See-through Kayaking on Moreton Island
Planning a holiday in 2018 can be a stressful ordeal for you and your family, however, planning is absolutely necessary to ensure that everything is smooth sailing once you get on the road. In this article, we’ll map out our top destinations, planning considerations and tyre tips for your ultimate road trip, whether that be by car, SUV or 4WD.
When you’re getting away via car, it’s always best to plan just a day trip. While the luxury of travelling around for a weekend or longer might be tempting, it’s better to start small and build your way up! Ensure that you and your family are always on talking terms by keeping car trips short so you don’t have to resort to “the wheels on the bus” style singing.
Our top day trip getaways less than one day from a capital city:
When you own a four wheel drive, the whole world of 4wd trips opens up to you. With countless options and possibilities, it’s hard to pin down just a few locations.
LANDCRUISER MOUNTAIN PARK, QUEENSLAND (Approx. 2 Hours from Brisbane)
This 4WD park is 10,000 acres of 4WD tracks, campgrounds and natural attractions. Family-friendly and dog-friendly, it’s a great place to sharpen your 4WD skills (there’s over 200km of tracks with varying degrees of difficulty for you to try out) or to relax in the sunshine while freshwater fishing.
Image courtesy of: landcruisermountainpark.com.au
THE BRINDABELLAS, NEW SOUTH WALES
(Approx. 4 Hours from Sydney)
A mere hour west of Canberra, the historic McIntyre’s Hut in the Brindabellas is perfect for a 4WDing weekend. There are plenty of tracks in this mountainous area to keep you entertained, whether you are looking for an easy bit of scenic driving or some serious ruts and jolts to put your 4WD through its paces. Camp beneath the eucalypts by the Goodradigbee River and throw in a line or watch the kangaroos and wallabies come out at dusk.
Image courtesy of: Aussie Towns
SHEEPYARD FLAT, VICTORIAN HIGH COUNTRY (Approx. 3.5 Hours from Melbourne)
If a relaxing weekend in the high country by a mountain river is your cup of tea, Sheepyard Flat is smack on the crystal clear waters of the Howqua River, which is great for fishing during the trout season and swimming during the warmer months. The campground occupies a beautiful spot under tall river gums and green grass, and there are some really nice walks along the river including one to Fry’s Hut.
Image courtesy of: Hema Maps
LANCELIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA (Approx. 1.5 Hours from Perth)
Drive north from Perth and you’ll reach Lancelin in less than two hours. This is a great place to do some serious sand dune driving and is very popular with off-road vehicles including motorbikes and buggies. Just be sure to air down your tyres and bring recovery gear, as the dunes can be very soft and getting bogged is nothing unusual here. The dunes can be dangerous if you aren’t an experienced 4WDer; it always pays to check if it’s too steep to avoid accidents and rollovers.
Image courtesy of: Around You
GOOLWA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA (Approx. 1.5 Hours from Adelaide)
If you like a bit of beach driving, Goolwa is less than two hours from Adelaide and offers both salt and freshwater fishing. Drive along the beach to the Murray Mouth for some surf fishing but watch out for super soft sand and make sure you air down your tyres. If you’re keen on staying behind the wheel, you can also drive Deep Creek Conservation Park’s Boat Harbour Track, Blow Hole Beach Track and Blackhouse Track.
Image courtesy of: South Australia
For the more adventurous Four Wheel Driver, you may want to tackle some iconic four-wheel driving destinations. In Australia, we have plenty of those! Check out our favourite Iconic Destinations here.
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Checking your tyre pressures is easily one of the most important things you need to do before a trip. Failure to maintain correct pressures may result in uneven wear, improper vehicle handing, and excessive heat build-up which could result in tyre failure.
More tread means more mileage. More tread also gives you shorter braking distances, which is essential for sudden conditions changes, or wet conditions. Although 1.6mm of tread depth is the legal limit in Australia, tread depths below 3mm take considerably longer distances to brake, putting your safety at risk.
The regular care and maintenance of wheel alignment and balancing are crucial to the performance and wear of your tyres. Failing to align and balance your tyres will give you an uncomfortable and unstable drive. You don’t really want that for a long drive or even putting your safety at risk when you need your tyres to stay stable and true on the road.
Before you head off, inspect your spare tyre to make sure it is free from cuts, nails and any evident damage. Also, make sure it has a safe tread level left and it’s properly inflated to the conditions you are planning to drive on.
The excitement of a trip in the horizon can easily lead to overloading your vehicle. Driving on an overloaded tyre is hazardous. When your car is carrying too much load, the weight can create excessive heat inside your tyres – with the potential to cause sudden tyre failure. Never exceed the maximum load rating of your tyres, which you can find on the sidewall of the tyre. When you replace a tyre, make sure the new one has a load-carrying capacity equal to or greater than what is specified on your vehicle’s placard. To avoid this, check what your load-carrying capacity is and plan accordingly. Learn what the Load Index and Speed Ratings mean.
Run your hand over your tyres. Do they feel smooth and even? Or more like a saw blade or lumpy? When your tyres are nice and even you can feel confident that your wheel alignment is within spec and you are going to have nice even driving ahead of you. If there is uneven wear, it can mean a number of things. As little as your wheel alignment being out through to your suspension being worn out or not working properly. If this is the case you should take you 4WD to your tyre shop or suspension specialist before you leave for a quick once over.
By removing small rocks that may be stuck in your tread blocks – you are decreasing the likelihood of a puncture down the track. Rocks that are stuck in your tread will wear down with your tyres or cause separation by drilling into the tyres’ case and then into the steel belts. This will cause a puncture and if the rock is of a reasonable size may cause the puncture to be non-repairable – then you are up for a whole new tyre not just the small price to fix a puncture.
By looking at the current state of your tyres you can see if there is any pre-existing damage to them. This will give you an indication of your last trip off-road. If there are some chips out of the tread or in extreme cases chunks of tread missing altogether, you may have been running too high pressures or going too fast along the track. By slowing down or running a lower pressure this will prevent that from happening.