When it comes to 4WDing or off-road driving experiences, Western Australia (or WA) can compete with some of the best in the world. The state offers several options that are well-suited for beginners and advanced drivers.
Julimar State Forest, the Mundaring Powerlines Track and the Captain Fawcett Track are some of the most well-loved tracks in the state. However, with tracks like the Three Bears Track down south and Gibb River Road up north, there’s something for everyone in WA.
There are 4X4 tracks on this list that extend for several kilometres but are close to various camping and lodging facilities, so they are perfect for weekend or extended holiday driving adventures. These off-road routes highlight Western Australia’s gorgeous natural sceneries like bays, beaches, farmlands, bushlands, and forests. Read on to find out more about the best 4WD tracks in Western Australia.
4WDing and Off-roading In Western Australia
Tracks around WA can lie in far and remote areas, so make sure to bring enough fuel, food, and water that will last for a couple of days. Don’t forget emergency equipment like first aid, a tool kit, and a fire extinguisher. Make sure you have the contact details for emergency services and equipment to contact them.
Before going on your trip, evaluate the weather conditions for the past weeks to know if your chosen track is safe to drive on. Except for the easiest 4WD tracks WA, it is recommended that you do off-road drive in convoy so you will receive immediate help in case of emergency or vehicle rescue.
Research your destination and check for the nearest campsites/accommodation, shops, ranger stations, and fuel stations. You should also assess the degree of difficulty of the track to determine if your vehicle and its safety equipment can overcome underlying challenges.
You should not be intimidated to try out off-road track driving in Western Australia, as it can be quite thrilling, enjoyable, and satisfying. However, if you are starting with minimal off-road driving skills and knowledge, consider consulting a professional in the field to offer training and guidance before you decide to drive on a medium-level track. You must also keep in mind that aside from skills, the hardest tracks also require vehicles that are adequately set up to manoeuvre on difficult terrain.
What Are The Best 4WD Tracks In Western Australia?
1. Julimar State Forest
Julimar State Forest sits about 90 km from Perth and can be completed in about 4 to 5 hours. This track features winding gravel and clay tracks. It requires slow driving at certain points because some sections are quite tight to move around. It also has rutted tight bends, steep sections, and bogged holes. During and after winter, these holes usually hold thick sticky mud underneath. This is a perfect time to go if you’re after a fun and muddy driving experience.
Julimar State Forest is often considered at the medium to high difficulty level in terms of general track driving conditions. The most challenging part of this track is the two hills, which are steep and have multiple entries and exits. It is best to tackle this Julimar State Forest Track with at least one other vehicle. In this way, you will have support in case your vehicle needs recovery from the bogged holes.
2. Mundaring Powerlines Track, Mundaring
Mundaring Powerlines Track lies along the Great Eastern Highway, about 40 kilometres east of Perth. Although this is a known 4WD track in WA, it formally serves as a power line track that starts near Sawyer Tavern in Sawyer Valley. The track extends to 24 kilometres and can be completed within 5 to 6 hours. Some of its sections can’t be used as they cut through the power lines.
Mundaring Powerlines’ length makes it an ideal day-trip off-road track adventure. It is considered a more challenging track and is not recommended for beginners. Although you don’t need a monster truck to complete the track, most of its sections are made of clay and jagged rock. They are rutted and steep and are more dangerous when wet. Your vehicle needs to be in low-range gear and has good quality mud-terrain tyres to conquer this track.
3. Captain Fawcett Track, Lane Poole Reserve
Captain Fawcett Track lies in Lane Poole Reserve, about 121 kilometres away from Perth. The track was named after Captain Theo Fawcett, who created it in the early 19th century. The track offers a glimpse of the past as it goes along old rail embankments and old farmhouses. It also provides incredible views of trestle bridges and jarrah forests – some of the most beautiful in Western Australia.
Captain Fawcett Track extends to about 105 kilometres and can be completed within 3 to 4 hours. It usually starts at Dawn Creek Road, close to Nanga Mill and ends at Quindanning. However, you always have the option to start the journey in the opposite direction. Camping is not allowed on this track, although you may find some spots where picnics are allowed. Compared to other tracks in the list, Captain Fawcett ranks in the middle when it comes to 4WD driving skill level. It also requires medium to high-clearance vehicles and dual-range types to tackle the terrain.
4. Warren Beach Track, Pemberton
This four-wheel-drive track is located in Pemberton, about 330 km from Perth. There may be some variations of this track, but the most popular is the one that passes by the Yeagarup Sand Dunes and through D’Entrecasteaux National Park. The track leads to the beautiful Warren Beach (Yeagarup Beach).
You can start the trail via Ritter Road, Yeagarup, and then head towards the beach. From here, you have the option to drive north again to Warren River and Calcup Hill.
There are campgrounds in the area, like the Leaning Marri near Yeagarup Lake.
Aside from the beach, the sand dune landscape is the highlight of the Warren Beach track. The yellow-hued dunes provide a stark contrast to the trees in the surrounding forest. Overall, the track is considered fairly difficult and requires a trained or 4WD experienced driver because it’s composed of gravel roads, steep hill climbs, and soft sandy patches. You should be prepared to drive on sand and in the low-range mode most of the way.
