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Travelling Australia with a Tinny

If you’re thinking of towing a tinny around Australia, we couldn’t recommend it enough. Some of the best times of our lives have been spent exploring remote waterways, catching fresh seafood for dinner and diving on our own private patches of reef.

Obviously there’s some cons to towing a tinny behind your touring rig (most evidently increased fuel consumption and reduced off-road ability) and we understand that, but we wholeheartedly believe that the pros outweigh the cons in just about every instance.

In order to make the experience as convenient and stress-free as possible there is some tips and tricks that we’ve outlined below in order to make sure you’re not stranded on the side of the road with a busted wheel bearing or stuck up a croc infested river with a dead outboard.



Ensure your trailer is up to spec, there’s a few major things you will want to check for:

  • Excessive rust

  • Cracks (especially around welds/joins)

  • Indicator/brake light operation

  • Tyre condition including spare

  • Suspension condition

  • Loose or damaged nuts/bolts

  • Wheel bearings (recommend replacing before a big trip)

You may also want to make some modifications to your trailer before setting off, especially if you will be taking the trailer off-road. A few optional mods we would recommend are:

  • Off-road coupling to replace the standard tow hitch – this will allow for better articulation when heading off the beaten track

  • Increase wheel size for better ground clearance – a lot of people upgrade their wheels so that they have the same hubs and wheels as their vehicle. This is a great idea for having additional spares on hand however keep in mind that the larger the wheels the more difficult the tinny will be to launch/retrieve due to it’s height out of the water

  • Upgrade your suspension – this is not entirely necessary however if you wanted more clearance, or perhaps plan on carrying extra weight in the tinny then you may wish to upgrade the suspension

  • Convert your axle to an over slung set-up – this will provide more ground clearance however there is a few pros and cons – check out the following link for an in-depth overview on this modification - click here

  • Outboard support – if you are travelling with your outboard attached to the tinny then you will want to make sure it is adequately supported. We used this model which has a spring shock absorber integrated into the design - click here

  • Stone deflector – when travelling on gravel roads stones can ricochet off your tinny and smash into your back window (we actually had this happen to us). There’s plenty of options out there to prevent this from happening

  • Grab a lock for your trailer so that you can safely leave it behind when you need to (e.g. a day trip). A tow hitch lock is great for ensuring someone can't hitch up to your trailer and a simple chain and padlock through your rim and around the trailer chassis will make the trailer immobile. Keep in mind no matter how secure your locks, they're probably no match for an industrious thief with a grinder so try to leave it in a safe and secure location where possible

  • Tyre pressure sensors - we use these on both our Troopy and trailer and they are great for monitoring pressures while you're on the move. We once travelled about a hundred kilometres without realising our trailer had a flat so the sensors are a worthwhile investment


Ensure your tinny is up to spec, there’s a few major things you will want to check for:

  • Electrolysis or galvanic corrosion – this is basically when parts of your tinny start to degrade and break down – here is a good guide which explains the process and what to look out for - click here

  • Cracks in the hull (especially around welds/joins)

  • Bungs – ensure these are not damaged and sealed properly, the rubber gasket often becomes hard and brittle after some time in the weather

  • Electrical systems – if your tinny has any electrical accessories, be sure to check all of these e.g. battery health, lighting, radio etc.

  • All other components including steering (if applicable), fuel tank/hoses, accessories etc.

You may also want to make some modifications to your tinny before setting off, especially if you will be taking it off-road. A few optional mods we would recommend are:

  • Ensure everything is tied down, we had a mate weld in some anchor points so we could ensure everything was safe and secure e.g. your fuel tank and ice box

  • Install an EPIRB if you’re going to be in remote areas – we carry a PLB in our vehicle at all times and chuck it in our day pack whenever we head out in the tinny

  • A good quality dust proof cover for the tinny (and outboard) is essential if you’re on gravel/dirt roads to prevent the hull filling up with dust and will also help prevent opportunistic thieves

  • Install some plywood sandwich plates to spread the load of your outboard on either side of the transom, alternatively you can have this braced by a skilled welder/fabricator


  • Service your outboard prior to leaving, this includes – replace the spark plugs (if necessary), replace the impeller, replace or clean the fuel filter, change the gearbox oil and plug seals, grease the pivot points, change the engine oil and filter (4 stroke only)

  • Perform an overall inspection of all components, check for loose nuts and bolts, component wear and damage


You should also carry basic spares to get yourself out of trouble. Below is a list of what we like to carry with us:

  • Spark plugs

  • Impeller

  • Wheel bearings/grease

  • Spare wheel

  • Leaf spring (not entirely necessary but good peace of mind)

  • Bungs (make sure you get the right size and the thread types do vary)

Now that you’re ready to hit the road we’ve listed some bullet points below to help make life a little bit easier when you’re towing your rig:

  • Parking can sometimes be an issue but most towns (especially tourist ones) accommodate for long rig parking. We find it best to always try and park a little further away from shops etc. to avoid any stressful parking situations

  • If you're hitting some gnarly tracks there's usually somewhere close by that will look after your tinny for you while you're gone. Most stations and caravan parks will let you store your rig for a small fee e.g. Bramwell Station when tackling the Old Tele Track (Cape York) and Drysdale Station when tackling the Kalumburu Road (The Kimberleys). Just be sure to remove your valuables and lock up your trailer to make sure it's still there when you get back

  • Maintenance – ensure you keep your maintenance schedule up to date, with important checks and inspections (especially your wheel bearings)

  • It can be tricky turning your rig around in tight spaces, if you’re unsure of the turning circle at the end of a track you can always walk down first. Worst case scenario, your tinny should be light enough to unhitch and spin around to get you out of a tight spot

  • Keep in mind you may incur an extra fee for travelling on most ferries such as Tassie, Kangaroo Island, Fraser Island, Moreton Island etc.

  • Your tinny is also a great place to store items when travelling, we also use ours to collect firewood when we’re out in the bush. Just keep in mind not to overload it and keep the load properly distributed

  • Most remote locations will not have a designated public boat ramp so you will be beach launching a lot of the time. Ensure you are confident and experienced in doing this and always have a competent deckie around to lend a hand

  • Tyre pressures – remember to adjust your tyre pressures on your trailer as you would on your 4WD, ensure your hose and wiring on your compressor is long enough to reach the trailer tyres

Some of our favourite locations for tinny bashing around Australia are:

  • Shark Bay – WA

  • Ningaloo (absolute favourite) – WA

  • Dampier archipelago (Karratha) – WA

  • Dampier peninsula (Broome) – WA

  • Exmouth - WA

  • Kangaroo Island – SA

  • Rapid Bay – SA

  • Top end – NT

  • Limmen Bight River – NT

  • Cape York – QLD

  • Whitsundays – QLD

  • Fraser Island – QLD

  • Moreton Island - QLD

We hope this blog was helpful for you in someway. Feel free to shoot us an email if you have any further questions or queries!

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