Suzuki Vitara launch: camping in the Outback

Suzuki Vitara launch: camping in the Outback

There’s nothing like getting away from the horrible Auckland winter weather for a sunnier clime, and that’s just what we did when Suzuki invited us to be at the Australian launch of its new Vitara.

We flew into Sydney last Saturday and stayed at the airport Stamford Plaza, ready to take an early flight to Ayers Rock (Uluru) on Sunday morning. Looking down from the plane, there’s a whole lot of sand and scrub out there. Ayers Rock airport was a chilly 13 degrees, despite it being a clear blue sky. A bus transfer took us to the resort, built in the late ’80s and now showing its age.

Having not bothered with the lunch on the flight, I accidentally gatecrashed a private function, ‘borrowing’ some of the food, until I was informed of my misdemeanour.

A press conference in the afternoon, where we had the opportunity to ask questions of the Japanese visitors, was short and sweet. The Suzuki representatives were adamant the new car had much better road manners, was quieter and better featured. We would have to wait until the next day to find that out, though.

The sun was getting low by that time and we were bussed to a dining location in the outback overlooking Ayers Rock. A didgeridoo player set the scene and we watched the shadows lengthen as the sun set.

We made our way down a narrow path to our dinner location. The rapidly plummeting temperature made the Suzuki-supplied beanies essential. Dinner, a large buffet with kangaroo, crocodile and other more conventional fare, was followed by an astronomy talk. I have never seen the Milky Way so vividly – with zero light pollution, the sky sparkled with the light of distant suns.

outback1

5:30am was the wake-up call for our helicopter ride to King’s Creek Station, taking in Ayers Rock, the Olgas, and a large salt lake (Lake Amadeus).

The Vitaras were parked at King’s Creek Station, ready for a thrashing over some severely corrugated roads, a good section of smooth, flowing curvaceous black-top, and an off-road section. The Vitara was capable of more than 120kph on the dusty, rutted, bumpy roads without any concern. And on the open road it was smooth and unflustered to a much higher speed than that. Very impressive.

outback2

The final part of the day’s journey was a moderately easy off-road course next to our campsite, where we spent the remainder of the afternoon chatting and taking photos. With a meal of barramundi inside me I retired to my ‘luxury’ tent. Camping in the desert isn’t the most comfortable experience – getting up in the middle of the night to liberate some of the drink consumed earlier is an experience fraught with the danger of every plant having some kind of thorn or spine. And then you have to get warm again in the 2-degree cold.

The following day we drove to Alice Springs and took the flight back to Sydney, then on to Auckland. It was a fantastic trip, and well worth it for the new Suzuki Vitara. More will be revealed in the road test, coming soon!!

outback3

There’s nothing like getting away from the horrible Auckland winter weather for a sunnier clime, and that’s just what we did when Suzuki invited us to be at the Australian launch of its new Vitara.

We flew into Sydney last Saturday and stayed at the airport Stamford Plaza, ready to take an early flight to Ayers Rock (Uluru) on Sunday morning. Looking down from the plane, there’s a whole lot of sand and scrub out there. Ayers Rock airport was a chilly 13 degrees, despite it being a clear blue sky. A bus transfer took us to the resort, built in the late ’80s and now showing its age.

Having not bothered with the lunch on the flight, I accidentally gatecrashed a private function, ‘borrowing’ some of the food, until I was informed of my misdemeanour.

A press conference in the afternoon, where we had the opportunity to ask questions of the Japanese visitors, was short and sweet. The Suzuki representatives were adamant the new car had much better road manners, was quieter and better featured. We would have to wait until the next day to find that out, though.

The sun was getting low by that time and we were bussed to a dining location in the outback overlooking Ayers Rock. A didgeridoo player set the scene and we watched the shadows lengthen as the sun set.

We made our way down a narrow path to our dinner location. The rapidly plummeting temperature made the Suzuki-supplied beanies essential. Dinner, a large buffet with kangaroo, crocodile and other more conventional fare, was followed by an astronomy talk. I have never seen the Milky Way so vividly – with zero light pollution, the sky sparkled with the light of distant suns.

outback1

5:30am was the wake-up call for our helicopter ride to King’s Creek Station, taking in Ayers Rock, the Olgas, and a large salt lake (Lake Amadeus).

The Vitaras were parked at King’s Creek Station, ready for a thrashing over some severely corrugated roads, a good section of smooth, flowing curvaceous black-top, and an off-road section. The Vitara was capable of more than 120kph on the dusty, rutted, bumpy roads without any concern. And on the open road it was smooth and unflustered to a much higher speed than that. Very impressive.

outback2

The final part of the day’s journey was a moderately easy off-road course next to our campsite, where we spent the remainder of the afternoon chatting and taking photos. With a meal of barramundi inside me I retired to my ‘luxury’ tent. Camping in the desert isn’t the most comfortable experience – getting up in the middle of the night to liberate some of the drink consumed earlier is an experience fraught with the danger of every plant having some kind of thorn or spine. And then you have to get warm again in the 2-degree cold.

The following day we drove to Alice Springs and took the flight back to Sydney, then on to Auckland. It was a fantastic trip, and well worth it for the new Suzuki Vitara. More will be revealed in the road test, coming soon!!

outback3

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