4WDing off road

4WDing

Australia is a big country and Dr Andrew Hemming of Ripley Veterinary Hospital in QLD likes exploring it with his 4WD and camper.

 “When I was a kid, my parents owned a 4WD and we took a lot of trips around Southeast Qld and the NT. Annually, we would visit Fraser Island for a camping holiday on the beach. I got my driver’s licence in 1999 and bought my first 4WD—a Mitsubishi Triton—in 2007.

“I was living in Tasmania at that time and decided to take it on a trip around Australia. I modified the Triton by putting in a diesel chip and adding a new exhaust system, suspension, front and back diff locks, a long-range fuel tank, a bull bar, tow bar, side steps and side protection rails. I also managed to get some sponsorship as I was planning to write articles on four-wheel driving for various magazines.

“I had sponsorship from ARB, Lightforce and Maxtrax, and that set me up reasonably well. The car was even exhibited in the ARB stand at one of the car shows in Tasmania. I also had a camper trailer called an Ultimate. It’s one of the few true off-road camping trailers. Wherever we took the car, the trailer followed.

“I left from Tasmania and went through Victoria, NT, back around through NSW, then up to Queensland. Unfortunately, my dad had heart surgery and I had to cut the trip short. That’s how I ended up living in Queensland.

“At present my wife and I have a young family so most off our trips are weekenders but we get away for at least one week a year—and now we travel in a Cruiser. I love remote area travel where you have to carry everything you need—fuel, food, water, chocolate, etc. Some of the most amazing places to visit are in the Red Centre and up into the Northern Territory.

“One time we were at Pink Lake in Victoria and we got bogged in the salt. There are no trees around the lake and it looked bad. Eventually I found a tree branch that I attached to the winch cable and buried deep in the mud. It took about eight hours before we had the car and trailer out of the bog.

“What I love about 4WDing is that it gives me a chance to get away with my family and spend some time just with them. There’s nothing better than getting out into nature and seeing really spectacular stuff. Having a 4WD gives you the ability to get to those places and go wherever you want. Basically, it’s just a whole lot of fun.”  

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