I had a Toyota Landcruiser from 1981 till 1996. It
was full of character but starting to rattle too much and things going wrong
with it. For some years it had a roof rack that I could climb onto (and I could
sleep on it if the weather was clear, as an alternative to putting up I tent).
It was great to be able to drive beside the mud flats at Lytton on south side of
the mouth of the Brisbane river, sit for an hour or more on a stool or the
storage box on the roof rack at about 3 to 4 metres above the ground, (which was
at least that much again above the mudflats), put up the telescope and watch
down on the flocks of waders with a comfort unimaginable in other arrangements.
Then in 1996, upon becoming unemployed (retrenched)
and realising I would be in for years of difficult times, simultaneously with
paying off my house mortgage, I decided I deserved an upgrade (to cheer me
up) and I bought a 1994 Land Rover Discovery (for vastly more than they
cost today). It is a superb vehicle and I almost love taking it on trips,
although I don't really like driving and don't like cars. Part of the benefit is
that I can tow my little camper trailer to places that I wouldn't dare trying to
with a normal car.
However I agree that there is no necessity for a
4WD for the vast majority of travelling to go birding in Australia. Also more
4WD get bogged than normal cars, mainly because more 4WD owners try going
to difficult places than normal car owners. I also suggest that the great
majority of 4WD owners have little idea of the capacity of their vehicles. It is
far more than just going over tracks that would trouble a conventional car. If
you wish to spend the big $s to obtain a 4WD, then it is worthwhile to join a
4WD club to learn how to use it. These clubs are generally environmentally
conscious and have good training programs. They are full of experience and
advice about any problems that may come up. Besides, the more people who are
interested in nature things, who join the 4WD clubs, the more benefit and
influence we can impart from our background to them.
As for the message from Adrian Nasti. I wouldn't
think that getting parts for Suburu would be easier than Land Rover but then
nothing ever goes wrong with a Land Rover (well almost true).
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