We’ll be driving my 2003 TD5 Land Rover Discovery pulling our Tambo Cooper Off-road camper.  The first 3,300 Km will just be the two of us before we meet the girls in Alice Springs. For that reason it’s important we get the preparation right.

Oodnadatta Track

We’ll be traveling through some pretty remote country and while it is the busy time of year, we do need to be totally self sufficient. The trailer has been there before, but that was with our previous Discovery, so plenty of effort is going into ensuring the car is prepared right and we have all the right spares.

Our preparation falls into 6 main areas:

  • Route and accommodation Planning
  • Car Preparation
  • Trailer Preparation
  • Communications
  • Spare Parts and Recovery Equipment
  • Catering and First Aid
Route and Accommodation Planning:

The planning of the route is well underway, as is booking accommodation in the more populated areas like Alice Springs. The planning page details the route and itinerary. The girl’s flights are booked and it looks like we are well on the way.
We’ve purchased a bunch of maps (Anaconda sales are good!). We also purchased our annual SA Desert Pass, which comes with some great advice and terrific Westprint maps.

Car Preparation:

This was the obvious major task before we left, involving careful maintenance checks as well as some modifications and improvements. The car is in very good condition and serviced regularly but additional checks and some time to get more familiar on a hands on basis with this vehicle seemed like well invested time.

  • Full service changing all fluids, front brakes and checking all hoses etc.
  • Transmission serviced
  • Suspension upgraded with LRA springs ( 180lb front and 220lb rears) [The vehicle came from factory with an airbag rear end which is fantastic – but I am putting steel springs in for this trip and a blown airbag out there is just too risky. – We will probably swap the air bags back on return, it’s a very easy job.]
  • Replaced the second battery (A Fullriver FRPC1500 which fits nicely under the bonnet and I’ve built an aluminium heat shield to try and protect it more from the heat of the turbo.)
  • Installed an Enginesaver – which monitors coolant level as well as head temperature.
  • I’m fabricating a rear window protector from 3mm Perspex to add some protection to go with the stone guards already on the trailer.
  • <More>
Trailer Preparation:

The trailer has done several large trips for us and I know it is very reliable; preparation has started – with a bit of grease for the shackles and treg hitch.  It’s in pretty good shape over all – I want to replace the tires before we go and obviously check and repack the wheel bearings, but there is not a lot more needed with the trailer.


Communication is also obviously crucial out there… so additional to the UHF radio, I am installing a Codan 8528 remote head HF radio.

We also sourced a tapped antenna through FAMPARC and a bracket suitable for rear mounting the antenna through Time Plus Communications.
We have joined VKS737… so we are now VKS737 – mobile 2627.

Spare Parts and Recovery Equipment:

We serviced the winch (thanks to Greg at Smithie’s Outback in Cranbourne) and checked that my recovery bag of straps, snatch blocks and shackles is all in good order. I also collected a box full of spare parts to carry and hopefully not need:

The spare parts list I have used is located  Here.

As far as recovery goes, we have also given the first aid kit a full check to ensure we can recover people as well as the vehicle.


The menu is organised and all the food packed ready to go. I’ve had our meat cryovaced and frozen by our butcher s so we will be eating good quality meat well into the trip.  I’ve also sourced a butcher in Alice that I am told is excellent and can also cryovac if needed.

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