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PNL 4WDriving was established in October 1991 by Phillip and Ngarie Butterfield.

Camping and hiking enthusiasts from their youths, they often travelled down roads that ended with a ‘road closed’ sign and then had to traverse back through difficult terrain. After a number of these occurrences, they lashed out and bought a 4WD. Living in Wagga Wagga, they caught the train to Sydney and proceeded to drive their new car back through the Blue Mountains over the Great Dividing Range, doing what you should never do in a brand new vehicle—go 4WDriving by yourself.

When they got back home, they joined the Wagga Wagga 4WD club to learn the best way to use their vehicle. They learnt lots and travelled many miles with the club. Before long the older members of the club were suggesting to new members that they get Phil or Ngarie to travel with them to help out over tricky patches—and thus the teaching and instruction began.

On moving to Sydney a similar thing happened. They joined two 4WD Clubs and it was only a couple of months before the experienced members of these clubs were recommending to new members that Phil or Ngarie advise them on how to use their 4WDs and assist with tricky situations.

Upon moving to Melbourne, Phil retired from the Army and set up PNL 4WDriving. Since then they have run ever-expanding courses with 100-150 students per year. It became a full time business with two permanent staff in mid-1997; a Registered Training Organization in April 2000; and Parks accredited and Victorian Tourist Association accredited in June 2002. BSZ Workplace Training commenced in April 2002.

The company has gone from strength to strength, currently employing two permanent staff, several office assistants, 10–15 trainers on-call and two trainee instructors.

Tag-Along Tours

In 2004 PNL 4WDriving started running extended tag-along tours through central Australia. These have proven very popular and involve travel to out of the way places—while still providing the security of being with people who know how to respond safely to all 4WDriving possibilities.

The Birdsville track, the Simpson Desert and the Border Track are some of the trips already held. In 2012 PNL 4WDriving are heading for the Gulf of Carpentaria via Longreach, to see the halls of fame, the lava tubes, the dinosaur stampede and much more. Find out more or register to come and join us here.

Black Saturday

In 2009 PNL 4WDriving was affected by the Black Saturday bushfires. The fires wiped out the training area at Narbethong and the homes of three staff members. We are all appreciative that all personnel and their families were safe, though severely shocked.

PNL 4WDriving started back in the area in March 2009 with the assistance of the Hancocks, who let us use their unaffected forests—and thus started to bring much needed finance back into the area. The rebuilding of facilities is ongoing.

We want to thank all those wonderful customers who came to assist on the working bees to rebuild the obstacles at Valley Farm and replant the hundreds of trees that had disappeared in the fires.

The Ballarat 4WD club allowed us to transfer many of our courses to their training area in Smythesdale (southwest of Ballarat) when DSE shut us out of the forests in Marysville. It has started a great relationship and we continue to do training in the Ballarat area.

Environmental Impact

We are committed to minimising our impact on the environment and having a low carbon footprint. To this end, an eco-toilet block was purchased for use at Valley Farm and each customer of PNL 4WDriving is given a tree to plant—either at the training area or to take home—to assist Greening Australia.


In 2011 we transferred from the Victorian Registration and Qualification Authority (VRQA) to Australian Skills and Qualification Authority (ASQA), the national based authority. In line with this we are updating all the training packages, materials and units of competency that we use.

PNL 4WDrivings aim is to teach SAFE, ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY 4WDriving to all.

A company that excels in personal commitment and training in the field of 4WDriving.

PNL 4WDriving training courses will give you confidence in yourself and your vehicle and knowledge that will enable you to take your vehicle safely to places that you would really like to experience, without endangering yourself, your friends or your vehicle.

PNL4WDriving was established by Ngarie and Phillip Butterfield in 1991 as a family business in Melbourne, Australia. The company provides training courses and consultation, for people who are interested in 4WDriving, in Melbourne and all other states in Australia. The company is a Registered Training Organisation accredited by the Australian National Training Authority delivering Nationally Accredited 4WDriver training.

The nature of PNL4WDriving instruction ensures each participant gets appropriate individual training. The instruction used gives the participant the impression of a holiday atmosphere, whilst we actually use the most advanced form of teaching (generative learning) which is fun.


