It's Over Land Rover
Time to address a slight change in our automobile selection...
We need to discuss the elephant (er, Land Rover) in the room. While we would've loved to set off across the outback in a beautiful Land Rover Defender, things aren't quite panning out that way. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. Coming to the land down under one quickly realizes this is an overlander and explorers paradise. It seems every third car is a built up Toyota Land Cruiser, or Nissan Patrol, decked out with bull bars, roof racks and auxiliary lights (referred to as spotties down here). Needless to say, I'm like a kid in a candy store down here! If you thought I was excited about cars at the Vermont Overland Rally, than you haven't seen me in Oz!
After speaking fairly extensively with locals, it seemed access to replacement parts is going to be a lot easier with a Toyota or Nissan, and for the type of journey we are about to embark on reliability and access to parts is going to be a large deciding factor. I will admit that there was a certain amount of disappointment coming to this realization, but at the end of the day the truck is just a means to having this epic adventure. If we had some deeper pockets then maybe we could've done a Land Rover, but when you're operating on a budget you need to work with what you have (unless of course Land Rover wants us to test out one of their new Defenders that are being released today).
So now back to what I was saying, it seems Nissans and Toyotas are the local pick for trucks, especially for bush travel. While there is a fairly extensive selection of decent Land Cruiser 80 Series for sale, many of these are petrol, which are not as efficient and will end up costing more in the long run. What we're in the market for is the classic Land Cruiser Troopcarrier with dual tanks and diesel engine, or else a Nissan Patrol of which almost all are diesel. Having come from a not so efficient petrol guzzling Jeep wrangler, a slightly more efficient, powerful, and reliable diesel engine is a very appealing prospect. In what has become borderline obsessive, I've spent countless hours trolling the online marketplaces for good looking rigs, some built up, some stock. If you want ideas of ways to pass hours waiting in an airport terminal, car shopping is always a good activity!
There seems to be an endless supply of trucks, yet an ending supply of peoples time to meet us to look at trucks, which can be challenging to say the least. Although only three days in, I'm just about bouncing off the walls with anticipation to find our rig and start setting it up. In the immortal words of Will Ferrell, "there's just so much room for activity!" I have so many ideas in my head of how to build our rig, that I wish we could just begin our build and camp set up, and every listing I scroll through or contact is just another blank canvas begging to be made into our adventure home.
We have checked out one potential vehicle so far. Leaving from the town of Buderim, we drove south to a place called Beerwah, and let me tell you how spectacular the views are along the way. One quickly realizes how remote of a country Australia is as a quick 15 minute drive from the town center soon puts you on a road overlooking the gorgeous Glass House Mountains. Things like this do not do well to help stifle my excitement about being able to load up our future rig and drive into the bush. Our first official truck viewing was a 2003 Nissan Patrol, decked out and ready for adventure. Let me tell you, there is something very satisfying in turning the key and hearing that diesel engine roar to life, enveloped in the smell of diesel exhaust I could almost picture ourselves somewhere down a red dirt road chasing the golden hour for a photograph. While this i just the first of a few trucks we're looking at, it definitely may be a contender for our expedition, but more on that in another post once we actually check out a few more and figure out which truck to buy!
So who would've know that the devout Jeep driver and Land Rover enthusiast would be so dedicated to finding a Toyota or a Nissan?! Perhaps it was lessons from the school of hard knocks, and all the history I've had with not so reliable vehicles? Probably not, lets be honest here, if we could we'd be buying a Defender right now!
No bother though, the hunt continues! The journey is half the fun right, and this process is all a part of our journey to adventure!