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ISSUE 021

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HEAVYWEIGHT

COMPARISON 200 SAHARA VS. DISCOVERY IV VS. MODDED Y62

UNIMOG

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10 THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW

ABOUT BIODIESEL

9

7 TIPS

MAGNIFICENT

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REVIEWED:

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WAYS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF

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THE AMAROK. Easy on the eye, isn’t she? But let’s face it, appearances won’t get you very far on a continent as unforgiving as ours. That’s why we’ve made sure that everything that is underneath the superficial is tough enough to take whatever Australia has to throw at it. Take away the stylish grille, the shiny panels, the chrome badge and the rest of the fancy trimmings, and you’ll find the German engineering that puts the NON-INTERACTIVE VERSION | PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR INTERACTIVE MAGAZINE


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Because you’ve heroically chosen to download your copy of Unsealed 4X4, you can’t see what’s on this page. But trust us - it’s well worth looking at. To see it in all its glory go to unsealed4X4.com.au

Amarok in a class of its own. With a bi-turbo diesel engine that delivers up to 420Nm of torque, a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, selectable off-road mode and a rigid ladder frame chassis, we’ve made sure that tough is never an optional extra. Tough comes from within. Uncover more at thenakedute.com NON-INTERACTIVE VERSION | PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR INTERACTIVE MAGAZINE


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THE CUB ESCAPE SPACIOUS OFF ROADER WITH ALL THE ESSENTIALS SPECIFICATIONS • 100% Australian made Tent with Wax Converters Dynaproof Canvas • Extended Deluxe Awning • Smev 2 Burner Stainless Steel Stove and Sink • Alloy Roof Rack with built in Luggage Holder • Bluescope Steel Chassis & Body • Projecta Battery Pack With monitor • 80 Litre Heavy Duty Water Tank • Galvanised Steel Stone guard • Alko 7 Leaf Shackle Springs

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MAGAZINE

CHARTER So what is Unsealed 4X4 all about? Well, without tooting our own horn we ARE the biggest and best four-wheel drive and adventure magazine in Australia. We are a free publication, but the one thing Unsealed 4X4 is not is cheap. Our success can be attributed to one simple fact: we put our readers first.

help you with your own adventures. Isn’t that what four-wheel drive magazines should be about?

At the end of the day, we are four-wheel drivers, not sales professionals. This is why Unsealed 4X4 is an off-road encyclopaedia, and not a product catalogue. It never will be either, as we cap advertising We have fantastic and supportive to a maximum of 30% advertising advertising partners on board, which content per issue (others are over allows us to exist and continue to the 50% mark with fewer pages to offer this magazine to you free of start with). This means more content charge (thanks guys!). Just don’t for for you, without having to spend a one second think that means we can cent. Beauty! be bought – we tell it like it is, and we Lastly, thank you for taking the time always will. to read Unsealed 4X4. This is and We are hands-on and have dirt always will be your four-wheel drive under our fingernails, and are magazine, so please let us know only looking to put out a quality where you would improve it or what mag that’s for you guys first and you would like to read more of. Plus foremost. We are also proud of we love hearing from you guys, so our country, and even prouder shoot us an email and show us your that we are 100% Australian made. 4X4 and your adventures. Oh, don’t We strive to inform you, and feel forget to tell your friends! that entertaining you is equally The team at Unsealed 4X4. as important. We spend less time writing preachy and sensationalised articles, with more effort going into finding exciting trips and tips to NON-INTERACTIVE VERSION | PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR INTERACTIVE MAGAZINE


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So smart, your phone can run it… seriously!

Because you’ve heroically chosen to download your copy of Unsealed 4X4, you can’t see what’s on this page. But trust us - it’s well worth looking at. To see it in all its glory go to unsealed4X4.com.au

f big… I guess it’s kind o

GEAR NEWS

On a less serious note, as if you don’t want a turn?

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Shade: it’s cool and damp and stuff

The latest from Redarc... empty red boxes

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rear bars

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UNSEALED 4X4 I

FUTURE UNC

MURCHISON MURCHISON AD AD

Western Australia’s premier fourwheel drive and adventure park, Murchison Offroad Adventures, is under threat of closing. Located not far from the town of Geraldton, the property has played host to some of the most diverse off-road events and challenges over the years, and has become a major asset for WA off-roaders and tourism in the area. It seems the future of the park

is on the line however, due to a discrepancy with the Department of Lands where the former pastoral lease available to Murchison Offroad Adventures has been altered to a general lease. Murchison now require a temporary license to remain in operation, and have until the 30th of June for this to be issued according to a representative from the company.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

CERTAIN FOR

DVENTURE DVENTURE PARK PARK The Lane family, who founded the park nearly ten years ago, have spent considerable time, money and effort to create a real and unique experience for visitors to the park – but initial reports from Murchison Offroad seem to suggest that the Department of Lands is standing firm and have delayed issuing the temporary license required by the deadline of June 30th. Negotiations

are still in place, but if the temporary license is not issued in time, the Lane family have received documentation stating they will be required to vacate the premises. This would be a very sad day for four-wheel driving in Western Australia indeed. Unsealed 4X4 have contacted the Department Of Lands, however by the time this article was published, we had yet to receive comment.

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NEW VEHIC

IMPORT LAW NEW VEHICL It appears that Australia will introduce new vehicle import laws, which have new car dealers up in arms. Members of the general public however seem over the moon regarding the decision – which is expected to take place within two years. The idea is to remove barriers surrounding the private

importation of new vehicles from the UK and Japan. Individuals will be allowed to import one new motorbike or passenger car once every two years, with the main catch being the vehicle must be less than 12 months old and have no more than 500km on the odometer. The benefit here to consumers is a

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CLE NEWS

WS SHAKE UP LE INDUSTRY

sizeable reduction in purchase price; however the news might not be all beer and skittles. Warranty issues have always surrounded grey imports, and this is something that will need to be addressed. If the engine in your imported toy destroys itself, for example, it is doubtful the warranty will be covered locally.

Also, different countries have varying safety requirements; it is hard to ascertain if these imported vehicles will match our stringent safety standards. Having said that, this bold move does open up the doors to import vehicles previously unavailable here … which for some is exciting news indeed.

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MAGNI

MORE MORETON IS SERIOUSLY BETTER THAN BRILLIANT. WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY WAYNE “NUGGET” NIELSEN

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IFICENT

ETON

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Brisbane is blessed with some of the best beach camping and islands known to man, right on its doorstep. Straddie, Double Island, Inskip, Bribie, and the big daddy Fraser, are all million-star destinations. But our favourite is magnificent Moreton which we reckon has the best beach camping, bucketloads of soft sand tracks to give the short stick a work out, no dingoes and a distinct shortage of backpackers compared to Fraser, which makes it the ideal place for a family 4X4 holiday. Situated a lazy 40kms east of

Brisbane it is a mere 90-minute trip on the Micat Ferry, which casts off from the Port of Brisbane. The barge pulls up directly on the beach, so if you don’t want 50-odd 4WDs full of very eager fisherman backed up behind you because your tyres are still at 40psi and you are bogged, take the time on the trip over to let some air out of your rubber. 18psi is a good starting point for most large 4X4s. The ramp is dropped on the sheltered western beach, just north of the Tangalooma Wrecks and just south of Middle Road.

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PATROL Y61

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Towbar Kit


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The Gutter Bar at Kooringal is a top place for a coldie

The island is a 170km2 offroad playground – 38km long and 8km at its widest point. Captain Cook named the northern tip Cape Morton in May 1770 thinking it was part of the mainland. When Mattie Flinders slipped by nine years later, he saw the light and named it Moreton Island and Queenslanders have been trying to keep it a secret ever since – especially since the southern invasion started. With Camping and Vehicle Access Permits obtained in

advance we made a beeline to Middle Road, which links the eastern and western beaches. Middle Road has one-way sections but the rest of the tracks are single lane with plenty of blind corners and hills. There are “pull off” areas but inevitably two vehicles will end up noseto-nose, generally on a corner – because that’s what Murphy’s Law dictates – and someone is going to have to lock into reverse. The beach changes by the tide and it’s easy to have the sand change from flat-as-a-tack to roller-coaster.

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Washouts where freshwater creeks run into the sea also need to be approached with caution as steep drop-offs are often a result, with a couple of notorious ones on the western side. Restricted zones are signposted and clearly marked on maps, whilst bypass roads are generally guaranteed to test the value of kidney belts and sports bras. If bush camping is your go, then my preferred southeast camping zone would perfectly fit the bill.

This is bring-your-own-everything territory with no facilities but plenty of sites with sea views and shade. Fires in existing pits are permitted as long as you bring your own wood and fire sticks. Obviously it gets busy during peak times but for the rest of the year the closest noise is the rolling surf. On this trip we had a turtle drag itself up the beach during the night and lay its eggs right in front of our camp. You don’t get that at an apartment on the glitter strip. A turtle nested right in front of our camp one night which was really special

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1

1

The Tangalooma Wrecks provide sheltered swimming and a great place for snorkelling

2

Built in 1857 and still going strong

The western beaches tend to be busier as the more sheltered aqua waters are great for young families, and are closer to facilities. Don’t get me wrong, there are many fantastic campsites tucked away but for ours, it always seems busier with more trucks and people.

Getting around is always best two hours either side of low tide and on the hard sand 2WD or 4WD high can be used, but the basic rule is the softer the sand, the lower the gear required – and don’t forget to keep the revs up. If you do get into strife, make sure you have appropriate recovery

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a magical

Old shipwrecks provide place to stop, explore and have a swim

2

equipment. People are always willing to help, but it is extremely unfair to expect them to supply the recovery equipment as well. When it comes to things to do, fishing is number one with a rocket; most 4X4s having enough rods on board to fill recreational

fishing quotas in the first hour. One of the beauties of Middle Road is that if the wind blows up buggering the fishing on the eastern beach, it is a quick trip over to the western beach, which will be a millpond where monster Bream are waiting to commit Hara-Kiri on a worm-covered hook.

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For those not into angling, there are plenty of other things to do and see. The Blue Lagoon is a window lake created where the water table is exposed at the land surface and features a beautiful sandy beach and crystal clear water where both big and little kids can oat around on a hot day. Mirapool Lagoon on the southern end is equally inviting and a fantastic place to take the kids and have lunch under the awning whilst

gazing across the sea to North Straddie. Honeymoon Bay is as idyllic as it sounds and the bay at North Point is about as close to paradise as you can get this side of the Pearly Gates. The beach at Tangalooma Wrecks is just perfect for kids to play all day and for those who enjoy snorkelling it is a wonderland. For the more energetic, The Desert and the Small Sand Hills feature large sand dunes that

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are perfect for beginners to try sand tobogganing. For a real heart starter, The Big Sand hills, which can reach 80 meters, have recorded runs of 50km/h which is pretty quick when there is just a thin bit of board between the sand and your best bits.

For the walkers, Mt Tempest, which at 285m is thought to be the world’s highest stabilised sand dune, is a top stroll for the fit and a lactic-acid-builder for the

Sea views with shade make for great campsites

unfit. The Rous Battery track is a fabulous walk for history buffs, giving an insight to the front line defences of WWII. Even on a short stroll some of the gun installations and associated bunkers can be explored. Sadly, at Cowan Cowan, erosion has taken a hard toll and most of the gun installations are now on the beach.

GROUSE THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO SEE:

iSand tobogganing at The Desert, Little Sand Hills and Big Sand Hills iCape Moreton Lighthouse and Information Centre iTangalooma Wrecks iHoneymoon Bay iBlue Lagoon

iCape Cliff WALKS:

iFive Hills Lookout

iMount Tempest Lookout iTelegraph Road

iRous Battery Track

NOTE:

Check the length and degree of difficulty on the signs before starting any walk.

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Another great attraction is Queensland’s first lighthouse built in 1857 by NSW, before Queensland became a separate colony. Built by convict labour on the only available rocky ground from sandstone mined on the island, there is an excellent information centre and the chances of seeing frolicking dolphins or a passing whale during migration season is high.

A fantastic day drive at low tide is along the western side from Tangalooma to Kooringal where the sheltered waters are constantly inviting travellers to swim, boats lazily sit at their moorings and water birds flourish around the mangroves closer to the southern tip. As we found, it is very easy to get caught in Kooringal’s casual Gutter Bar for fresh oyster or prawns, a coldie and a natter with

Because you’ve heroically chosen to download your copy of Unsealed 4X4, you can’t see what’s on this page. But trust us - it’s well worth looking at. To see it in all its glory go to unsealed4X4.com.au

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other Moreton visitors. The beach is very narrow on this side of the island and low tide travel is THE only option so if the low tide is missed, don’t try to be a hero, take the track across to the eastern beach. While I love to think that Queensland is beautiful one day and perfect the next, on this trip we had some ordinary weather as well. Did it matter? Not an iota, as

we had a lazy day bunkered under the awnings catching up on some reading and letting the city tensions run from our big toes into the sand.

Moreton has it all. Easy to get to, fun off-road driving, fantastic beaches, fabulous fishing and first rate bush camping. Equally, there is nowhere better to put the feet up and just watch the waves roll in one after the other... all day long.

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FACT FILE

WHERE: 40kms northeast of Brisbane in Moreton Bay.

HOW TO GET THERE: The MICat Ferry leaves daily from Howard Smith Drive, Port of Brisbane. The off-season cost is $190 return, which includes 2 adults, and takes about 90 minutes. Family fares are also available; check the website for seasonal specials. All the information plus online booking is available from the website:

i moretonventure.com

CAMPING: Camping with some facilities is available in campgrounds at Comboyuro Point, North Point and Blue Lagoon.

Bush camping is in large zones on both sides of the island. If there’s a totem pole with a campsite number on it, you can camp there. If not, be prepared for the ire of the rangers. Use existing campfires and bring your own wood. Collecting firewood is prohibited, so don’t be responsible for stealing a white ant’s home.

You need to be self-sufficient in the bush zones as no facilities are provided. Toilets are available at various locations on both sides of the island. Camping and vehicle access permits are compulsory and can be booked online at: i nprsr.qld.gov.au/

There is an excellent series of maps, which can be downloaded from the site covering the island, camping areas and a lot of relevant information.

i Alternatively you can book by phoning 13 13 04.

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For those who might want to 4WD and fish but not camp, there is a host of holiday-style accommodation at Tangalooma Resort, and in Bulwer and Kooringal townships. Domestic animals are prohibited in National Parks, so leave Rover at home. SUPPLIES AND FACILITIES: Best to be as self-sufficient as possible. Currently there is no fuel available on the island. Some basic supplies are available at Bulwer, Kooringal and Tangalooma Resort but not all shops are open every day. TRIP STANDARD: Degree of difficulty depends on beach conditions and tides and therefore it is a B or C. Carry a snatch strap and shackles and

someone will always help if you get into strife. Don’t forget a tyre gauge, deflator and compressor. Check the tides and drive as much as possible close to low tide. Sections of the beach may be impassable at high tide. MAPS AND GUIDES: The download map on the EPA website is pretty good and all you should need. If you run OziExplorer, a handy tip is to set your campsite as a waypoint as it makes it much easier to find when returning from your day’s adventure. CONTACTS AND INFORMATION: QPWS Moreton Island National Park.

i Phone 07 3408 2710

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DISCOV VS.

