Foreword: Ryan Lennon is a businessman and Avid Jeep owner. He enjoys documenting his trips with stunning photography and will have a regular blog spot with the Cricks Mt Gravatt team. We hope you enjoy and follow along with his adventures†
Having 14 days off work is not something that comes around very often, not for me anyway so I took the opportunity to pack up the newly acquired Rubicon and put some more outback kms on the ODO and enjoy what the middle of Australia had to offer.
Okay, so Uluru is close to the Centre but Innamincka is still properly outback and my planned route also took in some well etched 4x4ing routes such as the Old Strzelecki and New Strzelecki track, Warraweena 4x4 and conservation park in the Flinders. It is home to the highest driveable point in the regions area that would give me a proper chance to test the newly acquired Fox suspension and spend some time traversing some of Australia s most historic and iconic regions. These regions include Camerons Corner, Flinders rangers in SA, Victorian High Country (where this amazing white stuff called snow lives for part of the year) and the boarder drive between Victoria/NSW.
Packed solid including Fridge/Freezer, swag, cooking bits and pieces, Hema, Comms CB setup and the necessary Sat phone (cheers dave) I pointed the newly painted black AEV bonnet westbound and headed out of Brisbane before the first shift worker decided to start slowing the pace on the motorway. Heading out through Cecil Plans and getting past the first of what would be a few road trains, you appreciate having 210kw under your right boot as it slinks back a couple of cogs picks up the nose and passes without fuss, it certainly got me thinking that with a bit of weight reduction and a few more ratios to work with (call it 8 rather than the 5 currently) it would refine itself as an overall ultimately capable tourer. The seats are just right, aircon is superb in even Australia sauna towns and that new Alpine sound system with some chest thumping bass is just right for those long road trips.
I managed to get a solid 800km done in the first day in an attempt to get majority of the blacktop out of the way in the first 24 hours and set up the swag down on the river at Cunnamulla on the first night. It is an Interesting town with a very rich history and incorporated one of the largest mail runs in Australia back when you had horse and cart rather than 300 horse power. The town itself is only small but the locals are welcoming and make some great pies well worth the visit even if your just passing through. My next port of call would be Innaminka some further 800km away and with a bit of that being off the blacktop it was another early start before a quick refuel and reset cruise control for day 2.
The further you head west the narrower that blacktop gets until it gets no more, the road signs go from towns and instead morph into; oil field/well or which Santos gas field is next. Your next township get measured by hundreds of kms rather than 45 minute gaps and your next lot of phone reception. It becomes imperative that you are mindful of your fuel usage as there is no Caltex and itís a long way to walk and an even longer wait if you need help. The JKs touring range of approx. 650 between fills helped between Thargominda and Innaminka (take note of when you go, the last day of the Birdsville races ensures the town is overflowing and peak hour traffic ensues not ideal) I would like to think that fuel range would only increase given the incoming JLs weight reduction and better raked windscreen but overall I was very impressed with how the JK just lopped along at 110 and ate the kms with ease. It just puts a smile on your face every time you turn the key, that is the joy of a Jeep over anything else is the experience, it is not an appliance it is a way of life.