Western Australia is one of the most exciting regions in the country to take a four wheel drive tour of the landscape. You can learn more about Aboriginal culture and spot kangaroos, echidnas, and crocodiles in their natural habitat at the same time. Some roads are quite challenging, so you’ll want to pack plenty of emergency supplies and feel comfortable behind the wheel of your 4WD vehicle. The following are a few highlights you’ll encounter in Australia’s Northwest.
Gibb River Road
One of Australia’s most popular 4WD treks is along the Gibb River Road, which stretches for 660 kilometres through natural scenery. You’ll pass by the Windiana Gorge along the way, which is home to a number of freshwater crocodiles and native birds, so be sure to bring the binoculars. As you drive further into the highlands near Kimberley you’ll reach Bell Gorge, which is a popular resting spot. You may wish to camp here for a few days and enjoy the waterfalls and pristine swimming holes that make up the Gorge. At the end of the Gibb River Road is the Bungle Bungle Range, an intriguing rock formation offering plenty of hiking and climbing opportunities. This road is only accessible between May and October, and you’ll need to have a sturdy vehicle like a Ford Ranger or Jeep to make it. It’s helpful to read reviews of 4WD vehicles like these on Motoring to find a car that will best suit your needs. Because the Gibb River Road can be fairly remote at times, it’s also important to alert someone else of your travel plans before you depart.
Broome to Derby
Another unforgettable drive spans the distance from the coastal town of Broome on to historic Derby. Broome is only accessible by dirt tracks, making it a top off-roading destination on its own. Drivers are rewarded with golden sandy beaches and excellent fishing opportunities, particularly at Cable Beach. The drive to Derby winds its way through the Cape Leveque region, which is home to many Aboriginal cultural museums, galleries, and tours. The journey to Cape Leveque from Broome takes four hours on the area’s remote dirt roads, but you can enjoy the stunning red rock formations and sandy beaches along the way. From Cape Leveque, it’s another six or seven hours on to Derby, the majority of which is also on bumpy dirt roads. This historic fishing village is considered a good gateway for those who want to progress into the outback.
El Questro Wilderness Park
There are numerous 4WD dirt trails located within El Questro Wilderness Park, along with cabins and camping opportunities to make the most of your time there. A star attraction is the Zebedee Springs, where you can soak in the hot water and relax. The Chamberlain Gorge is another top destination, ringed with greenery and only accessible by boat. The rock cliffs on either side of the gorge are painted with colourful Aboriginal rock art. Along with off-road driving, you can also explore the park by horse or donkey. Bushwalking allows you to see a variety of Australian wildlife in the park, including frilled lizards, dingoes, sea eagles, and wild donkeys.
These are just a few of the top areas to explore. To make the most of your adventures in the Northwest, you’ll want to carry a puncture repair, tool, and first aid kit. Exploring this diverse and remote region by car is a great way to get off the beaten path and see the wild side of Australia.