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Australia is a dreamland for road trip lovers. There are thousands of trails all over the country. Apart from on-road, many off-road trails will take you to the wonderful natural beauty of the countryside. 4WD Road Trip In Australia: Discover Off-Road Wonders is the ultimate guide that will give you all the details of such off-road trips.
Moreover, these off-road trips will bring you across acres of grassland, rocky mountain ranges, and desolate deserts, but only with a few challenges. Here is a list of legendary Australian off-road excursions that will leave you mud-caked tyres and perhaps some bragging rights to stash in your back pocket.
Best 4WD Trips in Australia
Canning Stock Route, Western Australia
- Distance: 1800 km
- Duration: 16 days
The Canning Stock Route from Wiluna to Halls Creek in Western Australia is off-road. This route, regarded as one of the world’s most isolated off-road routes, provides reward and difficulty. The pathway, formerly a historic stock road, follows several wells that were once used to water cattle but are now utilised to supply water to hikers.
Expect no cities or emergency support facilities along the journey since the remote route passes through traditional Aboriginal areas and three deserts the Gibson, Little Sandy, and the Great Sandy Desert.
Travelling the Canning Stock Route alone is not wise, even if solitude is your top priority because no general services are accessible. The campgrounds and areas of interest along this road are quite tiny and are thus easily crowded, so it is better to travel in a convoy of 2-4 cars.
Additionally, monitoring the weather a few weeks before you depart is crucial because the northern sections of the road, especially in the region near the salt lakes, might become inaccessible during the Wet.
Cape York Track, Queensland
- Distance: 848 km
- Duration: 24 days
The Cape York Track, or the Old Telegraph Track, will lead you to the northern tropical side of Australia. This road contains multiple river crossings, including the Jardine River and Gunshot Creek. Some required short escapes and were once the primary means of communication for the area. Therefore, before attempting these crossings, it is obvious to have all-terrain tyres and look for robust recovery sites.
Swimming holes may be found at Fruit Bat Falls, Eliot Falls, and Twin Falls, among other places. Along the trip, there are several picturesque rest stops, such as Old Laura Station, Lakefield National Park, Weipa, Thursday Island, and Chilli Beach. Although the river crossings occasionally slow down progress on the Cape York Track, take advantage of the chance to get to know Australia’s “Tip” better.
Gibb River Road, Western Australia
- Distance: 930 km
- Duration: 3 days
The Gibb River Road passes the Kimberley region, which rewards you with small swimming holes, freshwater canyons, classic outback scenery, and expanded cattle ranches. Make sure to allot time to take in attractions like the Mitchell Plateau Falls and the coastal Aboriginal community of Kalumburu.
Although this path is undoubtedly out of the way, it can get a little busy during the busy season due to its popularity. You might travel from April to October to avoid crowds, but be sure to contact ahead to verify the status of the roads since they may be blocked during the rainy season, which lasts from December to March.
Binns Track, Northern Territory
- Distance: 2191 km
- Duration: 10 days
Bill Binns was a renowned park ranger who served for 32 years. After that, the Binns Track was named in his honour. This trail is renowned for its varied landscape as it winds through mountains, deserts, and wide plains, testing even the toughest tyres with sandy slopes, soft riverbeds, jagged granite, bogs, asphalt, and bulldust.
This route takes you from Alice Springs via the Simpson Desert to the East MacDonnell Ranges and the fossicking paradise of Gemtree. Before entering the cattle ranches of Barra Country, enjoy Tennant Creek’s historical treasures. Before your trip, consider the weather, as Gregory National Park’s entrance is frequently restricted from December through May.
Victorian High Country, Victoria
- Distance: 306 km
- Duration: 3 days
Driving in the bush is unlike anything else in the Victorian High Country. As you weave through high ridgelines, the region’s lofty summits offer panoramic vistas while being difficult. Along the trip, there are several deserted mining villages to explore. This component of off-roading provides a different perspective on modern travel amenities.
It makes you appreciate how simple life is now. It’s incredible if you think how their mining equipment got up there in the first place when you drive through the Victorian High Country and pass old gold towns that were thriving in the 1920s but are now deserted, says James Eling, an off-road enthusiast with the 4X4 Earth Australia association.
Be cautious that many of the 4WD paths in this area have very steep inclines. Billy Goats Bluff is a notoriously treacherous route that takes cars from 250 metres above sea level to 1480 metres under 6 km over varying surface conditions.
Birdsville Track, Southern Australia To Queensland
- Distance: 534 km
- Duration: 2 days
One variation of the Birdsville Track, the Inside Track, follows the original stock road because it was built as a cattle passage. You could use the neighbouring Outside Track instead, developed by tourists, as a more secure path that stays away from the Diamantina floodplain. Although the track is mostly made of sand coated in gibbers, which is relatively easy to navigate, rapid braking can be dangerous since the gibbers’ big stones can be slippery and provide poor grip.
Additionally, look for cattle grids that could appear out of nowhere and stray animals like emus and kangaroos that might dart into your path. The roadhouses dot this desolate countrysides are ideal stopping places for a cup of coffee and a talk with the nearby station owners, despite being few and far between.