MODD

100 GRAND IN

– A HEAVYWEIGHT COMP

WORDS BY DEX FULTON, PHOTO

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VS.

VERY IV

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N THE HAND

PARISON… WITH A TWIST!

OGRAPHY BY MATT FEHLBERG

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THE THEORY Let’s say you’re looking for a 4X4 to take you all over the country, possibly pulling a camper or a van along behind you. You’re going to want heaps of torque for towing, enough off-road capability to handle the rougher sections of track and plenty of comfort for those long hauls in the saddle. If this sounds like you, chances are you’re looking at one of these three vehicles to fit the bill. The LandCruiser Sahara needs no introduction. It’s the equivalent of driving a recliner lounge and the twin-turbo V8 turbo diesel is arguably one of the nicest engines ever to be slotted between a pair of chassis rails. The Land Rover Discovery IV is slightly smaller than

the 200 Series, but there’s a bunch of very good reasons why you see so many of these towing vans or campers through the bush. The 3.0L V6 has a litre and a half less capacity than the big ’Cruiser, but you’d never accuse the twin-turbo diesel, backed up by a fantastic 8-speed auto, of being sluggish. And the interior’s comfort levels are up there with a jet owned by a Saudi oil prince. It just oozes class and opulence to the point where you actually start wondering how you ever got by not being surrounded by leather and woodgrain. And then there’s the Y62 Patrol. Don’t get me wrong, these vehicles are among the nicest to ever come

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from the Nissan stable. They’re light years ahead of the previous solid-axle GU Patrol in terms of driveability and interior luxury; however there are a few points of difference between the Patrol and the other two vehicles on test.

Nissan Australia decided to chop the price of the Y62 by around 20 grand to boost flagging sales – so a six-figure cheque is no longer needed to get the keys to Nissansan’s flagship vehicle.

This raised an interesting question The first is the big one – namely the for us. Does this vehicle still belong fact that the Y62 isn’t available with on this luxo-barge test? Ultimately, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’, but a diesel engine (seriously Nissan, in order for us to bring the cost up the 5.0L V8 turbo diesel Cummins to par with the Disco and ’Cruiser, from the US Nissan Titan would work so well). Not that the alloy 5.6L a stock-standard Patrol was never petrol ‘eight’ is bad by any means going to do. With this in mind we grabbed our mates’ highly modified – gobs of torque, power for days and that exhaust note! Put the right Y62 that, if you bought one new and did it up in a similar manner, would pedal down and I challenge any red-blooded 4X4 lover to not crack a bring it up to about the same price smile. Then there’s the fact that just as the other two. Seems fair enough to us, anyway. before we put this article together, NON-INTERACTIVE VERSION | PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR INTERACTIVE MAGAZINE


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Water crossings didn’t present a problem for anyone

THE METHOD It’s always a fine line to walk when you’re out testing over a quarter of a million bucks worth of automotive gold. On the one hand, you don’t want to damage these things because you’re confident replacing a guard would cost more than you make in a year; but on the other hand we want to see what these things can do. Dirt roads are one thing, but we want to know if they can handle the pressure off-road –

this ain’t no wine-and-cheese tasting mag after all … With that in mind we spent some time exploring the Capertee Valley canyon system which, as a point of interest, is actually larger than the Grand Canyon in America. With a near endless maze of steep tracks, water crossings, mud holes and rocky terrain it should be more than enough to put these vehicles through their paces.

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The area is a couple of hours north-west of Sydney so we’d have plenty of opportunity to see how the vehicles handled the on-road stuff, as well as punt them across the dirt roads at the entrance to the National Park. From there we could nervously pilot them through water crossings, mud, rocks, and all manner of climbs and descents, to determine which 4X4 is the one to spend your coin on.

Along for the ride was Deputy Editor Evan Spence, mainly because he was banned from being in the office on his own after the last producttest-related office fire; and off-road racer Milo Milanovic, who kindly took a break from building his billion-horsepower 6.0L V8 tube buggy to take a somewhat slower trip through the bush with us. If anyone’s going to find the weak points in these 4X4s, it’s these guys.

When it comes to dirt road driving, you’d be hard pressed to find three vehicles more suited to the task

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THE TEST

Dex, Milo and Evan discussing who’s going to have to clean the vehicles after the test… punches were thrown shortly after this shot was taken

The road trip in was comfortable, if unsurprising. All three of these vehicles’ interiors are extremely nice places to spend a few hours behind the wheel, and there’s no shortage of power from any of them for effortless cruising on the blacktop. Dirt roads yielded much the same results. The fully independent suspension setups of the Discovery and Patrol are made for this stuff. They simply floated over the corrugations and erosion mounds like they weren’t there; and even with a solid axle in the back end, the 200 was barely less of a joy to drive on the dirt. Top marks all around here.

The road down into the valley is incredibly steep to the point where it is impassable in the wet, so we engaged low range (no getting out to lock the hubs like a peasant with these three) and spent a few minutes engaging the various crawl modes that each vehicle’s computer systems offered. The Discovery has the simplest layout. Simply hit the button for low range, select the little off-road logo that most closely matches the terrain you’re on, and decide whether to flick the hill-descent control switch or not (we chose to, on this occasion) and let the computers do the rest.

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Because you’ve heroically chosen to download your copy of Unsealed 4X4, you can’t see what’s on this page. But trust us - it’s well worth looking at. To see it in all its glory go to unsealed4X4.com.au

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The Nissan requires you to use the dial to select low range (it was also the only vehicle on our test with a factory rear diff-locker) and you can select between sand, rock and snow modes as well as optional hill-descent control. It’s fairly straightforward to use, but all of us had to spend a little longer familiarising ourselves with this one before we had the hang of it.

transmission (ECT) made things even easier.

Now I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to 4X4s. I like shifting an actual lever into low range, manually locking the hubs and flicking on a locker when more traction is needed – but I have to say these modern electronically controlled rigs take all of the guesswork out. No matter what you point it at, the computer controls the The LandCruiser had more torque delivery and sends knobs and switches than the power and traction to where others, and it was a little more it needs to be – making even intimidating at first; but once tricky tracks an absolute doddle. we worked out what everything does, it was surprisingly intuitive. To say we were all impressed It has multi-terrain modes so you would be an understatement; can dial in the gearing reduction and any nervousness we felt at steering expensive vehicles over to suit whatever it is you’re inhospitable trails was driving on, which was neat; and quickly forgotten. the electronically controlled

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1 But as a driver, these technological advancements do bring about a sense of disconnection with the vehicle and terrain. Think back to your first 4X4. Chances were it was something old and clunky like a HiLux, Zook, GQ Patrol or 40 Series. You, as a driver, had to pick your line, select the right gear, apply the correct amount of throttle and work the clutch and brake pedals just right so you could make it over the obstacles. You could feel every rock and undulation under your tyres – which brought a sense of ‘oneness’ with your vehicle. You front up to those same

obstacles in these modern computer controlled rigs, press a button, and the car pretty much drives for you. There’s not much in terms of driver input required. It makes for a much easier and less fatiguing drive, but it takes a lot of the driver ability out of the equation. Whether that’s a bad thing or not is up to you … but it’s worth mentioning for those of us who find Zen in their off-road driving. Making our way towards our campground after dark it was unsurprising to find that the modified Patrol was the winner here. While the fancy LED headlights of the other two did

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2

3 an admirable job for being stock, the high beams just couldn’t compete with the aftermarket ARB spotties on the big Y62 when it came to ’roo spotting. Again, once we’d reached our camp and were setting up, the side awning and LED strip lighting on the Patrol made life heaps easier. Cargo space between the three was similar – with all three comfortably taking fridges, swags, camp chairs and clothes bags with plenty of room to spare. In terms of actual space the 200 Series was marginally more cavernous, but not by much. All three made nearperfect vehicles to camp out of; but the Patrol, with its aftermarket

4 inclusions, had to take this round. The next morning we were back on the tracks – tackling water crossings, mud, rocks and steep climbs. We came across an impromptu travel ramp in the form of a bank on the side of the track, so we naturally put all three vehicles up to see which

1

All three had plenty of room for camping gear, but the modded Y62 was far more practical with its aftermarket additions

2-4

While the 200’s solid-axle gave it a little more flex than the others, there wasn’t much separating them in the articulation stakes

5

The Disco had the comfiest interior

5

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With all sorts of electronic traction control systems, wheel spin was virtually nonexistent on steep climbs

had the most flex. The solid rearaxled 200 took the blue ribbon here; but it was interesting that there was bugger-all difference between the three. The fully independent Disco and Patrol only got a couple inches less travel than the ’Cruiser before cocking a leg. Geez, we didn’t think deciding between these three would be so difficult. Not long afterwards we came up to a long section of track that was dotted with mud holes. The Patrol’s aftermarket Cooper all-terrains gave it a slight edge, but none of the vehicles were stopped by the sloppy stuff. Back onto the fast dirt and you’d have a hard time determining which one was faster. The petrol

V8 Y62 was pushing larger tyres but it seemed to never run out of grunt, and would probably take out a straight-up drag race between the three. As I’ve already mentioned, the LandCruiser’s engine is simply amazing … and while it may put out a little less power, the torque monster more than made up for it by returning much better economy. The Disco was the quiet achiever here. While it didn’t have the V8 roar from the exhaust pipes, and you wouldn’t call the power delivery ‘neck-snapping’ exactly, it had more than enough mumbo and that 8-speed auto was hard to fault. Combined with the air suspension which lets you raise or lower the body depending on the terrain, it simply floated over everything at speed.

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THE CONCLUSION

Picking a winner from these three is like arguing over which lottery you’d like to win, all are great four-wheel drives but by the end of the test, the 200 was the clear favourite among our testers

So you’ve finally received that inheritance from that rich uncle you had no idea you had, and you’ve got $100K to drop on a new fourby. Which way should you go? Look, you could choose any of these 4X4s and not be disappointed in the slightest. As far as capability vs. comfort vs. everyday liveability goes, these three have it all in spades. The Patrol, being a fair whack

cheaper than the others, probably offers the most bang for your buck. That saved coin can go on some quality bar work, lights, a winch and camping gear and you’ll still have a few grand left over for fuel on a some long trips; and you’ll ultimately end up with an arguably more capable vehicle for the same outlay. The Discovery, as far as I’m concerned, set the benchmark on this test for comfort. It had the

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nicest interior, the most intuitive controls; and it was easily the nicest to drive over corrugations thanks to that beautiful airbag suspension. It’d probably be the best daily driver too, as it’s slightly smaller than the other two and feels a little more nimble in tight spaces. It also returned the best economy over the test period. At the end of the day though, the 200 series just did everything a little nicer. The little touches like

the refrigerated centre console and the double sun-visors just made it a joy to drive. And that engine! If the idea of two turbos, eight cylinders and common rail injection doesn’t get your heart thumping, you may want to check yourself for a pulse. For a supercomfortable around-Australia tourer that returns decent economy while putting out enough power to tow a 25ft van without a drama, this is the vehicle for you.

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THE GAWLER RANGES ARE LITTLE KNOWN BUT THEY CONTAIN SOME GREAT CAMPSITES AND ONE OF THE WORLD’S BEST SALT LAKES… SO WE SENT VIC WIDMAN OUT TO HAVE A LOOK. WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY VIC WIDMAN

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Mention the Gawler Ranges to most people and you tend to get a blank stare back at you. I’ve been visiting this area and including it on various Outback itineraries for a few years now and I reckon it’s a spot well worth a few days of your time. The Gawler Ranges are located about two hours drive west of Port Augusta in South Australia. The downside (or upside depending on your preference) of the area is it is rather isolated – so make sure you have plenty of fuel on board and stock up the supplies in Port Augusta before heading out. I always leave the sealed Eyre Highway at the old mining town of Iron Knob to follow the dusty unsealed road for 120km to Mt Ive Station before actually

heading into the ranges; but if your 4X4 has a small fuel tank you might continue down the Eyre Highway for another 87 klicks to the town of Kimba where you can pick up more fuel before heading bush.

Because the Gawler Ranges lie just north of the Eyre Highway as it commences its long stretch across the Nullarbor Plain, it is also possible to continue west on the highway and access the National Park from various feeder roads. But, as mentioned, I like to leave the main road at Iron Knob after a short diversion into the old mining town – where you should seek out the visitor centre to see a collection of old mining relics and watch its short video on the history of mining at Iron knob.

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The route you follow from Iron Knob through vast sheep stations such as Siam and Nonning actually follows the route taken by the first European explorer John Eyre who walked through here in 1839. In fact, for the keen-eyed traveller, you will see a couple of trackside plaques commemorating a couple of his camps along the road towards Mt Ive Station. This is tough and semi-arid land, but back in the mid 1800s it must have experienced several good seasons as it presented itself with

vast grassy plains and numerous waterholes. This prompted the government of the day to declare that land being used by farmers had to run at least 50 sheep per square mile and this saw in excess of 90,000 sheep being shorn in the region. Of course, the good times did not last. When the land returned to its dry state, it suffered from overstocking. Sheep are still raised on the numerous stations along the edge of the Gawler Ranges; but in far more manageable numbers these days.

Because you’ve heroically chosen to download your copy of Unsealed 4X4, you can’t see what’s on this page. But trust us - it’s well worth looking at. To see it in all its glory go to unsealed4X4.com.au

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Any trip to the Gawler Ranges has to include a few nights at Mt Ive Station which is easily found – just keep driving on the Nonning road until you see a large black submarine! That’s right, there is a submarine at the entrance to Mt Ive Station, half buried in the red earth – you can’t miss it. Mt Ive offers a lot more than just great campsites (which, by the way, are level and adjacent to hot showers and flushing toilets just across the road from the station’s kiosk where you can buy basic supplies).

Mt Ive has developed some great 4X4 tracks for you to follow; there is a small fee for the privilege but it’s certainly worth it. A couple of these tracks take you around the vast property with low range required occasionally due to the steep rocky nature of the terrain. Each of them leads you to fascinating rock structures known as Rhyolite columns… the Gawler Ranges are well known for these organ pipelike formations. The standout drive on Mt Ive Station is the one out to the vast Lake Gairdner.

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This salt lake is the third-largest in Australia and measures a staggering 160km long by 48km at its widest section. For the majority of the year it is a blindingly white expanse that shimmers in the sunlight. Occasionally after rain it is covered in very shallow water, which reflects the sky like a mirror. I always plan my visits towards sunset to see some amazing vistas across this beautiful landscape.

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Lake Gairdner is also the scene of dry salt-lake racers who meet there each March to see just how fast their machines can go. Similar to the famous Bonneville salt lakes in the USA, Lake Gairdner has a worldwide reputation as one of the best locations for world land speed record attempts. I have used Mt Ive Station and its excellent facilities as a base to explore the nearby

Gawler Ranges but the National Park also offers several good campsites to entice you to stay. Here is a round trip, that I have done a few times, which takes in the best of the Ranges. Leaving Mt Ive head out past the turn-off to the Lake towards Thurlga (another sheep station) then turn east back towards Kimba. After 30km of dusty road travel you will see the entrance to the National Park

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Mt Ive Station is easy to find, just look for the submarine

on your right. Here the road deteriorates and whilst it’s easily accomplished in dry conditions in high range, the tracks will turn to mush in wet weather and the park is usually closed to access at these times.

and if you decide to camp there is an extra $11 fee per vehicle per day. Fortunately, the dreaded booking online system has not encroached this remote park – so you can still just turn up and book your site when it suits you.

