Dandenong Ranges 4WD Guide | Everything You Need To Know - Offroadaussie.com

Dandenong Ranges 4WD Guide | Everything You Need To Know

This is a guide that showcases some of the lesser-known 4WD tracks around or near the Dandenong  Ranges.

Dandenong Ranges is an awesome place to be in. You have escaped the busy city life into a lush haven of the Dandenong Ranges’ towering forests, secret 4WD spots and eclectic villages.

What makes Dandenong Ranges is that it has beautiful forest ranges yet it’s not too far away from the City. Dandenong Ranges is very much perfect for a 4WD day trip. There are lots of scenic 4WD spots for a family picnic. Food is not a worry as there are numerous restaurants and cafes around the area.

This is a guide that showcases some of the lesser-known 4WD tracks around or near the Dandenong  Ranges.

  1. Trig Track
  2. Frenchmans Spur Track
  3. Ellis Track
  4. Mt Terrible Track
  5. Toolangi State Forest

*All times to finish are approximations and are subject to time spent sightseeing, doing activities, 4WD recovery, etc.

Before you continue, If your new to 4wd and offroading or are not sure what equipment to take out with you on your adventures, make sure to check out the Off Road Aussies Essential 4×4 Equipment List where I have taken the time to review and recommend the equipment I use. If you kit yourself out correctly you will be able to tackle everything that your new adventures will throw at you.

 

 

1. Trig Track

A challenging track for 4WD enthusiasts.

Image Credits

Difficulty: Moderate-hard
Track Length: 5 KM
Time to finish: Under 1 hour*
Terrain: Gravel, dirt, rocky, (mud and clay during wet seasons)

How to get here:

From Melbourne, head east on the Monash Freeway (M1) towards Moe. Stay on this road for about 126 km, then take a left onto Waterloo Rd heading out of Trafalgar. After about 7 km, you will come across a roundabout where you will exit onto Saviges Rd. Take a right onto Bell St and take the first exit onto Moore St where you will stay for about 1.5 km, then exit onto Moe-Walhalla Rd (Route C466) . Stay on this road for about 33 km until you reach Rawson, where it becomes Thomson Valley Rd (Route C481). Follow the road north for about 20 km (it will become Thomson Dam Access Rd and then take a left onto Walhalla Rd. The start of Trig Track will be on your right just under 1 km.

Notables:

Trig Track is a short, but reputable 4WD off-roading track located about 2 ½ hours east of the Dandenongs. It only goes for about 5.5 km, but is very steep and is recommended only for experienced 4WD’ers to take on. It can become very muddy and impossible to traverse during rainy periods, so keep your recovery gear and a spare 4WD handy.

While you may find yourself recovering and stopping often, you can get great views of the Thomson Dam, its reservoir (also known as Lake Thomson), Baw Baw National Park, and have access to the Avon Wilderness to the east.

If you decide to try out this track, come and try it during the summer months because it is closed from July to November. 

 

2. Frenchmans Spur Track

A muddy, mid-baseline track located in a 4WD haven.

Image Credit

Difficulty: Moderate
Track Length:  About 21 KM
Time to finish: Between 1 and 2 hours*
Terrain: Gravel, dirt, rocky, (mud and clay during wet seasons)

How to get here:

From Melbourne, head east on the Eastern Freeway (M3) towards Cambarville. Follow the M3 for 116 km before taking a left onto Big River Rd from Warburton-Woods Rd (Route C511). Follow this road for another 15 km or so and you should find yourself on Frenchmans Spur track.

Notables:

Frenchmans Spur Track is a little out of the way, but is an ideal 4WD track for most enthusiasts. Inclines and grades on this track are steep and also be mindful about the mud as it can get very thick. The main attraction in this part of Victoria is Big River Rd, a trail synonymous with 4WD tracks. Chances are, you can choose any path as soon as you get off it and be rewarded with a healthy dose of 4WD off-roading so keep this in mind.

A huge step-up from beginner to moderate-easy tracks, it is recommended to bring recovery gear just in case.

 

3. Ellis Track

One of the hardest 4WD tracks to conquer in Victoria.

Image Credit

Difficulty: Hard
Track Length:  About 2 KM
Time to finish: Under 1 hour*
Terrain: Gravel, dirt, rocky, sandy, river crossing, (mud and clay during wet seasons)

How to get here:

From Melbourne, head east on the Eastern Freeway (M3) towards Ringwood which should take about 25 km. Then exit onto the Ringwood Bypass (State Route 62) and follow this road for another 11 km until you take a left onto Mt Dandenong Rd where you will continue past the roundabout onto Leith Rd (State Route C401) for about 2 km until you reach a second roundabout. Exit onto York Rd (State Route C402) and follow C402 for a good 5 km before exiting onto Warburton Highway (State Route B380). Follow this road for another 20 km where you will take a right onto Tarrango Rd. You should be able to see the Ellis Track in front of you after another 5 km.

