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How to offset your holiday emissions

NATURETOURISMCERTnewGreat Divide Tours is accredited with Ecotourism Australia. Being a member of Ecotourism Australia is not only the payment of a membership fee each year, it imposes certain requirements on the tourism operator. Requirements designed to protect you and also to protect the planet.

The conduct of four wheel drive tours such as those offered by Great Divide Tours could be seen by some as being harmful to the environment. However, it is fair to say that for the vast majority of the population it would simply be impossible for them to see the areas we visit if a four wheel drive was not used. I’m sure that none of us wish to harm the environment whilst enjoying our holiday but there are others in this world who believe our very action of driving a four wheel drive is creating harm. From what I have read there are many more forms of holiday that will have a far larger carbon footprint and impact on the environment than our use of our chosen means of transport, the four wheel drive.

Having said this there are many things that we can all do to reduce our environmental impact whilst on holidays and this paper is designed to help you offset your emissions whilst participating in one of our fabulous 4WD tag-along tours.


Here are a few ideas:-
For starters by choosing to take a holiday that involves driving rather than flying you have immediately reduced your impact on the environment.

Whilst on the holiday only use the vehicle when it is absolutely necessary, if you can walk to the shops do so, if you can walk to the lookout, do so, and don’t leave the motor running for extended periods when not moving. If we stop for a view or observe an animal switch off your engine and save a few litres of fuel. Don’t run your engine just to keep the heater going to make the kids warm, get them to play chasings instead and allow their own body heat to warm them up.

Don’t over use your air conditioning whilst driving, the air conditioner reduces your fuel economy and it is not necessary to have the air conditioning running all the time. Adjust the vehicles temperature gauge to provide you with heating or cooling and when stationery wind down a window and switch off your engine.

Don’t leave the children in the car, it is actually against the law and whilst you are enjoying a lookout or historic site are they really learning anything from the cartoons they are watching on their DVD player?

When packing your vehicle do your best to keep large objects off the roof rack, a roof rack will increase your vehicle’s fuel consumption.

When driving use economic driving techniques to conserve fuel. Experiment with your cruise control when on long straight roads getting to the start of the trip or returning home. You may find that the cruise control will return better fuel economy than your driving style.

Fast acceleration or sharp braking will reduce your fuel economy, be conservative with your throttle application and plan ahead. Use your gears, even in an automatic to reduce speed and then accelerate away without over revving the engine, always be smooth.

Generators are not to be used on our tours, they are noisy and consume fuel when alternatives are available. Use solar powered batteries and have an auxiliary battery fitted to your vehicle for lighting and fridge operation. Switch off unwanted/unnecessary camp lights when in camp, when we are sitting around the camp fire switch off your camp lights so we can all enjoy the night sky, this will also reduce your carbon footprint.

Tyre pressures are important and you should adjust your tyre pressures to suit the conditions, a tyre that is prematurely destroyed due to over inflation adds to landfill.

When you get home you can continue to offset your holiday emissions, look at how little water you needed for washing and cooking whilst in the outback, now look at how much water you waste when at home, apply some of your newly acquired water saving practices all the time and not just on holidays.

Switch off unnecessary lights at home, play games with the children instead of allowing them to watch TV or DVD’s, buy a bike and go for a ride on the weekend, wear a jumper if cold rather than turn up the air conditioner, open a window to create a draught if you are hot rather than cooling the whole house with the air conditioner.

Buy a tree or shrub and put it in your garden for every trip you take with GDT. If you don’t have a garden then plant it at the GDT 4WD training facility we have started our holiday tree planting garden.

There are hundreds of ways you can help offset your holiday emissions the ones listed here are achievable and you can start doing them from the day you leave home.

If you want more information on how to offset your holiday emissions just google it, there are hundreds of ideas out there.

Vic Widman




Now that the dust has settled on our memorable trip to the Victorian high country I thought I would drop you a line to thank you and Neill.

Your knowledge of the high country was outstanding. Not only did you know the tracks intimately but you were able to pass on the history of the area which always makes a trip like this much more interesting.

