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24 May 2024 · Mazda Stories

Australia's Best 4WD Tracks

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Australians love four-wheel drive vehicles. The country’s open spaces and changing terrain make it an off-road adventure playground. Within one hour’s drive of most capital cities, it’s possible to navigate everything from rocky moguls to sandy plains and muddy tracks, and the Mazda BT-50 4x4 is the ideal vehicle to tackle them.

Australia is a big country. There is more than 7.6 million square kilometres of land so to make it easier to find some of its most enjoyable 4WD tracks here are 14 of the best (and some preparation tips before you tackle them).

BEFORE YOU VENTURE OUT

Here are some quick suggestions to help you prepare for your next 4WD adventure.

Servicing up to date: Make sure your Mazda BT-50’s servicing schedule is current before you depart. If you’re planning a long-distance off-road trip, book a check-up at Mount Gravatt Mazda to make sure everything is tickety-boo.

Read your Owner’s Manual: It contains everything you need to know about operating your BT-50’s 4x4 system.

Tyre pressures: Check your BT-50’s tyre pressures are at their correct levels (make sure you include the spare tyre, too.) And pack a mobile air compressor if you’re planning to tackle surfaces such as soft sand. You’ll need to lower your tyre pressures for this terrain type and then reinflate them for regular road surfaces.

Access the right knowledge: Consult your local 4WD authority or user group. If you’re in Victoria, for example, visit Four Wheel Drive Victoria. These groups offer plenty of helpful advice.

Gear up: There are many handy equipment options for four-wheel driving. A UHF radio is a good way to stay in touch. If you’re venturing into remote areas, consider taking a satellite telephone, because mobile phone reception might not always be available. Snatch straps, recovery tracks and a shovel are useful for getting out of trouble. Check out the range of Genuine Mazda Accessories.

Take a friend: Avoid travelling alone if you plan to venture into more remote parts of Australia. Consider having some friends – ideally experienced in off-road driving and vehicle recovery - join you in their suitable 4x4 vehicle.

Drive with caution: Avoid off-road driving situations that look too challenging for your abilities or confidence level. Never drive through water without knowing its depth, its speed of flow or what’s underneath it.

How’s the weather? Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology website is an easy way to check the weather forecast along your planned route and at your destination.

Invest in yourself: Give some thought to skilling up in off-road driving. A suitable off-road driving course is a great way to maximise the fun and safety of four-wheel driving in your BT-50 4x4.

And remember: This list of items is not exhaustive. If you’re going to attempt serious off-road driving, consult an appropriate expert first.

NEW SOUTH WALES (NSW)

A. STOCKTON BEACH:

Stockton Beach is a sand-driving Mecca for many four-wheel drive fans. It’s also great for fishing and photography. Located in the Worimi Conservation Lands (about 25 minutes’ drive from Newcastle), Stockton Beach runs 32 kilometres from Stockton to Anna Bay in Port Stephens. You will need a Beach Access Permit (available from various places) and lower tyre pressures for the beach’s sandy surface.

Stockton Beach

B. WATAGANS NATIONAL PARK:

Located 50 minutes north of Gosford amongst tree-filled hills and rainforest scenery, Watagans National Park is visually beautiful and a driver’s delight. All roads are unsealed and only 4WDs are allowed to use them when it’s wet (check in advance if it’s raining; gates and roads can sometimes be closed temporarily when it is wet). Lots of rough and rocky and trails for all driving experience levels, with plenty of great views.

 Watagans National Park

VICTORIA (VIC)

A. WOMBAT STATE FOREST:

The Wombat State Forest Tour is an all-day 4WD trail through picturesque Wombat State Forest, which starts from Gisborne, about 45 minutes’ drive north-west from Melbourne. The 100-kilometre route is scenic and can be done in a single day. Its driving difficulty is described as easy to medium and there are plenty of sights to enjoy from your BT-50, including Trentham Falls. Peaceful Firth Park is a great picnic spot. There are also camping spots and it is free to enter.

Wombat State Forest

B. BLUE RAG RANGE TRACK:

This spectacular drive is for the more experienced four-wheel driver. This track is located in Victoria’s Alpine High Country and mixes steeper climbs and descents. It’s just over five hours’ drive from Melbourne so consider researching accommodation options if you plan to tackle it. The Victoria High Country website recommends it for experienced drivers travelling in at least two vehicles together. Check the Parks Victoria website and Four Wheel Drive Victoria for any local news or alerts before you visit.

Blue Rag Range

QUEENSLAND (QLD)

A. MOUNT ISA:

Rigby Falls is about 50 kilometres from Mount Isa and offers a smorgasbord of rural scenery. The Mount Frosty Trek that gets you there is made up of rugged and rocky tracks. It’s a more challenging drive, making it a great adventure for experienced off-roaders. The surrounding rusty red colours are an emblem of outback Queensland and the sharp rocks and rutted tracks can be tough on any 4WD, so travel with care in your BT-50 4x4.

