Caravan and Gunbarrel Highway don’t normally go in the same sentence, but when you add ZONE RV, it’s possible. After conquering Cape York together, ZONE RV Directors Matt Johns and David Biggar got a taste for life on the road and were hungry for their next off-road adventure. In business and in leisure, David and Matt are never shy of a challenge, so it was inevitable the next trip would be harder, longer and dirtier.
In a chance meeting with new ZONE RV customers Reg and Michelle Toohey, it was Reg who convinced David and Matt to take a convoy of ZONE RV caravans with him from the most eastern (Byron Bay) to western points (Steep Point) of Australia. A veteran adventurer who has travelled the world in his old faithful LandCruiser 200 Series, Reg was quickly nicknamed ‘Reg the ledge’ due to his sheer legendary stories. In his spare time, the retired businessman could be found flying his plane, skipping his boat or cruising in his Bentley. He was just the guy they were looking for to lead them on their next trip.
Matt hitched a ZV-20.6 Venture to his LandCruiser 200 Series, David took a Z-16.6 Off-Road on his LandCruiser 70 Series and Reg towed his brand-new Z-21.6 Off-Road on his LandCruiser 200 Series – three days fresh out of the ZONE RV factory in Coolum Beach, QLD. A support vehicle from ARB Maroochydore was also on hand during the trip.
The trip took an unexpected turn after learning the Plenty Highway was closed due to flooding. Having done the trip from QLD to WA countless times, Reg suggested they go down the Gunbarrel Highway instead. He’d completed it twice before, but never with a caravan. In fact, it’d be safe to say most caravanners wouldn’t even dream of taking their caravan down it, let alone a brand new one worth over $126,900. To put it into perspective, it took three hours to drive 13kms in one stretch of the ‘road’, as the team were stopping every minute to clear the road for the caravans.
But Reg and Michelle weren’t concerned, and they had no reason to be, as both off-road caravans made it down the highway unscathed with zero repair needed. Not one bit of dust – in fact Reg said the dirtiest thing to go in his caravan at the end of each day was the dust on his boots. “I’m amazed at how well the vans stood up, and what we did to them…you could take these vans anywhere, she was a ripper!” said Reg. Considering the ZV-20.6 Venture was pushed well beyond its intended use in such conditions, the team were impressed with how well it handled it.
That’s not to say there were times on the Gunbarrel Highway when Matt and David were questioning what they hell they were doing there, yet they all agree now it was the highlight of the trip. Particularly one night, when the team set up camp in the middle of the Gunbarrel Highway road, cooked a roast and enjoyed complete isolation and comfort like never before. Amongst the flies, 40-degree heat, flat tyres, endless driving, and strenuous road clearing, it was all worth the adventure when the team could enjoy a nice hot shower, home-style cooked dinner and comfortable bed each night – no matter where they ended up.
They clocked up 6,789kms in 11 days, completing the route from Byron Bay to Steep Point in record time. Watch the full East to West trip on the ZONE RV YouTube Channel at youtube.com.au/zonerv.