10 4WD Tracks in Australia that You Should Try! - Offroadaussie.com

10 4WD Tracks in Australia that You Should Try!

Victoria High Country

Location: 516 km northeast of Melbourne

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Track Length: 306.16 km

Track Time: 3-4 days

Terrain: Dirt and rock

Starting in Mansfield, this trip traverses the Howqua River and climbs into the Alpine National Park. Also, you will travel up over the Bluff and throughout the Howitt Plain, across the Wonanngatta to Talbotville, check out Grant and Dargo, and the most thrilling ridge top drive in the whole state of Victoria. On your way out via the Dargo High Plains Rd, you can take a hard but spectacular ridge top drive on the Blue Rag Range that ends on the Blue Rag Trig Point. The trig point around 1718 m above sea level provides a 360-degree panorama of the surrounding countryside and Hotham, Feathertop, and the Bogong region.

The trip proceeds back along the ridge until St Bernhard Hospice and down the Alpine Way to its finish in Harrietville. Also, this could be the beginning of a new trip if you are close to Mount Beauty and Bright to check out and an abundance of wineries. These are some of the country’s best between here and Wangaratta and Albury.

Gibb River Road

 

Location: 249 km north of Brisbane

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Track Length: 929.28 km

Track Time: 3 days

Terrain: Dirt, sand, river crossings, and rock

The Gibb River Road is the best option for 4WD enthusiasts of the two primary routes that cut through the Kimberley Region and is the main way to get to the several gorges that are the main highlights of the area.

For most who make the trip to explore the Kimberley, the ruggedness of the landform and the vast expanse of remoteness are significant highlights. But if you travel during the peak season, usually from May – September, you’re likely to share your camp with a lot of other campers. To find the solitude, you need to get off the main route (such as north along the Kalumburu Road or south to Mornington). Also, if you’re okay traveling beyond the peak season, so check local conditions first as parts of the road is closed from December to March. 

There is no denying that the Kimberley remains a vast, remote area, yet an increasing number of people head here to see it personally. There was a time when only the most rugged 4WD vehicles and people would attempt a trip along the Gibb River Rd, turning into real adventurers after. But with a lot of 4WD owners and the influx in tour operators going to the region, over 20,000 people come each season through the Gibb River Rd either as self-drive tourists or in 4WD tour buses in a span of a few months.

The Kimberley Region experiences monsoonal rainfall (wet season) from December-March, which will often wash over bridges and tracks. The Gibb River Road turns out to be impassable at crossings like the Barnett, Hann, Durack, Pentecost, and King Rivers. Also, road closures during the wet season are a part of life in the Kimberley. Travel must be limited to March – November, but you should still check the local weather and road conditions for possible effects of cyclone activity.

Once the dry season comes, the graders will make a few attempts to smoothen out the worst ruts, but they cannot cut out the corrugations.

Cape York

Location: 2,681 km north-west of Brisbane

Difficulty: Hard

Track Length: 848 km

Track Time: 3 days

Terrain: Dirt, sand, river crossings, and rock

The Cape embodies the Top End and the Australian tropics in general, the essential pattern that comes from each season’s dry and wet bringing change and revival each year. But this also makes each trip to North Queensland’s adventure capital unique. The fact that the whole region is only practically open for four-wheel drive trips from April to October (because of bad road conditions and monsoonal flooding) makes the chance to head out into this natural wonder increasingly enticing.

The wind-swept beaches of the isolated Starcke Coast, the steep clay climbs of the CREB Track, and the iconic surge up the Old Telegraph Track, through its numerous creek and river crossings, that goes north towards the northernmost tip of Australia. All of it merges to make Cape York one of the world’s most sought-after adventure destinations. 

Simpson Desert

Location: 982 km north-west of Adelaide

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Track Length: 569.46 km

Track Time: 3 days

Terrain: Dirt, sand, river crossings, and rock

The Simpson Desert is the popular name given to the region in the middle of Birdsville in the South West Corner of Queensland and Dalhousie Springs in the northernmost parts of South Australia close to its border with the Northern Territory. It located across the corners of three states – Queensland, South Australia, and the Northern Territory. The route that we suggest you take is known as the Combined Route – it is a unique trek route for those that want to explore the whole area in the one trip. So, it takes in a little of each track.