Rigby Falls

B. MORETON ISLAND:

Gheebulum Kunungai (Moreton Island) is a 40-minute ferry trip from Brisbane. The island’s variety of roads are unsealed and offer rugged and scenic terrain. Be sure to lower your BT-50’s tyre pressures for the fantastic inland sand tracks and the long beaches. (Don’t forget to reinflate them to their correct levels for the drive back.) The southern beach area is home to the fascinating Tangalooma shipwrecks. Head north for the main camping areas. You’ll need a Vehicle Access Permit to drive your BT-50 on the island.

Gheebulum Kunungai

WESTERN AUSTRALIA (WA)

A. LANE POOLE RESERVE:

Located less than two hours’ drive from Perth is Lane Poole Reserve. Regarded as a great 4WD trip for the novice off-road adventurer, its well-maintained roads through the scenic Murray River Valley offer stunning views of canopied landscapes and waterways. There is the tougher Captain Fawcett 4WD Track if you want to put your BT-50 4x4 to work. The track begins at Dawn Creek Road near Nanga Mill and ends at Quindanning. Much of the track runs along old rail embankments, where trains once hauled timber from the forests. There are picnic places along the way but no campgrounds (camping is not permitted).

Lane Poole

B. HOLLAND TRACK:

WA’s Holland Track is the longest cart road ever carved in Australia. Named after John Holland, it was established in 1893 as a short-cut for miners travelling to the southern goldfields. This lonely 4WD track through remote Western Australia is about 400 kilometres east of Perth.  Holland Track will take you past Australia’s iconic ancient Wave Rock, a section of the 1,800-kilometre Rabbit Proof Fence, and offers views from Mount Holland. This drive is for the more experienced outback traveller. Consider travelling with another experienced 4WD adventurer and their vehicle.

Holland Track

NORTHERN TERRITORY (NT)

A. LITCHFIELD NATIONAL PARK:

The 44-kilometre Reynolds River 4WD Track in the NT’s stunning Litchfield National Park takes visitors to the breathtaking Tjaynera Falls at Sandy Creek and then all the way to the Daly River. You can also visit Blyth Homestead along the way. This track is recommended only for the dry season. It takes about 3.5 hours to complete (in one direction) so consider camping. Some parts of the track can be tough, with the odd water crossing and some rugged terrain. You will need a Parks Pass to enter with your BT-50 4x4.

Litchfield

B. GREGORY NATIONAL PARK:

Judburra / Gregory National park is home to a variety of enjoyable 4WD tracks. Some are short, such as the eight-kilometre Limestone Gorge Track, which takes you through a landscape dominated by limestone features and boabs. The NT government information sheet advises a high-clearance 4WD for this moderately difficult track, so maybe consider the SP Pro Enhancement Pack for your BT-50. Longer tracks include the 92-kilometre Bullita Stock Route, which is a mix of moderately difficult and easy tracks. You’ll need a Parks Pass to enter Gregorys National Park.

Gregory

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (ACT)

A. PIERCES CREEK FOREST:

Canberra’s Pierces Creek Forest pine plantation is located only 32 kilometres from the CBD. Its formed management trails offer lots of scenic views and some spectacular boulder formations. Some of its tracks can be challenging, especially when wet. Tidbinbilla Hut is located a short drive from the intersection of Paddy’s River Road and Laurel Camp Road. It’s a great picnic area.

B. KOWEN FOREST:

Canberra’s largest commercial pine plantation is another great forest drive for 4WD fun. The 4,670 hectare area comprises lots of firm rocky trails used for forestry operations. It also has some challenging tracks. Established as a pine plantation in 1926, it’s home to the Old Kowen Homestead, which is now a Recreation Area campground. Bookings are essential to go four-wheel driving in Kowen Forest.

Pierces Creek Forest

TASMANIA (TAS)

A. MOUNT MCCALL TRACK:

This medium-rated four-wheel drive track is situated in Tasmania’s World Heritage Listed Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. It offers majestic scenery. This is a 44-kilometre round trip and the track includes deep ruts and loose soils along with some steeper climbs and descents. Mount McCall Track snakes through large rock formations and takes you above the tree lines on a variety of rolling hills. The track ends at the top of an old haulage way. The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service recommends some 4WD experience before driving this track. You will also need a valid Parks Pass to enter.

B. SOUTHPORT LAGOON:

About two hours’ drive south of Hobart is Southport Lagoon. Its 4WD tracks are regarded medium to challenging so some off-road driving experience is recommended. The tracks are described as rocky with some boggy soils and sand, which means you’ll enjoy putting your BT-50 4x4 to the test with lots of low-speed driving. It’s a 12-kilometre round trip amongst magnificent tall trees and can be muddy and slippery after rain.

Mount McCall

CHOOSING THE RIGHT BT-50 4X4 AND EQUIPMENT FOR YOU

Got some questions or need some advice before you start your next BT-50 adventure? You can get the right guidance at Mount Gravatt Mazda's Ute Centre.