Western Australia has some of the world’s best beaches, along with stunning inland gorges and waterfalls, amazing red rock formations and everything in between. Whilst exploring WA in a 2WD is common, the ultimate way to do it is by 4WD. Your options increase 10 fold, and instead of sharing a beach with 50 other people, you get it to yourself.
Whether you are chasing crystal clear water and beach sand so clean it squeaks, or sparkling clean thermal pools, a 4WD gives you access to the very best that WA has to offer.
Here are 5 amazing places in WA you should take your 4WD to:
The Gibb River Road
Right in the northern most part of Western Australia lies the Kimberley, some 420,000 square kilometres (roughly twice the size of Victoria!). It’s one of the last wilderness frontiers, with less people per square kilometre than most places in in the world.
It’s well known for unique wildlife, gorges, waterfalls, stunning backdrops and of course, fantastic 4WD tracks.
The Gibb River Road almost cuts the Kimberley region in two, and captures much of its incredible beauty. It is one of two ways from Derby through to Kununurra and is mainly unsealed gravel road. The Gibb River Road has long been one of the most famous 4WD tracks in Australia, attracting thousands of visitors every season.
With amazing wildlife, swimming, hiking and camping experiences to be had it’s no wonder the Gibb River Road is so popular.
The track is closed for much of the year due to the weather, but usually opens late April/early May. Not many people visit beyond September due to a lack of water flowing and temperatures that begin to skyrocket. The track normally closes around December, but dates vary from year to year based on what the seasons throws our way.
The Gibb River Road itself is 660km, but you will cover many more kilometres detouring, depending on where you visit. The more popular stops include Windjana Gorge, Tunnel Creek, Bell Gorge, Manning Gorge, Mitchell Falls and El Questro. Of course, there are many more stops.
To see things properly, allow at least a week for the Gibb River Road, if not more.
The road itself is not difficult, but requires quality tyres and some patience. Conditions vary wildly depending on how long ago the grading was done; it can be better than most bitumen roads or corrugated and bone jarring. Take your time, drive to the conditions and enjoy the magic scenery.
On the southern coast, almost right in the middle of Albany and Esperance lies Bremer Bay, a quiet little coastal town with beaches that you’ll remember forever.
On both the east and west sides of Bremer lies beach after beach with soft, powdery white sand and cool, crystal clear water.
Most of the 4WD tracks are sandy tracks through the scrub, or on the many soft beaches. Tyre pressures are critical for the soft beaches; be prepared to reduce your tyre pressure if needed; in the warmer weather the beaches are be covered in soft, fluffy sand. However, always remember to return your tyres to normal pressures when coming back on-road.
You can get fuel in Bremer Bay, along with most other items you’d need while travelling. The fishing, diving and beaches are truly mind blowing. You really have to see it to believe it.
Francois National Park
Roughly in the middle of the coast of WA lies the Shark Bay region, famous for its fishing, dolphin feeding and beautiful beaches.
If you have a 4WD though, you can leave the tourists behind and head north to Francois Peron National Park. This is located at the top of a Peninsula, and has some truly spectacular red dunes, clear water and beautiful wildlife.
There are camp sites run by the Department of Parks and Wildlife on both sides of the peninsula, with a myriad of different places to see and enjoy. Asides from toilets, you need to be 100% self-sufficient in the Francois National Park.
The tracks through the National Park require low tyre pressures and often slow speed. We often refer to the ups and downs along the tracks as a rollercoaster ride, and that it is. Slow down, watch out for the bumps and enjoy yourself.
The Holland Track
A popular 4WD track a bit closer to Perth is the Holland Track. This starts at Broomehill and runs through to Coolgardie. The 4WD section though, starts just out of Hyden and most people begin their journey here.
The Holland Track is a cart road created way back to shorten the travel time from the Albany port to the Goldfields by foot. At 538km long, it took over 2 months to complete. These days, it’s a popular 4WD track with plenty of interesting history.
When the rain hits, the track gets very wet and muddy. Check the track conditions before going, and if it’s too wet put the trip off; the track just gets too ripped up otherwise.
This track is fantastic year round, with our favourite time being early spring, when the water is drying up a little and the wildflowers come out. Temperatures are more moderate, and camping is fantastic.
There aren’t too many straight sections along the track, and there are plenty of tree roots that stick out on either side. Pay attention and stay on the track as best as possible; if you hit a tree root there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be swapping tyres over.
Camping along the track is allowed anywhere you can find a spot. There aren’t too many clearings though, so have a rough idea of where you want to stop. Mount Holland is a popular spot for the first night, and Thursday Rock for the second night.
Known by many as one of the best places in the world for land based fishing, Steep Point is a magic destination some 14 hours north of Perth by 4WD. The track in can be rough and challenging, and a 4WD with reasonable clearance is an absolute must.
It starts off as bitumen, and eventually turns into gravel and then soft sandy tracks.
Steep Point is also the western most part of mainland Australia, and along with the huge cliffs there are beautiful beaches, pristine camping and best of all limited visitors!
Big mackerel, tuna, snapper and plenty of sharks are common, with many people heading out for the fishing trip of a lifetime.
Bookings need to be made with the Department of Parks and Wildlife well in advance, as sites are usually booked (usually 6 months ahead!).
Dirk Hartog Island is just off the coast, and is a pristine environment that only a few people get to see every year. Just south of Steep Point lies the blowholes and False Entrance, two more spectacular places to visit.
Western Australia is magic.
While the east coast of Australia is well known around the world, WA deserves just as much (if not more) credit. There are less people, just as many brilliant spots and most importantly, lots of 4WD tracks leading there!
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