I must say that I would not have attempted most of these tracks on my own or even with friends. The way you and Neill guided us through what at first seemed to be very difficult situations saw my confidence grow as the trip progressed. One of the rewards of course is the awesome views and spectacular countryside.

But for me the most impressive part of the trip was after I made a stupid mistake (in a carpark) and damaged my vehicle quite badly. You, Neill and I must say the rest of the group rallied to repair my vehicle in quite difficult circumstances. This was not easy and without you and Neill I would still be stuck half way up a mountain in very isolated country. You did this very professionally with regard for everyone's safety. You also managed to calm me down and keep the situation light hearted.

Once repairs were completed you saw to the needs of the group then escorted me of the mountain to safety where you had organised dinner and accommodation and a mechanic if required.

I can't praise you and your staff highly enough. You turned a potentially devastating situation for me into an experience that has left me wanting to return for more trips with Great Divide Tours. I have never experienced this level of customer service before.

Thanks again to you Neill and the rest of the group. And to anyone thinking of this type of adventure, you could not find a better way than to join Great Divide tours who offer exceptional customer service and support both on and of the tracks.

Paul Hutchinson 

Testimony from Karen and Ian,

 Wow, just wow!  We have just completed the July/August Cape York Safari led by Dave and have to say that all of our expectations were met and then some.

 The organization was great and the campsites were just right (including the bush camps) and even though the Great Divide team can’t take full credit for the amazing part of the world we live in, they can take the credit for making sure that our trip took in such a variety!  It must have been good, we took over 3000 photos on the safari (all 19 nights of it) and are struggling to find too many ‘bad’ ones!

 But overall, we wanted to let you know that Dave was the perfect leader for the safari.  His knowledge of the Cape, his 4x4 expertise and his directions on the ‘tricky bits’ were exactly what was needed.  We all made new friends on the trip and in no small measure this was due to Dave making sure everyone was included.

 If you are looking for a very special experience, we recommend you sign up (early as they book out quickly!)

Good morning Vic and the Great Divide Tours team,

This is Wendy and Jamie Buckley who participated in your weekend course back in Oct 2015 and our home is in Ingleside. From your e-news it would seem you have all had an extremely busy and successful year, so congratulations!

Jamie and I moved to South Luangwa Zambia Feb 2016 and took up the role as Camp Managers at an incredible bush camp Flatdogs. Nearly one year on our experience here as far exceeded our expectations and we both love our new careers in hospitality and life in Zambia.

As for our 4 x 4 experiences, we assure you everything we learnt on your course has been put to the test and we both laugh a lot when we come to a flooded area and quick to say “you can walk through the water to check how deep it is” hahaha not as the chance of a croc or hippo is extremely high.  The camp is located on the Luangwa River (elephant crossing photo is out front of our home) which has one of the highest populations of hippos and elephants anywhere in Africa. Our daily lives include dodging elephants in camp 24/7 and hippos at night. We eat lunch looking out of our windows at home to giraffes, vervet monkeys, baboons, elephants, bush buck, Puku and endless amounts of birds. The road block photo attached is our walk to work about 900 metres.

Our vehicle is an ex safari vehicle (as attached) which has no doors, no windscreen and no roof though we have a highly skilled team of mechanics on site to keep all the safari vehicles running.  We take our selves on safari in the National Park and my drive to a small gym at a neighboring camp can be eventful now the green season has arrived. I have to make sure the wheels are locked and take my gum boots in case I get stuck. Attached are one of the current safari vehicles which both Jamie and I have access to on when needed, they are liking driving a lounge room on wheels.

So we both are very grateful for the course we participated in with you and please pass our thanks on the team.

Lots of love to you and wishing you a sensational 2017.

Wendy and Jamie Buckley 

elephant crossing Lunagwa river Ed Selfe smaller Giraffes in camp Sept 3 2016 wedding anniversary Jamie Wendy Dec 21 tnt 4 2016 resized  Landcruiser Flatdogs Camp Jan 2017 Road block Zambia style

Hello Vic

Narelle & I have just returned from the Man from Snowy River Tour. We had a great time touring with Great Divide Tours.

