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Head off-road on Perth’s and WA’s best 4WD tracks

Esperance WEATHER

Perth’s and the rest of Western Australia’s diverse, breathtaking scenery is a marvellous treat for both WA natives and visitors. Aside from being exceptionally gifted when it comes to forest, mountain, river and ocean views, this is where getting off the beaten track (literally) in a 4WD gets really interesting.

Here, you’ll have the opportunity to adventure along ripping 4WD tracks and discover hidden gems that are a whole world away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

So if you have a hankering to go off-road exploring this weekend, below is a list of some of the best 4WD tracks in Perth and Western Australia.

1. Lake Navarino (Waroona Dam), Waroona

Lake Navarino or Waroona Dam is about an hour and 20 minutes away from Perth. Here, you can go camping, skiing, beach fishing, hiking or canoeing. You’ll also enjoy spectacular views of the lake and have a bit of adventure along its 4WD trails, whether you’re a novice or certified off-road monster.

The 4x4 tracks here comprise 10 to 30-kilometre-long loop tracks running around the dam, with Scarp Road serving as the boundary to the majority of the off-road tracks. The easier tracks where you need to manoeuvre through a few mild side angles are located on the far eastern side of the lake.

If you’re an off-road driving neophyte, it’s best to have someone more experienced to help you identify sharp angles or ruts along the way.

The more challenging tracks lie on the western side. Lockers on your vehicle are required to get through them. You might experience big bog holes, weird angles and hilly climbs.

To avoid mud runs and big holes, it’s best to visit here when it’s dry.

2. Fisheries Road, Esperance

Fisheries Road is a 4WD track that even the most experienced off-road drivers find quite challenging. It runs from the coast of Esperance to Condingup, Poison Creek and Israelite Bay.

The first 100 kilometres or so from Esperance are bitumen before it changes to gravel for the last 30 kilometres of this road.

It’s advisable to get some food and water supplies at The Condingup Tavern (after the first 70 kilometres) and fill up before heading toward the east. Also, in case you get bogged and stranded for a couple of hours, it would be good to have your UHF radio ready for such an eventuality.

Once you get to the 4WD track, get ready for big ruts, awful bog holes, salt lakes (steer clear of these) and some of the worst corrugations you’ll ever experience. When you cross a salt lake, make sure you stick to the main track, which is furthest north. Else, there’s a huge chance of sinking and getting severely bogged!

The problem with the water here is that it sits on clay, so traction is practically non-existent.

Here, having the right tyre pressure is critical, as well as sufficient experience in gravel off-roading. But if you happen to get bogged in a salt lake anyway, know that you’ll probably be in for a long wait.

Good thing the 4WD section of the road is usually closed after heavy rainfall or bad weather. The Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) manages the 4WD section of Fisheries Road.

3. Mount Nameless (Jarndunmunha), Tom Price

As one of the most popular 4WD tracks in Western Australia, Mount Nameless is extra special for its 4x4 track that takes you 1,128 metres above sea level.

The off-road track starts just a ten-minute drive from the town of Pilbara in Tom Price. Head toward Mine Road and take a right to Nameless Valley Drive, which leads to the Tom Price Tourist Park.

Cross the railway line, then make a left to get on the first gravel road. Follow this road around until you see it head up toward a hill on your right. Take the drive up slowly and make sure you go low range.

The off-road trail, which mainly comprises a steep, rocky ascent, is 6.7 kilometres long (return) and can take around 15-30 minutes to navigate each way. To enjoy the best views once you reach the top, schedule your drive to Mount Nameless anytime from May to November.

4. Mundaring Powerlines, Perth

Originally intended for use as a service track for Western Power’s power poles, the Mundaring Powerlines Track is a fun but challenging 4WD track located east of Perth. It is only a short 34-kilometre drive from the city and is popular among tour operators training people in off-road driving.

This popular track offers plenty of gravel, sand, rocks, clay, hills, descents, and mud during winter. Less experienced drivers can tackle Mundaring during summer, when there’s not a lot of mud to deal with (but there’s plenty of dust, mind you).

If you do go as a novice, start early in the day and go slow, and have an experienced driver with you. If it’s wet and muddy along the track, even experienced drivers in highly modified cars may find it difficult to navigate certain sections.