5. Bob’s Track, Karridale
Bob’s Track (Boranap) begins about 600 metres north of Bushby Road on the west end of Caves Road in Karridale, north of Hamelin Bay. It is about 309 kilometres from Perth. The best thing about Bob’s Track is it leads to a spectacular beach with clear waters and soft sand.
In terms of difficulty level, Bob’s Track is moderate. It has very rocky sections and numerous potholes. To overcome these difficulties, you need a robust 4WD vehicle with high clearance and medium-level 4WD driving skills or at least be in a convoy with an experienced driver.
You will also need decent recovery gear and bash plates for potential recovery cases. Bob’s Track is harder to deal with during rainy seasons as deep puddles can easily form. To manage this track, experts recommend lowering the tyre pressure to around 25 PSI. You will need to lower this tyre pressure even more when driving around the beach area.
6. The Mundal, Mundaring
The Mundal Track stretches more than 900 km and is popularly known as the MundAI Track. This route typically starts from Mundaring Town( in Perth Hills), goes through Collie, Dwellingup, and Boyup Brook, and ends in Albany. Mundaring is about 30 kilometres east of the Central Business District of Perth.
Driving the MundAI bypasses the main roads and highlights landscapes like bushland trails, river crossings, farmlands, and forests. The track comprises mainly dirt tracks, bush tracks, and bitumen. Although the entire trek leads to Albany, drivers may complete only certain parts, like the route from Mundaring to Dwellingup.
This 4WD route is ideal for a long-term driving adventure. It offers opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities like cycling, camping, and bushwalking. Some attractions you will see along the way include the Tone-Perup Nature Reserve, Lake Muir, Mt. Romance, and Mt. Lindesay National Park.
7. Mount Nameless, Tom Price
The Mount Nameless track is one of the easy 4WD tracks WA in this list. Experts view it as a basic 4WD route that takes you to one of Western Australia’s most vehicle-accessible mountains. The town of Tom Price, about 1450 km north of Perth, is the access point to the Mount Nameless track. Once at Tom Price, drive about 4 kilometres from the town centre to reach the start of the route.
The track highlights a drive up to the top of the mountain, which is about 1128 metres above sea level. It features mostly gravel roads with a fair number of uneven rocks. Although the surface is considerably hard, some sections can be uneven. A standard 4WD clearance is enough to handle the track. But you also need to reduce tyre pressure and drive in the low range to safely and comfortably get to the top. Even at a slow pace, you should be able to reach the top in around 15 to 20 minutes if you have the correct tyre pressure.
8. Wildflower Drive, Kondil Park – Nannup
The Wildflower Drive lies in Kondil Park near Nannup, about 259 km from Perth. This area is popular amongst 4WD drivers and hikers because of its gorgeous natural landscapes. Wildflower Drive is named after the beautiful rainbow-coloured wildflowers that populate the area in spring. These wildflowers can line up both sides of the track and are quite photogenic.
Wildflower Drive is only 2.5 km long, but its rough terrain forces drivers to complete their 4X4 trip in 1 to 3 hours. However, many still consider the track not a particularly difficult one as a durable 2WD can still manage its terrain. As expected, the best time to drive Wildflower Drive is during springtime, which is from September to November in Western Australia.
9. John Holland Track – Goldfields
John Holland Track is a famous 4X4 track that links Broomehill and Coolgardie. It is about 394 kilometres east of Perth. The track is named after John Holland, who created the trail that highlights a rugged landscape made mostly of bushland and woodlands.
The site has two sections that both start at Broomehill. The first section is accessible to 2WD vehicles, while the other is suitable only for 4WD. You can do a combination of the 2WD and 4WD trails, which is ideal for a multiple-day trip. But you also have the option to do a full 4WD track itinerary.
The John Holland 4WD track features rugged bushland, farmlands, and shallow salt lakes. These sites are remote, so it’s safer to travel in a convoy for recovery and emergencies. You need to drive a 4WD with high clearance to overcome John Holland, as it features single lanes and water-filled bog holes. Some parts of the tracks should be handled by experienced and confident drivers.
10. Lane Poole Reserve – Dwellingup
Lane Poole Reserve is located more than 100 kilometres south of Perth and comprises over 50,000 hectares of land. This park is considered the largest in the northern jarrah forest region of Western Australia.
While at Lane Poole Reserve, you can also engage in other fun outdoor activities like mountain bike riding, bushwalking, canoeing, and fishing. The park is also home to the longest permanent river in the region – the Murray River.
The popular 4WD trail at Lane Poole Reserve extends to about 69 kilometres in length. It consists mainly of bush tracks and gravel roads and moves along the eastern side of the Murray River. Take note that there are also other off-road tracks in the area.
The gravel sections are well-maintained, but the Lane Poole track still ranks easy to medium in difficulty because it has its fair share of deep ruts and gullies, not to mention a couple of challenging creek crossings. Driving this route is even more challenging in winter, so don’t attempt to go through it alone.
