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Thread: The Kimberley experience

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Perf, WA
    Posts
    601

    The Kimberley experience

    Just back from the Kimberley, WA ... A great trip. Perth to Broome, Cape Leveque, Gibb River Rd, WA/NT border region, Purnululu (Bungle Bungles) and then back down to Perth (because covid junked our NT plans). 1 month, 8,600km and 1.2t of fuel.

    Our fully-loaded 110 did well - a family of 4 plus all our kit (no trailer) - our only issues being a shredded tyre on the Gibb, plus both our rear brake mudshields failed and fell off. Nothing unsurviveable, which was a great outcome given all the effort and money expended preparing for the trip.

    But I am left wondering where all the Defenders were...? Prime Defender-country (I would have thought), during the busiest tourist season ever, and perhaps only 6 or 8 were spotted.

    A plague of Landcruisers, though. The top end groans with endless thousands of them.

    It made me contemplate wether this is the (inevitable) final demise of the Defender*, as a capable touring vehicle with widespread appeal? I say inevitable since even the newest examples are now 5 years old - whilst the LC continues to be churned out.

    * and i'm excluding, for now, the [statistically irrelevant] New Defender, of which I saw only one

    Is this the end? Is it just the die-hards left? (i.e. us). Perhaps there's truth to the 'Chelsea Tractor' cliche - with lots of Defenders existing only in the city, as a hobby, lifestyle statement, or investment - tucked up clean and warm in the suburban garage overnight.

    pic2.jpg pic1.jpg

    I see parallels with the VW Kombi marque from the early 2000's-on. When this icon became desired by the affluent middle classes, prices rose sharply - meaning those who actually used and enjoyed them sold up, and they disappeared from the road. I saw exactly 1 on this trip.

    Which leads me also to wonder... If something awful happened and my Defender was written-off, what on earth would I replace it with?

    A great trip in our Land Rover.

    Cheers, Sam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Logan
    Posts
    25,069
    That's a great trip. Looking forward to getting our Defender out there too.
    2009 Defender 110 2.4. ARB bulbar, Ironman winch, Safari snorkel, Steinbauer chip, AP HD clutch, Lightforce spots, larger tank, Off Road Systems drawer, Traxide 160 controller, Tekonsha brakes, Mulgo seat runners, Uniden UHF, Nuggetstuff seat corners, breathers, Polaris GPS.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Warner Area - SEQ
    Posts
    1,598
    We have just come back from a 8500km trip through SA and the Deserts of the NT and we only saw a hand full as well...

    They still the looks from everyone though
    Cheers.....
    Rob M


    Car-1: 1996 Discovery Tdi Auto
    Car-2: 1995 Defender Tdi 110 Wgn
    Car-3: 2009 Defender PUMA 110 Wgn
    My TRIPS: Rob's Triplogs and Trip Reports

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    180
    Quote Originally Posted by Robmacca View Post
    We have just come back from a 8500km trip through SA and the Deserts of the NT and we only saw a hand full as well...

    They still the looks from everyone though
    Similar here. We only saw two on our Western Qld trip. One at Muttaburra and one near Quilpie. People still came up and chatted about the 130 though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Perf, WA
    Posts
    601
    So not many out there then. This was our first remote trip for a while, so in fairness I can't compare our experience with recent others. Maybe there's never been a lot of Defenders 'out there', compared to Cruisers, say.

    Maybe there's a practical aspect - the 110 is numerous for sure, but also not particularly large in touring terms, so a bit limited. We found ourselves dreaming of a 130 and its increased carrying space... maybe others think same (and opted for a LC instead, the 130 being pretty scarce).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Drouin East, Vic
    Posts
    2,216
    My rear brake shields are still up there somewhere! I haven't missed them. The ones off my RRC, that did our second trip up there, travelled home in the camper trailer and got repaired but the ones off the Defender got abandoned when they fell apart. And you're right- the 130 shines on those trips- and I don't think I've seen another on our 4 extensive trips up there.
    Whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind...than the whole race of politicians put together.
    Jonathan Swift

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Perf, WA
    Posts
    601
    2 or 3 of my Defender sightings were 130’s. They look proper good in the Kimberley.

    When the first rear brake shield failed and started scraping around down there we were on the Bungle Bungles access road. As luck would have it, the next car that came along as I was trying to get the thing off was a Defender.

    When they stopped and asked if we were Ok, they told us they’d just lost both of theirs as well!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    241
    Sounds like a great trip.

    We are struggling with vehicle choice at the moment. In about 18 months I plan to semi retire and hope to take off on an extended trip. We planned to take the Disco with a trailer but have since decided we don't want to tow.
    A defender 130 makes the most sense to me for its load carrying, practicality and ability. I've got a spreadsheet comparing different vehicles GVM, cost etc. While not always the cheapest option I keep coming back to the 130.

    Decisions, Decisions....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Perf, WA
    Posts
    601
    Travelling on your own or with others?

    I think a 110 or Disco would be fine for individuals or couples travelling, but I reckon a single or dual cab ute with a well-designed box on the back would be the better set up, giving more storage space and therefore more options for extended travel - which leads to the 130 (or Landcruiser equivalents).

    Most seem to have reached similar conclusions - the ute+box being the most common touring setup we saw. Very practical and convenient

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    241
    Just two of us, it will be an extended trip and just us on the trip.

    As you say many people are using utes as they are so practical. I can see pros and cons to each setup.

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