Ellie Richards

Based: Taranaki, New Zealand
Vehicle: 1995 Toyota Landcruiser (HDJ81)
Instagram: @roamwithellie

 1. Tell us about yourself. What makes you tick?

I love being outdoors and getting amongst it. You will find me either surfing, snowboarding, diving or just getting out in nature. I strive for the work life balance so having a truck that is set up and ready to go whenever I am is perfect for those weekend missions.

2. How’d you get into off-roading, anyway?

How I got into 4wdriving…my brother Adam, although I used to think I was Possum Bourne when heading up the Snow Park road in my little Subaru. Adam however loves all things cars and when he came to visit in his jacked-up Surf, he took me out to Whangamōmona Road and I just loved it. Being out in nature and seeing places you normally wouldn’t get to. So I brought my first truck in 2015, a 97 Toyota Surf chucked a lift kit in and away I went.

I did a trip with My brother and Jack down south, camping and 4wdriving. Seeing Jack’s setup and how he could live out of his truck I knew I had found a new obsession.
I am still pretty new at it and have so much to learn but love being able to get out and see our beautiful country is amazing.

3. Tell us a little bit about your rig!

I now own a Toyota 80 Series, named Garry, which I bought nz new back in 2019. Have been slowly building him up but he has already taken me on so many awesome adventures. The engine is still stock standard but the inside has a new custom draw setup, a basic 12v system and can carry about 40L of fresh water which has made camping a lot more enjoyable. With an Alu-Cab tent on top setting up camp is quick and easy. Still a lot I want to do with him and with every trip I go on, I come back wanting to change or upgrade something.

4. Of all the trails you’ve driven, what’s your favourite?

I have so many tracks still to explore but my favourite I’ve done so far…would have to be the Mt Kyeburn and Mt Buster area, just the views and history are amazing.

5. What’s your go to meal while adventuring?

Love a good one-pot wonder but for me, Nachos would be my go to, it’s a quick and easy, and using the woods equip hot plate it can be all done in one “pot”, also makes a good serving dish so less dishes at the end. Easy to make a vege version too.

6. Any advice for fellow female Explorers?

You don’t have to have the newest, flashiest truck or gear, you will learn and change your setup pretty much every trip you go on so just get out there and enjoy it! On the surface, it may seem like a male dominant lifestyle but it’s awesome to see just how many females are getting out there building their own vehicles and living that lifestyle, don’t be afraid to get out there, get involved and learn as much as you can from the 4wdrive community.

Go follow Ellies adventures on Instagram: @roamwithellie