Daniel and Chloe Wylie are creating content that will give you itchy feet in 10 seconds. Under their banner of OverlandNZ they adventure around New Zealand on the less beaten tracks. You can tell from their YouTube channel they are having a lot fun doing it.
Daniel: Chloe was the one who set the wheels in motion. She camped heaps as a kid and went on big road trips with her family all around New Zealand. I on the other hand had hardly seen any of the country – doing the typical Kiwi thing and exploring more of the world first.
Chloe convinced me to go on a camping trip with her though – and it opened my eyes to how awesome New Zealand is! I just hated the camping part of the trip. Sleeping on the ground then having to find space to pack everything away the next day… No thanks.
One day, almost on a whim, I bought a four wheel drive with the idea I’d go tackle the hard stuff- I very quickly learned I wasn’t interested in sitting in bog holes all day and breaking things. Chloe convinced me to set the back of it up for sleeping in one Christmas and head on a short roadie around the North Island. The rest, as goes the cliche, is history.
Chloe: I would say Daniel got us into overlanding with the truck set up, but I definitely opened his eyes to travelling around NZ and camping, and it evolved from there. He was into cars, I was into road trips. We took a regular ground tent on our first trip, in a Subaru Impreza, for a couple of weeks around the North Island. Daniel loved the trip but hated the tent! So on our next trip, we did one night in the back of a Subaru Legacy – a little better, but very cosy. We’ve iterated a lot and come a long way since then.
Chloe, you’re more than capable behind the wheel, what was your introduction and take on overland adventures?
Chloe: I’ve always loved camping and road tripping around New Zealand, and it was hard to get Daniel amped in the beginning! As a kid, a holiday was packing the old ’88 Corolla with our canvas tent and all the gear, and heading off for long weekends or school holidays with the family and all my cousins.
I’ve enjoyed driving for years, but off-roading was new to me. I started out pretty easy, around our local track here in Wellington (Red Rocks on the south coast) and did a little drive over some lightly rocky terrain in our ’92 Surf. Daniel’s been really encouraging, and I wanted to love it, so I kept pushing myself to try harder trips. Now we sometimes argue over who’ll get to drive (although if we’re in the sand, I’ll step back and let Daniel take the wheel every time). There isn’t a lot I won’t tackle now, but I’m definitely the more cautious driver out of the two of us.
How did you come up with the idea for Overland.nz and what’s the plan with it moving forward?
Daniel: Our friends and family kept asking us about our adventures and the places we went – and I wrote a few blog posts as part of my old photography business, but it just didn’t feel quite fit the vibe.
We were heading back to Wellington after a few weeks in the Far North and we were chatting about how we could share our adventures in a more useful way to help inspire others to get out there and see New Zealand. Overland NZ was what we came up with.
We started an Instagram page and begun posting photos with stories from our adventures on there. We wanted to do something different than the standard 4WD on Instagram thing – focus more on the places, less on the vehicles, more on the stories, less on the modifications. I honestly didn’t have too many expectations – just thought it’d be a fun little side project crossing my love of photography, cars and exploring.
2020 has been our big push on Youtube – filming some of the adventures we head out on which has been an awesome challenge having never done video before! We’ve added a few more people to the team (Scotty in the blue Surf and Jarem and Blair who help out with the filming) which helps bring a new dynamic and different ideas to our content.
Chloe: We started out by each posting photos on our personal social media accounts whenever we travelled, and found our friends were really interested in where we were going, how you get there, what you do there, etc. But we didn’t want to overload our personal accounts with pictures of travel and alienate the friends and family who were less interested. So we started up Overland NZ on Instagram as a place to share our travels with our friends.
Daniel’s really good at thinking ahead, so at the same time he made sure we could get Overland NZ on Facebook, YouTube and as a domain as well, and that there was no business listed under that name. That way, when things started to pick up, we didn’t have to make any changes in order to have that consistency.
Through using hashtags on our Instagram photos and high engagement in Facebook groups, we ended up getting a lot bigger following than we ever planned, and that’s when we started having bigger conversations about what Overland NZ could become. It’s been truly organic growth, with many hours put into going on trips, creating content, editing photos and engaging with our followers. In the beginning we were equal partners, but with my other work commitments it’s become a lot busier for Daniel – he’s the one behind the content these days.
We’ve been really focusing on YouTube this year, and bringing in some income. We also want to make sure we continue to love every minute. In time we hope it becomes a full-time gig for Daniel, and maybe eventually me as well, but we’ll aim to continue our organic growth and make sure our following are like-minded people who truly get the overlanding dream.
The way it looks is that you started with the Hi-lux Surf, then bought the 80 Series Landcruiser and then added the Hi-lux double cab… are we seeing a bit of Toyota hoarding here?
Daniel: Haha, the joys of swapping vehicles out far too often! We started overlanding in our old Surf years ago – long before Overland NZ was a thing. We sold that on as we needed something a bit bigger and bought a 90 Series Prado which we loved, sadly it didn’t love us back and it spent more time in the garage than out. I think that lasted 9 months before I got sick of it, it was the vehicle we launched Overland NZ with though and I still (weirdly) miss it!