On entering the park near the Paney Homestead (the park consists of previous sheep stations that have been acquired by the South Australian Government) you will see the self-registration booth. It costs $10 per vehicle to enter the park

The road network around the National Park forms a large figure eight. I have found the best route to follow is off to the right at Paney which follows the low hills typical of the Gawler Ranges to a nice campsite at Kolay Hut. The hut provides some shelter

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The mirror-like surface of Lake Gairdner, which is usually a salt-lake land speed record attempt destination

for a couple but the adjacent campground alongside the dry creek will accommodate three or four vehicles. Just up the road from the Hut is the impressive Kolay Mirica Falls. Now don’t expect too much water, there was just a trickle on my last visit; but the short walking track from the car park to the Falls leads across a rock shelf surrounded by an amphitheatre of Rhyolite columns, which makes for a very impressive sight.

A few kilometres further on, after the track climbs over a ridge and drops down into another long and wide valley, I suggest you turn left towards Mattera campsite. This area is about two kilometres off the through-road in a sheltered valley below some low hills; it has a large level area amongst the native trees and is rarely visited, so it makes an ideal remote campsite (there’s even a long drop dunny).

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The Rhyolite columns are a natural marvel that are found throughout the ranges

This through-road leads out to another road that actually joins the eastern end of the park with the western end – and it is signposted as the Old Paney Scenic Route. We saw lots of kangaroos along here on my last visit, together with quite a few wedgetail eagles and a few emus. The Old Paney Homestead is certainly worth a

stop and a few minutes to look around. There is an old stone water tank nearby too. A good side trip is found where the Old Paney Scenic Route joins the Yardea road; it leads to a site known as the organ pipes. It took us a little bit to find as there were a couple of false starts … but just try each

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of the side roads you find and (using your Hema map) you will eventually get on the right track. It is rough in places; not hard, just requiring less speed and careful wheel placement. It ends in a small car park and then it’s time to take a walk. The exercise is good for you and the reward of the large gorge and surrounding cliffs is worth the effort. I climbed to the top of the Falls (again, not a lot of water) for a commanding view over the surrounding countryside.

The Yardea road leads back to Mt Ive Station, or you can keep left towards Kingoonya and camp on the western side of Lake Gairdner in a nice National Park camping ground not far up the Kingoonya road.

So if you have time on your way over to the west or when you’re out to drive Goog’s Track, allow a few extra days to visit the Gawler Ranges. I’m sure you will agree they are quite different. And like me, you will probably have them all to yourself.

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MASTERCLASS THINGS CAN GO WRONG DURING WATER CROSSINGS. DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT FOLLOWING THESE SIX TIPS FOR AQUATIC SUCCESS. WORDS BY EVAN SPENCE

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Water crossings are fun, simple as that. But the potential for things to go wrong can actually be rather high if you are unprepared or out of your depth… pun intended. You are dealing with potential submerged objects, deep pockets of water and strong currents in some cases. By blindly leaping through any crossing, you are putting your vehicle and passengers at risk of harm. Now, we don’t want to sound all doom-and-gloom here; but before you attempt to drive through any water crossing, it is always advisable to follow these six tips. Choose to ignore this advice at your own peril. NON-INTERACTIVE VERSION | PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR INTERACTIVE MAGAZINE


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1

WALK THE CROSSING

It sounds obvious, but wherever possible walk the crossing before attempting to drive it. By walking the path you wish to follow, you are gaining two important pieces of information. Firstly, you are determining if there are any submerged objects such as rocks, logs or deep holes to avoid. Secondly, if you can’t walk

the river crossing due to depth or fast-flowing current, chances are you won’t be able to drive it either. Now, there are some exceptions to this rule … such as walking through croc-infested waterways or through a flooded road (which is something I’d never advise). I also wouldn’t ever recommend driving across a flooded road, as history has proven time and time again how dangerous this can be.

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ELECTRICAL PARTS YOU CAN TRUST. No matter where you are in your vehicle, any electrical breakdown is something to be avoided. And when you’re a long way from home, having to replace a failed alternator or starter motor is a major inconvenience. At Terrain Tamer, our parts are manufactured by an Original Equipment Manufacturer to ensure strength, reliability and longevity. Each unit is tested post production and all come with an individual test certificate, so you can trust Terrain Tamer to bring you home. For more information visit terraintamer.com or call 1300 888 444.

Because you’ve heroically chosen to download your copy of Unsealed 4X4, you can’t see what’s on this page. But trust us - it’s well worth looking at. To see it in all its glory go to unsealed4X4.com.au

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WEAR A WATER BLIND

gush of cold water entering your vulnerable and warm engine bay while crossing a river. There are Vehicle manufacturers will two options here: You can pop claim a maximum fording depth into a four-wheel drive store in their new vehicle brochures, and buy a water blind or water which is all well and good. But bra kit over the counter for a without a measuring stick handy nominal fee; or if you are so (I’ve never seen one in the bush) inclined a home-made version how can you guarantee you are using a tarp and some small within factory tolerances when ratchet straps will also work. But approaching a crossing? Fitting please, don’t use Ocky straps … a water blind takes just a few your eyes will thank me for it. minutes, and prevents a sudden

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FIT A SNORKEL

injected diesel engines will run under water with a fully You can’t breathe sealed snorkel, thanks to their underwater, and neither lack of electrical components can your four-wheel drive. A and no reliance on spark, how snorkel is a sure-fire way to many people are still driving protect your air intake from old 2H powered LandCruisers potentially swallowing a harmful these days? Modern diesel gulp of water. Now, I say engines have a fierce reliance ‘protect’ here, not ‘guarantee’. on electronics, with a myriad of Fitting a snorkel does not sensors mounted in and around convert your vehicle into a the vehicle. If I remember just submarine – so care still needs to be taken when judging water one thing from my high-school science classes, water and depths. While older mechanically electricity don’t mix.

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6

WAIT IT OUT

competition environment in a purpose-built buggy, or a lifeNow here is a new motto threatening situation, pop on the for you: If in doubt, wait it kettle and relax for a few hours out. Rivers can be influenced by to best assess the situation. This tides, or there could be a sudden also gives your vehicle a chance and heavy downfall further to cool down before taking the upstream boosting water flow. plunge. If things aren’t improving, So while a water crossing might seeking a safer alternative route be fast flowing and too deep to is the best option. It isn’t worth drive in the morning, it could the risk to you, your family and drop dramatically in just a few your vehicle to proceed blindly hours. Recreational four-wheel driving is just that … recreational, (knowing full well it isn’t the smart thing to do). a hobby. If you aren’t in a

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WE NEED YOU TO HELP SAVE LIVES. No one knows the roads better than the people who drive them. That’s the idea behind Queensland’s innovative Flooded Roads Map – where locals mark out the roads prone to flooding and the safe routes to get around them. The more people contribute, the better it is for everyone! As experienced 4WDers, we’re calling on you to share your knowledge. Hit the road enough and you’ll know that floodwater can change conditions massively; subsidence, slippage,

maybe you’ve even seen sinkholes on roads you’ve driven a hundred times before. You also know that it doesn’t have to be that deep or fast to float a 4WD, and once that happens even the most experienced driver is pretty much helpless. Basically, no matter who you are, or what you drive, if it’s flooded forget it. But it’s your knowledge of local roads and conditions that we really need. Please go to the map, check it out, and add what you know. It could literally save someone’s life.

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Add your local knowledge to the Flooded Roads Map right now!

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OMSON

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This year we attended the annual Victorian Gathering which is organised on the 4x4earth website and located at O’Toole’s Flat campground in Thomson State Forest. The gathering is largely a social event, however, if you look beyond the gathering there is a multitude of tracks and historic relics to explore. The nicest part is that some of the best tracks are literally metres from the campground. Flat’s Track, for example, leads directly up the mountain from the campground

and is one of the steeper tracks in the area. The track has washouts, ruts and hairpin turns tight enough to test just about any turning circle. Roughly halfway up the track there is a rock feature known to the locals as “The Wall”. As you would expect from the name, The Wall is a series of steep and angled rock steps. There is a bypass track around, but for those brave enough to give it a try it’s a great challenge. A front locker will help immensely here, especially if you are in an IFS vehicle, as lifting a wheel is almost guaranteed.

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Other tracks like Morning Star, Army and S Track are also super steep and great fun, but for something completely different you should give Trig Track a look. A few years ago Trig Track was deemed too steep and was on the verge of being closed due to being marked too dangerous and difficult to maintain. Rather than close it down, Parks

decided a better option was to push in a series of switchbacks. The catch was that the switchbacks were so tight that making the turn at either end was near impossible without a multi-point turn. The solution devised was to drive one section then reverse the next. Reversing up a steep hill would have to be one of the most surreal feelings

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Reversing up a steep hill would have to be one of the most

surreal

feelings I’ve ever

experienced.

I’ve ever experienced. At the same time you could not wipe the smile off the face of anyone driving this track. This is about the most fun you can have in a vehicle. Not far from here you can drive across the Thomson Dam wall. A stop here provides one of the greatest views in the

area and a chance to observe some magnificent engineering. The dam was constructed in the mid 1970s, completed in 1984 and is the largest water supply reservoir to Melbourne. The dam holds twice the volume of water as Sydney Harbour and more than four times than the next largest water supply to Melbourne.

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The la laTesT T remoTe reservoir monoTube Technology echnology

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Continue further south from the dam through Rawson to reach the historic Gold Mining town of Walhalla. At its peak in the 1860’s Walhalla was home to over 4,000 people and although large parts of the town have been preserved, today there are only a handful of permanent residents. A strip of original buildings remain on the main street, the most interesting of these is probably the fire station, which, due to a lack of flat ground, was constructed as a span across the creek. The fire brigade was formed in 1871, however the

building was constructed in its current location much later in 1901. Walhalla has numerous opportunities to explore and soak in some history from a heritage walk to the famous tours of Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine. While exploring, bear in mind that this town was only accessible by coach or pack horse until 1910 when the railway was constructed. What a life these pioneers led. Guided tours are available to the mine, which includes 8.5km of underground workings that produced 13.69

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DRIVING LIGHTS: REIMAGINED The shape of driving lights has changed forever!

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tonnes of gold up until 1914. In fact, between 1885 and 1908 the mine was one of Australia’s principal gold producers and was Victoria’s top producer for six of those years. Not to be missed in Walhalla is the Wally Pub. Apart from a cold beer and excellent food, the pub includes walls covered with historical photos. Due to the wealth of Walhalla during the gold mining period, a permanent photographic studio existed in the town. The pictures are all over the place if you look hard enough.

Heading back to camp, we chose an alternate route rather than going back over the dam. This route passes by on the low side of the dam, along Beardmore’s Track. Here there is a gorgeous crossing of Thomson River, followed by a climb up to Walhalla Road that takes in views of the low side of the dam. First thing the next morning we were off to check out the amazing views on offer at over 1400m above sea level from Mount Useful. The quickest way from camp, at around 450m above

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sea level, is straight up White Star Track, which begins with a shallow crossing of Donnelly Creek, followed immediately by a steep climb up, which finishes at over 1000m elevation. A short drive along the good condition McEvoy’s Track takes you to the turn off to Mt Useful. Once on top, the stunning views stretch way over the top of O’Toole’s all the way back to Thomson Dam. Camping up here is possible but only for the brave,

as nights would be extremely chilly. There is a drop toilet here, but I strongly advise against using or even looking at this one. It is best described as full. Time to make the descent back down to camp, and this time we chose Willoughby Spur Track. This track is even steeper than White Star and includes some rutted out sections. At the bottom of the track you once again cross Donnelley Creek and this time there is a small car park. If you’re in

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the mood for a walk there is a short with the help of volunteers and walk here via a large water wheel bollards have been installed to to some mining relics, including a provide a barrier around the hut. crusher and large boiler. Further along our tour was Back to camp and it was time Toombon Mine. Toombon itself was a small township that included for my favourite part of the trip: Grumpy’s Historic Tour. First stop a hotel, school and post office. At this location all that remains are was Jorgenson’s Hut, which is another success story for the four- some degraded relics, a chimney stack and a deep mine shaft. The wheel-drive community. The hut was one of four lost in the 2013 shaft is covered with wire mesh, bushfires. It has since been rebuilt however care should still be NON-INTERACTIVE VERSION | PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR INTERACTIVE MAGAZINE


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taken here – it’s a very long way down. In fact, the shaft reached a maximum depth of 195m during its operation.

public access to the area. Looking down on the site from the road you can see the original footings of the hotel.

Not far from the mine relics lies a private property that is actually the site of the former Toombon Hotel (The Wayside Inn). The site included the former inn, horse stables and a morgue. At this stage access is restricted, but stay tuned as work is being done to return

A little further down Toombon Road, just past the intersection of Donnelly Creek Road, lies Toombon Cemetery. Unfortunately almost all records of the cemetery were lost in bushfires, however recent restoration works have been undertaken to re-mark the

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graves. It’s a touching tribute to the tough times that existed during the gold rush of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Keep an extra eye out for a group of marked graves – this is believed to be a family of Chinese miners. Code’s Flat, located further down Donnelly Creek Road, is a privately owned area where people can rent a cabin right by the Aberfeldy River. The Code family occupied

this property for over 50 years. Part of the property includes a shed full of historical monuments. Look up Code’s Flat on Facebook and try to arrange access. A gold coin donation is all it costs for a look and believe me, it’s well worth the price of admission. Apart from small pieces of history lying about the shed like ham radios and old push bikes, there is probably the best-conserved crusher in all of the High Country. Everything on it

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still works; in fact, it’s in such good condition that the wheel can be turned by finger pressure alone. Back out to Walhalla Road and we visited the grave of a local celebrity of a different kind. Kitty Kane was a lady of the night who was popular along the route between Walhalla and Wood’s Point. When she died the miners decided to give her a grand send off, however excessive alcohol consumption presented a problem for the miners, and Kitty’s 22 stone weight presented

a problem for the pack horses. As a result, she never made it to her intended destination of Aberfeldy Cemetery and was laid to rest by the road, not far from her shanty. Not far from Kitty’s Grave we were again greeted with majestic views across Thomson Dam from Cast Iron Point. As mining operations in the area ceased, much of the scrap metal was collected for recycling at this location… nothing like a dump with a view I guess.

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CHECK OUT THE

JCT-X-C15

CHECKLIST

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Subscribe The day ended back at camp with the annual duck race. Participants buy a numbered rubber duck and hundreds are floated down Donnelly Creek. Prizes are given to the victors and this is immediately followed by the drawing of the raffle. Prizes are both won and auctioned off with all proceeds going to charity. These Victorian meets have made over $3,500 for various charities over the eight years they have been running. A communal fire and a few drinks

was the perfect end to a magical weekend camped at O’Toole’s Flat. Not only should we appreciate that we live in a country where places like this exist, we should also feel privileged to have these areas maintained and improved by like-minded four-wheel-drive enthusiasts. If the efforts put in to maintain tracks and campgrounds in this area are not inspiring then I’m not sure what is. Once again, congratulations to everyone involved. Keep up the good work.

