Keen on getting off the beaten track and going off road, but not enough time to tackle the Simpson Desert or Deua National Park’s fire trails? Here’s some great weekend tracks that you can tackle without going too far from home.
Photo Credit: www.visitbrisbane.com.au
Bribie Island begins to impress as soon as you cross the bridge connecting the mainland to the island, giving you a fantastic view of Pumicestone Passage. Dolphins, dugongs and turtles are known to frequently visit these waters and more than 300 species of birds visit the island each year. There are plenty of remote campsites accessible by 4WD, plus some good tracks at the gun emplacement at Fort Bribie and a beach access track on the sand at Ocean Beach. Permits are required but can be obtained online or at Gateway Bait and Tackle, Ningi.
You may have heard of Landcruiser Mountain Park as the site of events like Mud Bulls and Music and the Off Road Expo, and it's easy to see why. Conveniently located just two hours from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, this park is 10,000 acres of 4WD tracks, campgrounds and natural attractions. Family-friendly and dog-friendly, it’s a great place to sharpen your 4WD skills (there’s over 200km of tracks with varying degrees of difficulty for you to try out) or to relax in the sunshine while freshwater fishing – perfect for anyone itching to do a bit of off-roading, but without the time to head out bush for weeks.
Less than two hours from Sydney lies one of the last real wilderness areas left in the state. The Colo River’s pristine, clear waters offer great swimming and fishing. While there isn’t much by the way here of hardcore 4WDing – the tracks are mostly gravel and steep and winding is probably the worst you could say about them – it’s a great little getaway if you just need to recharge your batteries away from the urban jungle.
Thanks to 4WD Action
A mere hour west of Canberra, the historic McIntyre’s Hut in the Brindabellas is perfect for a 4WDing weekend. There are plenty of tracks in this mountainous area to keep you entertained, whether you are looking for an easy bit of scenic driving or some serious ruts and jolts to put your 4WD through its paces. Camp beneath the eucalypts by the Goodradigbee River and throw in a line or watch the kangaroos and wallabies come out at dusk.
If a relaxing weekend in the high country by a mountain river is your cup of tea, Sheepyard Flat is smack on the crystal clear waters of the Howqua River, which is great for fishing during the trout season and swimming during the warmer months. The campground occupies a beautiful spot under tall river gums and green grass, and there are some really nice walks along the river including one to Fry’s Hut.
Tim Bates from Batesy's 4wd Adventures says this is his favourite weekend getaway location. “A couple of easy/medium 4WD trips can be taken from camp. One heads out on Brocks Rd where you can visit Bluff Hut and Lovick’s Hut. This trip takes in magnificent mountain views as you drive along Bluff Track towards Lovick’s Hut."
“The other trip from camp is to the old abandoned Slate Mine heading up Howqua Hills Track. The views from the old Slate Mine are stunning as you look across to the back of Mt Buller. It's a great family environment location with ample room for games and riding bikes.”
Other high country huts you can visit are Ritchie’s Hut and Craig’s Hut. This track reopens after Melbourne Cup (4 Nov 2014).
Photo Credit: 4WDing Australia
Drive north from Perth and you’ll reach Lancelin in less than two hours. This is a great place to do some serious sand dune driving and is very popular with off-road vehicles including motorbikes and buggies. Just be sure to air down your tyres and bring recovery gear, as the dunes can be very soft and getting bogged is nothing unusual here. The dunes can be dangerous if you aren’t an experienced 4WDer; it always pays to check if it’s too steep to avoid accidents and rollovers.
Thanks to 4WDing Australia
Photo Credit: Outdoors SA
If you like a bit of beach driving, Goolwa is less than two hours from Adelaide and offers both salt and freshwater fishing. Drive along the beach to the Murray Mouth for some surf fishing but watch out for super soft sand and make sure you air down your tyres. If you’re keen on staying behind the wheel, you can also drive Deep Creek Conservation Park’s Boat Harbour Track, Blow Hole Beach Track and Blackhouse Track.
Before leaving home, make sure you have the right tyres for the job – Cooper Tires are made for not just extreme 4WDing but also sand driving or all-terrain usage. Call 1300 COOPER to speak to a tyre expert or contact us by email.