News Blog


Report on the 2015 APY-Central Australia trip

The April 2015 trip to the Centre went like this:

- to Tamworth, Breeza, and north-west NSW to Cameron Corner, 

- down the Strzelecki Track to Lyundhurst and Maree, 

- up the Oodnadatta Track via Oodnadatta to Dalhousie Springs,

- Mt Dare Station Hotel to Alice Springs through a wind storm and via the Lambert’s Geographic Centre of Australia,

- out to Honeymoon Gap and Owen Springs then down to Curtin Springs,

- into the fabled APY Lands: through the Peterman Ranges to Amata, Umawa, Ernabella and Indulkana. ristine riverbeds, amazing domed hills and purple mountain ranges, fantastic art centres in healthy happy communities (entry permit required - it’s polite,  like knocking on the door, not just barging in),

- into the Painted Desert, and a night in the Underground Hotel in Coober Pedy,

- Stuart Hwy to Pt Augusta then across to Orroroo and Broken Hill,

- Menindee and Pooncarie to Mungo Lake National Park,

- Balranald, Narrandera, Junee, Young, Bathurst and finally back in Sydney.

The Insideoutback Camper concept once again proved robust, versatile, and economical. Fuel consumption was slightly higher than our long term average, due largely to the slow and heavy going on the still-damaged roads in the north of SA and around the Centre following the massive flooding there in January. Also towing out bogged motorbikes didn’t help! But such fun.

We carried a third spare for the more remote sections, but in the end only had one flat (pierced, a write-off).  We also carried 15 litres of reserve fuel, but also didn’t need it. These things are always good insurance.

While the coast of NSW was enjoying a Category 2 cyclone, we were enjoying 44° heat at Dalhousie. This is a country of extremes, and we wouldnt have it any other way! Buts good to be connected to it - to feel the vibe, to get some red dirt between your toes. She doesn’t belong to us - we belong to her, all of us. Let’s treat her that way. This is Australia!

You can read all about the adventures (and misadventures!) on our Facebook page (don’t forget to Like it!): 



2015 trip to Breeza, Merty Merty, Dalhousie Springs and on - to the APY Lands!

Insideoutback's Koleos and her crew of two are departing Sydney on Thursday 2 April, bound for some important and interesting places, and to meet some important and interesting people.

Highlights of the itinerary…

Breeza Plains - at the northern end of one of the Souythern Hemisphere’s great food bowls, the Breeza Plains are incredibly fertile, and sit atop their own aquifer. We will be meeting some people who have been bullied off their farm by big mining interests, and finding out first hand the damage that is inevitable from the mega-coal mine planned for that part of the country.

Bourke - what a great town! Needs no further explanation!

Camerons Corner and Merty Merty - into the corner country, and the big red dunes of Merty Merty, and the Strezlecki Track down to Maree.

PHOTO CREDIT - LIGHTSTORM PHOTOGRAPHY - recommended online photo gallery - visit, drool, and buy!

Dalhousie Springs - up the Oodna Track and in to the oasis that is Dalhousie, then up across the Finke to Chambers Pillar.

Alice Springs - specifically Honeymoon Gap, and the lovely White Gums retreat, where philosophy meets local indigenous meets everyday practicality. Always a good time!

Mt Connor - not sure yet but hopeful of a climb up this amazing geographic icon.

PHOTO CREDIT - Kelly Barnes

APY Lands - the country of the Anangu, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara peoples, the APY Lands are mysterious to many (or never heard of), hard to get to, yet much of the world’s Australian indigenous art is made here. With eight thriving art centres, springing out of a culture living for at least 35,000 years, this has got to be one of the most interesting places on earth!

…then home via the Painted Desert, and whatever else takes our fancy as we roll and stroll this wonderful country.

Stay tuned for updates as the days roll by.

PHOTO CREDIT - Dick Clarke

Solar Caravan and Eco Camping ebook launched



64 pages of great info, inspiring ideas, expert opinion -and of course, Insideoutback is featured more than once!

Available at this link:

Possibly the best $5 you’ll ever spend! - assuming you’re not an ATA member, coz if you are, IT’S FREE! All the more reason to join this amazing and critically important organisation.

Pittwater Food Wine and Sustainability Fair - Sunday 5 may

Insideoutback Campers will have the demo Koleos camper on display at the Pittwater Sustainability Fair, Sunday 5 May.

Where? - Winnerreremy Bay (aka the Duckpond) at Mona Vale / Bayview, 10.00 till 4.00.

We will be sharing a stand with the legendry Collyn Rivers, author of the world renowned authoritative books on solar energy and camper-touring. Redarc will also have demos and material available. Our parent company's solar powered catamaran 'Moondog' will be taking visitors for joy-rindes on the bay too!

More details on location etc here:

We hope to see you there!

News from the web: "Gas guzzlers fuelled by shrinking petrol tax"

An interesting article on The Conversation (

Gas guzzlers fuelled by shrinking petrol tax

An iron law of economics is that people respond to incentives. If the petrol price goes up, it should be of little surprise that consumers alter their choices at both the petrol pump and the car dealership.

