10 Easy 4WD Tracks in Queensland

Queensland arguably has the most 4WD tracks in the country, and most of these tracks are very scenic. Aside from that, these tracks vary wildly in difficulty, so there’s something for 4WD enthusiasts of all skill levels.

So, where should you take your new 4WD vehicle to practice your off-roading skills? We found that the easiest 4WD tracks are scattered throughout Queensland. Even if you’re planning a trip to the far north, the coast, or the outback, there are easy tracks that you can quickly complete. So, you won’t have to make significant adjustments to your plans, and your family can enjoy it too as a lot of these tracks will take you to beaches, mountains, and the bush.

Do you want to become a skilled off-road driver? You can head to these tracks and start practising!

Cairns to Cape Tribulation

Location: 1681 km northwest of Brisbane
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Track Length: 2834.31 km
Track Time: 1 day
Terrain: Dirt and gravel
Cape Tribulation is situated within the Daintree National Park and the Wet Tropics World Heritage area around 110 km north of the town of Cairns. The region is a tropical wonderland that covers 95 km of impressive coastal rainforest and pristine tropical beaches spanning from the sugar town of Mossman in the south to the Bloomfield River up north. The Daintree has been left untouched by development, noise, and air pollution, allowing visitors to experience the purity of the natural surroundings first-hand. Most tour and business operators are committed to eco-tourism activities, and visitors will find excellent opportunities for outdoor activities sans the glitz of irresponsible commercialism.
This track a self-drive route that goes through sealed roads with a vehicular ferry service bringing visitors across the Daintree River as well as a bridge spanning over Cooper Creek making all-weather access year-round for all vehicles such as 2WD vehicles and caravans. Cape Tribulation is at the edge of the sealed road, 35 km away from the Daintree River Ferry. The trail is narrow and meandering, so take your time to do the drive carefully. It is best to allow faster vehicles to pass but only stop where you can steer clear from the road carefully. You should also watch out for wildlife, especially cassowaries.

Normanton to Coen via Kowanyama

Location: 2067 km northwest of Brisbane
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Track Length: 919.94 km
Track Time: 2 days
Terrain: Dirt and gravel
See the golden savannah grasslands and the monsoonal marshlands of this trek in this barren region of Australia. There are a wide range of native animals and a diverse variety of birds including jabirus, herons, Sarus cranes, brolgas, and other waterbird species that come to this place, especially during the wet season.
A good part of the drive is on the Burke Developmental Road with some portions being on the Kowanyama Development Road, Karumba Development Road, and Musgrave Strathgordon Road before hitting Peninsula Development Road before Coen. The majority of the journey is a real adventure drive, and most of them are unsealed. Although some of these roads can be quite rough, it can be tackled by 2WD vehicles with care.
The trek will also take you through beautiful scenery, including some old historical towns. Some these towns include Normanton, which is famed for its various migratory wading birds and Barramundi fishing. You will also pass through Karumba which lies on the mouth of the Norman River and is the centre of the Gulf of Carpentaria’s prawning and fishing industries (the sunsets in this town are also a must-see). Kowanyama, which means “the place of many waters” is culturally significant to the Aboriginal community residing in the town. This town is located on the riverbanks of Magnificent Creek, and during the wet season, it’s not unusual to have supplies flown in by airlift. There are many homestead stations along the way such as Dunbar Station, and there is an old telegraph station now known as Musgrave Roadhouse. Meanwhile, Coen is a beautiful town located on the old telegraph line that goes between Laura and Bamaga. The town is considered as the last place north to gather supplies such as food, fuel and mechanical repairs before driving towards the tip of Cape York.

Expedition National Park

Location: 565 km northwest of Brisbane
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Track Length: 308.77 km
Track Time: 1 day
Terrain: Dirt, rock, and gravel
Whether you’re travelling from Rolleston or Taroom, the trek into Expedition National Park is as exciting as the surrounding area itself. It is one of those circumstances where the journey is as enjoyable as the destination.
Expedition National Park covers the Expedition Range between Rolleston, Bauhinia Downs and Taroom and is mostly inaccessible, except by adequately equipped and experienced bushwalkers. But there are two campsites on the park’s eastern side, close to Robinson Gorge, and both of these campgrounds are accessible by 4WD. Sadly, there’s no access for 2WD or low clearance camper trailers and caravans.
Spotted Gum campsite, near the northern portion of Robinson Gorge, has no facilities while Starkvale Creek campsite has a rainwater tank and pit toilets. There are also self-registration stations at Starkvale, which is closer to the gorge and is the jump-off point if you want to reach the “Cattle Dip” an aptly named part of Robinson Gorge. The canyon starts as a large, shallow depression near Spotted Gum campground then narrows and descends towards its southern point to form this Cattle Dip, a 6 m wide and up to 100 m high gorge with a permanent water hole in the bottom.
A clearly defined, 2km long, walking trail from Starkvale campground leads to a lookout over the gorge. An offshoot from this trail leads down into the canyon. It is steep in places and requires a scramble over rocky outcrops. Before exploring the bottom of the gorge, make sure you take notice of where the trail ends as this is the only exit from the gorge. Once in the canyon, it is possible to walk down to the Cattle Dip. There is a 1.5km 4WD track followed by an easy 400m walk to a lookout over the Cattle Dip, and no trip to Robinson Gorge would be complete without seeing it.