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Does your insurer cover

touring gear?

Visit CLUB4X4.COM.AU or call 1800 CLUB 4X4 for a quote As always, please read through your PDS to best understand your coverage and to make a decision on whether it is right for you. If you have any questions please contact us on 1800 CLUB 4X4 or go to our website at www.club4x4.com.au. An excess of $500 will be applied to a claim under this cover, with a maximum of two (2) claims per policy year. A maximum limit of $1000 also applies to any individual item. Read the PDS for more detail. The insurer is The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd, AFSL No. 241436, (Hollard). Club 4X4 Pty Ltd is an authorised representative of Hollard, No. 1235616. Any advice provided is general only and insurance coverage is subject to the policy terms and conditions. Underwriting eligibility criteria applies to insurance applications. You should read the PDS available at www.club4x4.com.au to decide if this product suits your needs.

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r your

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If some or all of this gear was to get lost or stolen, how would you recover the cost?

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9 WAY MOST

12V

ARE YOU CHASING BETTER PERFORMANCE FROM YOUR 12V FRIDGE? THESE NINE PROVEN TIPS ARE THE BEST PLACE TO START. WORDS BY EVAN SPENCE

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AYS TO GET THE T OUT OF YOUR

V FRIDGE

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A show of hands: Who owns a 12V fridge and wouldn’t head bush without one again? Yep, my hand is pointing to the sky too. Now, while having a fridge/freezer parked in the back of your four-wheel drive or camper trailer is a huge advantage when off the blacktop, have you taken the time to think about how you can enhance the performance of your chosen fridge? It doesn’t matter which make or model you own, these following nine tips will guarantee your food and drinks stay cooler for longer.

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QUALITY CABLES

be described as driving your vehicle with only two cylinders Sadly, factory 12V accessory running. It should start, but points commonly found in it won’t perform very well at the cargo bays of modern fourall. Many experts recommend wheel drives use wiring that is installing 6mm twin-core wiring too thin to handle the loads of a for fridges, and I’m not here to greedy 12V fridge. By increasing disagree with this. In fact, for the size of these cables, more my own vehicle I have gone with current can flow to the fridge. larger 8mm twin core wiring – Simple, right? Think about it like a as I firmly believe overkill is a hose with water flowing through good thing when it comes to 12V it – a bigger hose will allow more wiring. This also gives me scope water to flow. Selecting wiring to power other accessories such that is too thin to run a poweras camp lighting in the future. hungry device (like a fridge) could

Because you’ve heroically chosen to download your copy of Unsealed 4X4, you can’t see what’s on this page. But trust us - it’s well worth looking at. To see it in all its glory go to unsealed4X4.com.au

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THE ULTIMATE NAVIGATOR

Introducing the new Z-N626 Universal Naviceiver from Zenec with optional Hema 4WD Nav upgrade! Navigation

Bluetooth

Radio & DAB+ Tuner

Multimedia Playback

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TRANSIT COVERS

If your fridge was supplied with a transit cover, use it. If one wasn’t supplied when you bought your fridge, but there is the option to purchase one, do so! Here is a hot tip: Use this as a negotiating tool when shopping. “I’ll pay cash now if you throw in the transit cover.” I guarantee

you this will result in a sale. Fridges need all the help they can get, so by installing a cover you are not only protecting it from bumps and scratches (transit bags are usually padded); but these covers also prevent direct sunlight from touching the fridge surface, in turn keeping the fridge cooler and making it run more efficiently.

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STEEL BULLBARS

RAILS & SIDE STEPS

Opposite Lock bullbars are designed in Australia for Australian conditions, each bullbar is designed specifically to follow the contours and curves of every vehicle fitment.

Brush Bars can be indispensable when fighting back against tight tracks, closed in rocky points and dangling tree branches. A set of Brush Rails might be the cheapest investment to protect your paintwork you will ever make.

This is accomplished using 3D scanning tools and AutoCad design techniques, every Opposite Lock bullbar is ADR and Airbag compliant and comes available in Post-Type, Triple Loop, Single Loop Prestige and Fleet configurations. PROVISION FOR LOW MOUNT WINCH

Sidesteps help protect your sills and makes it easier to climb in and out of your 4x4. Opposite Lock manufacture both polished and matte finish alloy extrusions that won’t harbour dirt, grit or mud as well as a range of heavy duty powder-coated steel side steps.

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3

AVOIDING DIRECT SUNLIGHT

trick I have been employing is putting a reflective windscreen sunshade or two over the top As mentioned earlier, the and sides of the fridge, paying hotter your fridge cabinet is the particular care to not cover any harder it has to work to keep vent (they need to breathe). For cool. This then means the fridge the minimal outlay, it is definitely will be drawing more power worth the effort here. This from the battery in an attempt to technique alone could extend outdo Mother Nature. A cheap your battery life by a few hours.

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4

COOL BEFORE YOU LEAVE

Many fridges have the option to be plugged directly into 240V mains power. If you can get the fridge and its contents as cool as possible before securing it in your fourwheel drive or camper, the motor will not have to work so hard getting the temps down while you travel – the hard

part is already done. I make the effort of putting both the starting and auxiliary batteries fitted to my Patrol on a battery charger before I leave too, just to know I’m heading away with a system that is working to full potential. These simple steps will make the difference between a problem-free trip, and spending hours with your 4X4 running (wasting fuel) in an attempt to charge the batteries.

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5

VACUUM SEALEd food

A person smarter than I once said: “You need to follow the five Ps when packing a fridge.” Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. This is why vacuum sealing meat and pre-prepared meals like curries is a brilliant idea for anyone who is planning a few days on (or off) the road. This has two huge advantages, the first being that storage space is maximised as the vacuum sealer removes air from the packaging during the

sealing process. Hence the reason it is called vacuum sealing. Secondly, you can pop these pre-made meals or meats into your freezer overnight before the trip. These will act as ice blocks inside the fridge, further reducing internal temperatures and pressure on the compressor.

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Baintech Universal Power Panel

Volt / Amp Meter 12v Ciga socket 2.3A USB socket

Volt Meter Ciga, Engel, USB Low volt disconnect

$185

$195.89

Get more power for your next adventure at shop.baintech.com.au Like us on Facebook! facebook.com/BainbridgeTechnologies

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AVOID OPENING THE FRIDGE

Sure, it isn’t possible to always stick to a regimented timeframe surrounding when the fridge is Remember when you open or closed … just think smart were a kid and your folks would about how you use it. If you go to always yell at you for standing in the fridge for a drink, ask if anyone front of the fridge with the door else wants something at the same open while you waited to pick time. When preparing dinner or something to snack on? Well, there lunch, take everything you need is a pretty obvious reason for that. out at once. The longer you can By leaving the door open, you keep that door closed, the longer are letting nice cool air out while nice cool air is trapped inside allowing warm air into the fridge. where it belongs.

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7

CHOOSE THE RIGHT BATTERY

to power accessories, and the constant state of charge-deep discharge (repeat, over and over Deep-cycle batteries again) will damage a starting require a higher amp-hour rating battery quick smart. Deep-cycle over CCA (cold cranking amps), batteries, on the other hand, and vice versa for a starting handle these situations rather battery. Think of the battery used well. When choosing an auxiliary to start your four-wheel drive battery, many suggest running as a sprinter in a running race. a deep-cycle battery, or even It is designed to push serious a marine battery (commonly amounts of power in short bursts used to start boats). There are to get over the finish line as also hybrid batteries available quickly as possible. A deep-cycle that juggle the fine line between battery, used to power low-draw cranking and auxiliary roles. accessories (such as LED lighting But why compromise? Unless and fridges) is more like a longyou have space constraints, a distance runner. Endurance and dedicated starting battery plus a lasting the distance via controlled deep-cycle battery provides the bursts of speed is vital. Basically, best of both worlds. starting batteries aren’t designed NON-INTERACTIVE VERSION | PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR INTERACTIVE MAGAZINE


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ALLOW AIRFLOW (INSIDE AND OUT)

components. If you can’t easily fit your hands in the gap around the vents, you have packed Take a closer look at your it too tightly. Internal airflow fridge, and you will see vents is important too. As a rule of on the outside of it. These vents thumb, leave enough space for a feed cool air into the compressor, six-pack inside the fridge cabinet. which is the heart of any fridge. This allows cool air to pass A huge mistake many people throughout the fridge – resulting make is packing gear too closely in cooler food and drinks without to these vents and blocking off having to push the compressor airflow. This essentially chokes as hard or for as long. the fridge, dramatically reducing the lifespan of the internal

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9

SOCKETS AND PLUGS … THEY MATTER

while driving. There aren’t many more infuriating situations in life than arriving at camp after a full day’s drive to find the fridge Traditional 12V CIG plugs are isn’t powered, your drinks are pretty much useless when it warm and your food is ruined. comes to powering a fridge. The solution here is to use what There, I’ve said it! I’ve seen is called a Merit or Hella plug, countless fridge cables that have or go to the effort of installing melted such products as the an Anderson plug. These have particular socket supplied hasn’t tremendous mechanical ‘grip’ been able to handle the loads – meaning they won’t pop off placed on it. Another point worth unless you really tug on them. mentioning: CIG plugs offer It takes just a few minutes to very limited mechanical bind in swap them over, and a couple an accessory socket. What this of dollars spent at the local means in the real world is they electrical store to solve this once tend to pop out or wiggle loose and for all.

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reviewed:

ULTIMATE CAMPERS XTERRAN CARAVAN COMFORT IN A CAMPERTRAILER-SIZED PACKAGE – THERE’S A REASON THEY CALL THEM ‘ULTIMATE’. WORDS BY DEX FULTON, PHOTOGRAPHY BY SCOTT MASON

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Ultimate Campers are widely regarded for providing some of the premier products available on the camper trailer market – with good reason, too. The designs have always been eye-catching and the engineering behind the campers has been one of the benchmarks in the industry for nearly two decades. The Ultimate was originally designed and built by a boat builder, so it’s no surprise that the camper body is constructed of lightweight yet strong fibreglass. And having seen the factory in

Moruya in NSW with my own eyes, I can tell you that not only is everything manufactured in-house, but it’s an amazingly professional production line utilising plenty of experts laying glass, stitching interior trim, painting and assembling everything … so they get huge bonus points for being Aussie made and owned, too. Recently I managed to grab one of the latest models – the Ultimate Xterran – and take it for a run through the bush.

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The guys tell me that this model came about after talking to their customers and discovering that the plain white finish of the original Ultimate Camper wasn’t exactly lighting any fires in the appearance department, and owners were yelling for something a bit tougher looking. After taking a good hard look at their trailer, they set about refining what’s already a top product and came up with a Storm Grey and Black colour scheme with a wider section of Raptor Liner around the nose cone to protect the already streamlined body against stone chips. They also added larger alloy rims with chunky Cooper S/T MAXX rubber and flared the guards out to suit. The electrics have been upgraded to the top-of-the-line Redarc Manager 30, which we’ll get into in a sec; but yeah, the Xterran is more of a refinement package than a brand-new camper. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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In fact, there was a whole heap to like about the Xterran. The first thing I noticed was how nice it was to tow. Considering you get a hell of a lot of inclusions it’s remarkable that this thing only weighs 840kg with a ball weight of a scant 45kg. Compare that to some other similarly-specced hard floor trailers out there and you’ll realise how impressive those numbers are. Our Nissan Patrol tow mule barely noticed it was there, and the

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1 2

1

The interior is a comfortable place to spend a few days – note the LED interior lighting, 12V switchgear and power outlets

2

3

The bed is huge, and oriented so you won’t have to climb over your partner should nature call at 3am. Handy!

3

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independent coil spring suspension soaked up everything we threw at it without a fuss.

The trademark nose cone is fully carpeted and boasts a massive 1,340L of space to throw your miscellaneous gear into; with the gullwing doors allowing easy access from either side. There’s even LED lights for when you need to find that widget you swore you threw in there after dark. But none of that is new. Even the interior is largely the same as the previous model; so again, this should really be seen as more of a facelift rather than a full overhaul of the Ultimate.

However there are some great new inclusions. One notable change is with the battery management setup. The Redarc Manager 30 is a state-of-theart charging system that’s mounted unobtrusively in the nose cone. It provides a 30A mains smart charger, a 30A DC-DC charger via an Anderson plug, and a maximum power point tracking (MPPT) solar regulator for when you’re stealing free energy from the sun while at camp. The one unit covers all of the camper’s power needs. It even has a monitor panel mounted under the front bench inside, so you can see exactly how much juice the twin 110Ah AGM batteries have left in them. It delivers the info as current in/ out, time until full charge, time until

The water tank can also be accessed externally

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There’s next to no wasted space on this trailer

The nose cone is ginormous, and is a handy spot to store all manner of things. Note the twin battery compartment just behind it!

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When packing up you have to make sure this gutter is clear of canvas; if it is, the camper is completely dustproof and waterproof when travelling

flat and so on; it’s really one of the best 12V systems I’ve ever seen in a camper. To make it even sweeter, it actually does away with the wiring in favour of a solid-state board – so problems associated with dodgy connectors are an impossibility. There are 240V, 12V and USB outlets dotted inside and outside the trailer so you’ll never be unable to charge your phone or plug in your hair straightener (hey, some of us like to look good all the time!), no matter where you are.

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Because you’ve heroically chosen to download your copy of Unsealed 4X4, you can’t see what’s on this page. But trust us - it’s well worth looking at. To see it in all its glory go to unsealed4X4.com.au

The suspension has top quality Lovells coils and Koni shocks, and handled everything we threw at it with ease

The interior is largely unchanged, although the Ultimate has always delivered comfort that’s much more on par with a caravan than a camper trailer. You get a king-size bed and a U-lounge that can be reconfigured as a single bed for kids or the guest who refuses to leave (we all know one). There’s plenty of space for cooking gear and clothes in the form of drawers under the bench, and the seat cushions can be lifted up for further storage if required. The bench features a

stainless steel sink with water being pumped from the 110L tank slung underneath the rear. Gas hot water is offered as an option, and this comes with a mixer tap to make getting that ideal dish washing temperature a snap. A two-burner Smev cooktop is also included – so even if it’s a monsoon outside, you can still prepare a hot meal. On the cooler end of the spectrum, an upright Waeco 110L fridge gives a great amount

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and there’s even a specially designed helper pole for older folks to use if the initial lift-up is a bit much. Once that’s done it’s a simple matter of clicking four spring mounted horizontal spreader poles into place inside; and you’re ready to set up the threemattress bed before settling in for Setting up and pulling down are quick, the evening. The whole thing literally and will only get quicker over time takes a couple of minutes. as you get comfy with the process. After putting down the outrigger If you’re staying a little longer at your campsite, the front and rear awnings support legs and getting the camper level with the jockey wheel (which is are fairly painless to fold out and easy thanks to the spirit bubble on they can even stay attached during the drawbar), the roof is released via pack-up. The canvas is all Aussiemade Wax Converters so you know three latches and the rear stairs can it’s top quality and will keep you be folded down. The fold-over bed dry for a lifetime. As an option, you section is gas strut assisted and can easily be deployed by a single person; can even install a canvas kids’ room of space for food and drinks and is easily accessed thanks to the forward opening door. The marine carpet, faux-leather seating and laminate benches make this almost a hose-out camper … so clean-ups shouldn’t be a problem.