Gunbarrel Highway, Western Australia To Northern Territory
- Distance: 1420 km
- Duration: 4 days
The Gunbarrel Highway is one of Australia’s toughest off-road routes, ideal for the skilled off-roader ready to deal with wash-aways and severe corrugations. Even the numerous bore holes on the route, however appealing to a thirsty traveller, are unsafe to drink because of how relentless it is. However, there are other bush camps spread out along the route.
It would be best to stop at the Gile Weather Station, the Yelma Stockyard ruins, Mount William Lambert’s summit views, the geologically intriguing Gnamma Rockholes, and the Yelma Stockyard ruins. Make careful to get permission from the Central and Ngaanyatjarra Land Councils before you leave.
Hay River, Queensland To Northern Territory
- Distance: 928 km
- Duration: 9 days
The Hay River Track is very far away and follows the path of a dried-up river. After several discussions with Lindsay Bookie, the area’s Aboriginal custodian, it was finally made public in 2000. To protect the ecosystem of this most remote area, the trail is now only accessible by permit.
The Big Red and Spinifex dunes, the Georgina Gidgee and Gypcrete Interdunes, the Hay River’s bed, and Lake Caroline, which occasionally has water, are all passed by on this excursion, which provides dramatic geographical contrasts. Use Birdsville’s various facilities, as no towns are along this route. You might even aim to get in town for the yearly horse racing funfair if you travel in the first part of September.
Simpson Desert French Line, Southern Australia To Queensland
- Distance: 439 km
- Duration: 3 days
Although this is the shortest method to get through the Simpson Desert, it isn’t easy to run because of the numerous dune crossings and tight pathways. Oncoming traffic must be avoided since the French Line only has room for one car. Head-on crashes can be readily avoided by flying a dune flag, carrying a radio, beeping a warning signal on dune crests, and remaining alert.
Although the trees will provide little shade in this area, dried mulga wood makes great firewood. The level areas between the dunes are also a great tent place. Pause and have a nice bath in the Dalhousie hot springs.
Stockton Beach, New South Wales
- Distance: 53 km
- Duration: 1 day
Stockton Beach is a sanctuary for beach lovers who want to go off-road. Many of the dunes are quite steep, making it necessary to ascend surrounding, more moderate slopes to reach the top; yet, these challenges only boost the track’s appeal.
If you want a break from the dunes, wait until low tide to investigate the MV Sygna wreck, which washed up on the strand in 1974, or look at the Tank Traps, which were put in place as a kind of defence during World War II.
Just be aware of the sand-driving schools that are becoming more common and frequently hold their sessions on the Stockton dunes. While some may find these convoys annoying, there will undoubtedly be “helpers” if you find yourself in a sticky situation.
All Of The Discussed Off-Road Trips Details At A Glance
|Best Time To Travel
|Canning Stock Route
|Wiluna to Halls Creek
|May to August
|Cape York Track
|Cooktown to Seisia
|May to October
|Gibb River Road
|Kununurra to Derby
|May to September
|Mt Dare to Timber Creek
|Southern Australia to Northern Territory
|April to August
|Victorian High Country
|Mansfield to Harrietville
|December to April
|Marree to Birdsville
|Southern Australia to Queensland
|April to October
|Wiluna to Yulara
|Western Australia to Northern Territory
|April to September
|Birdsville to Gemtree
|Queensland to Northern Territory
|May to September
|Simpson Desert French Line
|Dalhousie Springs to Birdsville
|Southern Australia to Queensland
|May to September
|Williamtown to Anna Bay
|New South Wales
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Are The Two Different Road Trip Types In Australia?
The two major road trip types in Australia are on-road and off-road trips. For this reason, Australia is like a dreamland for all road trip lovers worldwide.
Are Off-Road Trips Risky?
What Are The Accommodation Facilities For Off-Road Trips?
Unfortunately, there are no accommodation facilities available for off-road trips. You must bring your tent to spend the night in relaxation.
Which Australian Province Is The Best For Off-Road Trips?
There is no particular province that is best for off-road trips. Rather you can go on off-road trips in any of the following provinces.
- Western Australia.
- Southern Australia
- Northern Territory
- New South Wales
Which Is The Longest And The Shortest Off-Road Trips In Australia?
There are mainly two criteria based on which the duration of the road trip can be measured, one is by duration, and the other is by distance. Therefore, by duration, the longest is Canning Shoe Route, and the shortest is Stockton Beach. And by distance, the longest is Binns Track, and the shortest is the same as Stockton Beach.
Australia is a country famous for road trips, both on-road and off-road. In 4WD Road Trip In Australia: Discover Off-Road Wonders, you can travel around with your caravan and in a 4WD vehicle. On off-road trips, you can go closer to nature and enjoy the scenic view of the great Australian landscape.
The best part is you can go on off-road trips in any province in Australia. From Western Australia to Northern Territory and from Southern Australia to Victoria, select any province you want to start with. Most importantly, always select a 4WD vehicle while you are going on off-road trips, and lastly, always drive safely.