by Dom Wiseman

In the battle for the entry level boater, Aussie tinnies reign supreme. They’re tough, affordable and versatile. And when it comes to style, there seems to be no limits with car toppers, v nosed punts and standard layouts all available in various sizes. None are as well know as the Quintrex brand. For over 75 years (that’s quite a record) they have been supplying owners with their first, second and even third boats.

New for the summer of 2018, they have introduced the Outback Explorer range to add to their existing Explorer Series. These are a completely new style for the brand and will be sure to attract a new group of owners looking for a stable boat to use in their local waterway or indeed farther afield.


Perhaps the beauty of tinnies is the space achieved inside and these tiller steer punts are no exception. Two aluminium thwart seats are about the only thing taking up room leaving you all the space to add anything you like. The seats are not riveted as they are in some other models, but rather welded which adds to the boats rigidity. They are also foam filled for flotation.


The space is immediately obvious. By using a F Series, pickle fork bow the beam is carried well forward adding more space up front. There is a room for an anchor, rope and lifejackets at the bow with the gusset doubling as bracing as well as stopping everything here from spilling to the back of the boat. The F Series bow also allows Quintrex to employ a sharp bow which cuts through the water efficiently and remains dry.


The other obvious new element in the Outback Explorer is the deeper floor which is important for anyone looking to use these boats in area where the risk of falling out is heightened or the chance of something like a crocodile cruising up to the side of the boat is high. It adds a level of safety and comfort not available in other designs that can, particularly in the punt designs, which can be quite low to the water. This makes them generally excellent inshore boats, but questionable offshore. That said, I would gladly take the larger 390 offshore on the right day such was the ride offered. Once you’re standing in the boat the depth is quite obvious. All the models come without timber floors but they can be added as an option.

Underpinning the strength and rigidity of the boat is a single T piece keel with a series of top hat ribs running crossways. They are backed with rib tape to reduce that annoying vibration tinnies can suffer at times. On the day of the test I didn’t hear any. Strakes are pressed into the sides and bottom sheet to firm it up while gussets in the back corner and boat add even more firmness across the entire boat.

There are a bunch of options and some of them would be good to tick such as rails on the sides and at the bow plus an alloy cleat if you’re anchoring a lot. The rest of things such as rod holders and transducer brackets you could take care of yourself.

You can also upgrade the floor to 2.0mm thickness which unless you’re operating in particularly tough conditions, say over rocks, isn’t really necessary.


Power on the test day was provided by an Evinrude 15 horsepower engine. This power plant was perfectly suited to the platform with excellent acceleration and speed with two average adults onboard. You could go as low as 8hp which would be much more manageable for anyone looking to remove and store the outboard separated from the boat.


Fun is the first thing that springs to mind when I stepped aboard for my first drive of the 350 Outback Explorer. The boat reminded me of my early years belting about Pittwater honing my fishing skills, which I might add are still poor.

The ride is exceptional and while it was difficult to find really rough water to test the boat across, having 6 of these buzzing about the water around the Coomera factory did result in some rather choppy conditions. The boat sliced through them and remained dry despite the windy conditions. Traditionally the flat front of punts will hit a wave with such force that the ride can be jolting, but not so with the F350 Outback Explorer.


The Evinrude power plant was responsive and the perfect size for this boat and the space could mean you could fish two up quite easily. Once thing I did notice is that the angle of the sheet where it meets the gunwale is quite steep and over time could be uncomfortable if you’re trying to stand at the edge of the boat for long periods.

The boat also turns very flat, and while that is comfortable for most new owners who may not like the angle created when a boat turns, it does result in a high level of G forces that could result in an unsuspecting occupant being thrown out so hold on. Thankfully there are plenty of placesĀ  to do that.


At 81 kilograms, this boat isn’t quite in car topper territory. It would be a brave man that attempted to put one of these on his roof by himself. While we didn’t get to tow the F350, we expect at that weight it would tow well and could be tugged along with any vehicle.

If you added a boat loader you may be able to manage on your own as would someone with a camper trailer with boat rack which I feel is where this boat would be perfect.



Exceptional stability



Tad heavy to be a true car toppper



Price as tested: $7,290 BMT

Construction: Aluminium

Length overall: 3.58m

Length on trailer: 4.63m

Maximum beam: 1.53m

Fuel capacity: N/A portable

Dry weight: 81 kg

HP range: 15hp

People: 4 max

Aluminium gauge: 1.6mm throughout