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underneath the bed section to make even more space available should you need it.

So what does one of these run to? Well, they definitely ain’t no fivegrand import trailer. The trailer we tested came with a $57,200 sticker … but when you sit back and think about it, there’s a lot of value there I reckon. For that money you’re getting a trailer that will quite literally follow you over any track in Australia (try saying that about the five-grand mob), and the comfort levels and inclusions are all top shelf. On top of that, looking closely at the build quality and finish, I’d confidently bet that it’d be with you for 20 years and still function as well as the day you bought it. Hard to argue with that.

SPECIFICATIONS: Ultimate campers

xterran Chassis

Coupling

Rims and Tyres

High-tensile Duragal Treg 360 degree coupling 17in matte black alloy rims and Cooper S/T MAXX tyres

Independent trailing arm with Lovells Suspension coils and Koni shock absorbers U-lounge, two-burner Living Area stove, stainless steel sink and 110L fridge Water Tank 110L 850kg tare with 460kg Weight load capacity Aussie-made Wax Canvas Converters Price as tested

$57,200 like this feature? why not Share it...

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RP7800 Air Impact Gun & Ratchet Wrench Kit

RP7834 Air Tool Kit

TCS-3 Mobile Tool Cabinet Seat

ES 34 PIEC

360 째 SWIVEL WHEELS

Order Code: A001

S 17 PIECE

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TM325 Air Compressor STT-4W Service Tool Tray

HPC-1T Pneumatic & Hydraulic Engine Crane

Order Code: C503

913

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148.50

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TWIN R CYLINDE

385

$

Chain Blocks Size

Code

1 Tonne x 3m

HES-907F Engine Stand

1 Tonne x 6m 2 Tonne x 3m

121 $ 165 $ 198 $

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$

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Order Code: K090

957

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TBRS-25 Manual Tube Bender

MLR-680 Motorcycle Lifter

VJ-680 Hydraulic Vehicle Positioning Jacks

& ROUND E R A SQU

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APW-14 Auto Parts Washer

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319

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$39

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L34

5

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76 LITRE TANK

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$

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EWM-89 English Wheel

EWM-75 English Wheel

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Specifications & Prices are subject to change without notification. All prices include GST and valid until 31-03-16

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02_Unsealed4X4_#021_290216

Order Code: S2257


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AIRDEVIL

AIR

COMPRES review BEING A NEW PLAYER IN THE AIR COMPRESSOR

FIELD, IT’S ONLY FAIR TO SEE HOW THIS TWIN-HEAD COMPRESSOR STACKS UP. WORDS BY EVAN SPENCE

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Collector’s Items

Legacy is an Australian charity dedicated to caring for the families of our veterans. With a 90-year history in Australia, Legacy today assists over 90,000 widows and 1900 children. Part proceeds of each Legacy fridge-freezer and transit bag sold go to Legacy.

ENGEL ‘LEGACY ’ SERIES FRIDGE-FREEZERS

In 2015, Australians will commemorate 100 years since our nation’s involvement in the First World War. Like all Australians, Engel are doing their part to acknowledge this significant event in Australian history. Engel have released two special edition army green portable fridge freezers and matching camouflage transit bags. These collectors items are available while stocks last. Part proceeds will go directly to Legacy to help support the families of returned service men and women.

SPECIAL EDITION LEGACY FRIDGES S B AG MO OR A C CY EF L E G AVA I L A B L D E L S A MO BOT H

• Fully endorsed by Legacy A S K YO U R • Army green colour with Legacy badge R E TA I L E R T E N G E L OO • Features Engel Digital Technology YO U R S N O R D E R W! • Sawafuji Swing Motor • Tough steel construction • Available in the 40 litre and 60 litre model • Limited stock available For more information or your nearest stockist, visit www.engelaustralia.com.au

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Twin-head air compressors aren’t a new invention by any means, but it must be said you don’t see too many of them around these days. After our massive air compressor comparison back in Issue 17 of Unsealed 4X4, a company called AirDevil Accessories contacted us claiming its new twin-head compressor is a serious contender in the portable air compressor market. And by looking at it, you would have to think that, with twice the components, it should be a potent performer. So, with a few big claims being thrown around, we simply had to take a closer look at it and see if it could knock the ARB Twin unit (we previously crowned the winner) off the podium. Read our compressor

comparison here

TESTING METHODOLOGY

For the purpose of consistency, we wanted to use the same equipment and methodology applied in our air compressor comparison. We dragged out the same five 31in tyres, heat gun and Tyre Dog tyre pressure monitoring system originally used; however unfortunately we didn’t have an Iveco Daily to power the compressor so we had to use a staff four-wheel drive. Each tyre had the valve cores removed to release all pressure; and once a tyre was inflated to 30psi, we moved onto the next until all five had been inflated. The whole procedure has been timed, and the operating temperature of each cylinder head on the compressor has been measured. So, how does it stack up?

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SPECIFICATIONS

MODEL TESTED: 12V AirDevil Heavy Duty 4X4 Air Compressor (300lpm).

CYLINDERS: Twin 60mm cylinder heads. POWER CABLE: 1.8m length,

heavy-duty cabling with battery clamps.

MAX PRESSURE: 150psi (claimed). MAX VOLTAGE: 13.8V (claimed). COMPRESSOR: 1.5HP oil-less direct

RDEVIL A drive motor with built-in thermal cut-oямА.

AIR FILTERS: Built-in and cleanable. WEIGHT: 9.3kg

The supplied air-line is huge in length, and of very good quality

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Check out the inflator attachment, it looks sturdier than the ones found at most service stations!

AIR REVIE Check out our new build your unit guide. Go to www.fourbyfitouts.com.au Soft luggage rack

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Heavy-duty 40L or 60L Heavy-duty floor bolts fridge slide

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Could your tyres take you

twice around the world?

A new set of Cooper tyres can, as they’re guaranteed to last up to 80,000kms.*

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AIRDEV

AIRVDEVIL

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AIRDEVIL COMPRESSOR VS. ARB TWIN COMPRESSOR AIRDEVIL

ARB

AIRDEVIL

1.39

1.40

TYRE 4 MIN

ARB

HIGHEST TEMP

TYRE 4

MIN

MIN

AIRDEVIL

ARB

TYRE 3

TYRE 3

MIN

MIN

1.44 1.35

AIRDEVIL

HIGHEST TEMP

AIRDEVIL

PRICE AS TESTED

$395

ARB

AIRDEVIL

1.30

1.25

MIN

ARB

TYRE 5

1.47 1.30

MIN

108.9째C 116.7째C

TYRE 2

TYRE 5

TYRE 2 MIN

AIRDEVIL TESTERS NOTES

AIRDEVIL

ARB

PRICE AS TESTED

$870

ARB

TYRE 1

TYRE 1

MIN

MIN

1.24 1.25

Ran smooth and quietly, there was a slight electrical burning smell noticeable though. The electrical cabling was quite thick and short, meaning reduced chance of voltage loss. To make up for this, the supplied air hose was extremely long and of good quality too.

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CONCLUSION

Did the AirDevil Twin knock the ARB Twin off the podium? Well, no not really… but it did a damn good job trying. It ran nearly ten degrees hotter, which is a negative, but it was actually one second faster on its first tyre than the ARB unit. When looking at the overall tally in our air

compressor comparison, going off times alone it would have placed second overall, creeping in front of compressors from Mean Mother and Supercheap Auto who placed second and third respectively. If this is AirDevil’s first crack at making a compressor, they must be commended for the overall performance offered by this unit.

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OUTBACK GOURMET

CHOC BANANA

SPRING ROLLS WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY JO CLEWS

I have discovered a combination of two ingredients which are almost irresistible. They go together like bacon and eggs, roast lamb and mint sauce and popcorn and butter.

method

The two I am referring to are banana and Nutella. A killer combination if there is ever to be one. On fresh bread, toast or flat breads these two ingredients fit like a hand in a glove to satisfy every sweet desire a human could have.

Peel and halve the bananas.

This recipe is going to take your dessert repertoire to a level off this planet and your family and friends are going to worship you and crown you King or Queen of the camp kitchen next time you are out bush. The really awesome thing about this recipe is it can be made on a stove top so it can be devoured any time of the year, even when there are fire bans in place in the middle of summer – and they can be made at home when camping is the furthest thing from your mind.

Defrost the spring roll pastry making sure you keep it under a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out.

Gently peel off one sheet of pastry and lay it on a flat surface. Just up from the bottom right hand corner, place a good sized smudge of chocolate spread, place one piece of banana on top and then roll the corner over till the banana is encased. Fold in the top right hand corner and the bottom left hand corner to the middle and tightly roll the rest until the top left hand corner is underneath the spring roll. Heat the oil until a small piece of pastry bubbles and floats to the surface when dropped in.

Cook 4-6 at a time; make sure to not overload the pan, and cook only long enough for the pastry to be a light golden brown, no more So here goes, prepare to be amazed! than a few minutes. NON-INTERACTIVE VERSION | PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR INTERACTIVE MAGAZINE


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These little morsels are so delicious they will be eaten straight away so the contents don’t need to be really hot. Remove from the hot oil and allow them to drain for a couple of minutes (if you can wait that long) and serve with cream or ice cream. Tip. Substitute a tablespoon of cold stewed apple with cinnamon and sugar for something different, or maybe frozen berries and chocolate spread? Now it’s your turn to see what other delicious fillings can be added to create your own taste sensation.

INGREDIENTS

i Bananas, depending on how many you intend to make. Each serve has a half a banana so 4 bananas for 8 serves etc. i 1 jar of Nutella or chocolate spread i 1 pack of 20, 215x215mm spring roll pastry sheets

i 3-4cm of vegetable oil in a high sided heavy base pan for frying. i Paper towel to drain

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WHEN A LANDCRUISER OR PATROL WON’T CUT IT,

YOU NEED TO THINK BIGGER …

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When you’re looking for the perfect long-distance tourer, what does your mind instantly think of? You want something that has plenty of off-road credentials; something that has plenty of room for camping gear; something that can tow your boat, bikes or camper trailer; and something that simply makes you smile every time you jump behind the wheel and fire it up. Sure a ’Cruiser or Patrol may tick most of the boxes – but if you want the ultimate adventure touring machine, there’s really only one choice. A Mercedes Benz Unimog.

Climb up behind the wheel of one of these bad boys and you won’t have to worry about towing, storage space or off-road ability ever again, because these things have all that in spades, and a whole lot more besides. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Let’s go back a couple of steps and introduce you to Daniel Mavin, the owner and builder of the wild Unimog super-tourer you’re looking at, and find out just how this beast came together.

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THE 4X4

If you’re unfamiliar with Unimogs, they’ve been in production since the mid-1940s in post-war Germany – initially designed for use as agricultural equipment but more commonly utilised as military vehicles in armies all over the world from Australia to Argentina. The reason they’ve been around

for so long and have been so successful is due to the fact that they can be customised to suit a huge range of uses, coupled with the argument that when it comes to off-road ability – they’re probably the most capable ‘out-of-the-box’ 4X4 on the planet.

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This is because they have coils springs at each corner; massive 42in tyres as standard (although this one has had a boost in the tyre department); and, perhaps most importantly, portal gear reduction hubs. These things effectively lower the wheel hub from the axle centreline, resulting in unparalleled diff clearance. They also use internal gears to lower the final gear ratio, making them perfect for off-road use and reducing stress on driveline components. There’s no doubt about it – portals are cool. This particular example actually started life as an ex-Australian Defence Force vehicle before it found its way into Dan’s workshop, where he decided to go nuts and build his go-anywhere touring weapon.

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Rear mounted winch allows Dan to get out of any amount of trouble, forwards or backwards

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You just can’t get diff clearance like this from any other 4X4

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As well as being superb touring vehicles, Unimogs are also excellent in low range terrain thanks to their gearing and factory diff-lockers

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The massive tyres are mounted to Hutchison wheels, which suit the utilitarian nature of the Mog well

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The Name in the Outback Touring Market

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THE MODIF Believe it or not, Dan’s Mog actually started life as a single cab before it was attacked with the plasma cutter and grinder. After the body and tray were pulled off the chassis, the cab was sandblasted – and heavyduty tube bracing was welded

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FICATIONS into the floor, roof and pillars for increased strength. While he was at it, the rust was all cut out and fresh steel was welded in its place; and the roof was removed and raised for a little more headroom and to make space for the custom overhead

console. A second single-cab was given the same treatment before the two were expertly grafted together to produce the Doka (Mog-speak for dual cab) that you see before you. It’s that neat you’d never pick that it didn’t roll off the production line like this.

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Dan was only just getting started at this point, though. Storage boxes were built underneath the rear seat and into the roof, and the driver’s side footwell was widened for a bit more legroom, before several coats of gunmetal grey paint were sprayed inside and out. The cab was then lined with marine carpet and Unidan (Dan’s company that’s dedicated to building Unimogs) custom-ducted air conditioning was plumbed in. Interior LED lights mean you won’t lose anything under the seats after dark; and speaking of seats, the front occupants ride in comfort thanks to custom-trimmed Air Ride ISRI seats while the rear seat is another custom unit trimmed to match the front. The rear wall of the cab has also been modified to allow for crawl-through access should Dan decide to fit a camper back in the future.

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This heavy-duty engine bash plate highlights the attention to detail on this thing

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The tray is accessed by these neat fold-down stairs

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The interior is a comfy place to spend a few thousand kays. Note the Sparco racing steering wheel

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Airing the big rubber up is a breeze thanks to the centrallymounted Unidan rapid tyre inflation system

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Climb up into the driver’s seat and you’ll be greeted with a host of gauges so you can keep an eye on what the electrical system and turbodiesel are up to. The engine is stock other than a fresh set of injectors, tweaked pump, a custom high-flow 3.5in stainless exhaust and custom Unidan intercooler – which have bumped output from 168hp to 210hp with no change to fuel consumption. Larger 395/85R20 Michelin XZL tyres have been fitted to Hutchison rims (after raising the cab) to take advantage of the Unimog’s prodigious gearing and torque. And hey, not many people can say they have 46in rubber on their touring rig …

There’s plenty of custom bar work all over this thing, with front and rear winches in place to ensure that no matter what predicament Dan manages to get into, he’s got an exit strategy. There’s a 32in lightbar on the front bar and a 50in unit integrated into the roof rack to supplement the aftermarket

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LED headlights. And yep, there’s LED rock lights for when Dan’s tackling the low range sections of track after dark, too. The tray is fairly stock at the moment – but there’s roughly an acre of room so it can be loaded up with all of Dan’s camping gear and still have enough space to roll out the swag if need be.

There’s a million other mods that have gone into this thing and there’s simply not enough space to cover them all here, but Dan tells us that this one is actually up for sale so he can start a new project. So, if you want what’s possibly the coolest long-distance tourer, get in touch with Dan who can walk you through it in detail.

