What’s the point of owning a 4WD if you NEVER go out on adventures and discover the tracks around you. I’ll tell you, there isn’t much point at all. If you’re curious to explore and experience some easy off-road tracks close to Perth, here are some of the favorites among the off-roading community.
You would be surprised at the number of great locations around Perth for a beginner exhilarating experience. The tracks listed are 45mins to 4hrs drive from central Perth. There is something here for everyone, whether it be a day trip or a week-long adventure.
Perth 4WD enthusiasts are lucky enough to have a range of terrains to explore from soft beaches and sand dunes, right through to mud and rocks. Perth and the surrounding areas is blessed with amazing off-road experiences, with spectacular views and explorations, below are just some of the many tracks available to explore.
All you have to do now is take the first step and decide where your next off-road adventure will take you. Here our recommendations of 12 easy 4 wheel drive tracks close to Perth:
- Captain Fawcett
- Julimar State Forest
- Mundaring Weir and State Forest
- White Hills
- Down Nannup
- Preston Beach
- Moore River
- Waroona Dam
Below is some more information on the tracks from the above list from terrain to expect and activities you can do, right through to time allowance needed for each track and sceneries to see
Captain Fawcett Commemorative Track
Distance from Perth: 114km (1.5hr)
Length of Track:120 km
Time Allowance: Approximately 4 hrs Terrain: Sand, Mud, Rocks, Water Crossing
This track is an easy and highly favoured among the 4WD community. There is a variety of tracks you can travel along with some quaint historical aspects you are able to stop at and enjoy. Also, there are many short tracks coming off the main track, that has some perfect areas for picnics, canoeing and camping along the Murray River.
To get to the Captain Fawcett track, you head along the South West Highway to North Dandalup, head along Del Park Road to Dwellingup and drive about 20 minutes out to Lane Poole Reserve. There are rangers situated at the outpost, that have maps and information on the tracks available in the area.
You need to allow roughly 4 hours to complete the main track. The track will present you with a few granite boulders to climb, tight scrub to squeeze through and a few bog holes to navigate through. During the summer months, the area is very dry, while through winter the track can be quite wet. There is loads of mud to trek through during the wet season, so be prepared for a filthy, fun loving adventure.
Activities that you can pursue along the track and exploring the area can include:
The historic homesteads, old trestle bridges and amazing views in this area make for a great family adventure for a perfect day trip, or even camping for an overnighter or, perhaps a weekend exploration.
You can explore this area while capturing some amazing photos while re-living a small piece of Australian history!
Julimar State Forest
Distance from Perth: 109km (1.5hr)
Length of Track: 10-30km
Time Allowance: 4hs Terrain: Mud, Gravel, Bush
The tracks in the Julimar State Forest have some amazing routes to adventure through. There are a variety of tracks of different terrain, from gravel to clay. Some of the tracks are extremely tight and can be quite a challenge to squeeze a Landcruiser through, even a small 4WD like a Jeep Wrangler can have some difficulty pinching between the tighter sections. There are many areas where there is evidence of vehicles contacting trees here and there, so taking it slow is the best approach to keep your panels intact. Pinstriping isn’t too much of an issue, even though it’s dense bushland.
There are two main hills in the Julimar State Forest. Most 4WD give the extreme hill a miss due to how steep and long it is, not to mention its rutted, covered in loose rocks and can be rather slippery. With only a narrow entry at the top of the hill, this particular hill is recommended to be skipped, particularly for a newbie. You can get around the hill by using the alternative route. Although, the alternative route might not seem as fun as the extreme hill, the very narrow and winding track leading to the base of the valley, can be an exciting event.
The second hill doesn’t have a chicken track that goes around, it is the only way down! There are multiple entries and exits on the same hill, which is quite unusual. This especially makes the adventure more enticing, as you can pick and choose which way you are going down or up. Depending on your 4WD picking the correct track/line for your descent or ascent is important. Once you walk the hill and plan out which way you’re going, stick to it! If you change your mind halfway, it could send you sideways in loose rocks before you even realise!
When you arrive at the open area, keep an eye out for bog holes. Appreciate a bite to eat, while enjoying the company of your family and friends, surrounded by raw Australian bush.
The best season for ease on this track is during the summer months. This is due to the fact that rain can impact the ground by turning it all to mud; not to mention thick, sticky mud. Even in November when there hasn’t been rain for weeks you will see water around in bog holes and plenty of crusty, dried mud. But, don’t be fooled by the crusty mud, because underneath, is loads and loads of thick, sticky mud. You’d be surprised how deep the mud can be!
It is recommended that no larger than a 6 vehicle convoy in this area as there isn’t too much room around the hill ascents and descents. It is also advised, to make sure your have recovery gear (If your still deciding on what gear to get, Check out our essential 4WD gear guide in which we review and recommend the essential 4WD Gear) and a friend or two in your convoy with a winch, as you’ll need it if you do get stuck in that thick mud!
Some of the more experienced 4WDer say that the Julimar State Forest has similar terrain to the Captain Fawcett Track and its a great and easy adventure, with the inclusion of a few hill climbs and bog holes for a bit of a test.