In a paper recently published in Energy Economics, Shuhei Nishitateno and I examine these responses to changes in petrol prices. Our research uses data for 132 countries over the period 1995-2008.

Our results indicate that a 10% increase in the pump price of petrol on average causes a reduction in petrol use of around 3%. Petrol consumption is what economists call “price inelastic”. This means that while higher prices do reduce consumption, the response isn’t as big as it is for some other goods.

Part of the response to higher petrol prices is via vehicle choice. If petrol is more expensive, consumers are less likely to opt for a gas guzzler. A 10% increase in petrol prices typically results in a 2% improvement in the fuel economy of new vehicles. Our findings are similar to most previously published estimates, although are for a more internationally representative sample of countries.

If petrol prices are relatively low, why worry about burning the stuff? Pushing a big yet largely empty box down the highway at 100kmh burns a lot of unnecessary fuel. Photo:

Australia’s gas guzzlers

In the take-up of fuel-efficient vehicles, Australia remains near the back of the pack. Data from the International Energy Agency reveal that new vehicles sold in Australia on average guzzle more gas than new vehicles sold in Europe, Japan, China, or India. Australia performs only slightly better than the home of the SUV, the United States.

There are a number of reasons for Australia remaining in the slow lane in terms of adopting fuel-inefficient vehicles. One is that Australia is less cramped than most other countries: we have enough space to find a park for our four-wheel drives. Another is that, among developed countries, the tax included in our pump price is relatively modest. Our petrol taxes arelower than those for all OECD countries outside North America.

Shrinking excise

In 2001, the Federal Government removed the automatic indexation of Australia’s petrol excise, freezing the excise at38.1 cents per litre. While we also pay GST on petrol, this decision has meant that the total tax we pay at the pump has not kept up with inflation. Fuel excise collections are expected to continue to fall in real terms.

Our research indicates that our falling fuel tax is slowing our take-up of fuel-efficient vehicles. The 2001 decision has also reduced the revenue available for transport infrastructure and other priorities. Shrinking excise revenues create increasing pressure on the government to look to other taxes to raise the revenue that it needs.

Using taxes to improve incentives

No-one likes paying tax. But almost everyone agrees that some taxes are necessary.

Economists typically argue that there is a special role for taxation of activities involving negative externalities. The congestion and emissions associated with road use are classic examples of negative externalities. As well as being a good revenue raiser, addressing negative externalities has been a part of the justification for fuel taxes both here and overseas.

In this context, there are opportunities to realign our road taxes to improve the incentives that road users face. One option is a return to indexation of the petrol excise. This would prevent the erosion of government revenue and strengthen the incentive to use petrol efficiently.

Another possibility is for the states to reduce stamp duties or annual vehicle registration fees and instead look to raise more revenue from congestion charges. Doing so would mean that those who drive at off-peak times, or who drive less, would make a smaller contribution to the government coffers.

The Henry Review threw its support behind a move to congestion taxes. The Review was less enthusiastic about fuel taxes, but did rate them as more efficient than major revenue sources such as labour and corporate income taxes (Chart 1.5).

Petrol subsidies overseas

Some countries provide large petrol price subsidies to consumers. In Indonesia, more than 10% of government revenue goes to subsidising fuel. Fuel subsidies involve a high cost, as they displace resources that could be used to build schools, hospitals, or roads. By encouraging fuel use, the subsidies also exacerbate Jakarta’s famous traffic jams and smog. The subsidies work against the Indonesian Government’s goal of a transition to more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Where is petrol cheapest? In Venezuela, you can fill up your car for just a couple of cents a litre. The result? Venezuela’s petrol consumption and road-sector emissions are high for a country of its level of economic development, and those who can afford it are more likely to buy fuel-hungry vehicles such as Hummers. It is hard to escape the iron law of economics.

Read a response to this research.

Gasoline prices, gasoline consumption, and new-vehicle fuel economy: Evidence for a large sample of countries is published in Energy Economics. The paper and data can be accessed from Paul Burke’s website.

The original article can be found here:

New Ventblock

We have finished testing the prototype of a new Ventblock designed initially for the Subaru Forester. In testing, we found it fits a number of other vehicles too, including Jeeps, Fords (including the new Ecosport), and some Toyotas*. 

It is true to the Ventblock concept of allowing the tailgate to be locked slightly ajar, preventing rain or theives from getting in, whilst allowing a free flow of fresh air - vitally important for your fridge (or dog!) to shed heat effectively. 

It slips into the existing latch mechanism without any modification, yet cannot be removed until the car is unlocked on your return.


It's a compact neat looking bit of equipment, as the photos show. It is of course useful for all secured vehicle ventilation purposes, such as when you have a dog in the car. (Children should never be left unattended in a vehicle.)

Contact us for supply information.

* Toyota Prado with side hinged tailgate: these require a special version of Ventblock, which is in prototype testing now. Stay tuned for more info, expected Autumn 2013.

 - © Envirotecture 2012