Notables:

The Ellis Track at Wesburn is short but absolutely punishing (or rewarding!). It is highly recommended to have at least 33” tires with a 2” suspension lift, winches, tow cables, other 4WD vehicles and 4WD underguards around when attempting this track. Most 4WD enthusiasts warn that souls who attempt this track should expect to have their vehicles scratched up, side mirrors bent, or even prepare to turn their 4WD’s over as some sections have steep grades and near 90° inclines. Maintaining momentum and heavy low gear use is key to success in this track.

The track has chicken tracks around the near impassable sections, if needed.

 

4. Mt Terrible Track

An easy track for all difficulty levels at Enochs Point.

Image Credit

Difficulty: Easy
Track Length:  About 60 KM
Time to finish: 2-3 hours*
Terrain: Gravel, dirt, rocky, sandy (mud and clay during wet seasons)

How to get here:

From Melbourne, get onto the Eastern Freeway (M3) and follow it east for about 22 km towards Ringwood where you will take the Ringwood Bypass Exit (State Route 62) to get onto Maroondah Highway (State Route 34). Stay on this highway for about 11 km before taking a left onto Victoria Rd. Follow this road north until you exit onto the Melba Highway (B300) where you will follow this road for about 127 km towards Merton. Continue to follow the Melba Highway east towards Maindample. From Maindample, continue east on the same road for about 12 km towards Mansfield. Head towards the airport on Mansfield-Woods Point Rd (C511) and follow this road south towards Jamieson for another 41 km. Take a right onto Poletti Track and this is where your 4WD track starts.

Notables:

The Mt Terrible Track lies northeast of the Dandenongs at Enochs Point. From its start point just past Poletti Creek, you can expect to stay in low gear for a significant portion of the journey. The track runs from the Kevington area up north to the Woods Point area down south. To exit back onto the highway (C511), you will need to merge onto Frenchman’s Gap Track, from Ryan’s Spur Track, near the Goulburn River past Godfrey Creek. Be sure to check out the Mt Terrible Fire Tower Hut near the peak for some nice views.

Honestly, you can spend upwards of 4 hours in this area just trekking and driving up the many off-road tracks at Enochs Point. This track is good for new 4WD’ers or 4WD’ers of any skill level looking for an easy day of driving off-road; off the bitumen.

 

5. Toolangi State Forest

An understated State Forest north of the Dandenongs with plenty of 4WD tracks for everyone.

Image Credit

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate-Hard
Track Length:  About 40 sq KM
Time to finish: 3-4 hours*
Terrain: Gravel, dirt, rocky, sandy, rainforest, river crossing (mud and clay during wet seasons)

How to get here:

From Melbourne, get onto the Eastern Freeway (M3) and follow it east for about 22 km towards Ringwood where you will take the Ringwood Bypass Exit (State Route 62) to get onto Maroondah Highway (State Route 34). Stay on this highway for about 11 km before taking a left onto Victoria Rd. Follow this road north until you exit onto the Melba Highway (B300) where you will follow this road for about 21 km north towards Castella. At the 4-way intersection, take a right onto Healesville-Kinglake Rd (C724) which will take you towards the Toolangi town center. Pass the tavern and head southeast onto Myers Creek Rd, then take a left onto Sylvia Creek Rd. Your 4WD track starts here.

Notables:

The Toolangi State Park is an underrated 4WD track haven filled with tracks of various difficulties; easy, moderate and moderate-hard. Whether you’re looking for a practice spot to hone your 4WD’ing skills, a large area with enough easy tracks to last you a few hours, or a challenging 4WD’ing spot that will have you sweating bullets after only an hour, this state park has a myriad of tracks suited for your 4WD’ing needs. It is highly recommended to bring friends along (outside of recovery purposes) with you during this excursion.

It’s best to come to this area during dry periods or the summer, as some dirt tracks can become incredibly muddy during the rainy season or wet periods. Mud in some already muddy tracks can become more dense and turn into clay. In addition, it is not uncommon for puddles to form in some tracks which may bog your 4WD down, depending on your lift. Be on the safe side and mod your suspension accordingly.

You can find more information about Toolangi State Forest on this page here.

 

When in the area, be sure to check out Rocky Track, Tanglefoot Track, Wee Creek Track, Flat Track and Reds East Track. More challenging tracks include Aeroplane Track and Cockpit Track. Notable walking trails in the area include Tanglefoot Loop, Wirrawilla Walk and Myrtle Gully Circuit.

 

SOURCES CITED:

https://tracks.4x4earth.com/4wd-track/trig-track/447

https://www.dangerousroads.org/australia-and-oceania/australia/9047-trig-track.html

https://www.4wdtrip.com.au/track/Trig-Track/6828

https://www.hemamaps.com/high-country-vic/tracks/mount-terrible

http://blog.mud-maps.com/blog/2013/category/australias-most-difficult-4wd-track

https://www.4wdtrip.com.au/offroad/trip/report.aspx?tripid=796

https://4x4earth.com/forum/index.php?threads/anything-good-around-gembrook-bunyip-area.24252/

https://4x4earth.com/forum/index.php?threads/mt-dandenong-victoria.12528/

*All times to finish are approximations and are subject to time spent sightseeing, doing activities, 4WD recovery, etc.

 

 

Recent Content