4WD Crossings and Off-road Fun

4WD crossings, equipment & tricks
Interesting projects
Encounters & life stories
Unusual sights
World kitchens
Who we are
Thank you!
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Western Australia

Western Australia. Half-a-day's drive from Perth heading north, our first experience of the bush is under dark, low-hanging skies.
Western Australia. The Tropic of Capricorn is now behind us. We obtain a permit to drive on a private track, property of a mining company, connecting Tom Price with the sea shore, 280 km northbound. Dust has already found its way inside the car...
Western Australia. We sometimes drive along the railroad tracks, also property of the mining company, in a landscape from which the red color gives way in the end.
Western Australia. Heading south, as we get close to Onslow, fine dust resumes penetrating inside.
Western Australia. Here, termites seem to like clay all right. We drive along their "villages"...
Western Australia. Ningaloo is our first encounter with a very airy kind of sand in which we get nicely bogged. It took us 16 hours of work to get out of it: shoveling, piling up alternate layers of sea-weeds and wet sand, and later on even pieces of coral and whale bones uncovered by the receding sea.
Western Australia. Natural pools offer a good opportunity to filter water and fill up our tank. We happily topped up here, but realized only the next day that we should have tried it first. It's brackish water!
Western Australia. To us, this landscape at Kennedy Range is emblematic of the outback, with its red track, yellow banks, green ribbon above the horizon and blue sky up above.
Western Australia. Off-tracking near Mount Augustus, our tires learn the hard way about wood chips. In this country, bush tires have 10 plies while ours have only 5... We also learn that it pays to wear boots sometimes...
Western Australia, north of the Murchison River. Well, at other times sandals are a better choice, such as in 35 degree-warm mud! Despite a number of showers and scrubbing sessions, our feet remained earth-colored for about two weeks. Foundation for feet, is that a new idea for cosmetics or what?
Western Australia. Getting close to Shark Bay, the sea wind carries more moisture and the bush gets a bit thicker, taking on a darker shade of green sandwiched between red earth and blue sky.
Western Australia. We are welcomed in Kalbarri by exotic grass-trees standing on a layer of bright yellow sand which here covers the red sandstone.
Western Australia. By the seashore, red sandstone is back.
Western Australia. Close to Cervantes and famous yellow Pinnacles, a reputedly difficult track leads to Lancelin further south. "Make sure you have two spare wheels" was the advice offered by the locals.
Western Australia, east of Albany. To reach the mouth of the Fitzgerald River 20 km away takes about an hour's drive on the National Park's tracks. And that's during the dry season!
Western Australia. From Hyden eastbound, an easy track follows the outlines of a lake where salt has killed all vegetation. Past this lake, the track returns to its monotonous straight course.
Western Australia. Nearing Kalgoorlie, dirt roads occasionally turn into sandy tracks, then resume their straight line appearance.
Western Australia. Between Norseman and Esperance, a few lakes come back to life after the rain.
Western Australia. 200 kms of tracks connect Esperance to Belladonia, for serious off-road lovers only. Our experience on this track was further spiced up with a bushfire which luckily for us, remained under our wind.
Western Australia. A semi-arid 1200 km plain separates us from the next town which will be in the next state, i.e. South Australia. In the middle of our crossing of the Nullarbor, we took some tracks through the Roe Plains to find a bivvy spot by the sea shore. This was our last off-road experience in Western Australia.
Western Australia. A road train needs at least one kilometer to come to a stop... To be on the safe side, we listen to channel 40 on a UHF radio and keep a good eye on our rear view mirror. This way, we know when to pull off and let these road giants go past us, driving at the speed limit of 110 km/h.
Western Australia. We were warned that wildlife and stray animals frequently cross roads or tracks in this country. In such an event, being able to come to a stop may be the key, but we were also advised to avoid driving at sunrise and sunset, hours when animals are most active.
Western Australia. Coming across one of Alistair's ancesters, such as here in Tom Price a Series III, is always a pleasant surprise, even if we do not always have the pleasure of meeting its proud, loving owner.
Western Australia. Most dirt roads are regularly evened out by caterpillars, making it possible for regular cars to use them during the dry season.
After the rain, they turn into mud fields. And after heavy rainfalls, even a 4WD might get stuck.
Western Australia. Although Alistair was out of the container where it had been loaded in Dubai, it was not declared road-worthy on time to take part in the day-outing in Harvey Hills organized through the AULRO website. So Robert got invited to join Stuart and his black Defender for his first off-road experience in Australia, during which he got to meet a group of Land Rover owners in the area.
Western Australia. The Perth Royal Show is a grand yearly event which gave us a chance to meet a cousin of Alistair's: an Australian army vehicle fitted with an Izuzu 3.9 liter-engine!

