If you’ve got your 4WD raring to go and are looking for inspiration for your next off-road adventure, we’ve got you covered with some of the best tracks in Australia.
CAPE YORK TRACK, FNQLD
Also known as the Old Telegraph Track, the Cape York Track takes you through the tropical tip of Australia. Starting in Cooktown, you’ll travel around 850km through this stunning part of our country. This track is seriously challenging and should only be attempted by experienced 4WD-ers equipped with appropriate tyres, 4WD gear and planning. You’ll navigate river crossings with steep exits, see waterfalls, discover Aboriginal artwork, enjoy the scenery at Lakefield National Park, Thursday Island and out to the Torres Strait. It takes around 25 days to complete this off-road track, which can be quicker or slower depending on river crossings and the time you choose to camp in one place, so you’ll need to prepare well and consider the weather. The best time of year to drive the track is between May and October, outside of the wet season when river crossings can become dangerous and even impossible. Also, watch out for crocs!
THE BIRDSVILLE TRACK, SA/QLD
Actually consisting of two tracks, known as the Inside and Outside tracks, the Birdsville Track is one of Australia’s most famous off-road tracks. The Inside track follows the original stock route of the drovers and is the rougher, slower, though more scenic of the two tracks. The Outside track was created to avoid the Diamantina Floodplain and is much easier and safer to drive on than the original track. You will find loose sand and pebbles though which can be slippery when braking hard, so going slow is advisable. Whichever way you choose, you’ll travel over 500km from Maree in SA to Birdsville in QLD which will take around 2 days, taking in sights of homesteads, wetlands, creeks and the Simpson Desert. Keep an eye out for livestock and native animals like emus and kangaroos on your travels as they have a tendency to dart in front of vehicles.
THE VICTORIAN ALPS TRACK, VIC
Starting in Mansfield, enjoy the beauty of the Victorian High Country on this stunning drive that takes you through the mountain tops and the green valleys below. Not for beginners, this track requires skill and pre-planning to ensure your safety. You’ll need proper tyres and equipment for crossing rivers, like a vehicle snorkel. Give yourself up to a week to truly experience what this part of the world has to offer, taking in the scenery and hiking the trails. It’s best to travel between October and April, well outside of snow season.
GIBB RIVER ROAD, WA
Perhaps the ultimate 4WD track in Australia, the Gibb River Road track is best known for its ever-changing scenery from the outback to luscious gorges as you traverse around 900km of track. Though it can be challenging in parts, there are plenty of detours and alternative routes to make things easier if required. Travelling through the Kimberly Region you’ll most likely also get to see freshwater crocodiles as you visit watering holes, road trains travelling to cattle markets. You’ll need to plan your overnight stays ahead of time as camping is only allowed in approved places. Due to its popularity, the track can be quite busy in the peak season between May and September.
BINNS TRACK, SA/NT
Traversing diverse terrain, this track starts at Mt Dare on the SA/NT border and finishes in Timber Creek NT. It takes in mountain tops, desert plans and valleys meaning you’ll need to ensure you’ve got tough tyres that can handle everything from river crossings to sandy inclines. At over 2000km this track will take you around 10 days to head through the Simpson Desert, onto Alice Springs and Gregory National Park. Weather can be unpredictable, so travel outside of the wet season between April and August.
When all is said and done and you’re back to reality, take your 4WD to your local Magic Hand Carwash and they’ll remove the dirt, sand and bugs that are unwelcome souvenirs from your big trip.