Among the greatest joys of retirement is joining the ranks of grey nomads who explore our beautiful country every year. There’s nothing quite like hitting the road for far-flung places, exploring new vistas and revisiting old favourite destinations.

Travelling in autumn and winter can be a busy time for grey nomads – particularly since the weather is more forgiving than in the heat of summer, especially away from Australia’s coastline.

Yet heading out to explore Australia is not as simple as it might seem on the surface and, particularly if you intend on travelling remotely in the Outback or off-road, you need to know where you’re going, what to expect regarding the conditions, and ultimately, be prepared.

Be Prepared!

First and foremost, you need to have a plan. Even though aspects of your trip can be a magical mystery tour (and isn’t this sometimes the best way to travel?), you need to have a general plan.

  • You need to understand the sheer size of Australia – and this is something that trips up a lot of travellers, especially those grey nomads who have come from overseas. Australia is a vast land and distances between places on a map can be deceiving. For someone who is used to Europe, for example, Australia’s size comes as a shock. Similarly, few Americans understand that Australia is just as big as the continental USA. Particularly if you’re travelling in more remote areas, you need to be prepared, know the distance you need to travel each day, and ensure you have enough fuel, water, and food (snacks) to get you to the next stop.
  • Know what to expect regarding road conditions. Few sedans can handle conditions in the Outback, which is why 4WD vehicles are so popular among grey nomads in Australia. Many of our main highways are just single lane, dual-carriageway roads. Many roads in more remote areas are not paved. Wet weather can make dirt roads impassable. Know where you’re going and what to expect.
  • It’s important to let someone at home know at least the basics of where you expect to be going when you expect to arrive, and that you keep in touch on a regular basis – even if it’s just an email or text message, check in once a week at a minimum.
  • In any circumstance, always stay with your vehicle. Too many travellers in the Outback have experienced disaster because they’ve left their vehicle and walked off in unforgiving conditions such as heat.

What to Take

When you’re heading Outback or anywhere even a little off the beaten track, make sure you take these essentials:

  • Plenty of fresh water
  • Food – enough for each person for two days
  • Current and detailed area maps
  • Radio – to get weather forecasts
  • Emergency beacon such as EPIRB or SPOT
  • Clothing for both hot and cold conditions
  • Matches, firelighter blocks, and compass
  • Loud Whistle
  • Toolset – including jack, globes, fuses, fan belt, torch, shovel
  • Spare Tyre (two is better)
  • First Aid kit including medicines you need
  • If travelling to a remote area, take a 2-Way HF Radio. Make sure it has Telstra and Flying Doctor frequency capability

Your Vehicle

  • Know your 4WD. If you’re not an experienced 4WDer, get some practice in before you leave on your trip. Know when and how to engage the 4WD function.
  • Check your tyre pressure daily. If crossing sandy tracks, you may need to deflate tyres somewhat.
  • Before you travel, get advice regarding your suspension. Old Man Emu offers the best 4WD suspension products in Australia. This is crucial for your comfort and the wellbeing of your vehicle.
  • A bull bar is an important safety addition to your 4WD if you are travelling in the country, bush, or Outback. It will save your vehicle and even your life if you collide with a kangaroo, wombat, or another animal.

Other Basic Tips

  • Know and adhere to total fire bans
  • Extinguish all campfires completely
  • Respect state quarantine laws
  • Know where it is safe to swim – if unsure, don’t. This includes ocean, rivers, waterholes and lakes – where risks can include rips, currents, crocodiles, etc.
  • Respect Indigenous Communities
  • Respect Native wildlife and ecosystem
  • Carry extra fuel

Why Choose ARB Maroochydore?

When you come to ARB Maroochydore, you know you’re getting the very best in products and advice. We are the Sunshine Coast’s largest 4wd accessories store. Our owners Nick & Lara have more than 20 years of experience 4wding, camping, and touring Australia’s most beautiful and remote places. Their real-world experience and the knowledge and service that the sales team at ARB Maroochydore has to offer makes them stand out from the rest.

Planning a trip? Come in and say hi, check out what we offer, and get set for your next grey nomads adventure today!