Our tour leader was Tony Davys. Vic, you are lucky to have Tony in your company. He brings a wealth of knowledge on 4x4 driving coupled with excellent people management skills. All participants were given individual advice and encouragement when required and their questions answered sincerely. I classify Tony a master of his craft, a AAA Plus rating.

A couple of highlights on our trip for me were firstly, helping him out of a spot of bother at Native Dog Flat (pic attached) and secondly sharing the fly rod at Buckwong Hut.

This was our second tour with Great Divide Tours in six weeks. Australia has many fine places to visit and I can't suggest a better way to see our country by travelling with your company.

We will certainly keep Great Divide Tours in mind for future travel plans.


Narelle and Tony Day

"Hi Jenny

Thanks to you and Wayne for a thoroughly enjoyable weekend course.

We really enjoyed ourselves and can now contemplate how to get the best from the Hilux and Camper trailer.

The tuition was great with the lessons in trailer reversing and jack knife points worth attending on their own.

Whipped the trailer into our carport at the end of our cul-de-sac on return with no worries  -( and no filling for an AVO ).

The rest of the course was great too - venue  food staff and company all first rate.

Will be in touch re future trips"


Mark Nealon

"Hi Vic

Kerry & I have just returned from the trip to Pajinka and Cape York on the Great Divide tour led by Dave.

Firstly I would like to thank you again for allowing us to join this year's trip after Kerry's accident on last year's trip. As I said at the time we didn't expect it and certainly didn't think we were entitled to it, and were very grateful for your kind and generous offer. After now completing the trip, we appreciate it even more.

The trip was absolutely fabulous in every way. The itinerary was excellent and well thought out. We experienced as much of the Cape as could comfortable be done in the 19 days. There were so many highs - from seeing a cassowary and it's chick near Cape Tribulation; to driving most of the Old Telegraph Track; to standing at the tip of the continent. An unexpected highlight was watching my NRL team (Brisbane Broncos) play Dave's team (Dragons) on TV whilst at Loyalty Beach with some locals. That was fun....and my team won!

I have a lot of family history on the Cape, so visiting Coen where my father taught in the early 1950's; visiting Laura Station where my uncles worked as very young men; driving past Battle Camp Station where my great great grandfather worked in the 1880's and my uncles later owned  till the late 1970's; visiting Cooktown where many of my ancestors have lived and still have family there; to visiting Thursday Island which was a base when my family lived on one of the Torres Straight Islands. These were the most important parts of the trip for me.

It was so good to actually use my vehicle in conditions for which it was designed and built for. I learned so much about driving my 4WD vehicle from Dave and feel much more confident (but not over-confident) and can't wait till we can do another trip with Great Divide Tours. We won't be looking anywhere else for a tag-a-long trip. Unfortunately work will get in the way for a while.

The group we travelled with proved to be a great bunch of people and we have made some strong friendships. I'm sure we will be seeing them again.

In particular, I would like to pay tribute to Dave. The success of the trip was entirely due to his leadership, knowledge and people management skills and he certainly represents Great Divide very well. We now class Dave as one of our good friends.

So thanks again Vic, we look forward to joining a Great Divide tour again."

Graeme & Kerry Polkinghorne

"Hi Vic,

We have just returned from our Cape York trip.

Dave told us all to email you and tell you what a great trip we had and what a great guide he was.

Sorry, we can't say that.
What we can say is that we had the most amazing, exciting adventurous time of our lives. We saw stunning scenery, camped in beautiful bush settings, met some amazing people, took awesome photos and pretty much had the time of our lives.

Put simply, Dave was amazing. A bundle of knowledge, a great organiser, witty, charming, and a natural leader. His expertise and guidance, along with his cool calm manner, gave me the courage to do something I would never ordinarily have done, drive through Cockatoo Creek.

We will be forever grateful that we stumbled upon your website when researching our trip to the Cape.

We are seriously considering a Simpson Desert tour and will most certainly do it with your company. After doing a tag along tour we know it is the best fit for us.

Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to travel with your company and most especially to meet Dave."

Kind regards,

Lyn and Phil Ross