Taming the Beast

Melbourne, Vic, AU

Leaving Melbourne we found ourselves with the same situation we faced in Auckland.  How the heck do we get around?  Additionally, Australia is a vast and for the most part barren place devoid of human habitation…much less hotels.  Those hotels and hostels that are around charge exactly what you’d think they would when they are the only bed for the next 200 or so miles.

We found that, like New Zealand, long term travelers in Australia tend to purchase cheap cars or camper vans to get around and have a place to sleep at night.  Wanting to have the genuine Australian backpacker adventure and having just come off a very positive used car experience in New Zealand, we decided this was for us.

Our Kiwi car never got a name.  It just never seemed like it needed one.  However, the second we saw the 1988 Mitsubishi Triton that would become our own wheels down under we both looked at each other and knew this “ute” (Aussie for “pickup truck”) had a name,

Say hello to ‘The Beast’

(yes, the ‘The’ is in fact part of his name.)

(…and yes, The Beast’s gender is male.)


Oh and what’s that bar on the front of the truck?  No, it’s not a bull bar; it’s a ‘roo bar.  What’s a ‘roo bar, you ask?

Aside from the truckers that appear to add several hundred pounds of reinforced steel to the front of their trucks, the main difference between the American and Australian versions is that often in America bull bars are a decorative feature.

A Spyder Industries Bull Bar in the US

As you will soon see, in Australia roo bars are always built for function, even at the expense of form.

A few garage sales, a new foam mattress, some camping gear, a butane stove and a day of cleaning out the back allowed us to convert the truck bed into a camper.

Then before heading off into the wilderness we thought we first might to put The Beast through his paces and make sure our brand new 24 year old truck was as operational as the dealer insisted it was.

So begins our Australian East Coast Road trip, also apparently an essential Aussie backpacker experience:


After seeing that Australian car prices were easily double that of New Zealand, we seriously considered going with buses but in the end having our own bed alongside the Power of Go was simply worth the cost.


About the authors

Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures.  If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, 3-day delays for wine tastings, getting pooped on by seagulls, opening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out at www.CoastGuardCouple.com!

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