The 4x4 Outdoors Show, Fishing and Boating Expo is on again in Melbourne from August 18-20 at the Melbourne Showgrounds in Ascot Vale. The biggest of its kind in Victoria, the show will bring approximately 32,000 outdoor enthusiasts together alongside about 200 exhibitors.
“Visitors can expect to see most of the big brands in the 4x4 sector. We've got ARB, TJM and Opposite Lock – all the usual suspects as far as that goes. In terms of product categories, you'll see 4x4s, aftermarket products, fishing gear, boats, tents rooftop campers and all the accessories you'll need to go camping or get out on the water,” says Show Director Paul Mathers.
“There's always something different and that's what I love about this show; it's a constant moveable feast. It changes every year and we know that people are looking for opportunities – not just to buy but to interact as well.”
This year’s show is a mixture of brand new exhibits and old favourites, with three stages featuring demonstrations from well-known Australian celebrities.
The Campfire Cooking Stage is hosted by Peter ‘Spida’ Everitt and Sheree Everitt of the Seven Network’s The Great Australian Doorstep, who show visitors how to take their campfire cooking to the next level.
Then there’s the Waeco CFX Outback Stage where visitors can meet the likes of Jase Andrews and Rick O'Brien from All 4 Adventure and The Offroad Adventure Show (respectively) as well as 4WD legend John ‘Ruthie’ Ruth, Sean Whale and Graham Cahill from the 4WD Action DVD series, as they share their outback stories and tips.
If fishing’s more your thing, the Tackle World Fishing Stage will cater for anglers of all experience levels. People such as Paul Worsteling of IFISH TV and Steve Starling who has a wealth of fishing experience and used to co-host Rex Hunt’s Fishing Adventures will be on hand to share their knowledge.
“The stages are very popular. What we love about our ambassadors and special guests, is they make themselves available to their fans. This is one of those rare shows where you can walk around and see someone who you know from TV and you can grab them for a selfie or a quick chat,” says Mathers.
Volkswagen Amarok V6 4x4 Proving Ground
The stages provide a great mix of fun and education, but for those who are keen to come away with some in-depth information and new skills, there’s the Volkswagen Amarok V6 4x4 Proving Ground which is presented by 4WD Victoria.
“This is where you go to learn new 4x4 skills or improve your existing skills. If you don't know how to get out of a sticky situation when you're out on the tracks, this is a really great place to go and see 4x4s driving on different surfaces in a properly designed and executed proving ground.
“It has a number of surfaces and inclines to go up and down and visitors can learn from the expert trainers from 4WD Victoria. You can also test drive the new Amarok V6 on the proving ground – really take it through its paces.”
A brand new feature at the Melbourne show this year is an area called Base Camp. This is an opportunity to see camping gear set up in a working environment: a makeshift camping ground which is full of products visitors can interact with.
“When you go to an exhibitor's stand, you can have a look at a tent or a roof-top camper for example but at Base Camp, you can actually go into it, you can sit in it, you can lie down, you can have a sleep if you like! There will even be a campfire with guitarists playing Aussie bush tunes.
“Kids can come and play with native wildlife. We'll have a baby dingo, a bush wallaby and a few other animals there. It's really interactive and there's lots going on. But if you want to take a break, you can just sit back and relax in what is essentially a campground environment, recreating what you might experience when you go bush,” says Mathers.
Of course, it takes a massive amount of organisation to put together a show of this scale – it takes a year from launch to execution. But according to Mathers, it’s a rewarding endeavour.
“There is a lot of effort involved but ultimately, people who love the great Aussie outdoors and spend their weekends there tend to be good, decent family people. And it's great to be able to create an event for ordinary Australians who just love their country and love everything that Australia and its outback and regional areas have to offer.”
“What I love about this show is it is very dynamic. We introduce new businesses to the general public every year and this year will be no exception. A highlight for me is seeing great Australian innovation and seeing it grow – that's really very exciting,” says Mathers.
Tickets are now on sale online www.4x4show.com.au and will also be available at the gate.