We’re Gary & Amanda – we’re campers, nature lovers, bushwalkers, bird watchers, gadget freaks, Geocachers, travellers, outdoor adventurers, photographers, writers, sketchers, and of course… lovers of the vast outback, campfires, sunsets and exploring new places.
We’re also the people behind the scenes: the writers, designers, and social media mavens of Travel Outback Australia.
We Really DO Live & Work in the Outback!
Up until recently we lived in Alice Springs -the capital of the outback- and we really have done all the things we write about in our website and in social media.
We have now moved to the southern outback in the Mid North of south Australia so we can focus on different areas more accessible from the southern states.
Over the years our unique jobs have taken us out camping, 4WDing and hiking right into the heart (and heat!) of the outback.
Gary, a recently retired park ranger with some 20 years experience, managed the group of parks west of Alice Springs including the majestic Watarrka-Kings Canyon National Park, Finke Gorge-Palm Valley National Park, and the iconic West MacDonnell National Park.
Gary has always had an interest in gadgets (ask him about his UAV or Go-Pro), and likes to play shoot-em-ups on his computer, chill by the campfire and tell dreadful puns and Dad jokes.
Now retired from his job as a park ranger his passion is to build up Travel Outback Australia into a larger resource for travellers to the outback.
Amanda is an anthropologist and archaeologist, formerly employed by NT Parks and Wildlife and the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (the Sacred Sites Authority).
She now runs her own cultural heritage management business and also works with the Aboriginal Interpreter Service (she speaks an Aboriginal language).
She travels all over outback Australia, working with Aboriginal Elders to protect their cultural heritage, language and sacred sites.
Amanda is also a runner, gym goer and serious hiker (if there’s a hill to be climbed, she’ll do it) and worked as a fitness instructor for over 20 years. She believes a bushwalk is not a real walk unless it’s over 10km. She’s also the designer and coder behind the website site.
Together we founded Travel Outback Australia and turned it from an idea into the go to resource for travellers wanting to see the outback independently.
In April 2016 we decided it was time to update our 2003 Toyota Prado V6 petrol to a 2014 Toyota Prado diesel. It is a build in process and as time progresses we hope to get it up to a standard fit to travel anywhere in the outback.
Previously I built a drawer system for the earlier Prado. This miraculously has fitted into the new Prado with a few minor alterations, including altering the cargo barrier between the rear compartment and the back seats.
I have fitted a replacement sump guard to protect the underside of the engine area and also an aluminium roof rack to carry a few things like a second spare wheel and our 30 Second Oztent.
I also bought and fitted a dual battery and DC/DC charger to look after our power supply while travelling.
Although we don’t like to travel at night sometimes you have to so we fitted a pair of LED driving lights and a light bar to the ARB bulbar already on the car when we purchased it.
The car came with a towbar which was great because we occasionally tow an offroad trailer and I intend to modify an old box trailer into an offroad camper soon, but that is another story.
Along with canvas seat covers I also fitted headlight and bonnet protectors.
Just prior to the first shake down trip I fitted a GME UHF radio to take care of communications with other road users.
The last thing we fitted before leaving on our trip was a set of Cooper tyres. We at Travel Outback Australia reckon good tyres are one of the most important things you can leave home with.
Checking your tyres isn't just a tyre kicking exercise, if you've got less than 50% tread left and you're about to go to the outback, we recommend changing them.
We chose the Cooper S/TMAXX in a 265/65R17 to suit the Prado because we do a lot of unsealed road driving and sometimes a bit of off-road stuff as well.
Cooper Armor-Tek3 sidewall protection was also appealing to reduce the potential for staking and the increase in stability at lower pressures, which we often run, is also a great selling point.
In our trip thus far the tyres have taken us through recently opened roads like the Birdsville and Strzelecki Tracks, through the sand of the eastern Simpson Desert and along the many developmental roads of south western Queensland.
The tyres have performed faultlessly so far, are quiet and comfortable to run on, and I'm looking forward to see how they wear over time.
Yet to be done is to install a lift kit and a snorkel, for those times when you need an extra bit of height and a breath of fresh air.
This trip will be a month in duration and will take in the Strzelecki Track, Innamincka, and then onto Birdsville and the Big Red Bash, the rock concert in the desert.
After that we will travel to the 20th Annual Camel Cup Races in Boulia and then back down the Plenty Highway to Alice Springs before returning via the Oodnadatta Track down to the Mid North of South Australia.