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Authored by Chelsea Antonieff

It’s time to go 4-wheeling, but you can’t just grab your day bag and jump in the truck. You have to prepare first.

Yes, this isn’t the most fun thing in the world to do, and it’s not very spontaneous. But, it could mean the difference between having a good time and a great time. It might also save your life.

  Don’t Travel During The Winter

The summer heat is a strong deterrent to traveling in the outback, but going during mid-winter has its disadvantages too. While the temperatures are cooler, it gets crowded out there.


Campsite during winter can become crowded very quickly.

A lot of people travel during this time of year, and you might not enjoy the trip as much. A weekend outback adventure doesn’t need to be taken during the middle of summer. You can go during the shoulder season or during the wet season.

Don’t underestimate the inconvenience and annoyance of having a lot of other people camping near you and getting in your way. It can ruin the whole trip.

Bring Lots Of Food and Water

If you’ve never travelled out west before, one thing you’ll notice is that it’s incredibly barren – there’s not a lot of places to stop and eat. So, bring food and water.

Non-perishable goods are perfect, but you can also bring some things like fruits that may keep for a few days. Dried foods will hold up nicely, like jerky, nuts, and dried fruit.

Bring several litres of water per person for a day trip. If you’re going to be out there for multiple days, consider bringing three litres per person, per day, per degree over 25 degrees, per kilometre on foot just for drinking.

Photo CC

Photo CC by GCNP

If you’re staying in your vehicle for the duration of the trip, you may still need at least 3 litres of water per day. During the winter, you can divide this number in half, plus one litre. You will be surprised how much water you can go through.

You might also want to bring a water filter that can filter non-potable water, just in case you run out of fresh water. The Life Straw is a good example of such a filter.

Prep Your Vehicle

Your vehicle will need spare hoses, clamps, tyres, wheels, and possibly even fluid out there if something goes wrong. It’s not uncommon for things to break when you’re travelling in such harsh conditions.

Fan belts and hoses are cheap, and they are absolutely necessary for your vehicle to run properly. If something breaks out there, you don’t want to be unprepared.

Also consider bringing at least 2 spare tyres and wheels. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to replace just the rubber tyre if you’re out in the blazing sun. It’s hard work, and best left to a mechanic.

Always remember

Always remember to prep your vehicle should anything go wrong mid trip.

A tyre and wheel assembly, on the other hand, it simple to replace. Finally, before you head out west, have your vehicle inspected for any leaks, signs of wear and tear, oil and air filters should be replaced, and you should check and replace coolant too.

Bring Walkie Talkies and UHF Radio

Your cell phone will probably be pretty useless out there. Bring walkie talkies and a UHF radio.

Also remember to leave your travel itinerary with someone you trust.

Bring First Aid

If you get injured, you’ll want first aid, since it’s unlikely you’ll find a hospital within any reasonable distance.

Where To Go

The Savannah Way

This route starts in North Queensland and takes you 3,699 kilometres through the Northern Territory to Kununurra.

The trip will take you through or near 15 national parks and landmarks.

Gibb River Road

This is one of the better, and more famous, roads people travel on.

It’s 660 Km long and takes you between Derby and Kununurra. It’s only accessible between the months of May and October.


Gibb River Road. Photo CC by Stephan Ridgway

Canning Stock Route

This is the ultimate test of your ruggedness, and it’s the more remote stock route on planet Earth.

It stretches 2,000 Km from Halls Creek to Wilung.

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Chelsea Antonieff is an avid outdoorswoman and travel enthusiast. When she’s not on the road, she’s sharing her experiences through her writings.

Look for her entertaining articles on various Internet blogs and websites.


  1. Some great advice. Having spares is essential. I wasn’t 4WD’g but I was in the outback. In a Holden Barina hatchback. On my way Birdsville.

    The short story is, we got a flat tyre on the Development Rd, and although we had a spare, we couldn’t risk going any further without a second spare. So we had to turn around and go back. :-(

    • Damn, that’s very annoying! But turning back was definitely the smartest thing to do.

      We’ve had our fair share of outback car trouble – the above photo of the 4WD with the bull bar off was a trip we took to Cape York (the top of Australia) and my friends were trying to fix a broken winch after an unfortunate situation in a water crossing!

      Traveling with spares and repair equipment is a must!

  2. Oh boy, it looks like I’ll have to postpone my trip to the outback and take an automotive technician class… or make friends with one!

    Thanks for the great post :)

    • As long as you research and take spares with you you’ll be fine! Just have a comprehensive Plan B in case things do happen while you’re on the road. It’s such an unbelievably experience, though you do need to be prepared!

      We actually had a rock fly up during one 4WD trip and smash our back windscreen. Luckily we had duct tape and cardboard in the car to create a makeshift screen!

  3. Great advice on going to the outback for the weekend! The details do matter! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Mary! Glad we could provide useful details for you – hope you can get into the Outback for an adventure of your own soon!

  4. Great tips Megan,

    Thanks for sharing, Worth tips for four wheeler Adventure tours. I admit with your “Bring Lots Of Food and Water, ” “Bring Walkie Talkies” points. Because it’s necessary things you must have to carry.

    • Thanks Riyaz – so glad you enjoyed the article. The storage of food, water and walkie talkies are definitely necessities for survival – situations can turn south fairly quickly without the aid of these!

  5. Wow… great adventure… I like your pictures. You capture the great country scenery.

    • Thankyou! So glad you enjoyed the post and the photos – the outback is truly one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world :)

  6. This is a great packing list! Walkie-talkies are so important to coordinate and communicate; cell-phones aren’t always reliable.

    • Glad you found the post helpful Kaitlyn! Backup communication is always so important when you’re heading somewhere remote :) Happy travels!

  7. Great adventure and post, thanks for sharing :)

    • Glad you enjoyed it Norman :) Happy travels!

  8. Nice reading material! Thanks for sharing details about your adventure.

    • Thanks Jeremy, glad you enjoyed the post :)

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