Top ten tips for 4WD trips -The Story of Planning, Preparation and Performance

It was a great plan, Day one, leave work, 4WD loaded, ready to go and accommodation set to make Day 1 easier.


Everyone was leaving Brisbane with the same idea, a 45 min drive, took 2.5 hours, all the things I thought I would have lots of time to do, disappeared and we were on the back foot.

With the benefit of hindsight, and I have been doing this for a while, here are our takeaways.

1. Download Maps

Download maps before you leave, be it hema or google. once data is gone, it is all you will have.

Fraser Island Adventures
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

2. The Essentials!!!

Maybe it is because I am a boy, but I seriously thought an Air BNB style accommodation would have the basics like toilet paper and dish washing liquid. However we did rationing proud to declare ourselves king of the Covid TP pandemic.

3. Data and Connectivity

Yep, didn’t think of that either, I mean how big is Orchid Beach, well we explored most streets twice, by streets I mean sand tracks in a grid type fashion, did get some great numbers for future stays though.

4. Pack

Pack the night before. Each day, we would lose an hour fluffing around. Yes it takes discipline when all you want is to light the fire pit, crack the first beer and delegate cooking to someone. However, it was so worth it to keep the troops moving, unpack, clean and repack, so in the morning, it was Fish, BBQ breaky and go.

5. Fuel

Final stop before the barge, was the Shell servo, to top up tanks and get anything missed in essentials, no, that did not include Toilet paper, we are boys…….. 🙂

6. Time Management

Use your time wisely, we got to the barge at Tewantin, and so had everyone else. Whilst the queue looked forever long, it actually moved quite quickly, so we used the time to air down and prep for our on beach adventure.  I also checked everyone had their beach permits, those that didn’t, they had plenty of time to log on and check in.

7. Communication

I have a case, filled with cameras, handheld radios, and cables, all easily plugged into a charge point in the truck, however, this time I took our fridge and expected all cameras and coms to be charged. Assumption is the mother of all disasters.

  1. Establish alternative means of communication before you start.
  2.  Each driver maintains the next driver in their mirrors
  3. If attention or slowing down is required, a flash of the high beams until the coresponding drivers respond.
  4. Never leave a car behind.
  5. Stop if you cannot see all of your group.
  6. When oncoming vehicles happen, indicate left to warn all your troop to move left and avoid potential head on crashes.

8. Weight

People do not realise how easily it is to overload your 4WD. For instance, they do not take into consideration the weight of passengers. If you have a GVM of 750kg and have four adults, you really only have 390 kg of payload. This disappears really quickly. So what I like to do, is once everyone is together, distribute the weight of all of your gear evenly. This helps everyone.

9. Have a Plan

Have a plan. Our plan was:

  1. Meeting point at our accommodation (6am) , the awesome Deluxe Forest Escape, at Tewantin, try it on
  2. Barge at North Shore Ferries, by 6.30am
  3. Cooloola by 7am
  4. Double Island point by 8. Reason being, it was all about tide management so we could cross the rocks at Rainbow Bay, to make the barge.
  5. Barge Inskip Ferries by 10.
  6. Eli Creek for lunch

10. Plans Change

A plan is good, but as in the movie, Ford Vs Ferrari, where Carrol Shelby, aka Matt Damon, says “Plans change” so will your plans as your adventure unfolds. the best advice, always allow for contingencies.

Looking for more? Our Pre-trip planning guide, everything you need to know

Written By



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Graduates of Total Driver have a 400% reduction in accidents over the first 3 years of obtaining their license, in comparison to the national average*.

The question we ask all supervisors:

“Will you bet your child’s life you have the skills to teach the art of driving?”