4x4 arts is about 4 wheel drive travel, and is a Victorian based entity because that's where we live.  Our philosophy is simple:- the great outback, high country and rain forests of OZ are there for everyone to enjoy.  To that end this site will grow in a sort of unorganised chaos based on the principle that in confusion there is profit.  Ron Moon, Alan Whiting et al (nice touch with the Latin) don't write for this site and probably never will.  So.. if you have an experience you wish to relate, or a tale you wish to tell, we plan to offer you a place where  you can publish your tales of pleasure and woe.
 
   We will from time to time comment on issues we think are important, although we are bound by Frank Lloyd Wright's  comment: "I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools.  Let's start with typewriters."  Which really means it would have to be an issue that would impinge on our rights to wander where we want without hassle, for us to hit the typewriters.

As I think back over my life, I remember those times spent in English classes at Quarry Hill State School where we were forced to learn poetry of all things.   Being the quintessential country kid, it didn’t seem to make much sense or to be terribly masculine.  The poem was "My Country" by Dorothea McKellar.  We learned every line by rote and probably never appreciated one line.  I now see the pictures painted by her words.  I must say that they are as accurate then, as now.   Now however, they are inspirational to the Australian traveller, or perhaps this one in particular, so I have reproduced them for you other travellers to judge for yourselves:

My Country

By Dorothea McKellar.

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies 
I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror 
The wide brown land for me! 

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
The orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die 
But then the grey clouds gather
And we can bless again
he drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirst paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze…….. 

An opal-hearted country,
A willful, lavish land 
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand 
Though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

If she had mentioned fuel prices, dust, flies and corrugations, I believe it may have taken some of the gloss off the inspiration.  As yet I've not found a better description of our country and I think it's one all Australians should know.

European settlement saw each and everyone of them try to turn their particular piece of paradise into Cornwall or Bavaria but scratch the surface and nothing has really changed.  The more change forced upon the land in order to grown alien crops and support foreign animals has seen the land strike back.  Drought and flooding rains are now the norm.  Salt has ruined vast stretches of prime semi arid land and polluted the rivers and streams.  European Carp have reached plague proportions in our waterways.

Australia is huge by any stretch of the imagination and those of us who live here have a basic idea of what is actually here to be seen, smelled, absorbed and taken in by all senses.  Australia is overpowering in both isolation and desolation.  Harsh and unforgiving but probably the most beautiful place on earth.  Put simply we have the lot.  Bitumen roads finally provide all weather access to  all states and territories.  The ubiquitous gravel road provides access to the isolated places we adore and hold up as the national treasures they are.  Visitors from overseas cannot comprehend the vast distances that can be found between outbreaks of civilisation in the outback.

Few can come to terms with the fact Melbourne and Cairns are 2,000 miles, yes miles, apart with not much in between.  We all hear stories of tourists hiring cars in Melbourne to visit the Gold Coast and expecting to be back the next day. Once again it's about 1,050 miles by the shortest route and even further if you take the coastal route.

This site provides snippets, anecdotes and pictures of where we've been.  To say our trips are as smooth, as say the Leyland's, would be lying, we just aren't that good, but then again we don't rate down there with the three stooges and we only have half the grief of Russell Quoit.  If you have an interest in four wheel driving, travelling to Cape York or the high country this site may help. People like us get a lot of joy planning our escapes, researching, selecting and paying off equipment and getting a feel for the destination before we leave.  Each and every trip is different as is each and every new situation we discover.

We don't profess to be experts in the field of four wheel driving or for that matter anything but enjoying ourselves and making the resource that will support us for the rest of our lives, superannuation, last whilst looking around the country.  The basic plan is to avoid the Victorian winter as much as possible so if you want to contact us between July and the end of September don't waste your energy because we will be somewhere warm seeing just how much water there is between the fish.  

Our travels have, already, taught us a lot and if anything in this site helps you great.  We've learnt that the wrong fit and type of clothing can cause a great deal of grief and all manner of vehicle and travel related "stuff" we didn't find in the magazines or books.  We are not professional travellers in the same vein as Ron Moon and the others, well we actually would be classed a Amateur (note the Capital A) but we do supply services to our fellow travellers.  Dawdling all over Australia is our fascination, hobby and dream.  If we can help you let us know and we'll do our best.

As this site grows we will endeavour to give advice to those like  myself who now travels to the ends of this continent in my trusty four wheel drive.  I retired early in September 2000 and I have just completed three trips to Cape York and back and, believe it or not, both me and the 4x4 survived the trip a little wiser and with a completely  different outlook on the people and the place.

 4x4arts.com is not a supplier of driver training to recreational 4x4 drivers nor do we retail any of the products seen on this site.

 

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