Jase Andrews reveals the stories behind some of his favourites
If there’s one man who is living the dream, it’s Jase Andrews, who has turned his passion for fishing, camping and adventure into a burgeoning business.
The 47-year-old is the creator, director and host of four-wheel-drive and adventure show All 4 Adventure (screening on TenPlay).
Along with his right-hand man, Simon Anderson, he ventures to the remotest corners of Australia and there are usually obstacles to be overcome, such as mechanical problems and the occasional life-threatening run-in with nature.
In the latest series — the tenth — Andrews was stabbed by a bluespotted stingray.
“I was affected by a cardio toxin. But we were too far away from anywhere to call a rescue helicopter. So, I had a bit of a respiratory problem for half an hour or so but I just had to put up with the pain and stick it out,” he recalled.
Andrews’ passion for exploring started after he had finished his apprenticeship as a boiler maker.
“I jumped in a four-wheel drive and drove as far as I could to the other side of Australia. I got a taste for the size and remoteness of this country,” he said.
By his mid-twenties, Andrews — who lives with wife Chrystal and daughters Savannah, 11, and Layla, 9, on eight hectares near the Queensland town of Noosa — had traversed Australia 11 times.
Inspired by legendary documentary maker Malcolm Douglas, Andrews thought making his own TV show might pay for further adventures. He bought a camera off eBay and put together the first episodes of All 4 Adventure, initially funded by savings and remortgaging his house.
“I went from nearly owning my house to nearly losing it in four short years,” Andrews said. “But I saw the potential (in the show) so I just persisted, with the support of my wife, and eventually it worked. Our big break was when (Channel) 10 picked it up.”
Thanks to the success of his show — the eleventh season will be screened later this year — Andrews is now a bit of a superstar in the four-wheel-drive world, regularly getting mobbed by fans when he pulls into town.
“The following is unbelievable. I think we’ve really inspired people to get out there and explore.”
Typical Saturday morning
If I’m away on one of my adventures, Saturday is just like any other day. If I’m at home, I get up pretty early and then often go down to the beach with the girls. Unfortunately, because I’ve been to some of the most pristine places in Australia, going to Noosa is almost a drag, because it’s too busy for me.
A favourite when we’re out in the sticks is a bag of mixed nuts. And tins of tuna and beans are good, too.
My damper. It’s basically self-raising flour, eggs, salt and milk and then you can add other ingredients to make different versions. The secret is in the mixing. If you over mix it, it’ll become a rock when you cook it.
On my bedside table
My iPad and my watch. There aren’t any books because I read for information as opposed to enjoyment and most of the stuff I need is online.
Fantasy place to live
I’d like to live on a desert island. There’s a couple of islands up north on the Great Barrier Reef which are unbelievable, so picturesque with white sandy beaches and crystal-clear water.
Because I’ve got two daughters, I listen to what they’re listening to. So, there’s a lot of the latest chart toppers, Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga.
Secret domestic skill
I can cook and do the dishes in one fluid motion. When I put a meal on the table, all the dishes are done except for the plates we’re eating off.
My favourite things
I’ve worn thongs my entire life. No matter what I do, whether it’s walking through the bush, climbing mountains or riding a quad bike, it’ll be in thongs. But they need to be double-pluggers so you don’t pull the straps out and they have some traction on the bottom when it’s wet. I designed the perfect thong for me, and other people can buy them, too (at www.all4adventure.com). They’re very practical. When we’re away, the cameramen may start off wearing boots, but before you know it, they’ll be wearing thongs, too. I’ll occasionally wear a pair of boots if I’m in a workshop, but that’s about it.
There’s nothing quite like sleeping in a swag. And I’ve probably spent more time in one than most. They are very practical and portable: it’s your bed, pillow, mattress and bedding all rolled into one bag, which can be thrown on to the back of a quad bike and then set up in minutes. When we’re out in the bush for nine weeks, we go hard all day so it’s very important to get a good night’s sleep. I can be in the pouring rain or a mozzie-infested swamp, and I’ll still be able to sleep in my swag. It’s my best friend when I’m away.
You get hungry out on the road, so the camp oven gets a workout. It’s basically a big pot with a lid that sort of works like a convection oven and you can use it to cook pretty much anything, from a cake to a stew. I’m all about fast, easy cooking in the bush. I’ve put together two books of my recipes (About That Much, volumes one and two), which I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting to get just right. A favourite is my red-wine lamb chop stew. Very tasty. And I also do a raisin-bread-and-butter pudding that doesn’t hang about for long. It’s pretty decent food. We’re not cooking sausages with bread, trust me.
We take a lot of equipment on the road when we’re filming the show. We run four four-wheel drives and also tow trailers and boats. I learnt early on in the piece that a four-wheel drive can only get you so far but if you (also) have a quad bike or a buggy, you can go so much further into some pretty inaccessible places. So, it’s a bit of a fleet these days. When I first started out, we just had the one four-wheel drive and a boat. The logistics now are a lot harder but having more equipment enables us to experience more. I’ve seen more of Australia than perhaps 99 per cent of the population. I’m very lucky but I’ve worked hard to make this happen.
Fishing’s where it all started for me. Growing up as a teenager in Bundaberg (in Queensland), all I wanted to do was catch fish. My dream was to go to the most remote places up north because I knew there would be so many fish that would just jump on to my line. I still enjoy the thrill of catching a fish on really good gear. This is a Shimano reel, which is high quality but compact. I take my wife and kids to a secret place up north every year and we all catch so many fish. We fish 500m from the shoreline and catch some of the best fish in Australia. My wife doesn’t want to go fishing anywhere else.
These are relics from WWII that we’ve found in the middle of nowhere. There are some bullets and an electric fuel pump that came from the wreck of a WWII bomber (aircraft) that we came across in the Top End. And I found the tag from a Neptune oil drum buried in the sand on a remote island in the Kimberley. It was from a desalination plant on an American army base there that some of the locals didn’t even know existed. I’m very interested in the history of WWII in northern Australia, so these relics are some of my favourite items.