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The tray is basic right now, but there’s more than enough room for everything you could ever need

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A custom stainless panel houses the gauges and switchgear up on the roof

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The standard turbo-diesel has had the pump tickled, fresh injectors, a custom intercooler and a 3.5in stainless exhaust to get 25% more power with the same fuel economy

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THE OWNER

Daniel is a bloke who loves his off-road touring, having travelled extensively all around the country in his customised four wheel drives and homebuilt camper trailers. A few years back he bought himself a Unimog and turned it into a true go-anywhere camper thanks to over two decades of experience in the engineering, motor fabrication and fitting and turning industries. That first build kick-started his passion for the big NON-INTERACTIVE VERSION | PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR INTERACTIVE MAGAZINE


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Subscribe Mercedes off-road trucks, and before he knew it he’d started his own engineering business – Unidan – dedicated to turning the beasts into dream touring machines. He generally builds them to cater to his clients’ individual needs, so he rarely performs the same set of mods on two vehicles.

Wondering how fat your wallet has to be to have one of these bad boys in the driveway? Dan tells us this one is currently for sale for $170,000. But if you have your own Mog ready to go, he can do the Doka conversion and add all barwork, shorten the tray and do the interior for you for around the $65,000 mark. Not cheap, but you can’t tell us one of these things wouldn’t be fun as hell to own.

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TIPS FOR

SNATC

SNATCH STRAPS CAN BE INVALUABLE WHEN IT COMES TO PULLING YOUR VEHICLE OR ANOTHER VEHICLE OUT OF A STICKY SITUATION. WORDS BY TIM STANNERS

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R SAFE

CHING

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Snatch straps aren’t all equal, as our recent snatch strap comparison test proved convincingly. But straps aside, what extra precautions can you take to ensure you get out of that sticky situation safely? Here’s seven things to consider before you jump into your next snatch recovery.

Because you’ve heroically chosen to download your copy of Unsealed 4X4, you can’t see what’s on this page. But trust us - it’s well worth looking at. To see it in all its glory go to unsealed4X4.com.au

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IT’S NOT A WEIGHTLIFTING CONTEST Unlike the weightlifting term of ‘snatch, clean and jerk’, in 4X4 terms it’s paramount to ensure your gear (snatch straps in this case) is ‘clean’ before the ‘snatch and jerk’. In fact, keeping all your recovery gear clean and free of sand, mud and any other grease and grime is super important if you intend to get more than one use out of it.

dirty, dusty or caked in mud. So, before you pack it away in the back of the garage, take five minutes to clean it up … so it’s ready to use next time.

If you’ve been unfortunate enough and needed to use your recovery gear in anger, chances are it’ll be

Look after your gear and it’ll serve you well when you need it most!

Whether it’s a snatch strap, tree trunk protector or a winch extension strap, drop them into a bucket of warm water to soak for a few minutes before hosing them off and hanging them up, out of the sun, to dry. Roll them up and pack them away, ready to take out on your next trip.

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FORGET CROSS FIT… BUY A GOOD SHOVEL Before you consider any type of recovery, whether it be snatching or winching, the first thing to do is see if you can help dig your way out. Quite often, spending five or ten minutes on the shovel may well negate the need to use any other form of recovery technique at all. Digging the mud, sand, snow or other debris away from the front of all four wheels will allow you to attempt to drive out initially; and if this fails, at the very least it will lessen the stress of the recovery overall.

OR SAFE S Additionally, digging a strap trench to allow the strap direct access to the recovery point will also aid in reducing pressure on the strap itself.

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SNATCHIN LONG RANGE FUEL AND WATER TANKS

THE BIG TANK

BIG COUNTRY

DISTRIBUTED BY

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RATING THE RECOVERY The challenge in every recovery is that no two recoveries are exactly the same. The angle between vehicles will almost always be different, the vehicles themselves will often be different (as will the attitudes of the people driving them), all combining to create different forces on the gear being used.

LESSEN THE LOAD Recoveries put huge amounts of stress onto all the recovery components being used, through the sheer force placed onto both the moving vehicle and the stationary vehicle being recovered. One way to lessen the stress upon the recovered vehicle is through the use of an equaliser strap. The equaliser strap does exactly as its name suggests by spreading the load across two recovery points, dramatically reducing the likelihood of component failure through the shock of the recovery.

Always use rated recovery gear – it might save your life! Rated recovery points, rated shackles and rated straps are certainly confusing – to say the least. The main reason these ‘rated’ aftermarket products exist is to try and address some of that confusion by providing safe working load limits within which the gear is designed to function. Rated recovery points, shackles and recovery gear should be clearly marked with their working load limits; and if you’re uncertain, don’t use them! NON-INTERACTIVE VERSION | PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR INTERACTIVE MAGAZINE


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5

STEADY AS SHE GOES Who has seen recoveries where the recovering vehicle takes a run-off and blasts fulltilt forward with all four wheels spinning at a great rate of knots? This type of recovery attempt places unbelievable force on both vehicles as well as the recovery gear … and the truth is, most recoveries can be achieved through a ‘steady as she goes’ approach. Start off slow, and take up the slack of the recovery strap to see if a more gentle recovery attempt works first of all. Leave a metre or two of slack strap on the second attempt, before progressively getting quicker if the first couple of efforts don’t work.

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THE DON’TS Never join two recovery straps with a shackle. If either the shackle or one of the straps breaks, the shackle then becomes an airborne missile. Be careful snatching out of really deep mud. The mud can often act like a vacuum around the vehicle’s wheels and chassis, creating a situation that is better suited to winching rather than snatching. Recovery tracks can often be a better option here, too. Never, ever, ever recover off a towball. They are simply not designed to withstand sudden sideways shock forces and can very quickly become metal missiles. Unfortunately, there have been numerous instances of serious injury and death in Australia and overseas through broken towballs. Recoveries are not a spectator sport. They can be dangerous. Therefore, don’t allow people to stand around watching the action. This can be done politely by asking people to stand at least two lengths of a strap away from the action, and preferably to the side.

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THE DO’S Make sure your recovery gear is in good working order. Straps should be whole and not torn or frayed. If in doubt, throw it out! Always use a strap or winch dampener in the middle of the strap or winch rope in order to reduce the recoil, should something fail in the

recovery. Don’t have a dampener? Even an old jumper or a couple of beach towels will work a treat.

Relax! Stress does nothing to create a safe and secure recovery. If you find yourself stuck, then take the time to think things through. Have a cuppa; sit down and consider which recovery technique might work best.

PS FOR FOR SA It's not every day the troops bog a 6X6 on the beach, but when they do, they take the easy way out !

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A day out in your 4X4 should be fun for everyone… and from time to time, you may well get stuck. Recovering your vehicle can be part of a great day out, if executed correctly and safely. Take your time, do it right and enjoy it!

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what could be done to improve the safety factor OF SNATCHING? Because you’ve heroically chosen to download your copy of Unsealed 4X4, you can’t see what’s on this page. But trust us - it’s well worth looking at. To see it in all its glory go to unsealed4X4.com.au

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WHETHER YOU HAVE A TOURER OR A TOY PERTH 4X4 IS YOUR ONE STOP 4WD SPECIALISTS

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UNSEAL

READER

Jane & Malcolm’s

which kept the ride level no matter what the load. The 2in lift certainly came in handy through the Pilbara, down the West Coast from Cape Jane and Malcolm take touring Range to Red Bluff and on through seriously! 27,500km worth of serious, to be precise. All this in their Barn Hill Station. trusty Toyota Prado, which they say A set of twin rear drawers, a 65L has never let them down (excluding Waeco fridge, recovery gear and a few inevitable punctures). their camper trailer kept them comfortable on the road as they They’ve travelled from NSW to the tackled everything the Nullarbor Cape, across the Savannah Way and through the NT before jumping had to offer on their drive home, via the Yorke Peninsula and Victoria. on to the Gibb River Road and

Prado

experiencing everything on offer along the way.

Their vehicle is kitted out with Bilstein gas shocks combined with King Springs and rear air bags,

A breezy five months and 4,300L of diesel later and they’re back home planning their next trip. We’re certainly excited to see how they’ll top this last one, though!

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LED 4X4

RS’ RIGS Peter’s FJ45 LandCruiser

carburettor. He then bolted up Old Man Emu rear shocks, realigned the Peter’s classic FJ45 ’Cruiser has seen brakes and replaced the clutch. some things over the 30 years that The odometer gave up counting he’s owned it. Not so much a tourer years ago, but the rest of the as a work vehicle, this rig has had gauges work – he’s even got the 4,500 acres of prime Hunter Valley original tool roll, jack and tyre from farmland to traverse. when he purchased it. While it could do with a lick of paint (among other things), Peter says it runs better now than when he bought it. He fixed up the brakes and the dent in the front bumper, repaired the rusty thermostat housing and fitted a new

These days, Peter tends to zip around his property on his Polaris quad bike, but when there’s fences to fix, firewood to collect or cows to chase, he brings out the ’Cruiser – not bad for a bloke pushing 80!

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Shaun’s HiLux

mods should do the trick.

Shaun sure has got himself one hell of a story to tell. He broke his back in a motorbike accident four years ago, but rather than give up on his outdoor hobbies, Shaun bought himself a 2012 Toyota Hilux as a solution to make sure he could get himself back out and into the bush.

He’s given his rig some extra grunt too, with a Munro Racing Hi-flow turbocharger, a Pedal Torq chip as well as a 3in Redback exhaust. The long range 145L tank, 12,000lb winch, snorkel, Monster Rides bash plates and Lightforce LED spotlights also help to make this a formidable rig out Shaun has completed most of the work in the bush. himself too, which he says has kept Stay tuned for a full custom write up him sane while he’s been recovering on Shaun’s rig in an upcoming issue from his accident. If ever you needed though, because there is plenty proof that you’re only limited by your more to mention, that we simply imagination, Shaun’s impressive list of couldn’t fit in here.

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EMAIL US HERE

We want to see your 4WD in Unsealed 4X4. So much so, that we’re giving every vehicle we publish a one-year subscription to the Pat Callinan’s 4X4 Adventures magazine. Send in some photos and tell us a little about your rig!

Jason’s Cherokee

Jason has been reading our humble mag right from issue one, and all the way over in Wisconsin in the USA. Quite frankly Jason, we’re flattered, so thanks mate! Jason has been lusting over the amazing terrain in our country, and we can’t really blame him – we’ve got it pretty good. In Wisconsin, four-wheel drivers don’t have access to public lands and are often restricted to bitumen and gravel roads. Despite this, Jason’s got an impressive bit of kit on his custom-ordered 2014 3.0L turbo diesel Grand Cherokee WK2.

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Subscribe He’s added Mopar rock sliders, TrailHawk 18in wheels, BFG A/Ts, an ARB 37L fridge/freezer. There’s also a Brunton 12V oven, fire extinguisher and ARB compressor, just to name a few of his mods! The future certainly looks bright too, with a roof top tent, winch mount and Uneek 4X4 limited slip diff to be added.

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REVIEW

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At first glance, the top-of-the-range 2016 Kimberley Karavan Eco Suite looks small for a caravan – in fact it’s so compact that you don’t need towing mirrors. We often equate caravan size to the number of creature comforts – forgetting that computers and other technological gadgets get smaller, but also more powerful each year. Kimberley is obviously following suit. Instead of increasing size and weight it increased capability and performance, proving that bigger does not always mean better.

Click here to see the Kimb Kamper setup procedure

DESIGN MATTERS

Kimberley specifically designs its compact caravans to include a travel height of only 2.2m when closed; and to achieve optimal off-road ability, they are no wider than the average 4X4 (1.9m). The units are constructed of lightweight,

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low-drag fibreglass and retract for a low travelling profile. The benefits are twofold: Fuel savings; but also a greater driving range (and your caravan won’t take out every single low-lying branch on the track). When parked, you simply flick a switch to literally ‘raise the roof’ and then retract it when you have to hit the road again.

berley

The electronic and water systems are specifically designed to keep you off the grid for as long as possible. By using a combination of solar, diesel and water filters, you can camp beside a creek and have unlimited access to filtered drinking water, while using the 550 watts of solar on the roof to keep your unit powered up. The diesel consumption by the heater, hot water and interior cooktop is so low, Kimberley claims that a 12L tank can last for up to three months.

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BELOW THE BELT

Every Kimberley caravan is manufactured with a hot dipped, galvanised, flexible, laser-locked chassis with an independent trailing arm suspension (the chassis comes with a five-year transferable warranty). The Eco Suite rides on air bags with a wide range of adjustable heights and a ‘limp home’ ability for emergencies. It uses electronic disc brakes, and features an anti-sway

Like your glamping? It even comes with a toilet-shower combo

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When towing the Kimberley is scarcely higher or wider than the tow vehicle, making for great off-road ability

Independent airbag suspension means you will always have level ground to camp on

bar and mono-tube shock absorbers. The Eco Suite comes with a TREG off-road coupling and one-touch parking brake, with an extended drawbar for easy reverse turning. The wheel size can be matched to your tow vehicle and each unit comes with a $1,500 wheel and tyre allowance. There are also rear recovery points rated up to 6,000kg.

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STORAGE AND ELECTRONICS

Two over-centre catches at the front pop open a 300L multi-toolbox that carries the 240Ah lithium batteries and a DC-DC 22 amp booster. There is also an Anderson plug power point, a spot for a generator, and on-board compressor and airbag suspension controls. There are two lockoff valves and two paddle latches to level the caravan. The split system air-con condenser is also stored here (instead of on the roof) to cut down on drag and reduce internal noise significantly.

Airbag controls are located up the front

MBERLEY K On the driver’s side of the toolbox are two jerry can holders for 20L jerry cans;

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and a 12L diesel tank. On the passenger side, two 4kg gas bottles connect to all gas fittings. On top there is a firewood (or luggage) carrier.

There is no shortage of storage in the Kimberley

In the rear storage area there is a water pump and a shower pack for outdoor bathing, as well as the electronics for the solar regulator. There are 550 watts delivered from 10 flat ultra-light polycarbonate solar panels on the roof, and there’s a 3G aerial with a 200km range for Wi-Fi internet reception. The water situation is certainly well covered in the Eco Suite. It easily carries the two water tanks: 120L of everyday water, 70L of drinking water and also an additional 60L grey water catch.

KARAVAN EC Talk to the experts. Call us today on 03 9464 7727

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Storage, fridge, sink, microwave, cooktop. Check Even better, there’s an external kitchen too!

INDOOR AND

OUTDOOR KITCHENS Open up the outdoor kitchen and there is a two-burner stove and large wok burner. The kitchen comes with plenty of pantry space that can also be accessed from inside. There are storage drawers along the pull-out bench, and a fridge slide. The outside sink has hot and cold water (the cold water tap is filtered). An outside aerial jack, with two other points inside, can be used to set up a TV.

On the inside, a stainless steel sink with hot and cold water and a twoburner ceramic diesel powered cooktop rest on a solid benchtop. A stainless steel 133L upright fridge-freezer and a microwave are nested under the bench, along with soft-close drawers (each lit with LED lights). The cooktop runs on diesel, removing the worries about gas, but there is still gas cooking available outside. Also, even when the caravan is parked and closed, you can easily access the fridge through the doorway to put away your groceries.

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INTERIOR

Spring-loaded manual stairs fold down easily to access the main door. Inside, it’s cosy; but bright and well ventilated. There are two hatches over the kitchen with fans for bringing fresh air in, or an extractor fan for blowing hot air out. There is an automatic fan over the bed area and if it does rain, it automatically closes. New for 2016 is the positive pressure vent – two 90mm fans that create positive pressure at a low speed to help prevent dust ingress while driving.

