15 December 2018

Xmas Gifts

If you’re looking for some unique & practical travel-related Chrissie presents, how about a gift voucher for a PRIVATE half-day towing training course or a PRIVATE half-day 4WD training course? Or a towing-training USB or an autographed copy of How to Be an Award-Winning Tour Guide? We’re offering special Santa discounts of 10% if you purchase any of these items before December 25th!


Some people think of reindeer at this time of year, but not us! We think of bandicoots, lizards, kestrels & frogs! And so do the enthusiastic ‘voluntourists’ & scientists who joined us on our second wonderful Science Safari to Dirk Hartog Island.

Situated in WA’s Northwest within the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, the island played an important role in WA history - Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog first landed there over 400 years ago. DHI also has a reputation as a favourite fishing, swimming & four-wheel-driving spot for adventurous holiday-makers.

But now it’s famous for something completely different! Over the past decade the island has been transformed into a conservation & rehabilitation area for hundreds of endangered indigenous animals. In a project known as “Return to 1616”, DBCA has eradicated feral goats & cats then relocated, nurtured & monitored hundreds of happy little native animals to the island who are now thriving in their safe surrounds.

DHI Group 1
Plant ID

The tour was a joint project with our friends at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions. The DBCA team supervising scientific activities was led by Dr Saul Cowen (Project Leader) ably assisted by Mark Cowan, Judy Dunlop (shown holding a Sandy Inland Mouse & an Ash Grey Mouse), Aline Gibson Vega, Keith Morris, Janet Newell, Kelly Rayner, Lucie Scheelen & Colleen Sims - their titles & experience are too extensive to list here!

Our dedicated group of ‘voluntourists’ comprised Michael Bradley; Brian & Glynne Beaver; Ross Bunney; Wayne & Jill Fairclough; Anne Gilkes; Chris Lowry; Sandra Maynard & Jane Fenwick; Gerhardt & Aileen Strumpher; Judy Williams & the gypsy crew of Tour Guide Jeremy Perks & Safari Hostess Jo Clews.

For twelve busy days in October, the two hard-working teams worked closely together to set traps; capture, identify, ‘process’ & release a total of 501 mammals & reptiles; perform radio-tracking & monitoring activities & record reams of important data. They also had a lot of fun, enjoyed delicious catering & visited the island’s many scenic attractions.

Lizard 1
Kestrels 2
DHI view

In addition to the animal interaction, highlights included dinner beneath a glorious full moon; crossing to/from the island in the DHI barge; finding a nest of newly-hatched kestrel chicks; identifying plants & animals new to the group; coaxing Gypsy & our heavy catering trailer up a huge sand hill; & visiting the Cape Inscription Lighthouse exactly 402 years to the day that Dirk Hartog first set foot on the island.

To top it all off, at the end of the safari, we donated $2000 from tour proceeds to the DHI Restoration Project! Thanks everyone for making this such a great experience – also thanks to Kieran & Tory from DHI for looking after us so well. Happy scientists, happy gypsies, happy critters!

Merry Critter-mas & a Hoppie New Year to you all!


If you’ve been banging your head against a bullbar trying to find insurance to cover you when travelling round Australia in your 4WD, stop it before you go blind! Instead, check out 4x4 Club insurance at We’ve got no vested interest in this product, we’re just tired of hearing about insurance companies who won’t insure 4WD tragics with a travel addiction! Good luck!


We’ve just had a very late cancellation & we now have ONE LAST PLACE left on our awesome Canning Stock Route Expedition. Beginning in Wiluna & ending in Halls Creek, this mother of all outback adventures is happening from July 3 – 23, 2019. The tour has been fully booked for months so don’t miss out on this opportunity - grab the last place in the convoy by putting your foot down here:



Boom? What boom? Word is there’s a mini-mining-boom happening in our vast State but we’re never sure until we see the evidence for ourselves. Our gauge is how many 4WD training inquiries we receive from mining companies! From getting heaps of bookings a decade ago, we’ve had doodly-squat for the past three years. Now suddenly, 4x4 courses are back on the radar.

This is good news for the economy & even better news for trainers like us. A big difference now though is that many companies have stopped offering ‘accredited’ courses because of the excessive costs & administration involved in becoming a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), particularly as much of the course content is basically the same. Looks like our instructors may soon be spending a bit more time up north – let’s hope we all strike gold!


As we write this, our private safari of Dutch clients is winding its way through the Barossa Valley & is about halfway through a marathon self-drive expedition from Darwin to Sydney. Organised by JP Ponte of Fivesenses Expeditions, our business partner in Rotterdam, the tour takes in as many highlights as you can squeeze into 30 jam-packed days - Kakadu, Kings Canyon, Uluru, Lake Eyre, Oodnadatta, Arkaroola, Flinders Ranges, Barossa, Kangaroo Island, Adelaide, Great Ocean Road, Victorian high country, Blue Mountains & more. Whew!

