It was back in the early 90’s when a mate introduced me to 4wding with a camping trip up the back of Coffs harbour - from then I was hooked and it was like a whole new world off the bitumen. Every spare chance I got it was to head bush with the old paper maps hoping to find new tracks, fishing holes and secluded camping spots around the coast and boy did we have some great adventures, competed in a few competitions around the state through to epic trips into the heart of Australia. It was about this time when I started my journey into photography but with the old 35mm rolls of film, just hopping for that 1 great shot and over the years my photography has just grown from there with the advancement of gear. Taking pics is a bit easier these days with the amount of gear available but there still is a thought process about the capture - I love getting up at the crack of dawn to wait for that magic hour of colour, trying to get that perfect landscape shot after hiking up a mountain or capturing those stunning desert colours that everybody talks about.
Before long mates wanted to come along after hearing about my exploring so I formed Woolgoolgaoffroad which was like an informal 4wd group for anyone that wanted to join us on a day out. Kicking around the NSW north coast has been my backyard for all these years where the bush and ocean meet so I have had no shortage of places to go. Roll the clock to now and I’ve had some bloody good water under my bridge which has covered 3 4wd’s, camper trailers, Ive been support vehicle for bike riders across Desert areas, hosting many camps, working with a national camping chain plus a few years with an offroad store in Coffs Harbour and with all this experience it wasn’t long before I saw the potential to write a 4wd book on tracks around the Coffs Coast area. With this new project I was taking more and more time off work to seek out new destinations and explore so last year I made the decision to semi ‘retire’ and do the grey hair big lap nomad thing. But it seems like I am busier than ever collaborating with great Australian companies with advertising, destination write-ups, product reviews through to setting up customer appreciation camps and weekend drives plus supplying magazine content.
With 12 months of planning, buying a hybrid off-road trailer, rebuilding the 80 series Cruiser and downsizing into a storage shed it came to a fruition this year. Making a decision to re-build the cruiser was an easy one as it is easy to maintain, fantastic offroad truck set up for touring and I know all the speaks and rattles in the old girl ( built in Sept 1991 ) and non of this bloody electronic garbage to stuff up on the road. Spending time in the 4wd industry I’ve seen the introduction of the ‘lower standard’ accessories which I’ve stuck away from and will only use the Aussie ones due to reliability on the cruiser. The camper is extremely comfy, capable on and offroad plus if the weather turns crappy I can wack on the radio or get stuck into some emails that seem to be never ending.
Over the years with my outback trips I’ve seen areas covered in flood and drought and it never seems to amaze me that people ( that have never ventured out back ) say there is nothing to see - but waking up in the morning seeing tiny footprints in the sand, typical ocean birds in outback waterways or the history that this country holds is nothing short of spectacular to me. I love the remoteness of hard to get places, the dirt and dust that you travel through for days it’s all part of it and it makes you appreciate life in a different way. Seeing wildflowers as high as my knees or hiking out into dry lake beds where early explorers blazed trees and left relics is what my life is all about now.