There are three main tracks throughout the Simpson Desert, and these are Simpson Desert Rig Road, Simpson Desert French Line, and Simpson Desert WAA Line.

Using these three routes, you will travel 570km. Following this route, you will initially traverse the French Line with detours onto the Rig, WAA, Colson, AAK, and then back onto the French Line to Poeppel Corner and onto the QAA Line into Birdsville. The Simpson Desert can be crossed from West-East or East-West, depending on your choice. Also, tracks are defined only by wheel marks and ruts in the sand. There’s also no grading or grooming of the road throughout the trek. 

Fraser Island

Location: 352 km north of Brisbane

Difficulty: Moderate

Track Length: 391.5 km

Track Time: 3 days

Terrain: Sand, beach, and sealed roads

Fraser Island – the world’s biggest sand island, is situated at the southern portion of the Great Barrier Reef, just 15 km off the coast of Maryborough and Hervey Bay. Vehicle barges and passenger ferry services are available daily. The barges are meant walk-in passengers, but there’s no public transport throughout the island. Also, the options for accommodations on the island are plentiful and diverse, with privately-run holiday options from high-end resorts to budget cabins. Also, there is a wide range of camping options. For example, both informal beach camping and fenced camping sites with facilities are available too. For hikers, you can stay at “walk-in” only campsites.

A network of scenic drives through sandy roads allows visitors to explore the island along the beach and throughout inland tracks, but high clearance 4WD vehicles with low range are recommended. Also, trailers and camper trailers are NOT PERMITTED on the trails that are inland. All-wheel drive vehicles are also not recommended.

When planning your stay, we recommend using several base camps at various locations. It gives you the chance to spend a few days in each area of Fraser Island to keep yourself from driving long distances and having more leisure time. 

If fishing is high on your list, we would recommend camping up north to the eastern beach towards Eli Creek to enable easier access to other good fishing sports such as the Maheno, Moon Point, Orchid Beach, and Sandy Cape.

Canning Stock Route

Location: 1,156 km northeast of Perth

Difficulty: Very Hard

Track Length: 2006.21 km

Track Time: 16 days

Terrain: Sand and dirt roads

The Canning Stock Route (CSR) is among the most remote 4WD tracks in the world and holds its moniker as the “last frontier.” Extending for about 1850km from its southern end in Wiluna, to its northern end at Billiluna Community on the Tanami Track, there are no towns along the way, no vital services, and a general lack of support for emergencies. 

The route travels across the Gibson Desert, the Little Sandy Desert, and the Great Sandy Desert. It cuts through 4 designated native title areas, which are Ngurrara, Tjurabalan, Birriliburu and Martu, and the area surrounding Wiluna. 

Planning to take a trip along the Canning Stock Route needs a lot of planning and research, with stocks of fuel, water, and food (your necessities to survive) being your topmost priority. But are a lot of logistical issues that may arise when you are already in the middle of the desert. So, it is essential reading for any traveler – whether traveling solo, in convoy, or a tag-along group.

If you don’t currently have a lot of experience in traveling through remote desert areas and are not well prepared to deal with emergencies and repairs, then you shouldn’t consider going through this route solo. But if you’re driving with a group, you shouldn’t travel in large convoys, and four is regarded as the maximum. 

East Pilbara Diversion

Location: 1,873 km northeast of Perth

Difficulty: Moderate

Track Length: 793.87 km

Track Time: 3 days

Terrain: Sand and dirt roads

The Pilbara region is among the oldest landscapes on earth. It covers a vast area of majestic gorges, ranges, and deserts. The Pilbara is mainly accessed by two major roads – the North West Coastal Highway, which is suited for accessing the western side of the region and the surrounding beaches of the Gascoyne or the Great Northern Highway, which goes through Newman in the eastern side of the area.

This route, however, goes through the eastern section of the Pilbara via the Shay Gap 4WD Track, leaving the North West Coastal Highway close to Eighty Mile Beach (east of Port Hedland). The route then passes through abandoned mining settlements, remote gorges, and isolated tracks to the east of Marble Bar, Nullagine and Newman. It has long been an area with idyllic campsites. However, significant cyclones in the past have made devastating effects on Eel Pool (Running Waters) and the campsites at Carrawine Gorge; however, these do regenerate. Please update current photos and descriptions when you visit in Places. 