Matilda Way

Location: 2138 km northwest of Brisbane
Difficulty: Easy
Track Length: 1700.83 km
Track Time: 4 days
Terrain: Sealed roads
The ‘Matilda Way’ is a tourist route, and its name was given for a connection of roads, specifically from Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria to Cunnamulla 119 km away from the Queensland/New South Wales border. The route goes through the famed outback Queensland country towns – and some great outback pubs! From north to south, you can stop at small towns like Cloncurry, Normanton, Longreach, Winton, Blackall, Barcaldine, Augathella, Tambo, Cunnamulla, and Charleville, where you can then head to the Kidman Way by going through central NSW. It’s a region where dinosaurs once reigned supreme; the inspiration for our unofficial national anthem, the ‘Waltzing Matilda’, and it is the birthplace of Qantas. There are several highlights along this sealed 1822 km route making it among the most popular caravan trips in Australia.
There are tourist information centres in almost all towns along the route, and each of them can provide detailed information on bookings, and schedules for local events, shows, and various attractions. The journey will take you through an ever-changing landscape – from the gulf plains in the north; Mitchell grass plains and desert uplands in the central west; to undulating Mulga plains in the south. There are picturesque billabongs and vast inland river systems, rugged gorges, escarpments and many scenic National Parks to explore. The Matilda Way is custom-made for travellers keen for a taste of the ‘outback’ with its unique heritage and good old’ pubs. All served with some legendary hospitality and friendliness.

Gulf Track

Location: 2067 km northwest of Brisbane
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Track Length: 957.99 km
Track Time: 4 days
Terrain: Sealed roads
This track from Borroloola to Normanton is a significant trek as it passes a remote country where facilities and towns are far and few between. So, you need to be fully self-sufficient with fuel, water, and vehicle spares. The Gulf country is far from a tropical paradise, and it is one of the harshest and wildest parts of Australia. Cattle stations and isolated communities are also found along the Gulf savannah plains with hardly any civilisation to speak of. So, why do people still come here? Well, it’s because hidden in this rough and dusty country is the jewel of the crown – the Lawn Hill Gorge (which is also a national park). For those who love fishing, the Gulf and its tributaries are rich with Australia’s most elusive fish, the barramundi, and some people consider the journey to the destination is usually half the fun of arriving.

Fraser Island

Location: 352 km north of Brisbane
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Track Length: 391.5 km
Track Time: 3 days
Terrain: Sand and dirt
Fraser Island – considered as the world’s largest sand island, is found 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 run regularly. The barges can accommodate walk-on passengers, but there’s no public transport on the island. Accommodation on the island is also plentiful and wide-ranging, with privately-run holiday options spanning from upmarket resorts to budget cabins. There’s also a wide range of camping choices – both informal beach camping and fenced camping areas with facilities are present. For hikers, you also have the option to stay at campsites that are only accessible by taking walking trails.
A network of scenic drives on sandy tracks allows visitors to explore the island along the beach and throughout inland tracks, but high-clearance 4WD vehicles with low range are essential. Trailers and camper trailers are NOT PERMITTED on the inland tracks. All-wheel drive vehicles are not recommended.
When planning your stay, we recommend using several base camps at various locations. It enables you to spend a few days at a time in each section of Fraser Island to get past long driving days and to have more leisure time.
If fishing is high on your list, we would recommend camping further north at the eastern beach towards Eli Creek to allow more straightforward access to other good fishing sports such as the Maheno, Moon Point, Orchid Beach and Sandy Cape.

