This track may take you through areas at risk of dieback. Please STICK TO THE TRACKS!.
- Terrain: Gravel, clay, sand.
- Distance (Km): 107.2 kms
- Difficulty (Dry): Scenic to easy.
- Google Map: 4wd Trip – Wandoo Country
- Date Driven: 15th May 2011
The area we drove through is rich in Western Australian history. The first section of the track, along Nganguring Road, follows the original settlers roadway from Perth to York. Interestingly, this same roadway turns into the well known Mundaring Powerlines track a little further towards Perth. In fact we could hear a group of drivers on the Powerlines track over our UHF radios.
So each time you head out for a 4wd trip on the renowned Powerlines, remember that you’re driving on a very important part of Western Australian history.
The track, as mentioned, is the original roadway from the Swan River Settlement (Perth) to the grazing and farming lands around York. Along the way there are a number of natural watering holes and springs, as well as the remains of buildings and lodgings built for shelter along the way.
The local aboriginal people used a different pathway which was much more accessible and easier to navigate. The immigrants used the less convenient track in an attempt to avoid conflict. This was not always successful unfortunately. Now days the Great Southern Highway follows the path that the local aboriginals originally used.
Our 4wd Trip
We stated out 4wd trip at the Lakes Roadhouse at the intersection of Great Northern and Great Southern Highways. From here, we headed east along Great Southern Highway for a while, before turning right off the main road onto Yarra Road and then left onto Nganguring Road.
Nganguring Road is now a narrow forestry track. The overhanging fire-bush makes some parts of the track very narrow and will decorate your vehicle with long, thin stripes running from front to back. After navigating the narrow sections, the track opens out into Wandoo woodlands. The understory turns from thick fire-bush into predominantly zamia palm and grasstree. The terrain is mainly red soil/clay with rocky sections, hard sand and some mildly rutted out tracks.
Along this track we came across a natural spring that was used by the early settlers as a watering hole on the way from Perth to York. Adjacent to the spring is the ruins of a number of old dwellings that were used as shelter for extended stop-offs.
We stopped near Mt Observation for morning tea. This hill is one of a number in the area that were used for navigation. Markers were placed on each hill for identification purposes and as the settlers made their way through the valleys, they would use these markers to prevent themselves from getting lost.
For lunch, we stopped at a rocky outcrop that was an interesting place for the kids to explore It also had fantastic views to the north and west.
Ruts and Hills
A little further along on the 4wd trip there were a couple of heavily rutted tracks that tested the articulation a little, however none of the vehicles on the trip had any problems.
We then came across a steep and long hill climb that would be very challenging in the wet. The trip leader told us that in the past, the track has been very interesting and challenging. However it had recently been graded and there had not been enough rain in recent times to re-create all the interesting features. A few more years should remedy that. For fun, we drove up and then turned around and drove back down again.
From there, it was a short run on good forestry tracks to Mt Dale where our trip ended with afternoon tea. There are fantastic views from Mt Dale all the way to the ocean and the city.
The drive out from Mt Dale is along gravel roads to Brockman Highway.
What you’ll need
Really the trip was very simple in terms of 4wd difficulty. But it’s always best to be prepared. There are a couple of areas where, in very wet weather when the water’s up, you’d get very wet. There is evidence of water up to 2m deep in places!
- Snatch Strap
- Tyre Pressure Gauge
- Compressor to re-inflate your tyres
- Puncture repair kit just in case