Buy a 4x4 Vehicle


It is not a bad idea to buy a 4x4 vehicle for your Cape York trip.

If you are from overseas, or an Aussie who doesn't need to own a 4WD, your options are to rent, or buy one especially for your trip.

With the option of renting,
what would make you to want to buy one?


Obviously it is a lot more hassle and worry to make sure it is mechanically good enough, and that you get it sold in the end of your trip.


Well, renting a four wheel drive campervan (or even a 4x4 vehicle) is not cheap. That's the only reason.

4x4 vehicle 

You may well save yourself thousands of dollars by buying one and selling it after the trip, or if you live here, keeping it - because it's a lot more expensive to rent (and after all renting is dead money even if it wasn't).

Of course, how unbenefitial renting is depends on the length of your trip - the shorter the trip the better is renting, but a proper Cape York trip should not be shorter than four weeks.

Based on that, let's do the maths. There are different prices, but realistically, during the Dry season in Cairns, if you pick a cheaper 4WD vehicle, with all included you pay for a rental 4WD about $200 a day (and easily a lot more but let's try with this price, since you are renting for 30 days there should be some discount because of the length of the time).

Ok, 30 x $200 = $6,000 (and remember, could be a lot more, easily $9,000 and more)

You don't think you get a 4x4 vehicle to do Cape York for that price?

4wd vehicle 

You better pay this kind of price instead of taking a $50,000 vehicle through creeks and rivers - or you will be too worried to enjoy your trip!

How do we know? Well, have a look what we had over the years ...

My Old Holden Jackaroo

In the old days, I had my Holden Jackaroo. Even that did the trip. 

4wd holden jackaroo

It did have low range gears, but hardly any extras and nothing fancy at all. Average clearance, no special suspension, no snorkel, basically good it had a bullbar and that was about it.

jackaroo in cape yorkjackaroo in coen

Yet I didn't hesitate to take it for the trip, and even though I don't remember exactly what it costed me when I first bought it, it definitely was cheaper than $6,000.

jackaroo in mistake creek jackaroo in cannibal creek

And (yes with some help but) it did all the crossings on the Old Telegraph Track, and it was definitely the driver (me) who needed more help than the vehicle!

jackaroo in creek crossing jackaroo at nolans brook

The old Holden Jackaroo had no problems doing the trip, if there would have been a couple of crossings you needed to miss, it definitely did by far the most.

Rob's 80 Series VX

Rob has had his 80 series for a long time and always swears he'll never get rid of it.

4x4 80 series landcruiser

Ok, this vehicle is a bit more expensive, but if you have money for 20K range, it is still in the cheaper end, and for that money it is a strong and powerful one.

4wd nolans brook 4wd lakefield

With its four wheel diff locks it easily goes through some climbs that a lot of others don't, and over the years it has been our best vehicle. 

4wd landcruiser 80 series 4x4 80 series landcruiser

Mitchubishi Pajero

When the above vehicle of his broke and needed engine rebuild, while it was getting done we needed a temporary one to do the tracks, and we decided to make a point of just how cheap you can go with a vehicle to take to Cape York.

4wd mitchubishi pajero 

Well, this Pajero costed us $2,000 - bought off backpackers in Cairns.

4wd mitchubishi pajero frenchmans track 4wd mitchubishi pajero falls track

It did not only do all the tracks we wanted to do that year, including all the way to the tip and back.

4wd mitchubishi pajero cape york 4wd pajero cape york

It also did the Old Coach Roadthe hardest four wheel drive track on the peninsula, and did it easier than the Landcruisers we passed (we were already camped when they arrived in the end of the track).

4wd mitchubishi pajero skardon river 4wd mitchubishi pajero stones crossing

As you probably know, the advantages are lighter weight and shorter wheelbase, so there is really nothing wrong with this kind of vehicle for your trip - no matter what Landcruiser and Patrol people say to you - a 4WD is a 4WD and they all have been made to do the same job!

Rob's 79 Series Landcruiser

We also tried higher up the price range when Rob bought his 79 Series Ute complete with a canopy, solar panels, batteries ... you name it, everything a vehicle needs for comfortable self sufficient trips.

4x4 vehicle 

The problem was the price didn't let him to relax on the trips.

4wd 79 series landcruiser 4x4 79 series landcruiser

We couldn't go into places we normally go because he was scared to scratch it, so it didn't take him long to decide he needed his old bush basher back!

The Ideal Vehicle for Your Trip

The ideal vehicle for your Cape York trip is the one you can scratch, which means the low price range is only right!

4x4 cape york 

Just make sure you make a good purchase, watch the kilometres, watch the mechanics, and make sure you buy one you can still sell and get your money back in the end of the trip.

Don't buy from any shops, not even the travellers' ones, they are all after making their profit.

Buy from private sellers, a good place to start is www.gumtree.com.au






Plan Your Trip... the FREE Cape York Travel Pocket Guide

cape york travel

Get this 50 pages guide totally for FREE. It contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip. You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you should take, how to get there and get around, where to stay (general info), what will it cost.. and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.


Bring to the Trip... the full Visit Cape York Destination Guide

visit cape york

This complete 300 pages travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks, at least 30 guaranteed FREE camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to the Cape), at least 40 best swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things - from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception, how to deal with the national parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery gear by my partner Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old Telegraph Track). Not to mention locals' tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)



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