The 4WDrive instructors and office staff are all dedicated 4WD enthusiasts. 4WDriving is not just our job it is our hobby as well, we spend much of our recreational time 4WDriving.

blank headshotPhillip (aka Phil)
Business Owner/ Manager and Chief Instructor now rertired 
I started the company for something else fun to do while looking after our first bub. I have had many years' experience with the Defence force, SES, working with the many vehicle companies and government bodies. I love getting out there and assisting students to become confident and knowledgeable about their 4WD and the bush.

blank headshotNgarie (aka Nyrie)
Business Owner/Manager and Instructor
Enjoys the challenges in the office with sales direction and keeping up to date with the various regulations and also enjoys being able to get out there to meet and teach customers as well.

blank headshotRay
Senior Instructor
A rock that knows everything there is to know about 4wdrives and what they can do.



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Judy Accounts specialist  has been with us for 12 years now 


blank headshotRob
Senior Instructor/Mechanic



PNL 4WDriving is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO #20810). We are registered by ASQA (Australian Skill and Quality Authority) who is based in Canberra and because PNL 4WDriving teaches interstate we need to Federally registered. The subjects we teach are designed by industry and educational input and come under the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) in the form of training packages.
These packages are broken down into units of competency (subjects) and PNL 4WDriving specialises in teaching all the 4WDrive units/subjects from each package. As a private provider registered by ASQA we can offer Nationally Recognised Qualifications the same as any TAFE or University and they recognise our qualification to.

Parks Victoria and Department of Sustainability & Environment (DSE)

As a Licensed Tour Operator (LTO #1069) Parks Victoria and DSE ensures you that PNL 4WDriving have the appropriate permits, skills, insurance and risk management procedures to use public land for your training, protecting our natural assets from impact and over use. Parks Victoria administers National and State parks, DSE administer State Forests and other Crown Land.


What is the Australian Tourism Accreditation Program (ATAP)
The Australian Tourism Accreditation Program is a business development program that is based on Quality Assurance principles. It has been developed by aligning the six state and territory based tourism accreditation programs;

  • Better Business Accreditation Program Victoria
  • National Tourism Accreditation Program Western Australia
  • National Tourism Accreditation Program Tasmania
  • National Tourism Accreditation Program South Australia
  • National Tourism Accreditation Program ACT
  • Northern Territory Tourism Accreditation Program

The Program addresses many of the issues that are covered in the development of a business plan but focuses on those key elements that are part of the day to day function of any tourism operation.
This is achieved by the development of professional management systems that will lead to reliability, consistency and predictability in the operation of the business which in turn results in improved customer service and satisfaction.
It encourages businesses to:

  • Plan how their business will function
  • Check that customer expectations are being met.

In turn, Accreditation will provide clients and industry colleagues with an assurance that participating businesses are committed to professionalism both in business operations and delivery of service.

Trust the Tick (Better Business)

Why Choose Accredited Operators?
Leading Australian tourism operators display the accreditation tick. They've met specific criteria ensuring they are committed to exceeding your expectations with great customer service and the highest standards of business practice.

The distinctive "tick" logo displayed by accredited tourism businesses provides you with an assurance that the tourism business has a proven commitment to the highest quality of service. All businesses accredited through the Australian Tourism Accreditation Program meet the Australian Tourism Accreditation Standard, ensuring:

  • Quality
  • Reliability
  • Professionalism
  • Accuracy in Advertising
  • Environmental Practices
  • Adherence to a Code of Ethics

Accreditation will provide clients and industry colleagues with an assurance that participating businesses are committed to professionalism both in business operations and delivery of service.
Australian Tourism Accreditation Program (ATAP) is a national program issuing the Better Business tick
When selecting a business with the accreditation logo you are entitled to expect:

  • Professional customer service
  • Accuracy in advertising
  • Sound environmental practices
  • Compliance with health and safety standards
  • An appropriately licensed operator
  • A commitment to providing quality services to you


What is T-QUAL Accreditation?

Simply look for businesses that carry the T-QUAL Tick and rest assured you will get the quality you deserve.

