If you’re keen on leaving the bitumen for the dirt, these are our favorite 3 off-road driving tracks in Australia. Australia is something of a road-tripper’s dream. All you have to do is gather some friends, stock a car and set out. In addition to the wide, open paved roads, Australia has some of the best off-road driving in the world. There are hundreds of outback 4WD routes that lead you through remote deserts, rugged mountain ranges and swaths of grassland – but not without an obstacle or two.

Burrum Coast National Park – Kinkuna section

Starting point for this trip is the national parks shelter at point (1). It is located about 6kms short of the Woodgate Township on the left. It is a good idea to deflate here it will make the corrugation easier and be required for when you hit the sand. From here the track is graded corrugated road. At point (2) on the left is a small 4wd playground. Great fun for newbies that want to test their skills, in a relatively safe area. It has small steep ascents and descents and some potholes too. From here you continue to point (3) turning left. Continue to point (4) again making a left turn, from here the track turns to laid blue rock.

On the left is what looks like fun mud holes. However beware as National parks often puts large blue rock boulders in here to prevent any more damage being caused. Please look after the environment and keep out of these. Down to point (5) making a right turn the track now turns to slightly rutted bush track with several shallow creek crossings. These are rarely above sidesteps and always have a firm base. At approximately point (6) you meet the sand, initially it is usually soft and fluffy before turning more packed. The bumps through here are deceptive and if you carry too much speed, your bouncing passengers with know about it. There are usually shallow creek crossing through this section, but again generally nice firm bases. One or two of the softer ones may be a little rutted, so use caution. As you approach the beach there is a track to your left

(7), this will take you along the back of the dunes and has markers “beach access#”. The sand along here is very soft and fun to drive. Continue straight from (7) towards the beach and you arrive at the top of the dunes (8). Here you can go left or right which take you along the campsites, or down to the beach. Tide goes out very quick here and is great beach driving on the outgoing tide. If the tide is in the top of the dunes make for easy but slow access from one end to the other. If the tide is out turn right onto the beach and head for the spit (9), which is exposed at low tide. There is a very shallow washout to cross to get onto it, once there the photos are awesome with the water in the back drop. It is a great place for morning/afternoon tea of lunch and there are safe pools, not too deep for the kids to swim when the tide is out. At the other end of the beach is another river mouth and a good drive. To finish the day head to the beach point (10) for the northern exit.

The sand in this area when departing the beach/dune area is always soft and very fluffy. From here head for the cross road (11). Right is the entrance to the working sand mind (no access) left is the way out, straight is a little more fun before the day is over. Most of the time the track straight has water across it. This is not usually above side steps but can be rutted with a soft bottom. Be sure to send the depth gauges in to test both depth and bottom conditions first. Depth gauges are also known as children and we have not lost one yet, if we do we will know it’s too deep to drive through. At the end is a disused part of the sand mind that is great fun. When play time is over head back to (11) turn right and follow your nose back to the Woodgate/Bundaberg road.

Great Ocean Road, Twelve Apostles and Cape Otway Touring and 4wd

The Great Ocean Road offers a relaxing and inspiring journey along coastal scenery.  Inland you are met with tall forests, fern gullies and cascading waterfalls.  This is a drive that outdoes any. We set off from Melbourne, Victoria and headed down the coast where we stopped at Bells Beach for breakfast.  As we hit the Great Ocean Road we found ourselves stopping every 300m at the towns and lookouts that are dotted along the coast.  Every turn opens a grand view with more scenery and picturesque views. One of the best places for heading off road along this journey is found around the Cape Otway area.

Most of the tracks are easy and are gravel graded unsealed roads.  Starting from Anglesea, you will see beautiful coastal views with many campsites and picnic grounds before travelling inland.  Mountain forests and fern gullies make way for stunning waterfalls at Erskine Falls and Triplet Falls.

Cape Otway offers the site of the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Australian mainland.  You’ll also see the 1891 shipwreck of the WB Godfrey.  Be aware, the lighthouse does cost money to go in and view. On the drive to the lighthouse off the Great Ocean Road you’ll discover many trees filled with Koalas.

This is the perfect opportunity to stop and view the native Australian wildlife.  Many Koalas will be low enough in the branches to photograph. Travelling further, the Great Ocean Road will unfold to reveal the rock formations making up the Twelve Apostles and surrounding scenery.  These stunning rock monoliths that protrude from the ocean are a sight not to be missed.


