We hope you find the following useful. Even if you have never done any 4WDing before, you and your vehicle are already both 95% ready and capable of completing our tours. If you do not have a 4WD or find your vehicle may not be suitable, or you are travelling from areas further away, another option is to hire a suitable vehicle. Info about this can be found on our Rentals page or alternatively maybe our Chauffeur option may be suitable?.
We often get ask the following questions about peoples vehicles and our tour's.
1) Is my vehicle going to be suitable?
2) Do different tours have different vehicle requirements?
3) Are my tyres suitable for this tour?
4) Do I need a winch or snorkel?
5) Is there any special equipment I need on my vehicle?
We will do our best to answer these questions for you as below:-
1) There once was a time when all 4WD vehicles were Landrover's and life was simple, if tough. Now we have a multitude of 4WD and All wheel Drive vehicles with varying degrees of off road capability. In the past we have only catered for low ratio equipped high clearance vehicles.
However most of the new generation, non low ratio 4WD's are capable of much more than shopping trips.
Low ratio equipped, high ground clearance vehicles:
These vehicles are suitable for all NZ Adventures Safaris.
These vehicles are fitted with a transfer gearbox giving high and low ratios and also have high ground clearance and generally heavy duty high profile tyres.
This applies to most Utility style single and double cab 4WD vehicles. Also including: Nissan Safari, Patrol, Pathfinder, Navara, Terrano, Mistral. Isuzu Bighorn, MU. Mazda Marvie, badged Vitara, Bounty 4x4 Ute. Holden Jackaroo & Monterey, 4x4 Ute. Mitsibishi, Pajero, Proceed, L300 van. Kia Sportage. Suzuki Jimny(this Suzuki model must NOT contain more than 2 people). Toyota Surf, Prado, Landcruiser, 4WD Hiace. Landrover Discovery, Vogue, Range Rover, Defender. Jeep. Ford Explorer, Ranger, Courier 4x4 Ute. Ssangyong Rexton. Great Wall vehicles incl X & V 240.
This does not apply to low ratio equipped Subaru Outback and Forester which have lower ground clearance and a long front overhang. However the Forester since about 2008 do "appear" to have a shorter front overhang and may be more suitable?
Low & Non low ratio equipped, moderate clearance vehicles:
These vehicles below, along with ALL the above are suitable for our High Country Heritage tours:
These vehicles are not fitted with dedicated low ratio transmissions but may have extra low gears in the normal transmission and/or the addition of various forms of traction or height control. Ground clearance and body overhangs are moderate and tyres are often lower profile. Audi Q7. BMW X9. Porsche Cayenne. VW Toureg. Toyota Rav 4 (late models with high ground clearance), Highlander. Landrover Freelander. Mercedes ML Class, Suzuki Vitara, Grand Vitara & Escudo.
NB. For both this list and the following we would recommend only 2 people per vehicle. Increased passenger and luggage weight will significantly lower the ground clearance and passenger comfort.
The following vehicles are generally not suitable for our tours
These vehicles are not fitted with dedicated low ratio transmissions but may have extra low gears in the normal transmission and/or the addition of various forms of traction or height control. Ground clearance and body overhangs are moderate and tyres are often lower profile. This applies to: Ford Escape. Honda CRV. Hyundai Santa Fe, Terracan, Tucson. Kia Sorrento. Lexus. BMW X3, X5. Mercedes GL Class, M Class. Mitsubishi Outlander. Nissan X Trail. Ssangyong Kyron. Toyota Rav, Volvo XC, Nissan Mirano, Holden Captiva, VW Tiguon.
AWD vehicles with standard road type tyres fitted are NOT suitable.
Please note: This list is not definitive, there may be omissions and specifications are constantly changing. Driver attitude and skill is also a factor. We have seen a VW Toureg master tough terrain the average owner would baulk at taking a valuable vehicle over, and a Subaru Outback’s long front overhang expertly squeezed between boulders, which if contacted, could have caused certain cosmetic damage.
So, if you are unsure, please give us a ring to discuss your vehicle with us.
2) Generally, only the Low ratio equipped, high ground clearance vehicles are suitable for the Southern Lakes, Mackenzie, Eastern and West Coast Explorer tours. On these tours we go into areas that require a bit more ground clearance, longer climbs and some river crossings.