Cairns to Daintree

Location: 1681 km northwest of Brisbane
Difficulty: Easy
Track Length: 110.49 km
Track Time: 1 day
Terrain: Dirt and sealed roads
The Daintree Village is a small town located 12 km upstream from the Daintree River ferry crossing. If you’re heading to Cape Tribulation, you’ll turn off before reaching the quaint village, so it’s far from the main tourist route. For 4WD enthusiasts looking for the starting point of the CREB Track, you’ll need to come this way. But the starting point of the said track is the Upper Daintree Crossing, which is just 9 km further on past Daintree Village. It is a perfect place for a quiet overnight stay with many birds, frogs, and butterflies to delight the senses.
You should drive north from Cairns and follow the Captain Cook Highway, passing by Port Douglas, and onto the town of Mossman, You could also take a side trip to Mossman Gorge or Wonga Beach while on the way.

Ka Ka Mundi – Carnarvon National Park

Location: 747 km northwest of Brisbane
Difficulty: Easy
Track Length: 249.02 km
Track Time: 1 day
Terrain: Dirt and sealed roads
Ka Ka Mundi is a remote part of the Carnarvon National Park and is perfect for people who need to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city. With upwards of 30 km of sandstone cliffs and mountains, rocky outcrops there is plenty for the experienced walker to appreciate.
Overlooking the campsite is cave-filled sandstone hills that are worth exploring, but don’t forget that spirits reside in these caves and will cause ill-fate if you come into close contact with them, at least according to Aboriginal legend.
Also close to the campsite is the Bunduncundoo Springs with their lush growths of ferns and mosses, the waters of these springs are cool, crystal clear and a good source of drinking water. The Aborigines also believed these waters had great healing powers and would immerse their children into them to cure bone problems.

Salvator Rosa – Carnarvon National Park

Location: 789 km northwest of Brisbane
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Track Length: 298.7 km
Track Time: 2 days
Terrain: Dirt and gravel
Salvator Rosa is another remote part of the Carnarvon National Park. Two camping areas, located on both sides of the access road, are provided, and they are on the banks of the clear waters of the spring-fed Nogoa River. Although new wheelchair access and composting toilet facilities are provided, the park remains mostly undeveloped.
The park is composed of eucalypt forests as well as an open bush but with many spectacular eroded sandstone outcrops and formations. A four-wheel drive is needed after leaving the campgrounds and crossing the river, to go along a sandy trail. This track follows along the river, and it’s tributary, Louisa Creek, taking in the numerous walking and lookouts such as Spyglass Peak, Belinda and Mitchell springs and the relics of the stockyards built by Major Mitchell, with a total round trip of around 18 km.
The 400 m walk to Spyglass Peak will take you past a stone outcrop that resembles a man-made rampart with arrow slits and spy holes. The track leads to the base of the peak, where a 10-meter diameter hole can be found at its summit, you should allow a lot of time to explore around this track.
Further along the track, you’ll reach Belinda Springs with crystal clear water flowing beneath a small rock ledge. Together with Mitchell springs, millions of litres of water continuously flow into Louisa Creek. At the end of the track leads to a locked gate, walk beyond this gate past the Mitchell Springs to the remains of Major Mitchell’s yards where he would rest and feed his horses during his expeditions through the area.

Moreton Island

Location: 72.4 km northeast of Brisbane
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Track Length: 112.42 km
Track Time: 1 day
Terrain: Sand
Moreton Bay Island presents a real escape from the city, located off the coast of Brisbane and accessible by barges. It is 4WD enthusiast’s haven as it has no sealed roads and presents an opportunity for sand driving throughout the island. It is also a perfect place to enjoy the unspoilt beaches, fishing, swimming and an island that is still 98% covered by a national park.

Related Questions

How Many National Parks Are In Queensland?

Queensland national parks. With more than 1,000 national parks within our state borders, opportunities to encounter rare wildlife in its natural habitat are always around the corner.

Can I Fly A Drone In Queensland National Parks?

You need a permit to land aircraft in all national park airstrips for reasons not related to park management, such as access and scenic and recreational flights, except in cases of emergency. Aircraft includes recreational craft, remotely piloted aircraft and drones.

Are Dogs Allowed In Queensland National Parks?

Dogs and other pets are welcome in a few conservation parks, state forests, and recreation areas, but not in national parks.

Can You Take Your Dog To Moreton Island?

Unfortunately, as Moreton Island is classified as a national park, only residential dogs and cats are allowed as they are among a land owner’s property.

Are There Sharks At Moreton Island?

Crocodiles, jellyfish and stinging marine animals inhabit Australia’s tropical northern waters: always heed warnings. Sharks occur right along the Queensland coast: seek local advice about risks.

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