Which Tyres for my Big Outback Trip?


Hi John,

I'm planning my first mini outback drive over Easter this year. Basically, Sydney to Lightning Ridge, Quilpie, Birdsville, Innaminka, Tibooburra & Bourke. Obviously a lot of tarmac, with some gravel and hopefully not wet tracks. What Tyres should I put on a 2007 Honda CRV. I plan on carrying 2x spares.

We will be travelling in a four-vehicle group, and my friend has vast experience in outback travel. He'll be carrying the spare fuel and water etc.

I've been listening to you for years on 2UE and your a great relief to my insomnia. You and Clive should do a duet. 




Hi John,

Last bit first: Clive and I should do a show together. He's great fun. We're on together every Friday night for about half an hour at 10:30, and it's like getting the band back together. He's the hardest presenter I've ever had to keep up with, and he ambushes you all the time.

Now, this trip: As you say, mostly highway but some unsealed roads. I'd say, get a highway biased tyre with some additional gravel capability. (Otherwise you'll get back and drive for the rest of the life of the tyres on a noisy tyre unsuited to the suburban use you'll mainly put it to.)

I'm rather a big fan of the South Koreans here: great quality and excellent value, when it comes to tyres. Kumho is one of the world's top 10 tyre makers. The company's been in operation for 53 years and they make 68 million tyres annually, so it's hardly a low-tech operation.

Two alternatives for your CR-V from the Kumho range:

Kumho KL51 - Highway biased but good for sand and track work (not so hot for mud).


Kumho KL61 - Biased more towards unsealed roads, but still OK on the highway.


If it were me, I think I'd be going for the KL61 tyres - a bit more suited to running over some hard, bony gravel. And if it rains (or has rained) it's a fair bet the KL61s would be significantly better on unsealed roads. (But they're probably not as civilised around town and on smooth bitumen as the KL51s would be when you return to suburbia. Everything in life's a trade-off.)

More info on the KL51

More info on the KL61

Both the KL51 and KL61 have an 80,000km factory-backed guarantee, which should give you significant peace of mind. So keep your receipt!

Kumho has a Platinum dealer network and also a bigger list of retailers if there's not a Platinum dealer close to you. If you're buying six (or even four) make sure you shop at least three retailers against each other. And keep your old tyres if they still have useful life in them - you might be able to re-use them when you get back.

(I don't have any affiliation with Kumho other than an understanding of the sheer size of the operation and considerable respect for how hard they're cutting through in the Australian market - it's a bit of a shake-up for the established players.)

Please also bear in mind that the biggest killer of tyres in the bush is under-inflation. Check tyre pressures daily, otherwise a slow leak can cause a blowout when the excess heat generated in the sidewall causes it to fail.

I'd be interested in knowing your experience with them upon your return.

Best of luck. Enjoy your trip. It sounds great.