To say that Cape York is one of the most formidable 4wd experiences you can have in Australia, is an understatement.
Cape York is the clear leader in the 4wd stakes with every possible scenario available to the avid 4wder. Cape York offers various terrain from the long winding peninsula development road to the tracks and crossings of the Old Telegraph Line.
Cape York’s reputation is renowned for bringing even the best 4wd accessories unstuck at times and the notorious road conditions make tyre selection an important consideration for any visitor to cape york.
Palm Creek crossing - Cape York
Adventure Australia is one of only a few commercial operators on the Cape that take its vehicles through most of the roads, tracks, crossing, creeks, rivers and beaches on the Cape and therefore tyre selection is of the utmost importance to us from both a safety and capability perspectives.
In the past we have tried numerous combinations of tyres, and are well versed in what it takes to operate safely in this environment and the equipment required to do it successfully.
This report gives some insight into our activities on the Cape with the Cooper Discoverer STT PROs fitted.
Adventure Australia Treks & Tours is a business that runs customised tours to all parts of Australia and therefore our vehicles spend most of their life traversing the ‘roads less travelled’ in our quest to find the ultimate experience for our customers each year.
Our vehicle of choice is the Toyota Landcruiser 79 Series Dual Cab. We find that this vehicle choice has the strength to handle the rugged landscape and unusual conditions that the top end and remote areas of Australia can often feature. Having said that, there are a range of 4wds capable of successfully getting to cape york, but it’s often poor tyre & accessory choice that turns a great trip into a costly exercise.
When Cooper Tires gave us the opportunity to test the ‘not yet released in Australia - Cooper Discoverer STT PROs, well we jumped at the opportunity and put them on a couple of our 79 Series Toyota Landcruiser Dual Cab tour vehicles and sent them straight to the Cape to join our fleet for the upcoming season.
We operated them in a busy commercial environment where the schedule and itinerary is hard and the wear & tear on gear is even harder. Our vehicles are heavy and we put them through almost every scenario imaginable.
To say that these tyres have performed well is also an understatement given our past experience on the Cape.
So far the tyres have done 8 trips to the Cape, racking up almost 24,000km in round trips and they still have plenty left to give. That’s impressive!
Our vehicles carry 4 passengers, luggage and all the requirements for camping & touring across Australia. Our primary concern is safety of our passengers and driver.
Our vehicles weigh in at a touch under 3,750kg and therefore we need to ensure that the underneath of our vehicles can support the load required on top… safely.
Our solution has been to upgrade the gvm of our vehicles and suspension accordingly and Westside 4x4 Accessories in Brisbane builds all our vehicles to spec.
We have in the main always run Cooper tyres, or on occasion other brands. One of the issues we have had in the past is keeping in spec with the manufacturers requirements so that we do not breach any of the qld ‘q’ number requirement for the commercial carriage of customers. This had meant that we had kept factory rims in play and Cooper S/TMAXXs on the road. The problem for us was weight, stability & wear.
The tyres and rims supplied to us from Cooper met the required specs and once they were expertly fitted by Adrian & his team from Kirwan Tyres in Townsville, it was almost an immediate change for the better. The stability of the platform improved immediately and in turn the vehicles were safer to drive and the drivers less stressed.
Adventure Australia on Cooper STT PRO’s - Cape York
For us capability is less about the technical specifications of the tyre and more about whether it can handle everything we throw at the vehicles on a daily basis with the minimum of fuss and without wasting lots of time in the process. Peace of mind is paramount in our business.
We cover all types of terrains including gravel, tarmac, dirt, rock, sand, water & mud on a daily basis and sometimes all of the above each day.
We have found that the vehicles performed well in each of those categories and we have not been required to access the winch of the vehicles since fitting the Cooper STT PROs. This speaks volumes as to their capability.
We have also found that we have not experienced the usual punctures from debris on the roads & tracks we travel, and with the exception of one incident at Gunshot Creek which caused a bent rim & puncture to the side wall of one of the tyres early in the season we have had a great run with no other real issues.
The tyres seem to be wearing well with an even pattern of wear across the face of the tyre. We have monitored tyre pressures for different terrains and rotated the tyres at every 5,000km service to minimise unnecessary wear and tear on the rear tyres due to constant load conditions. Kirwan Tyres have also balanced them a few times for us as required.
Road noise on the tarmac is noticable in comparrison to the S/TMAXXs we have run in the past, but the performance of the tyre off-road is far and beyond anything else we have run on our vehicles to date and therefore a small bit of noise is of no concern.
The following photos show the types of terrain that the tyres have been used on:
Cooper tyres providing off-road stability
Uneven & slippery surface - no worries for the STT PRO
Beach driving a cinch with the Coopers
Rocky based water crossings numerous on Cape York
Steep slippery climb out of another Cape York creek crossing
Nowlans Brook - Cape York
Log bridge Old Telegraph Line - Cape York
Mistake Creek - Cape York
Cooper Tires Discoverer STT PRO’s – in action Cape York
I couldn’t be happier with the trial so far. The tyres look to me to have a number of trips left in them and that’s certainly great news and a testament to the development work that’s gone into this new tyre product.
I feel that my vehicles perform better with the tyres on and I know that as a result my passengers are even safer than they were previously and my drivers are confident in the equipment they use.
I'm also looking at the numbers for my business and if the tyres continue to perform at this level it will ultimately mean less expenditure on replacement tyres and a better bottom line.
All in all…a great result.
Owner, Adventure Australia Treks & Tours