It’s a New Year, which means there’s a full 12 months of 4X4 adventures on the horizon. Whether you’re off for a quick weekend getaway or something a little more substantial, these great Western Australian tracks are perfect for any off-road enthusiast or lover of the great Australian outback.
The Kennedy Range National Park
This picturesque national park is located 830-kilometres north of Perth and 150-kilometres east of Carnarvon.
Gravel roads that stretch from Gascoyne Junction provide easy access to the south-eastern side of the ranges. There’s also a campsite with drop toilets and signs leading to some points of interest, including Honeycomb, Drapers and Temple Gorges.
The west side doesn’t have the dramatic cliffs that can be found on the south-eastern stretch, however, it showcases permanent springs, shady river gums, creeks and water holes. You can access this area by unformed tracks that start at Mardathuna Station to the west or by crossing the Gascoyne River from the south. If crossing at the river, take care as the riverbed’s sand can act as quicksand, and is challenging even if it’s dry.
The Legendary Rabbit Proof Fence
There’s no denying the historical significance of the Rabbit Proof Fence, which rose to fame with the 2002 film that followed the daring escape of three young Aboriginal girls who fled confinement in Perth and followed the fence back to their outback home.
The shortest of the three fences runs east-west from Yalgoo to the coast of Kalbarri, one of the others runs from the south coast of Bremer Bay to a junction with the final remaining fence to the west of Wiluna, which is the longest fence spanning 1834 kilometres from Esperance right through to Eighty Mile Beach on the north coast.
This trip is hardly a difficult 4X4 adventure, however, it does take you into the heart of Western Australia’s outback and rich, sometimes tumultuous history. If you were to take in the whole fence, it would also be a pretty decent drive.
Stirling Range National Park
When you drive the 250 kilometres from Perth to Dunsborough, you’ll find yourself in a quaint town that becomes a buzz of activity over the summer months and is home to the stunning views at Cape Naturaliste.
From Dunsborough, you can take a drive out to Naturaliste National Park, where you can stop and take in Sugar Loaf Rock – one of Western Australia’s most photographed locations. While here, take a scenic four-kilometre walk around the point from the lighthouse, and see if you can spot the seals that regularly laze around on the rocky shore beneath. You can also take a whale-watching cruise from Dunsborough.
Once you’ve seen all there is to see in Dunsborough, jump back in your 4WD and head south-east towards the Stirling Ranges – where the fun really begins!
The craggy peaks of the Stirling Range that rise abruptly from the surrounding plains make it a pretty impressive sight, especially as you’re approaching them from a distance. The area only has one camping ground, Moingup Springs, which is in the centre of the park, or there’s a retreat 11-kilometres north for non-campers. Bluff Knoll, the third highest peak in WA, can be found in the park, as well as countless other strenuous hikes.
Travelling out north to Kalgoorlie, you’ll be faced with long drives through semi-desert plains with low scrubs, as well as plenty of mining activity. The drive is around 500 kilometres, and while the roads are in a generally good condition, they’re definitely more suited to 4X4 vehicles than your average Commodore.
There are a few dry salt lakes scattered across inland Western Australia, but none are quite like Lake Ballard, situated 54-kilometres from Menzies. The lakes notoriety is largely attributed to the 51 stylised human sculptures that are spread across the lake’s surface. The installation, ‘Inside Australia’, was created by Antony Gormley back in 2003. On a dry day, you can walk the 11-kilometre circuit to view the statues, right across the white crust of salt.
If you’re getting ready to take off on an outback adventure in 2018, be sure to swing by the boys at Ultimate 4WD for all of your 4X4 gear and accessories.