Sultanate of Oman

Sultanate of Oman, Fins. At such spots on the shore of the Indian Ocean, the cliff ends abruptly three meters above the ocean. We decided to continue... on foot.
Sultanate of Oman, Nizwa. We had better luck in this street than in the one we tried previously, whose width was a mere two centimeters short!
Sultanate of Oman, Ras Al Hadd. It was quite difficult to find our way through this very technical terrain, but the fish for dinner was worth it, don't you think ?
Sultanate of Oman, Sur. On first low gear and difflock up this fairly steep slope. From up top, what a gorgeous view over Al Aijah!

United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates. Stuck! Up to a dune ridge, looking onto a very steep slope. We may have been a bit too careful here, but that's fine by us. With a good shovel and a few kilos of sand displaced, our front wheels are back on track... or rather on sand.
United Arab Emirates. We are so proud that Alistair managed all the way to "Fossil Rock Pass" with its 2.5 litre diesel engine, its narrow tires 7.50x16 and in spite of its weight of 3.2 tons... While the other vehicles encountered here have 3.7 to 4.8 litre petrol engines and large tires, their only load being an icebox full of soft drinks!
United Arab Emirates. Camping on the Arab-Persian Gulf coast with "Sirocco", a splendid series III ambulance owned by Thierry and Dalila. The 110 in the background will be given a name once its equipment is completed by Vincent...

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia. No problem getting down to this beach but a lot harder to leave it, going up a fairly steep embankment covered with sand!
Saudi Arabia. Last moments of sunlight on a comfortable bivvy spot surrounded by sun- warmed sandstone.
Saudi Arabia. Reaching the back side of Mada In Saleh tombs, in the north-west of the country, requires passing through some fairly soft sand.
Saudi Arabia. Finding a few square meters of fairly flat ground in the north-western mountains was no easy task.


Jordan. Bivvying in the jebel, on the eastern side of Wadi Araba with Alistair's new friend "Grenouille", or "Frog". No, Manu and Bernie are not French, but their 110 Td5 is green!
Jordan. Near Aqaba, the Wadi Rum desert borders with Saudi Arabia. There are only a few mountainous passes such as this one which might require some crossing skills.
Jordan, Wadi Rum desert. Yellow sand here is usually stable...
Jordan, Wadi Rum desert. Leading to these sandstone formations, areas of pink sand can sometimes prove treacherously unstable, even in the cool of morning. It seems that the changing winds weave a landscape of intertwined sand terrain.
Jordan, Wadi Rum desert. This desert offers varied landscapes, from stone in its central part...
Jordan, Wadi Rum desert... to soft dunes on its Eastern side.
Jordan, Wadi Rum desert. Further east, the landscape opens into a vast plateau inviting exploration.


Turkey, south-west of Cappadocia. Narrow tracks lead to less photographed viewpoints on mountains and volcanoes.
Turkey, Cappadocia. Fairy chimneys.
Turkey, area of Karapinar. We could not quite make it all the way up this steep volcanic slope covered with ashes as slippery as soft sand.
Turkey. In the background to the right, a volcanic cone stands in the middle of Meke crater lake. To the left, a volcanic eruption left a 200-meter deep depression. Can you imagine winching all the way back up?

Country Hopping

In Finnish Arctic areas, dirt roads turn into dirt paths, as one gets deeper into the tundra and its vast marshlands, where surprises often await visitors... Will it hold or will it crack?
In Sweden beyond the polar circle, we had been looking for high ground from which to observe and photograph the sunset. But to do so, we needed to orient the rear window of our tent to the north, and still manage to park our car horizontally in order to spend a comfortable night... A minor challenge, in a forest full of rocks, holes and tree stumps, which took us some effort to overcome.
Difficult for our AWD Alistair to compete with this elk, in terms of crossing capabilities! We caught it by surprise, as it was going through a 1.5 meter deep river. A lesson of humility for us, which all fans of crossing challenges will no doubt share.
Marshland, four wheels stuck in the mud: no tree/winch, plus no rocks around equals... two hours' work! How did we get out of it? Martine found a big rock, Robert broke it with our sledge-hammer -- luckily not too far -- into smaller rocks which we then carried and placed against the wheels, making a path. Bardenas, Spain
Leaving the plateau to reach the "Plage Blanche" shore. Photo was taken right after the scary passage was successfully managed by Robert (some of it still visible on the right side of the picture).The "White Beach", so nicknamed by airplane pilot and author of The Little Prince Antoine de Saint Exupéry in the 1920's, was a useful landmark during night flights over Morocco before crossing the Atlantic to deliver mail in South America.
A flooded "oued" (wash) had washed out the concrete bridge. First, we sweated a bit while using our pick to soften the edge of this big step. Then, first low gear on, Robert is guided by Martine to prevent the right wheel from falling into a crevice. Heading towards the oued Draa mouth, Morocco.
Shovelling sand offers a nice workout... an unavoidable part of the learning process when beginners drive in treacherous... soft sand.
On our way to Ireland: enjoying low tide in Roskoff, Brittany, France... while waiting for the ferry!
Enjoying least travelled areas of Southern Alps, France