Corner Country

Location: 1,144 km west of Sydney

Difficulty: Moderate

Track Length: 473.09 km

Track Time: 2 days

Terrain: Sand and dirt roads

It is an exciting route through remote but scenic outback New South Wales and is somewhat popular with 4WD travelers going up to the Strzelecki Track and past to Innamincka. Most visitors start their Corner Country tour from Broken Hill – the region’s biggest center for supplies and facilities. But the most direct and more adventurous option from eastern NSW would be to begin from Bourke and go west along the Bourke-Tibooburra Rd and passing through Wannaaring. But this route is very vulnerable to flooding and can be blocked and impassable after heavy rain.

So, we recommend that you go from Broken Hill and go north by taking the Silver City Highway. This highway runs in a north-south direction near the border of SA and NSW. It connects the towns of Wentworth, situated at the junction of the Darling and Murray Rivers, Broken Hill, and the small town of Tibooburra in the isolated north-west border of New South Wales.

Some of the towns that are close to the Silver City Highway are Packsaddle, which is the main resting stop where you can also get fuel and supplies. You will also pass by Milparinka – a former mining town with an exciting bush pub and historic buildings. Lastly, you’ll reach Tibooburra – a grazing town surrounded by granite boulders. North of Tibooburra is the vast Sturt National Park, which is a famous run out to the point where three states’ borders meet (SA, NSW, QLD). This route can be achieved as a loop trip, departing and rejoining at Tibooburra, else you can continue west past Cameron Corner and join up with the Strzelecki Track and head up into Innamincka and the Cooper Creek.

Kakadu

Location: 259 km east of Darwin

Difficulty: Moderate

Track Length: 737.51 km

Track Time: 3 days

Terrain: Mud, rocks, sealed roads, and dirt roads

Mention Kakadu National Park and several images come to mind. Aboriginal art, rock formations, birdlife, and overwhelming escarpments. Other than being famous as a World Heritage-listed site, Kakadu has a lot to offer the traveler. There are many 4WD tracks in and around the park, and it’s a birdwatching, boat, and fishing enthusiast’s dream. You just need to look out for the crocs!

The images we tend to see in our minds of Kakadu are aerial drone shots taken from November to April, and you could be forgiven for mistaking that Kakadu was a rainforest – but it is far from it! Kakadu is not famous only for its beauty but also because of its diversity. So, forget about the images you’ve seen in magazines and TV. In reality, Kakadu is far from that – ask anyone who’s been there. Kakadu has six main landforms, although about 80% of the park is defined as “Lowlands,” which means shallow soils, lots of ironstone, and ancient rocky hills. The most popular areas for tourists are the Floodplains and the Estuaries, due to the beautiful array of flora and especially fauna that can be seen close to the water.

Visiting Kakadu by a 4WD vehicle means you’ll be there during the summer season, as this is the only time that cars can pass along with the dirt and sometimes rough tracks that lead to the most exciting locations.

Wollemi National Park

Location: 272 km north-west of Sydney

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Track Length: 177.54 km

Track Time: 2 days

Terrain: Dirt and sealed roads

Wollemi National Park is only around 100 km from Sydney and makes a great weekend trip due to its proximity. The park consists of 492,976 ha and is the largest wilderness area in NSW — a spectacular maze of cliffs, canyons, and virgin forests.

This trek starts in Windsor and ends at Newnes and covers some of the South Western portions of the park. 

The road that leads to Newnes is unsealed and can vary very quickly. The descent is long, narrow, and very challenging, so you should drive with caution. Caravans/trailers can be driven, but they are better in dry weather. Newnes is an excellent place to rest for lunch or set up camp. It is situated in the Wolgan Valley and is enclosed by high, remote cliffs. Newnes was at one point in the early 1900s, a bustling mining town with its railway system to transport shale oil and coal into Sydney. The Wolgan River passes through the old town, and some ruins remain to this day. Now, it’s part of the Wollemi National Park. 

There is a camping area, but facilities are not provided other than a pit toilet. It’s advisable to carry your drinking water. There are a couple of good walks to do from Newnes, including a self-guided tour of the mining/town ruins and the Glow Worm Tunnel, formed for the old railway to pass through. Now the Glow Worm Tunnel is home to the larvae of insects who spin silken threads that glow a blue color to attract mosquitoes.

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