3) Tyres: Before we talk specifics on tyres, whatever tyres you have on your vehicle they must (including the spare) have at least 70% tread life left, with no cuts or carcass damage.
This terrain is rocky and can be quite hard on tyres. It is a fact that most tyre problems occur in the last half of the tyre’s life!
Minimum requirements recommended are genuine all terrain (AT type) tyres with chunky block treads in very good condition. Standard road tyres are not recommended for these Safaris.
Heritage 4x4 Safaris.
Ideally, though not essential, are AT, or ‘all terrain tyres’. These are chunkier than the usual purely road tyres, with about 80% tread to gap ratio and stronger construction. Low profile performance road tyres with light sidewalls are more vulnerable to damage on the rocks we will experience. If you have low profile, lightweight tyres of an unusual size they are unlikely to be stocked in rural areas. We recommend borrowing a second new spare tyre (rim not essential) for the Safari from your agent and returning it after the trip. If the weather does turn wet and you are using road tyres you may have to miss out sections of the track you might otherwise tackle.
Please note. Please keep in mind however that low profile performance road tyres with light sidewalls are more vulnerable to damage in any off road conditions. If you have low profile lightweight tyres of an unusual size we recommend borrowing a second new spare tyre (rim not essential) for the trip from your tyre supplier and returning it after the trip. If you are replacing your tyres before the tour, keep one of the old ones and bring it with you for emergencies. Unusually sized and low profile tyres, many modern 4WD vehicles now seem to have them :-((, can be difficult to obtain in the middle of the South Island.
AWD vehicles with standard road type tyres fitted are NOT suitable.
What is a Low profile tyre?
It is anything that is not the normal side wall height of a conventional 4WD tyre. (About 15 cm) it can be considered a Low Profile.
Generally Space Saver tyres are not suitable for off road. If you have one of these please, you MUST talk to us about it.
4) No, you do not need a winch or snorkel for any of our tours. Snorkels are however cheap insurance and if you often spend your time off road or drive in dusty conditions one should be considered.
5) When you send your deposit in we send back to you, along with other paperwork a Preparation guide. This tells you what we recommend you bring and what we recommend for the vehicle. But basically any stock standard 4WD vehicle is already 95% ready for our tours.
Basic vehicle equipment:
Talk of recovery gear may get some into a cold sweat, but like all good Scouts we like to be prepared - just in case. Though we have no intention of getting anyone stuck, please remember that we are going a good way off road and none of us can control every eventuality, especially the weather - and the person behind the wheel........!
We are likely to drive through areas of high fire risk. Our entry permits state that all vehicles must carry a minimum 2.4 kg fire extinguisher Dru powder or C02, in working order. Please note that no smoking is permitted anywhere on private and DOC land.
A strong metal handled spade. Strong, rated tow hooks front and rear of your vehicle. There are usually some on the vehicle, but are sometimes they are light duty items. Accessory hooks are cheap and easily fitted. If you aren’t sure get them checked at a 4WD shop. Usually any recovery points fitted by the manufacturer to your vehicle are more than adequate for our tours. An 8000kg - 9mtr Snatch strap & 2 x 3.2 ton rated shackles should be carried under the seat of any vehicle going off road.
In addition to the above. If it is wet we may be reducing tyre pressures, so you may want to bring your own compressor. An accurate tyre pressure gauge is invaluable. We do carry gauges and inflation equipment, but if you have your own gear it will speed things up. 4x4 enthusiasts with more experience may have other recovery items, feel free to bring these along.
None of this is difficult and below is a basic check list:-
- THERMOS FLASK
- SPARE TYRE (Please ring and talk to us if you have either lo-profile tyres or a space-saver tyre)
- FIRE EXTINGUISHER (Minimum 2.4kg) dry powder or CO2
- A SPADE OR SHOVEL
- WARM CLOTHING / WARM HAT / SUNGLASSES / SUN BLOCK / SUNHAT
- CAMERA / BATTERIES / BATTERY CHARGERS
- SNATCH STRAP & RATED SHACKLE
- SUPPORTIVE UNDERGARMENTS SUGGESTED FOR THE LADIES
HAVE YOU ADVISED NZ ADVENTURES ABOUT ANY DIETARY REQUIREMENTS YOU HAVE?? This is not an issue for us, but we need to know in advance so we can advise our meal providers so that your requirements can be catered for.