The interior is nicer than some of the apartments that I’ve lived in

There are dimming LED lights throughout which all have their own switches; and a smart touch screen that displays water

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tank levels, solar input information and battery capacity. The microwave in the kitchen runs off the inverter, but the Eco Suite runs everything off the batteries except the air-con. The air-con requires a generator or an upgrade to a 3,000 watt inverter and 480 amp lithium batteries – which can keep the air-con running for three to four hours.

Beside the kitchen is a media hub that is Bluetooth connected with a 4G super modem aerial. A 22in LED TV with DVD player is installed, and you can run satellite systems as either an auto roof-mounted satellite or a portable satellite system to keep things easier. There are two interior speakers as well as two exterior speakers.

KARAVAN EC

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Built into the bed step is a diesel space heater and reverse cycle heating and cooling system. The diesel space heater, diesel cooktop and diesel hot water all run off the one 12L diesel tank on the front of the caravan – and Kimberley claims one litre of diesel can heat for six hours.

bed. An innerspring queen-size mattress with an under-bed electric heating blanket occupies the main sleeping space. His and hers underbed drawers sit above the heater.

In the bathroom, there is a shower, a sink and an electric flush chemical toilet (with an external hatch to access a cassette for In the dining area, the table retracts emptying). There is an option for a into the area below the bed and composting, waterless toilet as well. The caravan comes with a shower the seat flips over to access the screen to provide privacy, midge outdoor pantry. This seat also mesh on all the windows, and serves as a single bed and can be upgraded and converted to a bunk magnetic curtains. Visit kimberleygroup.com.au for more information. Thanks to Shane McDougall and the team at SEQ Campers and Gear for all their assistance. seqcampers.com.au

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SPECIFICATIONS:

Kimberley Karavan Eco Suite Signature Chassis

Hot dipped galvanised, flexible, laser-locked chassis

Coupling

TREG off-road coupling

Rims and Tyres 17in rims with BFG All Terrain tyres Suspension Brakes

Independent trailing arm suspension with air bag springs and monotube shock absorbers

Weight

Electric disc brakes and one-touch parking brake Bathroom, kitchen, table and queen size bed: Liveable size when open – Length 4,950mm (16.25ft), and 1,750mm Wide 120L of everyday water, 70L drinking water, 60L grey catch Dry weight 1,650kg; Wet weight 2,200kg

Canvas

Awnings only, Dynaproof

Living Area Water Tank

Price as tested $109,990

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YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT

BIODIESE

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Let’s face it, things are only going to get harder as far as the environment goes. Whether you subscribe to the idea it’s all a Greenie push to make money, or that we’re just starting to realise our impact on the environment, there’s no denying green fuel is going to start becoming more and more popular. And hey, if the financial side of things adds up then why the hell not keep the Greenies and the back pocket happy! You’ve all seen the ads for green fuels with people happily strolling through fields of flowers that somehow relate to a turbo diesel 4X4, so this issue we’re taking a closer look at BioDiesel. Just what it actually is, what it costs, and what it means for us off-roaders.

The filtering process is by far the most time consuming part,and while you don’t necessarily need a lab-coat like this bloke, you will need a designated corner of the shed with the proper equipment

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YOU CAN MAKE IT YOURSELF

If you’ve ever fantasised about being the crazy person in your street cooking meth in your garage (and let’s face it, who hasn’t), then you’ll be delighted to know you can make biodiesel at home. The process is simple in theory. You’re starting off with something called Triglycerol. It’s a molecule of Glycerol with three Fatty Acid Strings coming off it, commonly found in animal or vegetable fats. The process involves filtering the old food particles out of the oil, then using a catalyst to break apart the Triglycerol molecule. The heavy glycerol forms a goo in the bottom of your container while the fatty acid strings bond with Methanol – creating Fatty-Acid-Methyl-Ester, the technical name for biodiesel. There are a few other important steps; but that’s the basics.

UT BIODIES

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3

arch before It pays to do a little rese bio-fuels filling your vehicle with

2

IT’S NOT THAT TIME CONSUMING

Making BioDiesel can be a long and drawn-out process, but the actual hands-on side of things can be kept pretty minimal. More involved processing equipment generally involves mixing pumps and storage tanks, meaning you only need to be present for a few key steps in the process over a few days. If you’re buying pre-made BioDiesel from a service station, it’s literally just pump and go.

NO SIGNIFICANT POWER LOSS

The big concern with E10 and other BioFuels is always a reduction in power. Well, things aren’t much different with BioDiesel; although not as bad as you’d imagine. A 5% mix of BioDiesel and regular diesel known as B5 results in a 0.5% loss in power. Hardly enough to notice. But if you’re going all-in with 100% BioDiesel (B100) it’d result in a 10% loss in power. Not a huge difference in relatively low-power 4X4s, but you’d notice it when you put your foot down.

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4

THE COST SAVINGS ARE HUGE

Kits can cost in the thousands of dollars to distil your own, but you are able to piece them together if you’re handy on the tools. Also expect to use up a corner of your shed. Methanol costs roughly $1.50-ish per litre, so the costs ultimately get soaked up by the equipment and the oil you use. Free oil and DIY equipment? You’ll save a fortune. An expensive kit and paying for oil? You better enjoy making diesel because you’re not saving much money, if any.

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5

IT’S KIND OF BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

Sorry, Mr Prius, but BioDiesel derived from waste cooking oil can see reductions in greenhouse gases by as much as 75% over standard diesel. For BioDiesel derived from Canola or Tallow it’s still a significant 25% reduction in greenhouse gases. It’s not all sunshine and lollipops though. Certain blends of BioDiesel can see NOx levels rise by as much as 16%. So we might protect the Ozone layer; but with a slight increase in the chance of acid rain, yikes! And that’s without getting into the issue of deforestation to plant cheap vegetable oil producing trees. Sorry Orangutans, but you had a good run.

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6

YOU CAN MAKE IT OUT OF PEOPLE

Slow down there, Hannibal Lector; while the fats used in BioDiesel can be harvested from people, the real upside is that the same fats are found in animals and plants. This means we can literally grow every component required to make the fuel to run our diesel engines. If we’re smart with how we go about it, BioDiesel could stave off the electric revolution and keep our diesel 4X4s purring for years to come. Even the by-products of the process can be turned into soap. Diesel soap? Now you’re talking!

7

WE’RE LITERALLY THROWING THE STUFF DOWN THE DRAIN

Currently we treat waste cooking oil like garbage. It gets poured down drains clogging up sewers; bottled and dumped into landfill sites; or it simply gets burnt. With a small investment and a little time this oil can be cheaply and efficiently turned into fuel. It won’t solve the energy crisis, but it’ll definitely help. It’s been worked out that all the grease used for cooking in one major city for one day could power several hundred cross-country flights.

A lot of BioDiesel comes from canola

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9

IT ISN’T BAD FOR YOUR ENGINE, UNLESS IT IS

There’s a few issues with running biodiesel in ANY engine. The for Outback servos aren’t known first is contaminants clogging ’re you en wh but , sel stocking biodie pumps, filters and injectors; it’s paying a few cents a litre around a big ask to filter out every piece town, you can probably afford to of contaminant from previously splurge when you’re on a trip used oil. The second is lubricity. YOU’VE PROBABLY Diesel fuel is already an oil, so it keeps moving components such ALREADY RUN IT as injectors and pumps lubricated; Just like Ethanol, biodiesel luckily most biodiesel is actually is rated in grade. B100 is full more lubricating than regular biodiesel, B5 is 5% biodiesel, and diesel. The third issue is a clean so on. If you’ve ever swung through fuel system. Over time build-up can a servo and grabbed some ecooccur in any fuel system. Biodiesel diesel, this is exactly the stuff you’re will actually clean out your tank and running. Rather than being cooked lines, but the resulting goo will all up at home it’s mass produced and go down the line and it can cause blended with regular diesel – ready damage … although increasing to be pumped into your 4X4 from fuel filtration and monitoring can the local servo. negate this.

8

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10

BIODIESEL AIN’T So should you or shouldn’t you run BIODIESEL biodiesel? There’s more

than one way to run an environmentally friendlier engine. The term ‘biodiesel’ sounds like a catch-all for anything green you can run your diesel engine on, but it’s actually not. biodiesel is fatty oils refined into a chemical compound that looks and acts pretty well exactly the same as regular diesel. You’re converting the fuel to suit the 4X4. Some backyard scientists run 100% waste vegetable oil instead. It’s considerably thicker than biodiesel, requiring on-board heating equipment to thin it out to pass through your engine… changing the vehicle to suit the fuel. When running pure biodiesel, you can expect roughly a 10% loss in power, although it does clean your fuel system, with proper filtering, as you drive which is handy

After countless hours of research, speaking to the people who either make it, or deal with the after effects of it, we can answer with a strong maybe. B100 (fuel manufactured solely from plant or animals, not petroleum sources) is rare in this country. Blends such as B5 and B20 (biodiesel blended with mineral diesel) are more common, but engines running on it are not warranted by many diesel specialists. Apparently B100 in particular has a solvent affect on your fuel system which can clog filters, so make sure you check your engine can handle it before rushing out and topping her off with veggie oil. It also has a large barrier for entry with a reasonable understanding of how chemistry works as well as a notinsignificant financial outlay buying the equipment. Can you save money? Yes, in exchange for your time and noodle power. Make no mistake, biodiesel is the way of the future. But the future won’t come one garage chemist at a time. Besides, you’d make more money cooking meth.

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THE EDITOR

Dex. I was watching a 4WD DVD the other night where the presenters were heading to Tasmania in a bunch of highly modified and very cool looking vehicles. We’re talking aggressive tyres, plenty of lift and twin-lockers all around. Now as it happens I know and like these guys, and generally have a lot of time for them, but it was disappointing to see the attitude towards track damage that was on display. You know the kind of thing I’m talking about. Promoting the attitude of hitting mud holes at Mach speed, slinging rooster tails thirty feet in the air, tyres spinning, engines revving their heads off. Generally just ripping the track to shreds, when there was an easy bypass in shot most of the time too. It’s all well and good when a competition vehicle does it on private property with clearly designated courses, but when you’re on an iconic public track like the Balfour, it really grinds my gears to see such disregard for the terrain.

DRIVE S NOT H What’s worse is that young, upand-coming off-road drivers look up to these guys. They’re showing them that this is how things are done. It’s bullsh*t. For any beginners out there who happen to be reading this, trust me, if you drive like this on a trip, anyone along for the ride who knows what they’re doing is going to mentally mark you down as a peanut. Hey, it’s four-wheel driving. A bit of wheel spin is to be expected, especially in mud, but having a controlled drive through an unavoidable bog hole is very different to doing your best to push the accelerator pedal through the firewall, wilfully tearing up the terrain and celebrating the sort of behaviour that inevitably leads to us being locked out of our own lands. It’s knuckle dragging at its best. There’s absolutely no need to be a hero; if you come across an obstacle that looks challenging, there’s no shame in opting to take the easier line. Those that do get to camp on

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R’S COLUMN

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time and in one piece; those that don’t are usually back up the track wondering why their diff exploded and are hoping the tow bill won’t be too horrendous. They’re also the guys that have vehicles flog out on them after a few thousand kays while their mate is still going strong after 400K plus because they take things easy. In short, they’re idiots. With track closures becoming ever more of a worry, I think it’s pretty reckless for people who should know better showing off exactly the type of behaviour that gets people offside. Especially the locals, I can’t imagine they’re too thrilled at having

out-of-state yahoos come down there and cut up their tracks with absolutely no respect for the treadlightly ethos. I have transfer case oil for blood, a diff-locked heart and a brain that runs on diesel and even I thought it was pretty poor form. If you have to drive like that, do it on private property on tracks designed for it, because doing it on public land is all sorts of wrong. Don’t be that guy, educate that guy. Or we’ll all be here reminiscing about how great Tassie (and elsewhere) used to be for four-wheel driving.

Dex.

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ROAD AND TR

GOT A TRACK UPDATE FOR US? If you see or hear of any road or track closures due to weather or restricted vehicle access, get in touch with us so we can let the rest of the four-wheel drive community know. editor@unsealed4x4.com.au

VICTORIA

A minor landslide has limited access on Yarram-Morwell Road, with only one lane open near Turpin Road. Sadly, fires have blocked the Jamieson Track near the Great Ocean Road, which has also affected the Godfrey Track in the Separation Creek area. The Wye River area is also experiencing fires, with the Bird Track closed from Morley Avenue on the Wye River through to the Great Ocean Road. Traffic works are still in place on the Mt Difficult Road; Boroka Lookout on Wartook Road has been closed as a result.

WHAT’S HA

IN YOUR NECK O

TASMANIA

Blackwater Road from Western Explorer (Norfolk Road) to Sumac Road reaching the Kanunnah Bridge on the Arthur River is closed to all traffic except emergency vehicles. This also applies to Dip Road from the Southern side of the Dip River. Unnamed Road from the Sandy Cape Track at Possum Creek east to Norfolk Road near the Balfour Landing Strip is open to essential service access only. Construction of the Bailey Bridge at Nelson Bay is now finished; however the road is not expected to open for several days, and weight limits will apply.

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RACK REPORT

APPENING

OF THE WOODS?

QUEENSLAND

There seems to be plenty of water on the roads in Queensland, with government bodies issuing a warning asking motorists to never attempt to cross a flooded road. The Diamantina Development Road in Bedourie is closed with water on the road. Heading further north, the Burke Developmental

Road in Howitt is closed to all vehicles due to boggy conditions. Urandangi Road at Piturie is also closed to all vehicles. As you can imagine, there are several areas requiring roadwork as authorities attempt to clean up any issues. Townsville and surrounds seems to be particularly impacted – with this flowing nearly all the way to the tip of Cape York.

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ROAD AND TRACK REPORT

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– CHRIS BLAKEMORE FNB 4WD

“At present we are pretty much open across South Oz, with only the Inside Birdsville Track remaining closed due to previous flood damage. The Borefield Track north of Olympic Dam is littered with bulldust holes at present, so 4WDers should be cautious here rather than barrelling along at speed. Otherwise everything is looking good for those seeking some warm adventures, as late February can still produce some pretty hot days in the Outback.”

NEW SOUTH WALES

Northern NSW is experiencing flooding in the regional areas bordering Qld. The Cut-Line from Tibooburra to Borrona Downs is closed, as is The Cut Line from Borrona Downs to Wanaaring. It is advised to use alternative routes and exercise caution if in the area. The run from Lithgow to Marrangaroo via the Great Western Highway has scheduled lane changes in place, in both directions. Motorists are expected to face short delays here. Scheduled roadworks are also slowing things down at the Swan Hill Bridge on the Murray River – vehicles over 3.1m wide need to detour via the Nyah Bridge.

› WARNING! This road and track guide is as up-to-date as possible, but weather conditions can change in the space of minutes. Before venturing into the bush, check with local police, National Parks or the managing authority for the area you will be travelling in before leaving.

