KK & Jen love their New Defender and TuffAnt Kimberley for outback adventures!
"My first experience with TuffAnt was purchasing their bonnet mounted antenna mount. They came well recommended, so I “added to cart” and was very happy with the prompt response and delivery. But not half as happy as I was with the antenna mount itself! It is an absolute thing of beauty - impressive design (I’m a sucker for great design) and superbly executed in beautiful practical stainless steel. Not only is it beautiful, but it just works! It’s unobtrusive and perfectly functional. Did I mention it was beautiful??
Apart from some basics for towing and gear carrying, I wasn’t keen on too many mods to what I thought was a perfect car. I was about to be proved wrong!
Our first trip to the Simpson Desert (on 19” stock rims and tyres) ended abruptly thanks to one small rock. Pre trip planning revealed no availability of 19” tyres in Australia, and we were planning on taking a spare carcass. We went anyway, with one standard spare and lots of tyre plugs. Long story short, 50km north of Oodnadatta a rock lodged between the brake caliper and rim, shearing the rim completely in half. Yes, you read that right. Add to the mix another level of excitement, the opposite rear tyre was hissing air. The perfect storm. No service centres out there. Even longer story short, we hobbled back home to northern NSW via Adelaide where we purchased a very expensive new rim.
Obviously 19” tyres weren’t the answer to an outback adventurer’s dreams!
TuffAnt’s 18” conversion was the logical next step. The process was painless, effective and well organised - no mean feat with rim supply, tyre selection, supply, delivery and fitting, brake caliper change, and engineer certification all to be coordinated. And all complete within half a day!
At this point I’ll add that we are two grandmothers who love adventuring into the outback, we’re not into crochet or lawn bowls!! Not that there is anything wrong with crafting & bowling, it’s just not our thing.Shortly after the TuffAnt mods, we headed back to the Simpson Desert for round two. Happy to report that we didn’t even break a fingernail on that trip.
We experienced a smooth, effortless crossing with sunny days and starry nights. Stayed off the French Line by navigating the ‘the tracks less travelled’. Finishing the crossing at Big Red, a small crowd cheered as the Defender ate up the steepest incline to the top.
The 2023 rains halted our intended Hay River Track adventure so we headed south to hit the sand again to travel Goog’s Track in South Australia. A tiny taste of sand driving in a an environment vastly different to the Simpson. Topped that trip off with a visit to the Gawler Ranges NP. The corrugated roads of the NP tested our knowledge of tyre pressures when we discovered the fridge door in our small off road caravan had fallen off. Thankfully the wine bottles didn’t break!! We entered the inaugural Gawler Ranges bake off and both won our categories.
Note: we made up this event to while away the afternoon and evening around the campfire.
We’re not gung-ho four wheel drivers. We don’t seek out gnarly rock crawling tracks, outback travel is more our thing. The Defender is absolutely perfect for this, and thanks to TuffAnt it’s more perfect now than it ever was!"