In general, you can finish the entire track in around three to five hours – but this all depends on your experience level and the season you choose to drive. But try to lay off the muddy tracks where you could get bogged or ruin your precious rig.

5. Julimar State Forest

Around 90 kilometres northeast of Perth is Julimar State Forest.

This hill country has plenty of gravel tracks and winding clay and dirt sections in between. It also has a couple of bog holes where the mud can get really crazy during the winter.

Julimar National Park has pretty dense bushland and features narrow tracks in certain parts of the way. Therefore, it’s best to drive slow, especially around turns – don’t forget to tuck your mirrors. The 4WD track leads to two primary hills, as well as several side roads and bends.

Depending on the season and the driver’s experience level, it can take a minimum of four hours to complete the entire track. This includes navigating the bogs and steep ascents and descents. If you choose to go on the off-road tracks at Julimar National Park during winter, make sure you take important recovery gear with you.

In case you’re going as a convoy, note that any party with more than six 4WDs may find it difficult to have enough space to safely negotiate hill climbs and descents here.

6. Little Bay Horrocks

If you crave the secluded outdoors and cruising along the coast, Little Bay Horrocks could be the spot for your next 4wd adventure! This hidden gem is one of Western Australia's less frequented beaches, making it perfect for those who prefer to get away from city life and enjoy being in solitude.

This is the perfect destination to let your tires and hair down while exploring the region.

Little Bay's giant sand dunes create a wild roller coaster-like adventure for the more advanced drivers, but there are also gentle runs of flat sand for those new to beach driving.

You can only reach this beach through an off-road track which you will need a 4wd, but there is plenty to enjoy between your cruises over the sand dunes. You should be sure to bring some snorkelling gear to help enjoy the pristine water, a boogie board to help you glide down the massive sand dunes and if the weather conditions are in your favour, a surfboard.

If you choose to spend some time in the town of Horrocks, there are some great little adventures for travellers to partake in as the town has a golf course, tennis court, lawn bowls and a jetty where you can let your fishing rod from.

Just an hour out of Geraldton, this little getaway spot is the perfect Horrocks camping destination, or have the family stay in a comfortable Horrocks holiday unit or just a day trip. Horrocks is also the perfect place to stop while making your way up north as it is around five and a half hours north of Perth and four and a half hours south of Carnarvon.

Drive and camp safe

Western Australia is huge.

In fact, you’ll need 24 hours straight to drive from Perth to Broome. You will never tire of Western Australia's world-renowned beaches and landscapes.

What’s great about WA being wrapped up in coastline is you can put your driving skills to the test along so many scenic off-road tracks that range in levels from beginner to experienced. All you have to do is research and choose. Then, get ready to drive off into places far from the madding crowd and make memories to last a lifetime.

To ensure you have a place for relaxation at the end of a long day of off-road driving, make sure you go exploring in places close to family-friendly accommodation and with all the amenities you need, like Summerstar Tourist Parks' multiple WA locations.

Frequently asked questions

  • What are some of the best 4WD tracks to explore in Perth and Western Australia?

    Some of the best 4WD tracks in Perth and Western Australia include Lake Navarino (Waroona Dam), Fisheries Road in Esperance, Mount Nameless (Jarndunmunha) in Tom Price, Mundaring Powerlines in Perth, Julimar State Forest, and Little Bay Horrocks. Each track offers unique scenery and varying levels of difficulty, so it's important to choose the track that suits your experience level and interests.

  • What should I know before embarking on a 4WD adventure in Western Australia?

    Before embarking on a 4WD adventure in Western Australia, it's important to ensure that you have the right gear and experience level for the track you plan to tackle. Make sure to bring sufficient water and food supplies, a UHF radio, and recovery gear in case of emergencies. It's also advisable to have an experienced driver with you, especially if you're a novice. Finally, choose tracks that are open during the season you plan to visit and avoid muddy tracks that could potentially get you bogged.

  • Where can I find family-friendly accommodation near these 4WD tracks in Perth and Western Australia?

    There are multiple Summerstar Tourist Parks located throughout Western Australia that offer family-friendly accommodation with all the amenities you need. It's important to research and choose a location that is close to the track you plan to explore, so you can relax and unwind after a long day of off-road driving.

10 June 2021

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