Wilbinga (Sand Bowl) (Check Out My Trip To Wilbinga Here)
Distance from Perth: 71km (1hr)
Area/Length of Track: N/A
Time Allowance: Day trip or longer Terrain: Beach, Bush, Dunes
Wilbinga has awesome tracks along the beach, as well as through the bush land and dunes. This one is particularly popular on weekends and school holidays. You can go down with the family, and there is something for everyone to do, from dad fishing, mum exploring the lookouts and the kids running a muck on the beach.
This is one of the closest areas to Perth that you can camp, go beach driving and enjoy your time, without getting in trouble.
Its mainly sand tracks, beach runs and plenty of sand dunes to drive over. Along the sand tracks there are a few sections of scattered rocks. However, they aren’t too much too worry about, just be careful and take your time; also, know where your ground clearance is at, so you don’t get stuck!
There are 3 main sand dune areas that are great for practicing your sand skills and learning your 4×4 capabilities. The variety of dunes ranges from small easy ones, to big and extremely steep, challenging dunes. Be sure to start with the smaller dunes and slowly progress when you are confident and have the knowledge you need for the larger, steeper dunes.
There is often motorbike riding within the area so you should be vigilant and be prepared to stop quickly, as the motorbike riders have a tendency to come around corners speedily. It can be rather busy, so keep an eye out for other beach traffic as well as kids running around. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your kids that are running around enjoying the sand and sun.
It is advised to invest in a sand flag as it’ll help with other vehicles knowing where you are, in case you get lost or even to avoid a collision.
Don’t forget the Wilbinga Sand Bowl! It’s easy to get to with a bush track through Wilbinga.
The sand bowl is located at: 31 27 44 12 S / 115 33 54 25 E (GPS).
Distance from Perth: 100km (1.5hr)
Length of Track: 10km
Time Allowance: 3-4hrs Terrain: Beach, Sand
Seabird is a small fishing town just north of Guilderton and Moore River. The track along the coast to Guilderton is an easy route to explore with some great views. It starts from the southern edge of Seabird and ends at a lighthouse just north of Guilderton. This particular track is very photographic and with beautiful scenery, it is a divine trip.
At the beginning of the track (north end), there is a small challenge of steep limestone. If you don’t have the clearance or know how, there is an alternative route around the limestone, which is suggested for newbies. There are a few tracks closer to Guilderton, that peel off the main track and take you to a few exquisite beach spots.
This particular area isn’t well known and you will normally have the place to yourself. It is advised that you don’t drive along the beach as it is very narrow in certain sections. Besides, you cant actually dive the entire way along the beach as there is a limestone cliff halfway, that prevents you from going much further along the beach.
Distance from Perth: 130km (1.5hr)
Area of Track: 220 hectares
Time Allowance: Minimum 4 hrs Terrain: Sand, Dunes, Beach
Lancelin is approximately 220 hectares of sand dunes for you to adventure through. It is a small, fishing town that has some of the closest sand dunes to Perth.
The dunes attract a variety of 4WD vehicles, so make sure you keep your eyes open. You also need to be aware of your surroundings. Although, Lancelin is a lot of fun and popular with many off-roaders, a number of accidents have occurred in this area due to how steep some of the dunes are, as well as people approaching them from the wrong angles. Due to the steeper dunes, many vehicles can roll, and its easy enough to do. So, be sure you plan your tracks and walk them beforehand to ensure your safety.
There are a lot of tourists during the holidays, the average population is 600 but during the tourist seasons it sky rockets to over 2,000. So, there is plenty of accommodation in the area if you want to make a week trip of it.
You need to be aware that the dunes are always changing because of people sweeping through them, because of this you need to study the dunes you are traveling over and down to ensure your safety.
Mundaring Weir and State Forest
Distance from Perth: 45km (1hr)
Length of Track: 10-30km
Time Allowance: Day trip
Terrain: Bush, Sand, Gravel, Rocks, Mud, Inclines and Declines
Mundaring Weir has some tight and easy going tracks, that is great for newbies; it isn’t all about the power line track here. The area’s terrain is made up of sand, gravel, sharp rocks, mud and steep ascents and descents. There is a variety of difficulty when it comes to the tracks in the area, there are a few easy tracks that are great to improve your understanding of four wheel driving.
Camping is permitted in the area and is full of beautiful scenery. Helena River Reservoir is in the vicinity, access to the reservoir is, however, restricted to protect it from contamination. But, don’t let that stop you from admiring the nature around you. Nonetheless, you can get access to the top of the dam to see the spectacular views if it really is a must. It is a great adventure for the kids as you are pretty much guaranteed to see an abundance of wildlife from emus and kangaroos, to reptiles and native birds. There is also lookouts and small waterfalls to enjoy in the area.
There is no real entry point you must start at or any particular way you must travel as most of the tracks zig zag through to the main or secondary roads. Therefore, you can wonder about this marvelous place
White Hills (Check Out My Trip To White Hills Here)
Distance from Perth: 100km (1.5hr)
Area/Length of Track: N/A
Time Allowed: Day Trip
Terrain: Beach, Sand
White Hills is a beach just south of Mandurah that many cars drive up and down each day. It is particularly good for fishing and snorkeling. White hills isn’t very smooth and is great for practicing and mastering speed control. If you find a good speed, the bumps on the beach wont be so noticeable.
