If you want a smooth, comfortable road trip, you’ll find no shortage of well-tended roads and motorways connecting Australia’s most visited destinations. However, those interested in a rugged off-road adventure will also be well catered for. The following are a few of the most popular destinations in Australia for off-roading enthusiasts.
One of the top spots for 4WD adventures is located within the massive Simpson Desert. The desert has only been open to vehicles since the 1960’s, but since then has become a mecca of sorts for off-roaders. One of the most famous roads to take is the Birdsville Track, which covers over 500 km of rolling sand dunes. The best time of year to cross the Simpson Desert is between May and October, before it gets too hot. You’ll need to pick up a Desert Parks Pass for entry, as well as camping permits if you plan to drive for several days. A UHF radio is handy to scan the desert for oncoming vehicles, as visibility can be poor. Yet for your trouble you’ll be rewarded with spectacular sand dune landscapes and swimming holes dotting the desert.
Victorian High Country
Another popular option is the Victorian High Country, located outside of Melbourne. You’ll face plenty of obstacles along the way, including some steep inclines and shallow water crossings to handle. One of the best drives is from Alpine National Park to Mount Stirling, which passes by Craig’s Hut from the film “The Man from Snowy River.” Be sure to carry recovery gear when traversing this route, as the track can get rocky in spots.
Flinders Range National Park
Located in South Australia, the Flinders Range National Park features remote desert tracks, ancient river beds, single lane rocky roads, and wild animals to contend with. You can enjoy a walk along the mountain trails and take in the deep colours of the sunset from a high vantage point, or view kangaroos in their natural habitat.
Many visitors to Shark Bay in Western Australia arrive to catch a glimpse of sharks in its crystalline waters, but the bay is also home to sea turtles, dugongs, whales, dolphins, and an array of fish. It’s also a top coastal route for off-roading, with its pristine coastline and winding dirt tracks leading away from the bay. If you’re interested in marine life, there’s a lot to see and do here.
Tasmania is often overlooked in favour of more glamorous off-roading destinations along the Great Ocean Road or the Outback, but destinations like Freycinet on the east coast are well worth a visit. It contains white sandy beaches that are practically untouched, along with granite mountain tracks and native wildlife to explore. There are a number of action-packed 4×4 tracks in the mountains surrounding Freycinet, making it a good starting point for touring the island.
Getting off the beaten track and out into Australia’s desert, mountain, and beach landscapes can be invigorating, but it helps to prepare in advance. To begin with, you’ll need a suitable vehicle with four wheel drive. It’s helpful to read reviews on local listings sites as you get started, in order to compare your options. Always get your car serviced before you depart, and bring along a satellite phone if you are travelling to remote destinations as you may not get any reception.