As avid motorcyclists for almost 40 years my husband and I (and our kids in either a side-car or as pillion passengers) have travelled extensively throughout Australia and, through necessity, we have always been small tent (small everything actually!) campers.
In October 2009 we both took part in Postie Bike Challenge and even though it didn’t end well for my husband (he broke his collarbone half way through the ride) it opened our eyes to how much of Australia we’d yet to see as we rode (slowly!) through parts of this wonderful country we’d never visited before. (I’ve since completed another two Postie Bike Challenges and have ridden more than 10,000kms through every state and territory except for the ACT – you can read about all of them here).
A few months later I bought a dual sport BMW motorcycle (my husband already had one) and together we started exploring the roads less travelled (many of which were unsealed) and in late 2012 we bought a pair of small trail bikes so that we could tackle some more adventurous and technical roads and tracks.
On the October long weekend in 2013, and while we were on our way to Beechworth to visit our son and his family, I bought a Hema Victorian High Country Atlas and Guide (and the corresponding map) at Bullocky Bills near Gundagai so that we could find interesting places to go riding either on our way to or around Beechworth. However, by the end of that weekend I’d realised that I’d need a 4WD to check out routes suitable for riding as our 18 year old Saab (which was a beautiful touring car) just didn’t have the ground clearance needed to take us the places I wanted to explore.
Having been interested in the Toyota FJ Cruiser since we first saw them in Dubai in 2007, and only wanting a medium sized vehicle, deciding which 4WD to buy was easy. We bought our FJ Cruiser two years ago and even though it’s our first ever 4WD we’ve been impressed and very pleased by how capable this vehicle is ‘as delivered’. (That said we have upgraded it to make it even more capable.)
I retired in late February (my husband retired almost four years ago) and about eight months ago we started talking about taking off and travelling through northern, central and western Australia starting in April this year.
For such a long trip we decided to upgrade from tent camping (we have been using an OzTent RV2 for car-based camping since 2008 – we also used to own a long-wheelbase Holden Commodore ute) to an offroad camper trailer and in September last year we ordered a new Ultimate Xplor GT offroad camper.
And so, as you can see, one thing leads to another – what started out as motorcycling almost forty years ago – and a Postie Bike Challenge almost seven years ago – has led us to a Toyota FJ Cruiser and Ultimate Offroad Camper and planning for a trip around Australia …