Sparesbox Blog

8 of Australia’s Best Off-Road 4WD Tracks

By Brad Nash

Mon Jan 11 2016

Australia is a land of many terrains, many challenges and, ultimately, many places where man and machine are put to the very limit. Thankfully, mankind has developed an efficient, effective and incredibly fun tool of getting around pretty much anywhere across our great land: the 4 Wheel Drive (4WD). From the desert to the ocean and everything in between, here’s 8 of our favourite places in Australia for tackling the off-road.

 

Kingsford Smith Mail Run, WA

4x4 Off Road Trails Kingsford Smith Mail Run
Image: atcdn.net
Length: 710km
Tyre Recommendation: All-Terrain

 

As rich in history as it is the colour of it’s soil, the Kingsford Smith Mail Run follows the historic route that Charles Kingsford-Smith followed in the very first days of airborne travel and logistics. Starting from the town of Carnarvon, the run stretches across 3 days of travel and past the stunning Mt. Augustus, often branded (falsely, although it’s still pretty cool) as the world’s largest monolith. To put it into perspective, it’s twice the size of Uluru.

You’ll also be passing through Indigenous land, meaning you need a permit, eventually ending up in Meekathara where you can link up with the Great Northern Highway.

Although not incredibly technical and predominately following main roads, you’ll still need confidence, experience and a 4WD with a high clearance to tackle some of the trickier areas of the track, as well as a penchant for high heat and burgeoning curiosity for ancient Australian history.

 

Old Telegraph Track, QLD

4x4 off road tracks Old Telegraph Track
Image: tropicalnorthqueensland.com.au
Length: 350km
Tyre Recommendation: All-Terrain

 

The amount of enjoyment one gets from driving the Old Telegraph Track is purely subjective, in that it really depends how much punishment you like to cope with and still consider yourself to be having a good time. Known as Australia’s most technical off-road trail, the Old Telegraph track snakes through ancient rainforest in the country’s Cape York peninsula, ending at pretty much the northern most part of Australia (that isn’t in the middle of the ocean).

Not limited to just the Old Telegraph Track itself, what sets this area apart as notorious for off-roading is it’s sheer isolation, even in a country that’s famed for having large areas with about the same human density as the planet Mars. A single (dirt) road snakes through the area, with accommodation and food being basically limited to what you can fit in your boot. Petrol stations and service centres (all of which are ludicrously overpriced) are hundreds of kms apart, meaning you’ll need to be geared up properly to take this track on.

Should you find yourself on the Old Telegraph track, you’ll be in a place that not only can find you turned on your head in an instant, but also very wet. One of the few places in Australia where (contrary to the amount you find on the family 4×4) you actually need a snorkel, deep crossings and technical embankments are both common on a 350km stretch that seems designed by nature to test the limits of man and vehicle. Packing some Tred 4×4 Recovery Tracks could keep you out of trouble on those unstable surfaces.

 

The Watagans, NSW

4x4 off road trails the watagans

Length: For you to decide!
Tyre Recommendation: Mud

 

Less of a set track as it is a playground for 4×4 enthusiasts of all kinds, the Watagans form a stunning national park on the NSW north coast, less than a day’s drive from the Sydney CBD and a stone’s throw from Newcastle.

Perfect for a day trip or a weekend of camping, the Watagans is sprawling with walking tracks, unmarked campsites and off-road trails to suit all disciplines of off-roading. Mud pits, rock crawls and scenic drives all lace the Watagans, wonderful natural landmarks are dotted around the park, and popular 4WD destinations like Stockton beach are a daytrip away.

Being darker and denser than many areas of NSW, the Watagans can get pretty muddy and damp quite fast, so it’s best to be prepared for muddy conditions. Bring recovery gear, tools and insect repellant all in equal measure.

 

Snowy River Drive, VIC

4x4 off road tracks Snowy River Drive
Image: Buchan Victoria
Length: 286km
Tyre Recommendation: All-Terrain

 

Increasingly seen as a haven for 4WD enthusiasts, the highlands of Victoria make for stunning off-roading terrain. Few places exemplify this more than the famous Snowy River region, where some of Australia’s most incredible alpine scenery can be found.

Starting in the town of Orbost, the drive snakes through the Buchan caves and descends into the amazing Snowy River Valley, crossing falls and gorges in equal measure along the way. In addition to the immense drives, the region is also abundant with walks, hikes and swimming opportunities, depending on what time of year you go.

Rest assured though that this isn’t your simple tourist trail. Graded as difficult (even in dry conditions) by Victoria’s official 4×4 track classification system, you can expect an experience that will truly suit the experienced off-road enthusiast.

 

Coorong National Park, SA

4x4 off road tracks Coorong National Park
Image: 4×4 Earth
Length: 130km Total.
Tyre Recommendation: All-Terrain (be prepared to deflate for use in sand)

 

Nothing says Aussie 4WDing quite like beach driving, and nowhere does immense, sprawling beaches quite like South Australia. Located in a huge wetland area just south of Adelaide, the Coorong National Park is one of South Australia’s biggest hotbeds of natural activity, an incredibly important breeding site for Australian wildlife and extremely historically significant for the local Aboriginal people.

While it may seem like a delicate area, there are a number of trails that have been opened up to 4x4s and off-roaders, and the Coorong offers a wealth of driving experience for the outdoor recreationist. Some of the state’s best beach-driving areas can be found there, accessible by tracks to cater off-roaders of all skill levels.

 

Montezuma Falls, TAS

4x4 tracks Montezuma Falls
Image: Photobucket/sjm_04
Length: 14km
Tyre Recommendation: Mud

 

Being the size that it is, Tasmania is less of a place for long off-road tours and more suited to daytrip enthusiasts, looking for a daytime adventure or a challenging route to a camping spot. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time in your 4×4, and many people will point you in the direction of Montezuma Falls if you’re after a combination of outstanding off-roading and a beautiful final destination.

Stretching 14km into the forests of Western Tasmania, the Montezuma Falls track is a muddy, damp run along the Melba Flats following an abandoned train track that gives a great sense of history to the area. Interspersed by creek crossings and susceptible to the wet climate, it makes for a fun, intermediate level drive through muddy terrain, with a few challenging areas consisting of places where old bridges have collapsed.

Ending at the epic Montezuma falls, one of Tasmania’s tallest waterfalls, the track makes for a day’s worth of outstanding off-roading, truly capturing the ancient wonder of Tasmania’s wilderness.

 

Binns Track – NT

4x4 off road tracks Binns Track
Image: Our Naked Australia
Length: 2191km
Tyre Recommendation: All-Terrain

 

By far and away the longest, most epic and arduous drive in this article, the Binns Track sums up everything great about exploring the Northern Territory. Taking anywhere up to 12 days to complete, the Binns Track starts at Mt Dare and snakes through mountain ranges, rocky creeks and the dusty western fringes of the Simpson Desert alike, ending at Timber Creek over 2000km later.

Highly technical in some areas and a true challenge for any off-roader worth the cost of his recovery gear, undertaking this track is sure to be a truly memorable experience, a showcase of many of the wonders of outback northern Australia.