These days you can take a motorhome almost anywhere in Australia, but not without some water crossings and other challenges along the way, so a bit of extra care will help to get you there.
Remote area expedition guide Anthony ‘Macca’ McDonald, of Red Desert Tours, says you need a good awareness of your vehicle’s dimensions, and especially the height of its engine air intake.
“If you prepare and plan thoroughly, and you’re aware of your vehicle, you can go a lot further than you might imagine,” he said.
“When it comes to water crossings, the location of your engine’s air intake dictates how deep you can go – some are quite high, but some are low down behind the grille.
“In vehicle with a low-set intake, it’s often enough to put a little tarp over the grille to keep the water out. That small tarp will also be handy for all sorts of other uses.
“Some water crossings on major routes can be half a metre deep, but most vehicles will get through if you take it easy, just creating a small bow wave without going too fast.”
Vehicle awareness the key to off-road driving
Where the road turns into a sandy track, Macca says it’s all about tyre pressures.
“As a general guide, lower your tyre pressures about 10 psi from your normal highway pressures, and a bit of trial and error will help you to get it just right,” he said.
“This will increase the contact patch of your tyres to get through the sand, and it will also be easier over corrugations as the softer sidewall will do quite a bit of your suspension’s job for you.”
“Your typical passenger car is about five metres long, whereas your motorhome might be eight metres or more, so you need to be conscious of this when turning in tight spaces,” he said.
“In particular, be aware of what’s above you, and to the left and right of you, especially if you’re the first large vehicle to go down a particular track.
“Spatial awareness is everything when you’re in a vehicle that might be 2.4 metres wide and three-plus metres high, so be ready to avoid trees and other obstacles encroaching above or beside you.”