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Words by Claudia Bouma Pics by Chris Bouma


Three thousand kilometres, five magnificent destinations across Victoria and one Toyota Prado 3L turbo diesel fitted with Pedders Trakryder 4WD Suspension turned out to be the perfect ingredients for an unforgettable camping trip for a family of five. From the picturesque Glenelg River to the rugged Shipwreck Coast, from the golden city of Bendigo to the magnificent mountain vistas of Snowy River NP, our four-week adventure took us to many breathtaking locations.

For my husband Chris it was a dream come true to have the 4WD fitted with the high-quality Pedders Trakryder 4WD suspension and air bags – made possible by the company’s generosity. The professional installation was carried out in Lilydale, VIC, and the end result was everything we’d hoped for.

A couple of days later Chris hooked up the camper trailer and was impressed to see that the vehicle did not sag in the back like it did before. The air bags provide great flexibility as it allows you to adjust the air pressure to suit. In our case, the car’s left side was markedly heavier but this was easily compensated for by increasing the air pressure in the left air bag.

With the car and trailer packed for our camping trip, we hit the open road and Chris noticed straight away how the car handled much better, particularly when cornering. The first real suspension test came when we embarked on a 4WD trip to Moonlight Head and Wreck Beach along the Shipwreck Coast. At the start of the track Chris let down the tyres for a softer ride. Parts of the track involved deep, soft sand and the car was thrown from left to right as Chris had to keep up momentum to stop us from getting stuck. Despite the ruts and bumps the ride was smooth enough and it was obvious that the Pedders’ double action shockers absorbed the shocks a lot better than the original Toyota suspension. The vehicle’s articulation had also noticeably improved when driving through deep holes and along badly rutted stretches of track.

The next serious test took place six hundred kilometres east of the Great Ocean Road in the wild and rugged Snowy River National Park of East Gippsland. Known for its dramatic scenery and fascinating history, this national park should be an item on anyone’s bucket list. The Snowy River Country Trail is an absolute must as it gives access to spectacular alpine landscapes, breathtaking gorges and rainforest-clad ranges. The 43km drive from Wulgumerang to the historic McKillop Bridge is considered one of Victoria’s most stunning drives as the descent into the majestic Snowy River Valley is an experience of a lifetime. Steep, narrow and windy, the all-weather-track is a journey along hairpin bends and past near-vertical cliffs dropping away hundreds of metres to the mighty Snowy below. The riveting descent was the perfect location to gauge the vehicle’s body roll – which seems to be a Toyota weakness – but the Prado stayed square on the road with the shockers providing us with a relatively smooth and comfortable ride.

At the end of the trip Chris and I agreed that the Pedders Trakryder 4WD Suspension does indeed offer on-road comfort as well as off-road control. We recommend this high-quality product to any serious off-roaders who want straight advice, specialists you understand and… No Bull.

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