What are the best trails in Australia? Keep on reading to find out. For Aussies, a chance to get off the highway and onto a good side trail is akin to a PlayCroco Casino bonus pokies win – just plain FUN!
Many Australian families have jeeps as their second cars and take every chance that they can get to head out to the off-road trails. The 4WD routes are everywhere – in the grasslands, the deserts and the rugged mountain ranges.
If you’re heading out to one of these spectacular areas you’ll want to make sure that your jeep is in top shape and that you’re well-stocked with plenty of food, water, maps and camera equipment.
Here are some of the best trails in Australia
Queensland’s Birdsville Track has plenty of wildlife to view, even without taking into account the birdlife. There are emus and kangaroos along what was once a cattle route but you need to keep your eyes on the ground to keep your vehicle from getting stuck in the cattle grids or in the gibber-covered sand that gives poor traction. In fact, you might want to take the Outside Track which avoids the Diamantina floodplain all together.
Gibb River Road
Another Western Australia highlight for jeepers is the Gibb River Road that transverses 930 kilometers from Kununurra to Derby.
This jaunt through the Kimberely region brings you through sprawling cattle stations, outback landscapes, fresh water gorges and secluded swimming holes including the coastal Aboriginal settlement of Kalumburu and the falls at Mitchell Plateau.
The region is one of Australia’s most remote but it’s become popular and during peak season (May – September) it can be crowded, so consider traveling Gibb River Road in April or October. December through March is not recommended as that is the wet season and some roads can be hard to drive at that time.
Canning Stock Route
The 1800 Western Australia Canning Stock Route is one of the world’s most remote off-road trails. It starts in Wiluna and ends in Halls Creek – give yourself a minimum of 16 days so that you can really enjoy this splendid trip in a leisurely fashion.
The Canning Stock Route was once an old stock route, It follows a series of wells that ranchers once used to water their livestock but which you can use today for your own water source.
The route crosses through multiple desert regions including the Little Sandy Desert, the Great Sandy Desert and the Gibson Desert as well as Aboriginal native lands. You have to plan your trip and supplies carefully for this trip because you won’t find any towns or other centers of inhabitation along the way.
For that reason, it’s advisable to travel in groups – convoys of 2-4 vehicles are the best – big enough for people to take care of each other but small enough so that campsites don’t become overcrowded.
The best time to travel is May – August because by September, wet weather can make the northern reaches of the route impassible.
Old Telegraph Track / Cape York Track
Queensland’s Old Telegraph Track is exactly what the name implies – the old telegraph line that once connected Australia’s tropical north to the rest of the world.
If you’re traversing this trail you should make sure that your vehicle has all-terrain tyres because you’ll be crossing numerous rivers including the Jardine River and Gunshot Creek – crossings with near-vertical exits.
Along the way you’ll find plenty of scenic points such as Weipa, Chili Beach, Thursday Island, Old Laura Station and Lakefield National Park as well as swimming holes like those at Eliot Falls, Twin Falls and Fruit Bat Falls. This stretch is best traveled between May and October.
Many vehicle trekkers choose Binns Track as one of their preferred trails in Australia because of its diverse terrain which takes you through vast plains, deserts and mountains of jagged rock, bogs, bulldust, bitumen, soft riverbeds and sandy slopes.
The trail, from Mt. Dare to Timber Creek in the Northwest Territories is over 2000 kilometers long and takes a minimum of 10 days though it’s suggested that you plan for longer if you will truly enjoy the landscape of the fossicking haven of Gemtree to the Simpson Desert, Alice Springs and East MacDonnell Ranges to the fossicking haven of Gemtree and the cattle stations of Barra Country.
Best travel time April through August though access through Gregory National park may be limited from December through May due to weather conditions.
A 1420 kilometer trail from Wiluna in Western Australia to Yulara in the Northwest Territories, Gunbarrel Highway enjoys the reputation for being Australia’s most rugged off-road track.
It’s an excellent track for experienced off-roaders who have the experience and knowledge needed to face a wide range of road conditions including wash-aways and corrugations. The track passes through a number of bush camps where you can spend time with the locals.
Roadies who are prepared to face Gunbarrel Highway can look forward to summit views from Mount William Lambert, the spectacular scenery of the Gile Weather Station and the geologic curiosity of the Gnamma Rockholes. You’ll need permits from both the Central Land and Ngaanyatjarra Councils to move forward on this journey.
Simpson Desert French Line
The Simpson Desert French Line is one of the best trails in Australia that takes you from Dalhousie Springs to Birdsville along a 439 track of dune crossings and narrow tracks.
Throughout the trip you must stay on the ball because the track is only wide enough for a single vehicle, meaning that if you meet a vehicle coming the other way, one of you is going to have to crunch over to the side.
Strategies to avoid collisions include beeping a warning signal on dune crests, carrying a radio, flying a dune flag and, of course, staying aware of your surroundings. It’s a sunny, unforgiving open trek but you have multiple locations where you can set up camp between the dunes in flat swaths.
The Dalhousie hot springs are located along the trail so plan accordingly. Best travel time is May through September.
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