Jonathan was born in Ireland but moved to Australia as an Autocad Drafter. A few stressful years went by before he decided to throw it all in to embark on a life of exploring and sharing the adventures on his blog. He’s been lucky enough to cross Australia and take some great footage on the way, so we connected with Jonathan recently to hear more about it.
- Where: Perth - Nullarbor - Adelaide - Melbourne - Tasmania
- When: April - May 2019
- Vehicle: 2012 Nissan X-Trail
- Rhino-Rack Products: Rhino-Rack RLCP Vortex Silver Roof Racks
Rhino-Rack: First up, tell me a little about yourself?
Jonathan: I moved to Perth from Ireland because of the downturn in work back there. My job then was designing roads, car parks and shopping centre layouts on Autocad. I spent 7 years in Ireland and 6 years designing in Perth before I decided to have a career change. With no experience, I started selling new cars. I was pretty successful at it but after 2 years the stress was overpowering and I quit a couple of months back. Since then, I've been building my 4xexploringaustralia blog and creating content that documents my travels around Australia.
Rhino-Rack: What other passions or hobbies do you have?
Jonathan: You will always find me with a camera but my passion is not the photography, for me, the camera is a tool, because what I’m really interested in is capturing photos to share with everyone across Australia and the world. I want to send a message that inspires people to get away from the cities, into the outdoors and visiting some of the wonderful places I've been.
Rhino-Rack: What vehicle are you driving, and what mods were made to it?
Jonathan: 2012 Nissan X-Trail; with Pedders suspension lift, ECB Bigtube Bullbar, Rhino-Rack Vortex Silver Roof Rack, Bushranger Nighthawk Led Spot Lights, Oricom UHF, Bridgestone Duelers and King Steel Rims. I also have full underbody protection and a towbar with a recovery block.
Rhino-Rack: I hear you just got back from a big cross-country trip, where did you go?
Jonathan: I just got back from a month on the road, it was a fantastic journey; Perth to Melbourne then over to Tasmania and Bruny Island before driving back to Perth. We crossed the Nullarbor Plain then took The Spirit of Tasmania to Devonport. Tasmania is a place I’ve wanted to visit ever since I came to Australia, and finally, the dream came true.
The objective of this trip was basically to take a relaxing holiday with my wife. We drove down the east coast, over to Bruny Island then up through the Central Highlands before heading out to the wild west coast of Tassie. We wanted to see and do as much as we could in two weeks, so we covered nearly 2,000km and made it to some of the most epic locations on the island.
Rhino-Rack: For those of us who have not been, tell us about Tasmania and Bruny Island?
Jonathan: If you haven’t been, all I can say is start booking. The terrain is so varied in Tasmania. Down the east coast you have beautiful beaches and seaside villages then in the south there is Maria Island and Bruny Island. For me, Bruny Island was one place I just had to get to. The scenery, The Neck (thin body of land connecting north and south Bruny Island), the adventure boat tours around the southern cliffs and then the epic camping you can find after 4WDing along the beach. It really doesn’t get any better if you’re an outdoors type person.
Then we drove up through the centre of Tasmania in the Central Highlands and Great Lakes region. I have to admit, one of the reasons we went was because I saw a post on social media of snow drifts in the area. We couldn't help ourselves, we had to go, and it was so much fun driving in the snow before settling in for the evening in the lodge with a warm fire, drinks and fantastic food.
The wildlife in Tassie is endless; paddy melons, kangaroos, penguins, possums, dolphins and a wonderful array of birdlife. We went hiking, swimming, 4wding, camping, on boat trips and had some amazing local Tasmanian food and drinks. The camping was some of the very best we’ve ever had, especially on Bruny Island at the Cloudy Corner campground. It was an incredible experience; driving along a beautiful beach at sunset for a couple of km's before turning off into camp and listening to the waves as we went to sleep.
Rhino-Rack: Did you face any obstacles along the way, and if so, how did you get around them?
Jonathan: The only real obstacle we had was driving in the snow. It was near 5pm, there wasn’t much light in the sky and with the snow was falling hard, so driving started to get real interesting. Nothing the X-Trail couldn’t handle though.
Rhino-Rack: How did you prepare for such a long trip and do you have any tips?
Jonathan: Before any trip I always study online maps, but actually this trip all came together really well. From Perth it took me 7 days to do 3,500km on my own (my wife met me in Melbourne). I wanted the journey to be really relaxing and enjoyable rather than rushing around trying to get from A to B as fast as possible. It was awesome to stop frequently and take in the Nullarbor Plain, which also helps me manage fatigue. I never felt tired once!
We hadn't booked any accommodation or decided on campgrounds because we wanted to be free to explore and go where life takes us. It’s important to know what you’re up for when doing a long drive, especially if you’re going solo. It can get lonely at times, and not everyone likes to chat, so I think it’s really important to say hello to fellow travellers and learn about their story.
Rhino-Rack: What were some of the lessons learnt along the way?
Jonathan: Sit back, relax and enjoy the drive. Explore new areas and really spend time listening and learning from the locals, it’s all part of the travelling experience.
Rhino-Rack: What is it about exploring the outdoors that makes it worthwhile for you?
Jonathan: It brings me so much happiness, especially when I can share something amazing with family and friends. That unbelievable view, the amazing campsite or the top class boat trip. I’d love to think I can inspire other people to get away from the cities and back to nature. Even if they can only escape for one night of camping, it really is worthwhile and I want more people to understand that. I truly love seeing the locations where other people go adventuring, but the goal with my 4xexploringaustralia page is to capture and share the best memories from my trips in photo, video or from the drone. These are the memories I will have forever.
Rhino-Rack: What is the most beautiful part of Australia you've been and why?
Jonathan: After just returning from Tasmania I'm finding myself telling everyone to go there. From tropical beaches on the east coast, to Bruny Island; the Central Highlands with snow everywhere and finally the north-west Arthur River area which felt like the edge of the world. A truly stunning island that just blew me away.
Rhino-Rack: What is it that you like about Rhino-Rack systems, and how have they facilitated your adventures?
Jonathan: The Rhino-Rack Vortex Roof Bars are perfect for carrying our two SUPs, my Maxtrax and my side awning. Without the bars, I wouldn't be able to camp and do the things I do.
Rhino-Rack: Last question: What's next on your wish list?
Jonathan: I would really love to buy a large Rhino-Rack Pioneer Tray and either a Rhino-Rack Batwing or Rhino-Rack Batwing Compact.
You can see more of Jonathan’s epic adventures here: Facebook | instagram | Youtube
Customer Adventure Series
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