We walk you through the first steps of 4WD trip planning and preparation for your journey around Australia
4WD trip planning: Starting the Journey
Ok, you’ve made the decision to sell up and hit the road on an adventure of a lifetime. The feeling is liberating and exciting but then reality hits you like a smack in the mouth. Time for some 4WD trip planning!
There’s a hell of a lot of work and planning to get done before you can depart on your dream trip. You need to get the 4×4 ready, sell/rent out the house or break your lease, quit your job, the list goes on and on. But don’t let this reality stress you out.
The key to 4WD trip planning is keeping it simple! With some simple organization and prioritization, you will be ticking off jobs in no time.
First things first, set a departure date! Give yourself a realistic target, and plan to leave at a time when the weather will be optimal for your chosen route.
We wanted to head north from Melbourne in March, so the weather would be getting progressively warmer as we made our way up the country. We would also be maximizing our time in Far North Queensland (FNQ) during the dry season.
4WD Trip Planning: Lists, and More Lists
Now that you have your departure date set, you also have your timeframe for preparation. Take it from me, there’s a lot more to do than you first think, give yourself enough time!
The best way to organize your prep is to make lists, lots of lists. Here’s an example of a few of mine:
- 4WD prep list
- Camper trailer prep list
- House prep list
- Items to sell list
- Items/accessories to buy list
After you have taken the time to list everything that comes to mind you will have a good idea of the prep work involved.
4WD Trip Planning: Prioritise Everything
Don’t for a second think that you are done though, you will be adding to these lists as you go. I reckon that every time I ticked off a job, I added three more to my 4wd trip plan!
Next you will want to prioritize jobs in terms of importance and time consumption. For example, a full major service of your vehicle is high priority and may take you a day or a whole weekend depending on how good you are on the tools.
I ended up getting delayed for several weeks on my 4WD prep list as the Melbourne weather decided to great me with constant rain on the weekends (to be expected, Melbourne). I didn’t have the luxury of a shed; so all work was done in the drive way or on the street.
It’s also worth trying to leave the easy stuff like fluid changes as late as possible, that way you give yourself longer on your lap before the oil is due for another change.
While we are on the topic of vehicle prep, it’s wise to replace every consumable or serviceable part that you can. Think front wheel bearings, brake pads, all belts, fluids and filters etc etc.
Even if they look in good condition, swap them out and keep the old parts as spares. It’s much easier to do this work at home than half way up a steep track when something lets go.
Thats it for part one of 4wd trip planning. Next time we will be looking at big lap budgets, how much do you really need in the piggy bank?
Take it easy,