From the moment we arrived the vehicles have awed us. These folks really “get it” when it comes to overlanding type rigs. We learned a few facts and made a lot of observations on our own. Then we stopped by the Automobile museum in Launceston, Tasmania for an info overload! But most of our photos have been snapped as we cruise down the highways.
The small and medium trucks are called “utes” or utility vehicle. Most of them have flat deck beds instead of truck beds with sides that we are accustomed to in the USA. Then each of the decks are modified to hold a variety of boxes, tools, dogs, campers and more. Most of them have ‘roo bars on the front (which seem to be useful in many areas, as the wallabies roam the roads) Many of the newer rigs are fitted with a snorkel, although we have yet to see water deep enough to demand a snorkel. But they look pretty cool!
The one we have borrowed is a Toyota 2wd with a basic flat deck and a handy vinyl cover.
This works perfectly for stowing our gear and zipping around. The interior layout is the same as the late 90’s and early 2000’s Toyotas in the USA, but the steering is on the left side. Mike has become quite adept at shifting with his left hand and using the turn signal stalk on the right side. He reports relief that the pedals are in the same positions (gas right, clutch left) so that only his hands have to adjust but not his feet!
Another style of “ute” we have seen here is a lower, car-style truck. These are similar to the old-style El Camino/Ranchero body style in the USA. These are generally painted flashy colors and driven by men wearing mullets and shorts that are too short or young men hoping to be noticed by hot young girls. Similar to the huge, lifted, jacked-up, 4×4’s in the USA; wiggles pinky finger in the air! (Yep, I said that here!)
We have encountered a few fantastic camper-type rigs. These are conversions on a basic frame or boxes built on to flat bed utes. But the coolest campers are the vans! (You knew we would think that, right?) There are VW vans, Toyota vans, Nissan vans, Mercedes vans and even Kia, Mazda and Mitsubishi are in on this awesomeness.
One van had a really cool windshield guard!
We also saw an Ambulance car- that makes perfect sense if the patient does not need to be laid out flat on a gurney for transport to the hospital!
There are a lot of Land Rovers in various configurations.
And cool trailers! Some pop open for camping use. Some trailers are for hauling dogs!
Many trailers have a pop-top section for easier towing but headroom. All trailers have plastic or Plexiglas windows instead of glass. At the National Museum we saw the original “over landing trailer” which was pulled by a human as is crossed the Australian outback.
We have seen a few “classic cars” on the road and several in the museum. Most are converted left-hand-drive. One of the unusual ones in the museum was a right-hand-drive Mustang Shelby that was shipped from the USA. Coincidentally this one has Arizona plates on it, still! (Our home base)
The new rigs here are really interesting. The Ford Ranger is produced as their “full-size” truck, and this example is all set up with snorkel, ‘roo bar, roof top tent, antenna, lights and accessories.
The Colorado is produced in Australia by Holden (more on that shortly). This example is also well accessorized!
Holden is a company that originally was developed to be the first automobile produced in Australia. It was a success and has enjoyed many years of production. Then the company was acquired by General Motors and now produces cars and trucks that are similar to the US models (but always right-hand-drive).
I am sure we will see many more vehicles that are worthy of note, so consider this massive picture collection to be just the beginning!