Your birding vehicle

Subject: Your birding vehicle
From: "Peter Ewin" <>
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2006 14:43:20 +1100
Be prepared to open your wallet and not drive up hills. My dad had an OKA
for his business and it was the biggest money waste he ever invested in. The
toursits loved it because it was big and impressive but it was expensive to
run, impossible to service (WA is a long way from Murwillumbah) and was
hopeless off the flat.

From: L&L Knight <>
Reply-To: L&L Knight <>
To:  (Birding Aus)
Subject: Re: [BIRDING-AUS] Your birding vehicle
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 21:10:54 +1000

There's an Aus made vehicle that's missing from the list Ian - the Oka,
which for me is the ultimate offroad behemoth.  The WA cops use them for
their desert patrols, and they would appear to have the ultimate in ground
clearance [short of one of those mining truck monsters].

Regards, Laurie.

On Friday, February 24, 2006, at 09:01  PM, Ian May wrote:

g'Day all

The question of what is the ultimate birding vehicle is like a question I
asked an old mate of mine, what is the best outback 4WD? Alex replied,
"that?s a bit like asking me what the best political party is.  Nearly
everyone thinks their choice is best but once you strip away the spin and
BS, what you have left is useless most of the time and very expensive to

Yeah right I said.   For about 20 years, Alex had the responsibility for
dragging many stranded visitors out of the South Australian desert, from
Oodnadatta to Innaminka and south to Arkaroola after they took what was
considered their ultimate off road vehicle a little too far off the road. 

For what its worth, here is a summary of his experience. 
Mitsubishi Pajaero/Holden Rodeo/Rav 4 etc.   The source of much plastic
pollution across the desert

Nissan Nevara/Pathfinder/Toyota Hilux etc etc.   Objects better used for
the study of metal fatigue and passenger stress than rough country

Subaru  (The ultimate birding vehicle blah, blah?)   Well not for long
after an inch of rain on the Strez or Birdsville track.  When the going
gets tough fuel consumption is about as good as the V8.  Have you tried
looking through the windscreen with binoculars? And the cost of parts!!!!

Susuki! What?  They make good motorbikes and outboard motors. But try
buying parts in the bush. Need a windscreen?  And, don?t run out of
gears.  Excellent golf buggies though.

Toyota Landcruiser/Prado Blah blah blah.  Remember the jingle "Toyota
tough!  That means tough on the arse and tough on the pocket."

Nissan Patrol?  Sorry Tony!  Can?t resist.  Rebadged Lancruiser.  The
drivers mostly evolved from a scene in Mad Max II.  If you like eating
dust you will love a Patrol. 

Landrover.  With the best centre of gravity and power weight ratio, if you
have access to two things, (1) your own oil well and (2) your own team of
mechanics, Landrover is the ultimate off road vehicle.  And because the
body panels are made of aluminium, when bogged in Lake Eyre they make good
landmarks as the wreckage lasts much longer than steel vehicles.

What then is the ultimate 4WD?.  Alex said, after a flood like 74, if the
engine starts when the key is turned, that?s good but in a drought like
the one we have just had, the one that takes you through the bulldust in
comfort is best.


Hope that helps..





Ian May
St Helens, Tasmania.

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