Your birding vehicle

To: "'peter crow'" <>, "'Graham Etherington'" <>
Subject: Your birding vehicle
From: "Tony Russell" <>
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 09:56:29 +1030
Of course one doesn't actually use 4wd for most of the time but it's
those awkward remote places with poor roads where street cars cannot go
and where the birds you wish to see most often are. My bird list would
be way below 700 if not for having a 4x4 facility ( Nissan Patrol, magic
machine)when needed. And it takes my off road caravan with it too.

Incidentally, for those frowning on the term off road, it really means
rough road, not actually charging across the donga, birders never do

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of peter crow
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2006 9:38 AM
To: Graham Etherington
Subject: Your birding vehicle

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 

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

> car. 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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