After spending a night camping at Rathdowney, we decided to go out on a quick 4wd trip to the Waterfall Creek Road area. It is an easy track with some side roads you keep you entertained. When you get to the end of the track there is a bushwalk that takes you to the Upper Portals for some great views of waterfalls and birdlife. To get to Rathdowney from Brisbane, you need to follow the Mt Linsdesay Highway from Beaudesert to Rathdowney.

A 4wd is required to access the Waterfall Creek Reserve where camping is available. The national park features the distinctive peaks of Mt Barney, Mt Maroon, Mt May and Mt Lindesay. These peaks are the left overs from a large volcano which erupted approximately 24million years ago.  Mt Barney is the 2nd highest peak in south east Queensland. With extremely varied vegitation from open forests to subtropical rainforest makes this a real bush adventure.

Camping is available at the Waterfall Creek Reserve with no facilities.  There are also privately run camping areas in the vacinity.  National Park bush camping is accessible only via foot. When you reach Waterfall Creek Road, follow it all the way to the top of the ridge where you will find the upper portals bush walk.  The track is great for novice drivers and if you want to have some fun try some of the side roads which will get your suspension flexing! The upper portals bushwalk will lead you to some great waterfalls and wildlife so be ready to bring your camera and plenty of water.

If you are feeling adventurous, you can drive closer to Mt Barney where you will find many other bush walking tracks. Be aware that the unmarked or barely marked trails to the peaks of Mount Barney require bush walking experience and navigational skills.  The climb up Mount Barney via South Ridge also known as Peasants Ridge is arduous and should only be undertaken by very fit, experienced bush walkers. Other peaks and routes up Mount Barney require a very high level of fitness, experience and navigational skills. All walks take at least seven hours and should not be attempted late in the day.

Must Know Basics for 4WDing Australia

In a country as large and sprawling as Australia, with such diverse terrains and wide open spaces, it’s no surprise that 4WDing is a popular activity. For some, it’s the ultimate boys’ weekend, combined with fishing or hunting. For others, it means sublime family holidays in the outback, at the beach or on an island off the coast.

Maybe you own your own 4WD vehicle, or maybe you want to ‘dip your toe’ in off-road tours and see if you enjoy it first. Either way, there’s an opportunity for you to get down and dirty as you explore dirt tracks, muddy riverbanks and sandy coves, all on four wheels.

4WD safety tips

  • First aid – Given that, by nature, 4WD trips will take you some distance away from readily accessible emergency and medical facilities, it’s important to have first aid skills. Consider doing a CPR course and also learn about treatment for cuts, burns, bites, breaks, sprains and dehydration. Purchase a first aid kit that is specifically designed for 4WD touring. The St John Ambulance organisation offers kits for many different types of scenario.

  • Communication – Being able to communicate with people and services outside of your tour area is vital. Investigate the reception possibilities of where you are going and purchase or hire a satellite mobile phone.

  • Navigation – It’s easy to get lost in the ever-changing Australian landscape. At the very least, you’ll need a low-tech compass. Highly recommended is a GPS device and some way of charging your batteries. Have a think about portable solar powered battery back-up.

  • Food and water – You must think very carefully about quantities and types. Your food should be able to keep without spoiling and water should be plentiful.

  • Shelter – Plan for all kinds of weather eventualities such as rain, storms, high winds and harsh temperatures. Be sure you take the right kind of protection so that you don’t suffer from exposure and so that your tent, cover or shade don’t fly away.

  • Permission – It is illegal to go four wheel driving in some parts of Australia. For national parks, if permission is available, you may have to seek a vehicle access permit from the appropriate state governing body. There are also Aboriginal communities where access is not allowed without express permission from the land owners. Do not attempt to travel through prohibited locations without gaining permission first.

  • Fire safety – Carry a fire extinguisher or fire blanket in the event of a vehicle fire.

The quintessential Australian journey has always been on foot, beginning with the ancient Aborigines. When the first explorers arrived, much of the footwork was done by imported camels. Today, 4WDing allows visitors to cover more territory in shorter time frames. Done with respect to safety, the environment and the people living in these outlying areas, it is a superb way to see the country from ground level.

“Keep Calm And Camp On”

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