Longitude 131 dawn rock
Flying over lake eyre
Backsides canyon

And no tenting or campfire-cooking for these folks! Accommodation is at such top hotels as Longitude 131, The Louise, Bannisters by the Sea & Southern Ocean Lodge with wining & dining at such five-star restaurants as Rick Stein’s, Brae, Neil Perry’s Rockpool & more. The participants are quite well known in The Netherlands so, like the dentist in the TV ads, we can’t show you their faces! We’ll settle instead for this cheeky shot!


We’re always looking for somewhere different to take you & something new to show you! And our research says you want tours that are a little bit shorter with a little more comfort, so we’ve tried to combine all that into our brand new “Heritage & Homesteads Tour”!

This relaxed, fun & relatively short outback adventure will happen from June 8 – 18, 2019. It will be self-catered & self-drive & will meander convoy-style through WA’s Midwest & Goldfields. 4WD’s, tents, camper-trailers or robust off-roadcaravans are welcome.

Hoover House

The itinerary includes historical attractions, traditional heritage-style homesteads & some scenic spots that will be new to us. We’ll explore the Helena Aurora Range for the first time; share an indigenous cultural experience with our friend Mick Hayden from Njaki Njaki Aboriginal Tours in Merredin; admire Antony Gormley’s eerie sculptures in Lake Ballard; visit Hoover House & museum (pictured above); relax at Niagara Dam; & visit such rustic towns as Coolgardie, Ora Banda, Boulder, Leonora, Sandstone & Cue - each with its own fascinating stories to tell.

The Welcome & Farewell Dinners are on us & our last night will be a very special one as we’ll be staying at heritage-listed Melangata Station Homestead near Yalgoo. Designed over 100 years ago by famous Priest/Architect Monsignor John Hawes, today it is owned by our multi-talented Safari Hostess Jo Clews. Jo will give us a tour of her beloved property before treating us to a special home-cooked Farewell Feast!

Get your name down in the history books by time-travelling here:


After some disastrous experiences with ill-equipped & poorly maintained hired 4WD’s both here & overseas, we’re often horrified at the low standards & lack of customer care exhibited by some of the vehicle hire companies – even the well known ones!

To see what we mean, check out the innovative battery handiwork (below left) & the filthy mess left around a jack (centre). We’ve also seen vehicles sent out on the road with the wrong sized jack (or no jack at all), flat spare tyres, torn awnings, broken chairs, empty water tanks, missing equipment & useless fridges & stoves.


The moral of the story? Triple-check EVERYTHING before you accept delivery of the vehicle; document & photograph issues or damage; ensure that the company fixes any problems before you drive away & if necessary, insist on a replacement vehicle!

The great news is that there are three suppliers that we’d be happy to stake our name on! So much so, that we’ll soon be setting up a special page on our website to recommend our faves & to answer the many queries we receive from clients & the general public about where to hire a reliable 4WD for an extended outback tour.

Gold medals go to Perth-based Allstar Campers (Nic & Emma Box) & RedSands Campers (Adam Sands). Also to Totally Campers (Melbourne-based Ester Maas & Rene van Zuijlen) who act as brokers & have access to quality vehicles all around Oz. Well done all three of you!


We’re just about to launch the flyer for our “Holi Festival & Tiger Tour” to India in 2020. For those of you on the interested list, sorry (sari?) it’s taken so long but we wanted to make sure it was perfect before we sent it out! Lining up all the dates working backwards from a once-a-year festival held at full moon in a remote desert village was tricky! But we’ve got it sorted now with our trusted local operators & will be sending out flyers & taking bookings soon! Don’t miss this exotic adventure escorted personally by Jeremy & Jan!

IMG 9360
Taj 2

Talking about big cats, our Treasures of Tanzania safari happening next August is as full as a lion’s tummy! Everyone’s getting very excited about it including us - we can’t wait!

There are now just TWO places remaining on our incomparable Silk Road Safari happening from August 9 – September 3, 2019. Beginning in Xian, this mystical journey follows the ancient trade route from China to Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan ending in the legendary city of Tashkent. The package includes quality accommodation, comfy transport & delicious meals; professional local guides & an inside look at Central Asia’s fascinating history & culture. For details, download the tour flyer here:

SR 3
SR 2
SR 1

Hate to be a pain in the aurora, but our Northern Lights, Orcas, Reindeer & Huskies Tour in November 2020 is fully booked! However, it’s not too late to get on the wait list just in case!

We’re currently developing an amazing itinerary for a discovery tour to Russia in 2021. It will include all the highlights plus the famous Trans-Siberian train ride! To join Jeremy & Jan for blini, caviar & vodka, send us an encrypted non-collusive message now!


We’re looking for mummy! Well, several of them hopefully! We’re keen to visit Egypt in 2021 & want you to join us! There are no firm plans yet but we plan to see all the iconic sights & take a leisurely cruise on the Nile. Please send us your expressions of interest – if enough keen gypsies respond then we’ll make it happen! (P.S. This is not a pyramid scheme.)

After all those shocking puns, we’ll sign off for this year by sending you our thanks for your support along with our very warmest wishes for a safe, peaceful & happy holiday season.

Until next time,
HO HO HO & happy travels from – Jan and Jeremy