Your birding vehicle

To: "Graham Etherington" <>
Subject: Your birding vehicle
From: peter crow <>
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 09:08:22 +1000
Hello Graham,

Most places in Australia are accessible by 2WD. In saying this I will probably be rubbished by many who know better. I have travelled most of Australia including a few deserts where 4WD is necessary but in most other places 2WD does. I drive a Nissan Patrol (I can hear the laughs) but seldom use 4WD. In 150,000 km I have used 4WD for about 70km. (I did the Simpson Desert in another vehicle.)

I own this large vehicle as I pull a caravan and only for that. If I didn't have a caravan I would probably own a Subaru Forester.

On an Atlassing expedition in 1999 we were accompanied by a Forrester across much of western Queensland including about four hundred km within the Simpson Desert and only lack of clearance on a few sandy dunes gave it any problems. 99% of gravel, dirt or unmade roads do not need 4WD.

Visit Inskip Point and see the Holdens and other sedans driven on to sand in the camping areas including some pulling trailers.

The best vehicle I have used for desert and mud conditions was a Land Rover.

4WD and low range is helpful in very steep situations ie climbing in and out of some river crossings on Cape York but one can cover much of the cape without encountering these places.

In answer to your question the simple answer is 4WD in not necessary most of the time (98%) but it is handy at times. If you intend to do lots of desert work or climb steep hills 4WD is essential and a larger one is better. There are so many small all wheel drives or soft roaders availaivble at fairly reasonable prices that it is probably sensible to go for one of these rather than a low slung passenger vehicle.

A thought is that a diesel vehicle will go further on a tank of fuel than an equivalent petrol one. this is handy in remote areas as one doesn't have to carry cans of fuel.

Hope this is of a little help.

Peter Crow

On Thursday, February 23, 2006, at 08:35 PM, Graham Etherington wrote:

Hi everyone,
I'm expecting to move from the UK to Brisbane at the end of March or
the beginning of April. I'm planning of spending a lot of time
birding, probably going away for birding trips every other weekend, by
My question is this - do you really need 4x4 to fully enjoy the best
of QLD/NWS birding? I know I'll need something with plenty of space
for camping gear and the like, but I'd be interested to see how many
Australian birders use 4WD vehicles (and where you use them).
I've visited Queensland once before and thought that a good off-road
vehicle would have been handy sometimes, especially at places such as
Noosa Plain and Lamington.
Also, what about the various different types of 4x4. I know about the
usual Nissan Patrols and Toyota Landcruisers, but what about the
'station wagon' type 4x4. Anyone use one of them?
So, what I'm really after is comments from birders about what they
drive (4x4 or other), how they think their vehicle copes with birding
terrain, how necessary they consider a 4x4 to be, and where they spend
most of their time birding.

Looking forward to joining you all in Oz and meeting up with some of
the local birders in Queensland.
Best wishes,
Graham Etherington
Norwich, UK
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