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An interview with 4WDing newbie, Charlotte Fenn

© Charlotte Fenn
© Charlotte Fenn

Originally from the UK, photographer Charlotte Fenn packed her bags in 2020 to move to Australia with her partner Sam. After a couple of years of exploring the country (or New South Wales – cheers pandemic), they realised it was time to get off-road. Last year they joined the 4WD club and they haven’t looked back since. We caught up with Charlotte to see how she’s been getting on in the land of four-wheel drives and off-road freedom.

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We actually recently visited the Sydney 4X4 Show and it was so good to see females there representing and sharing their experiences.

– Charlotte Fenn

What inspired you to buy a 4WD? 

My partner Sam had always dreamt of owning a 4WD – although that started when we lived in the UK and it was more for showing off purposes rather than going off-road! Anyway, that’s where the initial idea came from. When we got to Australia, the idea popped up again; we realised that we both really wanted to own a 4WD so that we could have the freedom to go and explore wherever we wanted. 

What vehicle do you drive and what’s your set-up like?

Last year we purchased our first 4WD and we are absolutely obsessed. We were lucky enough to buy a well-looked-after 2014 Holden Colorado with low kilometres on the clock. It was originally set up as a work vehicle but within a few months, we knew we needed to get s the camping set-up underway. 

We purchased a setup from Canyon Offroad which included a roll-top system, A-frame and rooftop tent which we then installed ourselves. (Top tip: it’s worth spending a bit extra getting a professional to install). We then also installed a dual battery system which allows us to camp off-grid.

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How are you enjoying it so far?

The freedom is amazing! We absolutely love that we can pack up the ute last minute and head off anywhere we fancy. Our set-up is so easy and convenient that we don’t need much planning in order to head off for a trip. 

What’s been your favourite place to visit in your 4WD so far?

4WD on the beach © Charlotte Fenn
© Charlotte Fenn

Over Christmas 2021 we went on a road trip along the New South Wales coast. We stopped off on a beach in Tuncurry and it was the most amazing day. We went surfing and paddle-boarding, and we even had a HUGE pod of about 100 dolphins cruising close to the beach. Sam, my partner, actually went out on the paddle board and they were curious enough to cruise past him while they played in the waves. 

Have you faced any challenges during your adventures?

I would say that the mechanical side of owning a 4WD is the most challenging, especially when you don’t know much about mechanics! 

Do you feel the community is supportive, especially as a female in the space?

We actually recently visited the Sydney 4X4 Show and it was so good to see females there representing and sharing their experiences. I do think that 4WD is very much a male-dominated space however, there is so much room for women to be involved. 

Are you a self-taught 4WD’er?

We’re definitely self-taught however, we have met some great people on our travels who have been more than happy to show us the ropes. We are yet to do anything too crazy (as we use the ute as an everyday vehicle too).

Do you have any tips for those getting into 4WDing?

4WD © Charlotte Fenn
4WDing © Charlotte Fenn
  • Take it slow – don’t rush into buying the newest and most expensive gadgets or gear as they may not suit your specific needs.
  • Do your research and ask questions. There are so many YouTube and blogs out there with so much information for you to utilise, so make the most of it. 
  • Also, make sure you follow some of the epic YouTubers to get inspiration for your next trips. They usually include really useful information about campsites and what to bring with you. 

How can we follow you on your journey? 

I have an Instagram account – @charlottefenn_ where I share our trips and some of my photography! I also recently purchased a drone so have been exploring that side of content creation.

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