Camping on the beach is allowed but you aren’t permitted to go into the dunes. Penalties apply if you don’t let your tires down, as it damages the beach. A lot of the sand is quiet soft, so you need to be sure to let your tires down to around 15psi.
To extend your adventure from white hills, you can drive south to Preston Beach and then Myalup Beach. Although, make sure its low tide and the sand is in decent condition and fairly compacted, otherwise you may run into a bit of trouble.
Distance from Perth: 300km (4hrs)
Length of Track:30-100km
Time Allowance: Best suited for a camping trip
Terrain: Sand, Sharp Rocks, Clay, Mud (wet seasons)
Hollands track is made up of sand and sharp rocks. It is an ideal place for gaining knowledge when it comes to a sandy and rocky environment. This track is 300km from Perth, meaning it is the further-est track in this list, though it is worth the trek for the experience and is a bucket list track for many Western Australians.
It was the longest cart road ever made in one stretch in Western Australia. It was a unique route that was created by John Holland in 1893. This track was made in just 65days to enable the prospectors who arrived at the port of Albany to shorten their trip to the gold fields by more than a fortnight. This journey is rich with Australian history and is well signed all the way, so you won’t be getting lost!
Distance from Perth: 260km (3hrs)
Length of Track:100-500km
Time Allowance: 4hrs +
Terrain: Climbs and Descents, Sand, Gravel
This area is full of steep ascents and descents made up of clay. It is an easy going, beautiful scenery track. There are some fabulous stops along the way to take a few minutes and appreciate the imagery or even have a spot of lunch. A great learning curb for newbies to acknowledge what their 4WD can accomplish.
Although it is the second further-est track on this list, the long length of the track means you can travel farther and gain more hours you’re driving your 4WD off-road. Every minute counts when learning!
Along the track there is a variety of historic timber mills and campsites you can visit. It is perfect for a weekender with family and friends. Especially, if you value the history of Western Australia and enjoy the picturesque scene of the countryside.
Distance from Perth:120km (1.5hr)
Length of Track: 10-30km
Time Allowance: Day Trip
Terrain: Sand, Beach
This track is a simple and an easy route for learners to explore. The terrain allows you to grasp driving on sand and become a master of it, while valuing the classic WA beach backdrop.
There is a track from Preston Beach to White Hills. It can be quite soft, however, higher up in the tracks it is fairly hard and easy going. This little track would be ideal for family outings, as you can set up a little picnic and let the kids play on the beach. Not to mention, its easy to find yourself a little section that will be all for you to enjoy and relax. Please Note: Camping and entering the dunes is not permitted here.
Distance from Perth: 31km (45mins)
Length of Track:10-30km
Terrain: sand, river crossings
Moore river is a great scene for some easy four wheel driving with sand, hill climbs and river crossings, so you can gain a variety of experience.
The river is quite shallow for most of it with a firm base, that means you can literally drive straight down the river. However, you need to be careful as the firm river bed can turn into soft sand in a split second and you wouldn’t even know until its too late. So, because of this it is suggested you scout ahead and stay out from driving straight down the river as a newbie, and just stick to trying to cross it which will be thrilling in itself.
Distance from Perth: 120km (1.5hr)
Length of Track:10-30km
Terrain: Mud, Ascents and Descents
The Waroona Dam has a variety of tracks that is primarily muddy, with heaps of steep ascents and descents. It is a little further south of Dwellingup and is great for a day trip, or you can camp in the area and have an overnighter/weekender. You can take your boat out on the dam or even go water skiing, while enjoying the nature around you. Swimming and fishing are also popular activities in the area.
The tracks around the dam increase in difficulty, so you can start on the easy tracks and advance your skill level and then slowly progress when you are confident in your skill set. This is a great spot to head out to and learn what your 4×4 can do.
There are some of the easiest and most enjoyable tracks in the 4WD community for newbies and even the avid off-roader to enjoy for an easy outing. You should always keep to the tracks to prevent the closure of the tracks, so everyone is able to enjoy and experience them. Always remember, to treat the tracks with respects, take your rubbish with you and be considerate of others. Never, forget your recovery, just incase you get stuck in a rut! Enjoy the adventure with family and friends, while exploring the land and beauty around Perth!
What are some moderate and difficult tracks around Perth?
Tim’s Thicket:10-30km track (Moderate)
Wonnerup Inlet (beach access): 2-10km track (Moderate)
West Swan to Muchea: 30-100km track (Moderate)
Two Rocks: 2km-10km track (Moderate)
East of Armadale: 100-500km track (Moderate)
Harvey Fire Break Hill Climbs: 10-30km track (Difficult) Hoffman’s Mill: 2-10km track (Difficult)
Power line Track: 10-30km track (Difficult)
Where can I get 4×4 maps?
You can find 4×4 maps through a variety of resources including the internet, rangers and even the state forest and tourist locations you visit. It is best to have a map with you to prevent you from getting lost and to make sure you don’t end up where you aren’t allowed.