Recognised as Australia’s longest single track, the Canning Stock Route in Western Australia stretches 1600 kilometres from Halls Creek in the Kimberley region to Wiluna in the mid-west.
“Anybody living almost anywhere in the world is going to look at a bush track that’s 1600 kilometres and think that’s a very long track,” Andrew says.
“But what makes Australia unique is during that 1600 kilometres and 19 days, we only crossed one road — one. To me, that’s astonishing. How it’s so vast that you can drive a track for 19 days and for day after day see no fence, no settlement — nothing indicating any human habitation.
“What I find magic about the whole four-wheel drive experience is that it’s a tool to be quite anti-social and find oneself in an amazing place with absolutely nobody around. So the destinations that I pick out as favourites are remote — and that’s certainly true of the Canning Stock Route.”
Another destination close to Andrew’s heart is the Makgadikgadi salt pans in Botswana, which he has circumnavigated several times.
“The Makgadikgadi is actually the largest salt flat group in the world,” Andrew says.
“You can literally walk out onto the surface of Sowa pan — and I’ve done this in the middle of the night in the moonlight — and the sense of loneliness, isolation and vulnerability you feel is really something to be experienced.
“What I find magic about the whole four-wheel drive experience is that it’s a tool to be quite anti-social and find oneself in an amazing place with absolutely nobody around.”
“Sitting down with a pair of binoculars, especially first thing in the morning when there’s no heat haze, you can actually witness the curve of the earth. That’s extraordinary.”
And the adventure is set to continue with exciting plans underway for Andrew and his 4xoverland crew in the coming year.
“We’re keen to go to Morocco and the western Sahara to visit the wreck of an aircraft that crashed in 1994,” Andrew says.
“I made a TV documentary about the aircraft and its crash in 2002 that was broadcast on the Discovery Channel. It’s a fascinating story but I never got to go and see the actual wreck site itself and I have the opportunity to do that in December.
“If we don’t do it then it will be because of COVID-19, but that’s a very exciting project that can happen next year if it’s delayed.”
The other project on the to-do list is an Australian outback trip — a loop that starts at Kalgoorlie and goes along the Beadell Highway to Coober Pedy, up to Uluru and then from Uluru all the way back to the most western part of the Australian mainland near Dirk Hartog Island and Steep Point.”
The trip is planned for June with the team currently applying for permits and speaking to authorities to ensure the trip is safe for everyone.
“Because we’re a global channel, we’ve become ambassadors for Australia’s huge four-wheel drive industry,” Andrew says.
“And having worked in Africa and lived in the UK and in Australia, I can tell you there’s no question that Australia leads the world in terms of the quality and innovative nature of its four-wheel drive products.
“It’s nice to be able to say that the vehicle we’re driving for this trip is among the best Australia has to offer and the wow factor is huge.”
And, speaking of wow factor, the team is gearing up for its 25th anniversary of 4xoverland. So what does Andrew credit his enduring appeal to?
“Our channel’s strength is being absolutely honest about product reviews and saying things as we see them,” he says.
“You could give me a brand-new Range Rover and I’d turn it away because our most valuable currency is the trust we’ve earned from our viewership.
“It’s not the most lucrative policy (not doing paid advertorials) but I think it has the longest legs — I mean, we’ve been around 25 years!”
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this interview to discover 4WD myths.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Finance One.