The Hilux Ute has been with us for two years now; I wanted something that was reliable so we could spend more time on the road and away from home. Chloe wasn’t super keen on getting a ute – she wanted another Prado… But I (somehow) won that argument on the basis that I wanted a roof top tent and wanted to put it over the tub.
The 80 Series was a bit of an indulgence – I’d always wanted to own one and so ‘Goldie’ joined our fleet for a few months.
Chloe: Yep – Surf, Prado, Hilux, then the Land Cruiser as well, and now back to just the Hilux.
After we sold the Prado it was a real toss-up between ute and wagon. I didn’t think I’d ever want a ute. To be honest, while I absolutely love our tent and know I’d find it a bit more challenging to pack and unpack if it was on the top of an SUV, I still miss the days of sleeping in the back. And I miss dry storage! Our dog and fridge take up most of the back seat when we’re on long trips, so having some boot space would be ideal for our jackets, chairs, etc. It’s a pretty minor complaint, really.
We both like the Toyota reliability, but with each purchase we checked out other options as well. We just couldn’t seem to beat our Toyotas.
The double cab is the primary vehicle featured on Overland.nz is that ‘cos the others are the camera vehicles, or you’re slowly transitioning into it?
Daniel: It took over from the Prado in mid-2018 when we did the swap. It’s been the only vehicle till late last year when we picked up the Cruiser and Scotty joined the team with his Surf.
Me and Chloe generally travel by ourselves, and tend to take a bunch of photos when it’s just us. When we’re doing the big filming trips it’s super hard work and photos tend to become secondary… So sadly we have far fewer photos of the Landcruiser and Scotty’s Surf. I’m working on that though.
Chloe: The Hilux is definitely our primary vehicle, and it’s the iconic one that our followers recognise. We love having other vehicles along for comparison but for now, the Hilux will be our main feature.
Can you talk us through how the double cab is fitted out from a camping perspective?
Daniel: We have a Feldon Shelter roof top tent over the tub, being able to park up on any surface and have a comfortable place to sleep, pretty hard to beat. I’ve added two small work lights that hang off the bottom of the tent and an internal light strip – good lighting when you get into camp late at night is awesome.
Our cooking gear lives in a big plastic box in the tub along with our chairs, water jerry and stuff. I’ve thought about building some drawers or something a few times – but what we have currently works well – why change what ain’t broken, right?
One “pro tip” – chuck a small piece of hose on the end of your water jerry can – saves lifting it in and out all the time!
Other than the tent, the best thing we bought was a 12v fridge. We went with a Waeco CFX40 – everyone seemed to rate them real highly and I gathered it’s the sort of thing you want to do properly – buy once, cry once! And hopefully it’ll last a very long time.
When you’re on a three week trip, being able to eat almost like you would at home makes a huge difference in how you feel both mentally and physically.
We are running a 120AH AGM deep cycle battery with the CTEK charging system all setup in an electrics box I built. Filming on the road uses a lot of power, being able to charge cameras, drone, laptop etc at night without having to worry about running out of power is awesome.
Chloe and Dan’s Top Tips
Travelling with a dog (Chloe): It takes a little extra research and planning, but we love (almost) every minute of it. We started when she was really young, so she’s used to travelling long distances and she knows the drill when we get to camp. She sleeps in her crate in the backseat of the Hilux, with windows cracked in summer or near the motor of the fridge in winter for warmth. A lot of DoC campsites allowed permitted dogs and it’s really easy to pick up a permit at the local DoC office. Top tip – get them a decent jacket for winter mornings!
Staying warm (Chloe):We camped down south this winter and have done the Central Plateau in the coldest months, too. Top tips – decent sleeping bags that can be zipped together, extra queen-sized blanket to go on top, thermals that are comfy enough to sleep in (not too tight), woollen socks and a thin beanie, and hot water bottles for the settling in hours.
Most common question (Daniel):“Where are all the tracks and cool places?” is by far our most common question! For us, a huge part of the fun is finding the cool spots – we don’t tend to travel with a route planned out or a list of tracks or anything… But I do remember how hard it was back in the start to find places and not being quite sure where you can/can’t go etc. We’ve attempted to answer this with an app I started prototyping a few years ago and launched at the end of last year – Overland Navigator – it’s currently just tracks and campsites, but we have some pretty cool stuff in the works at the moment!
Just get out there and do it! (Chloe):We so often hear people saying they’ll be heading out on a trip once they’ve finished their camping set up, or added the next modification. Top tip – start small, get out there and enjoy it. Each time you think of a thing you want to add, think, is it worth it? Will I get the use out of it? Or am I better off spending this time and money on getting out there and enjoying this amazing country? You’ll work out what you need vs want as you go, and you won’t know what your necessities are until you try it out.
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