When it comes to stunning 4WD locations in Australia, the great state of Queensland has some of the best.
Picking a top 5 is well-nigh impossible, so here’s our best attempt at identifying some of the most adventurous 4WDing tracks.
Fraser Island is 120km length and close to 25km wide, making it the world’s biggest island made of sand. In 1992, it made it on the World Heritage List for its outstanding natural values. We recommend at least a few days to fully appreciate the variety of natural attractions on offer. Most surprisingly, considering the impoverished sand, are patches of magnificent rainforest dominated by towering eucalyptus and native palms.
You can bring your own 4WD vehicle via a car barge that regularly departs from the mainland. All roads on the island are 4WD only or hiking trails. Beach driving is a scintillating experience, a highlight being the wreck of the Maheno, a large rusty ship, firmly stuck in sand and pounded by big waves. Trails also link to rainforest and crystal-clear lakes such as paperbark lined Lake McKenzie with its pure white beach.
Tips for undertaking Fraser Island 4WD tracks
- Do not feed or approach dingoes. Despite appearances, they are wild animals and have occasionally attacked people causing serious and even fatal injuries.
- Lower tyre pressures to around 16psi when driving on Fraser Island. Bogged cars are a constant event. Getting bogged below the high tide mark can result in a drowned vehicle.
- Be careful around blind bends on narrow trails to avoid head-on crashes.
- Camping is allowed in designated areas around the island including some beach zones.
Did you know we have recently launched TrulyAus Tagalong Tours? We take groups of 4WD enthusiasts on epic adventures around the country. See if there’s a tour happening near you by visiting our adventure hub.
When it comes to top 4WDing right on Brisbane’s doorstep, Moreton Island is only 75 minutes by ferry from the capital. The 38 x 9 km island is mostly protected by a national park, a bit of wilderness within easy reach of the city. Activities include bushwalking, camping, fishing, diving, observing wildlife including humpback whales and of course, 4WDing.
For adventurous 4WDing, Moreton Island has two main 4WD tracks, the north and south.
There are several campsites with varying facilities, mostly located in the northern sector. There is also Tangalooma Resort for a luxurious non camping option.
We camped at The Wrecks. From this rustic campsite, it’s a short stroll to the beach where Tangalooma Wrecks can be seen jutting out of the water. The rusting hulks look stunning at sunset and an excellent snorkelling spot during the day.
Other highlights include Cape Moreton Lighthouse, built in 1857, and Blue Lagoon, a pristine lake.
Tips for Moreton Island adventurous 4WDing
- Don’t drive on the beaches at high tide, especially when there’s a full moon.
- Lower tyre pressures for soft sand before disembarking from the ferry as there are no formed roads on the island, only soft sand.
- Vehicle access permits are mandatory and you can find more info about fees and camping here.
The Scenic Rim which roughly follows the NSW border is one of the most beautiful parts of the Great Dividing Range. The Condamine is one of many streams that flow down steep slopes carving out gorges along the way. The actual Condamine Gorge trail section is short, but in that length, there are 14 water crossings. The Condamine Gorge in the southern section of Main Range National Park is roughly halfway between Boonah and Killarney (68km one way or 128km return). Although mostly AWD, the creek crossings may require a high clearance vehicle. Along the route there are some steep sections, with great views. It’s well worthwhile sitting by the river and soaking in the serenity. With luck you might see a platypus.
Tips for tackling Condamine Gorge 4WD tracks
- Flash floods can make the crossings impassable, so check with authorities before setting out.
- It can be muddy in places.
- Check out waterfall lookouts, Queen Mary Falls being one of the most spectacular.
Carnarvon National Park
Carnarvon National Park is a remote, 720 km drive north-west of Brisbane. You are looking at least a week to get the most out of this adventurous 4WDing. Carnarvon National Park is located between Roma and Emerald and is well worth the effort for its scenic attractions and significant indigenous rock art. There are plenty of wonderful hiking trails varying from short and easy to longer overnight adventures. You get to see huge rock faces, steep gorges, pristine rockpools and fascinating sculptured sandstone outcrops in the Mt Moffatt area.
The most visited highlight is the immense natural amphitheatre accessed by a walking trail.
The most touristy areas, such as the main gorge, are accessible by 2WD and are very popular. The 4WD challenge comes into play when going to Mt Moffatt. Although Carnarvon Gorge and Mt Moffatt are only 20km apart as the crow flies, by vehicle, it’s a rough 300km drive.
Tips for 4WDing in Carnarvon National Park
- Self-sufficient camping only away from the Visitors Centre in designated areas.
- Long distances between fuel stops of up to 428km, jerrycan or long-range fuel tanks.
- Visitors mainly camp near the Carnarvon Visitor Centre within Carnarvon Gorge, but not outside the Easter and Queensland Spring and Winter school holidays.
Cape York, being the northernmost point on the Australian mainland, is a magnet for adventurous 4WDing. This adventure needs careful planning and vehicle preparation. There are two options – the easier route, and the much harder route.
The easier option is taking the bypass roads from Bramwell Junction to the ferry that crosses the Jardine River.
If you really want the ultimate adventurous 4WDing, then go for the Old Telegraph Track, where deep eroded ruts and plenty of rocky slow going creek crossings await. The most severe crossing is the jaw dropping plunge into Gunshot Creek where many vehicles come to grief. Most 4WDers take a detour around this disaster zone, only to find further challenges ahead. The terrain is mainly flat open savannah, with occasional pockets of rainforest. Highlights along the way to the “tip” include barramundi fishing and wildlife spotting.
Fruit Bat Falls is a delightful place for a cooling crocodile safe swim. After all that hard going, you can now chill on the Jardine River Ferry, then drive to Punsand Bay, where you have accommodation and even a restaurant. From there, it’s a hop, skip and jump to the northern tip of Australia.
Tips for 4WDing, Cape York
- Check current information about possible closures before setting out.
- Take extra fuel.
- Only travel in the dry season.
- Safety in numbers, go with other vehicles.
- Be crocodile safe.
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