T-QUAL Accreditation is the Australian Government's partnership with quality tourism accreditation, rating and certification programs. Its logo, the T-QUAL Tick, is a symbol of excellence that identifies quality tourism businesses and operators in Australia

How can T-QUAL help you?

T-QUAL Accreditation helps you to make more informed choices by identifying Australia's best tourism products and services so that you can:

  • Be confident that your expectations will be met;
  • Trust consistently high standards will deliver quality experiences;
  • Gain value for money in your chosen price range;
  • Enjoy quicker and easier holiday planning; and
  • Relax, knowing that you will be taken care of.

Victorian Tourism Industry Council (VTIC)

The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) is the peak policy council for the Victorian tourism industry, which represents key industry associations, operators and government agencies, providing one united industry voice.

  • Central Australian Tourism
  • Marysville Tourist Association
  • Ballarat Tourist Association
  • Mansfield Tourist Association
  • Narbethong Progress Association
  • Industry Councils; Sport and Outdoor Recreation, Transport, Forestry
  • Cross Country Jeep Club
  • Ballarat & District 4WDrive Club
  • National Transport Hall of Fame – Alice Springs

Aboriginal Affairs

blank headshotAcciona Energy

blank headshotAlpine Resorts Coordinating Council (ARCC)

blank headshotALS Global

blank headshotAustralian National University (ANU)

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blank headshotAustralian Ecosystems

 blank headshotBanyule City Council

blank headshotBrett Lane & Associates (BL&A)

blank headshotBushfire Cooperative Research Council (CRC)

blank headshotChilsholm Institue of TAFE

blank headshotCountry Fire Authority (CFA)

blank headshotDeakin University

blank headshotDepartment of Corrective Services

blank headshotDepartment of Environment & Primary Industries

blank headshotDepartment of Infrastructure

blank headshotDepartment of Justice

blank headshotDepartment of Juvenile Justice

blank headshotDepartment of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE)

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blank headshotDepartment of Primary Industry (DPI)

blank headshotDepartment of Sustainability & Environment (DSE)

blank headshotDrilltec

blank headshotEcology Australia

blank headshotEco Restore

blank headshotEnvironmental Protection Authority (EPA)

blank headshotFast Rail

blank headshotFord Motor Company of Australia

blank headshotFrankston City Council

blank headshotGame Council of NSW

blank headshotGippsland Cathodic Protection Services (GCPS)

blank headshotGeo Pave

blank headshotGeo Services

blank headshotGeomatic Technologies

blank headshotGordon Institute of TAFE

 blank headshotHazelwood

blank headshotJemena

blank headshotHancock Victorian Plantations (HVP)

blank headshotI C Energy

blank headshotInstitute of Railway Technology (IRT)

blank headshotJemena

blank headshotJohn Holland

blank headshotKellog Brown & Root (KBR)

blank headshotKvaerner

blank headshotLatchways

blank headshotMaloney

blank headshotMarcellin College

blank headshotMount Evelyn Christian School (MECS)

blank headshotMelbourne Parks & Waterways

blank headshotMelbourne Water

blank headshotMonash University

blank headshotMuseum Victoria

blank headshotNorth Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA)

blank headshotNissan

blank headshotNorth Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT)

blank headshotO’Donnell Griffin

blank headshotOff Road Rentals

blank headshotOrica

blank headshotOrigin Energy

blank headshotPacific Hydro

blank headshotParks Victoria

blank headshotParsons Brinckerhoff

blank headshotRCR Resources

blank headshotRoaring 40’s

 blank headshotRomea

blank headshotRosen

blank headshotScotch College

blank headshotSelect Utility Solutions

blank headshotState Emergency Services (SES)

blank headshotSKM

blank headshotSP Ausnet

blank headshotTenix

blank headshotThiess

blank headshotToyota Australia

blank headshotToyota Technical Centre Australia

blank headshotTRU

blank headshotTXU

blank headshotTypo Station

blank headshotUnimin

blank headshotUniversity of Melbourne

blank headshotURS Australia

blank headshotVicRoads

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blank headshotVictoria University

blank headshotVLine

blank headshotWater Technology

blank headshotWest Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA)

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