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ALS… …THAT YOU MAY ENCOUNTER WHILE TRAVELLING AROUND AUSTRALIA, AND WHAT TO DO IF IT ALL GOES PEAR-SHAPED WORDS BY DEX FULTON

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SALTWATER CROCODILE

The Australian saltwater crocodile is just about the perfect killing machine. So much so that many people up in the far north of Australia would rather shoot them on sight than allow them to move into their local waterways (just for the record, this is illegal without a licence). There are numerous anecdotal reports that dams that were safe to swim in 10 years ago in the Kimberley area are now home to very territorial male crocs – and you wouldn’t dip a toe in nowadays. And that’s where the danger comes in. These guys stake out their areas and don’t like walking kebabs (humans) coming in and trespassing on their property. While you don’t need to be paranoid about croc attacks, when you’re north of Hervey Bay it pays to be aware of the dangers. These guys are the largest reptiles in the world

in terms of mass, with the males getting up around 6-7 metres in length, although even 5m crocs are fairly rare (and still frickin’ huge). On average, salties kill one or two people a year and despite the name, are commonly found in freshwater estuaries, creeks, rivers, dams and billabongs, as well as along the coast. So if you’re travelling up north near water, ask the locals about where it’s safe to swim and fish, and where to avoid. Even then, take plenty of care around bodies of water – including staying away from the water’s edge; don’t be predictable in your routine around the water (crocs hunt by learning your movements); don’t wade in shallow water; and use a bit of common sense – leave the bacon tracksuit at home eh guys? Also, take special care around September to April, which is breeding season when crocs can be especially aggressive.

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TAIPAN

inland taipans are actually quite shy and are more likely to retreat and hide than attack. You’d have to provoke or mishandle one to get bit (which begs the question: Why the hell would you mishandle a bloody taipan? It’s practically begging for a Darwin award); and even if you do Despite all the hype surrounding happen to get a pair of puncture the most venomous snakes in the wounds, the chances are good you’ll world, they don’t pose a massive risk to us homo-sapiens for a couple live to tell the tale. The first step after a bite is to immobilise the limb of good reasons. The first is their before covering it completely with habitat – they like to reside in the a pressure immobilisation bandage sparsely populated arid regions around the Qld, SA and NT borders. (see separate panel on how to do So basically, if you’re planning a trip this) and splinting the affected limb to prevent undue movement. Don’t through the Simmo or to Poeppels try to clean the wound or suck out Corner, keep an eye out – but for the venom; just hightail it to the 99.9% of the population they’re nearest medical facility and get not worth worrying about. The some anti-venom into you as soon second reason is that unlike their as you can. cousins, the coastal taipans, the We’ve all heard the terrifying facts on inland taipans, or fierce snakes, and how one drop of venom can kill 100 people. They can strike incredibly quickly and if you see one coming towards you, move… like, to another State.

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FUNNEL-WEB SPIDER

Funnel-webs are found along the east coast of Australia. While they’re most commonly observed in NSW, they can also be found in QLD, SA and VIC and are not to be taken lightly. Commonly regarded as among the most venomous spiders in the world, these buggers are also quite aggressive – so if you see one in your home, you won’t be judged harshly if you decide to burn the house down. OK, that may be taking things a little far; but still, copping a bite is no joke. Interestingly, since the introduction of widely accessible anti-venom in the 1980s there have been no fatalities from funnel-web bites; however I’ve seen first-hand how much these things can cause your life to suck should one get its fangs (which are powerful enough to go through soft shoes) into you. A mate of mine accidentally trod on one when we were camping up

near a tidal estuary on the north coast of NSW and it nipped him on the side of his foot. Luckily, all of us there had our first aid certificates up to date and we applied a pressure immobilisation bandage (as a note, the funnel-web is the only spider with which you should use this technique) and got him to the hospital which was about an hour’s drive away. Three painful and uncomfortable days later and he had a hell of a story to tell, but I’m sure he would’ve rather skipped the experience if he’d had the option. Funnel-webs live in moist, cool and sheltered habitats where they make their funnel-shaped burrows (hence the name) that they line with irregular web trip lines tracing from the entrance. If you see one, best avoid it.

Watch Pat taunt a funnel-web and somehow live to tell the tale

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BOX JELLYFISH While you may be more concerned about great white, bull or tiger sharks when you jump in the ocean, spare a thought for the box jellyfish, which is the most venomous marine animal in the world and hangs around northern Australia (especially during the wet season). Interestingly, these straight-out-of-aPeter-Benchley-novel terrors are not actually true jellyfish. They actively swim after their prey, as opposed to true jellyfish that aimlessly drift on the currents.

as soon as you can. Luckily it’s not always that extreme. If the victim is stung somewhere non-vital, like the ankle for example, you need to inactivate the remaining stinging cells by pouring vinegar over the tentacles and soaking them for a good 30 seconds before removing them. If you try to pull them off before this step, they can actually release more venom.

Fun fact two: Ordinary vinegar has actually saved dozens of lives at Aussie beaches over the They have a box-shaped head (as you’d years. Interestingly, pressure immobilisation bandages as used guess) and tentacles up to 3m long. They’re clear with a blue tinge, making on snake and spider bites are no longer recommended as they can them almost invisible in the water. cause further venom discharge, even Fun fact one: The stings affect the if vinegar’s been used. Pop a couple heart, the nervous system and the skin, so coming into contact with one of antihistamines and painkillers on your way to get medical treatment sounds like an absolute joy. They’ve and a dose of anti-venom. been responsible for a fair few deaths over the last century and even Metho, ammonia, urine, bicarb soda those who survive are often left with and all the other ‘remedies’ you may have heard of unfortunately don’t nasty scarring of the affected area. work… gee, may have to go chuck a The venom can cause cardiac arrest bottle of vinegar in the old first aid kit. – so if this happens to someone nearby, you need to commence CPR NON-INTERACTIVE VERSION | PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR INTERACTIVE MAGAZINE


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BROWN SNAKE

The second-most venomous snake in the world, the eastern brown snake, is a highly aggressive little bugger and is found all over the place. They don’t like overly wet places like rainforests, nor overly dry places like deserts; but they fit right in everywhere else. They have a diet of mainly rodents, so they love farms and remote properties, and like to hang out under cover – places like wood piles, rubbish dumps, fallen trees and heavy scrub are all possible brown homes (so approach them with care). There have been numerous deaths caused by these guys. Just recently

a little girl got bitten, but neglected to tell her parents until several hours later. Tragically, despite being rushed to hospital and administered anti-venom, she didn’t make it. While this is truly awful, it highlights the importance of making sure your kids, family and any visitors to the bush (who may be a little ignorant) are well aware of the dangers. As with other snake bites, get a pressure immobilisation bandage on there and splint the bitten limb to prevent the venom being spread via the lymphatic system; then get to a medical centre for a dose of antivenom as quick as you can.

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FIRST AID KIT – ANIMAL ADDITIONS

iPlenty of bandages for pressure immobilisation

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iNormal vinegar

iSalt (for leeches)

iStingose (or similar)

iPainkillers and antihistamines

iCold pack

PRESSURE IMMOBILISATION TECHNIQUE 1. Ensure there’s no immediate danger from the animal and rest the bitten person. It doesn’t hurt to be reassuring and tell them they’ll be OK. 2. Apply a crepe bandage over the bite as soon as possible. 3. Apply a broad pressure immobilisation bandage over the rest of the limb. You want to wrap this as tight as possible without cutting

off blood supply to the limb. Start just above the fingers or toes and move upwards on the limb as far as you can – including covering the bite. 4. Splint the bandaged limb. 5. Keep the person from moving as much as you can. The stiller they stay, the better.

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6. Write down the time of the bite and when the bandage was applied.

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UNSEALED 4X4

TIM JOINS

FU

After a few years hanging around the edges as one of our roving journalists, Tim Stanners has decided to join the team full time as our Managing Editor. You would have seen plenty of Tim’s articles over the last

couple of years with his travel and gear yarns and some pretty handy photography thrown in along the way. Tim’s got a nice touring setup too with his Prado 150, which is often seen around the tracks of

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STAFF CORNER

THE TEAM

ULL TIME

outback NSW as he heads out for another family adventure, Cub Camper in tow. Please join us in welcoming Tim to the team and here’s a few thoughts from Tim on Unsealed 4X4 and the adventure ahead.

Because you’ve heroically chosen to download your copy of Unsealed 4X4, you can’t see what’s on this page. But trust us - it’s well worth looking at. To see it in all its glory go to unsealed4X4.com.au

Thanks Dex and g’day all. I’m really excited to be joining this crazy bunch of cats, who bring you the best touring routes, the best new vehicles, great photography and some of the best 4X4 destinations this country has to offer.

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Like many of you, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel extensively throughout the country, where I’ve seen brilliant destinations and met some of the best people with terrific life stories. Some of my favourite destinations include outback Queensland Channel Country, the northwest coast of WA and I’m always partial to a lap around Tassie. We’ve got some pretty exciting things coming up for Unsealed 4X4 this year, but I’m always interested in your feedback and keen to hear about your travels, your vehicles and what you’d love to see more of in our magazine, so feel free to drop me a line and tell me what you’ve been up to. I’ll hopefully be joining the team out at Birdsville for the Big Red Bash this year too, so keep an eye out for us and by all means, come and say g’day. If you’re ever out on tracks and see myself or any of the other Unsealed 4X4 crew, make sure grab a hold of us and let us know where you’re heading on your travels. In the meantime, let the adventure begin. Cheers, tim

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BEACH LOCATIONS

SO ME OF TH E BEST SIT ES IN TH E CO UN TRY.

BY NICOLE COOPER

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Love camping? Of course you do! Fresh air, time with the fam (or without!) and just a great way to chill out and enjoy the great outdoors. Beach camping is still the most popular way to get away from it all, but with a tonne of amazing beaches to choose from the hardest part is picking where to set up camp.

Unsealed 4X4 has taken out the guesswork, done the hard part for you and narrowed down the list to six of the top beach camping locations – and how to get there. All you need to do now is load the fourby with the camping gear, and set off on your next adventure. Nice!

DID YOU KNOW? Australia has 10,685 beaches. You could visit a different one every day for the next 29 years and still not see them all.

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CLOUDY CORNER – BRUNY ISLAND, TAS THINGS TO SEE AND DO: Beachside camping doesn’t get much better than this. Situated in South Bruny National Park is one of the prettiest 4X4 beach camping locations in the country. Sheltered from the southerly winds, Cloudy Corner campground provides a great spot to base yourself and explore all that Bruny Island has to offer. Bushwalking, swimming, fishing, boating and kayaking are all on the doorstep at Cloudy Corner and there’s culinary delights scattered throughout the island … all of which can be enjoyed back at camp.

HOW TO GET THERE: Ferry access to Bruny Island itself is via the town of Kettering, about half an hour south of Hobart. Cloudy Corner campground is accessed via the beach ramp at Cloudy Bay and requires approx 3km of beach driving with the last 200m via a rugged and sandy track up onto the headland. Ensure you drop your tyre pressures and drive below the high tide mark to ensure any shore bird nesting sites are left alone.

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ROBE, SA

THINGS TO SEE AND DO: A great trip out of Melbourne or Adelaide, the Robe/Beachport area offers heaps for the four-wheel driver. Little Dip Conservation Park allows you to explore the bush behind the dunes; or if you want to get sandy, the dunes themselves offer world-class driving. Make sure you bring a sand flag as the terrain makes it all too easy to not see what’s up ahead. Spend your time soaking baits or just kicking back in coastal bliss.

HOW TO GET THERE:

Coming out of Melbourne, take the Glenelg Highway west and sit on it for six hours or so until you see signs to Robe, follow them and you’re golden. Coming out of Adelaide, take the Princes Highway south for a bit over three hours and follow the signs to Robe. The locals will be able to sort you out with beach permits, directions and up-todate camping conditions.

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PEBBLY BEACH, NSW THINGS TO SEE AND DO: Yuraygir National Park is just north of Coffs Harbour, and has arguably one of the best beach camping spots in the country: Pebbly Beach. It’s perfect for fishing, swimming, diving and just relaxing by the fire and (if you can swing it) is best visited mid-week when you may well have the place to yourself.

HOW TO GET THERE: Head north out of Coffs on the freeway and take the signposted turn-off to Yuraygir National Park. Head east for about 10km until you see the signs for Station Creek. A short drive up the beach will bring you to Station Creek itself (which is tidal). You’ll need to cross the creek to gain access to the camping ground, so make sure you time your arrival around low tide.

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WILBINGA, WA THINGS TO SEE AND DO: One of the closest beaches to Perth where you can go four-wheel driving, Wilbinga is a great place to spend a few days by the water. If dune-driving, lying in the sun and swimming in crystal waters sounds like a bit of you – then this place will be paradise. There are numerous dunes for you to test your skills on and the beach fishing is excellent too. If I wasn’t at work, I’d be there right now.

HOW TO GET THERE: Wilbinga is only 70km north of Perth so it makes the ideal weekend getaway. The entry track is a couple of kays south of Woodridge along Indian Ocean drive. The entry track is soft sand, so make sure you bring your air compressor and shovel; and don’t forget the sand flag either!

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FLINDERS BEACH, QLD THINGS TO SEE AND DO: Flinders Beach is quieter than other spots due to the 4WDaccess-only camping site. Enjoy camping the way it was when you were a kid – with limited facilities but a killer view and fantastic beach access. Dogs are allowed on the beach too, which is a big plus. Grab a permit and let your tyres down and enjoy trips up and down the dunes.

HOW TO GET THERE: Flinders beach camping area is a 4WD-accessible-only camping area. Only a short drive and ferry ride from Brisbane and you’re at North Stradbroke Island. From the ferry, follow the signs to Flinders Beach or drive out to Point Lookout and enter the beach at the Adder Rock Beach access. An annual permit is required to drive 4WDs on Flinders and Main beaches.

Do you love beach camping?

Tell us where your favourite spot is.

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CAPE HARDY BEACH, SA THINGS TO SEE AND DO: The camping ground is very easy to access. Locals say Cape Hardy beach is a hidden gem and the best camping ground going around. They also offered up a tip for your trip: The best spot to camp is along the fenceline. Cape Hardy is a ‘must do’ stop for keen campers/fishermen – with plenty of beach access for boats and 4X4s.

HOW TO GET THERE: The route into the camping ground is a gravel road but it can easily be traversed by a two-wheel drive and caravan. The camping ground is located 6km off the Lincoln Highway, with the turn-off approximately 11km from Port Neill.

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MAGAZINE

CREDITS Managing Editor Tim Stanners

Graphic Designer Laura Boshammer

Editor Dex Fulton

Senior Graphic Designer Tanya Mills

Deputy Editor Evan Spence

Customer Service Manager James Fox

Editorial Assistant Allysia Murray Journalist Sam Purcell General Manager Eldon De Croos Director of Sales and Marketing Mark Muras National Sales and Marketing Manager Edward WhitďŹ eld Key Account Manager Allan Goldby

Head of Video Production Shawn Peach Sub-Editor Trevor Lang Contributors Vic Widman, Todd Hore, Jo Clews, Wayne Nielsen, Christina Cannes, Nicole Cooper Photographers Matt Fehlberg, David Varyo, Wayne Nielsen, Christina Cannes, Vic Widman, Todd Hore, Jo Clews, Scott Mason

This issue of Unsealed 4X4, brought to you by

discount fuel vouchers and energy drinks Publisher Pat Callinan Publishing Pty Ltd

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