta Track. We planned on coming back onto the main road at Marla where we would head up to Uluru, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and up into Darwin and is huge surrounds to explore. From Darwin area we would come back via Kakadu. At this point we had a flexible idea to come home. If we were short on time we were just going to come home the way we came up which is probably the quickest and if we had plenty of time we would be going through outback QLD for more new adventures.
We soon found as we left that all of this would go out the window quite quickly when you have kids!