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4WD and Off-Road
nature of the tracks can be confusing, so it's best to get some
advice or join forces with a local before tackling them.
There are lots of rocky descents and ascents, as well as
some mud holes that require wade testing, so bring gumboots
if it's been wet, as some tracks are clay and can be quite testing
after rain. Most of the tracks going to and from the main power-
line track (signified by large power lines overhead) are considered
easy to moderate. There are also a lot of 'alternative' routes
along these to get around tougher sections.
It's best to travel in pairs, as some of the tracks get hairy
quickly, requiring another vehicle for recovery.
Gibb River Road -- Western Australia
The Gibb River Road is one of Australia's iconic four-wheel
drive routes, starting out from Derby on the north-western tip
of Western Australia, and ending approximately 700 kilometres
away in Kununurra, by the Northern Territory border.
Arcing through one of the most remote regions on the
planet, the Gibb River Road takes you to river crossings, isolated
campsites and heavy corrugations (though it gets graded at the
beginning of the dry season) through untainted natural surrounds
including mountain ranges, rivers, vast bushland savanna, steep
cliff faces and plunging gorges.
The road was initially constructed in the late 1800s as a
cattle route, but tourism now accounts for the majority of its use,
although it is still used as the only means of access to outlying
stations. There is also a rich Indigenous history represented in art
galleries along the route.
The condition of the roads can vary greatly, becoming heavily
corrugated in the height of the dry season and closing in the wet
(November to March) as it becomes impossibly muddy. Main
Roads Western Australia can keep you updated on conditions
when you call 138 138, or, alternatively, Kununurra Visitor Centre
on 1800 586 868 has general information. A sturdy four-wheel
drive and an off-road caravan are recommended, as is low tyre
pressure to counter heavy corrugations.
Coffin Bay -- South Australia
Coffin Bay is home to pure, white-sand coastlines reputed
for their abundance of marine life, as well as great fishing and
swimming, and is protected from the southern ocean by Coffin
Bay National Park. With its profusion of wildlife and natural
beauty, it's an ideal place to journey on foot or behind the wheel,
and set up camp right by the water of an evening.
While some sections of Coffin Bay
National Park's coastline can be reached
by two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive tracks
crossing sandy and limestone terrain open
up more remote areas of the park to the
Some sections of the coastline can be
rugged; there are also plenty of sand dunes
to tackle and beach driving along Seven Mile
Beach. Vehicles don't require any special
modifications, but the sand can become
soft so it is essential that drivers know how
to handle those conditions and pack the
relevant recovery gear.
The park's tracks aren't especially
difficult, which allows visitors to soak in the
awesome backdrop of a spectacular national
park bracketed by calm waters on one side
and battering surf on the other. Permits
are required for vehicle entry and camping,
attainable for a small fee from Parks South
Suitable for all types of four-wheel drives, the sand driving
ranges from the level sand close to the water, to kilometres
of massive unspoiled sand dunes reaching heights of over 30
metres. Permits are required and can be obtained at the National
Parks and Wildlife Services office in Nelson Bay at the trail's
northern end. Alternatively, you can join a tag-along tour with all
equipment and permits covered.
A tall sand flag is recommended for alerting approaching
vehicles of your presence, and all dunes should be approached
with due caution.
Glass House Mountains -- Queensland
Spring is a great time of year to be on the Sunshine Coast;
the weather is immaculate, the surrounds pleasant, and the
traffic minimal. At 70 kilometres north of Brisbane and 20
kilometres inland from Caloundra, the Glass House Mountains
are well positioned for day trips. Countless tracks dissect the
pine forests that radiate out from these 11 mountain spires,
which are the eroded cores of inactive volcanos.
The Glass House Mountains have something for four-wheel
drivers of all skill levels. Some tracks are leisurely and fine for
vehicles with no modifications, while others will test the most
extreme drivers and require highly modified rigs. The labyrinthine
4WD action on Gibb River Road © Tourism WA
Glass House Mountains © Tourism Queensland
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