11. Fisheries Road – Esperance
The Fisheries Road Track is about 700 km east of Perth. It starts from Esperance and goes through Condingup, Poison Creek, and Israelite Bay. The first 100 kilometres of this track features bitumen-sealed roads. Eventually, the track shifts to gravel, and at this point, it becomes only accessible to 4WD vehicles. The gravel part of this trail is not recommended for inexperienced drivers as it consists of big bog holes, corrugations, and salt lakes. You should also set the right tyre pressure to manage such a route.
The 65-km Fisheries Road 4WD track takes about two hours to complete as you will need to drive slowly in many sections. One attraction featured on this off-road track is Israelite Bay- an isolated fishing bay offering plenty of space and privacy. While completing the Fisheries Road track, consider stopping by Israelite to fish, have a picnic, or enjoy overnight camping.
12. Kingsford Smith Mail Run – Carnarvon
This track is named after the transport pioneer Charles Kingsford Smith. In 1924, Smith used this route for his mail run, which usually begins at Carnarvon and goes through Gascoyne Junction to end in Meekatharra.
In terms of 4WD driving, the Kingsford Smith Mail Run is a relatively easy one to do. The entire track stretches about 834 kilometres and has many motel units, camping sites, and a caravan park along the way.
The vegetable-growing region of Carnarvon (897 km from Perth) is the usual starting point for this track. Other sites worth checking out include Gascoyne Junction, Mount Augustus, and the Outback Pathways. Mount Augustus, which rises 715 metres, is considered one of the tallest monoliths in the world. This geological wonder is important to Aboriginal history and heritage.
13. Gibb River Road
Gibb River Road is a 650 km long road in the far north of Western Australia that has attracted offroaders from across the country for years. Packed with some of the best sights the country has to offer, with stretches of road perfect for beginners and veteran offroaders alike.
While the terrain isn’t always challenging, you’ll need to come prepared for this off-road adventure. There are limited resources along the 650km long track, so you’ll need to make sure your vehicle is prepared for the trek, and you have the necessary provisions for the duration of the trip.
As one of the most northern points of Western Australia, Gibb River Road is a visual treat that’s hard to match anywhere else in WA. With a combination of iconic dirt tracks and ocean views, Gibb River Road has something for everyone.
14. Telephone Lane, Rockingham
Telephone Lane is a popular 4×4 track just outside of the busy town of Rockingham, about an hour’s drive from Perth. This track is perfect for the experienced but busy offroader, as it’s short enough to knock out in a few hours but offers some challenge to make your time worthwhile.
Telephone Lane is close enough to Rockingham and Baldivis that you’ll be able to stock up for your adventure, no matter what you’ve forgotten. Its closeness to major suburbs means that in the unlikely event that something goes wrong, help is never far away.
Telephone Lane has a great combination of brief, steep inclines and long stretches of 4wd friendly land, making it a great way to spend the weekend with some like-minded offroaders.
15. Three Bears Track, Dunsborough
The Three Bears Track is an incredible offroad track between Dunsborough and Yallingup. As one of the most popular holiday destinations in the state, it’s no surprise that the Three Bears Track is one of the most beautiful tracks on this list.
The Three Bears track can take anywhere from 3-5 hours to complete. Starting at either Dunsborough or Yallingup means that no matter where you finish, there’s going to be a great place nearby to get dinner and watch the sun go down.
The terrain for this track is mostly sandy, although there are sections where the terrain is rougher and rockier, so you’ll need to make sure you’re adjusting the inflation of your tyres throughout the trek.
16. Brunswick Junction Challenge Track
Hidden just outside of Bunbury in Western Australia’s southwest is the Brunswick Junction Challenge Track. This offroad track isn’t for the faint of heart and offers some challenging terrain, even for veteran offroaders.
Being so far south, this track gets quite difficult going into the winter months. Heavy rain can make the conditions extremely difficult, so it’s recommended to go in a convoy of several vehicles instead of trying to tackle it alone.
This track features a combination of narrow roads, steep inclines and challenging terrain. The effort is well worth it though, as Brunswick Junction offers sights you can’t get elsewhere in the country. Very few places are as serene and as peaceful as Brunswick Junction. If you’re looking for a challenge and want to experience Australia’s iconic outback, Brunswick Junction is for you.
When Is The Best Time to Off-road In Western Australia?
Some 4WD tracks in WA are much safer during the dry season, as excessive rain can make some trails more slippery and treacherous. Perth receives more rain from May to September. During these months, Western Australia’s northern region is dryer.
However, in some parts of the state, there can be heavy rain and flooding between November to April. In such cases, local authorities usually close roads to prevent accidents.
Western Australia experiences hot and dry conditions, including rainy seasons. If you want a cooler climate to enjoy the outdoors, then the southern part of Western Australia is a good choice.
Because of the weather variations in different parts of Western Australia, it is best to decide on your off-road destinations first and look up the months that experience your preferred weather conditions.
Can I 4WD Anywhere In Western Australia?
As long as your four-wheel drive vehicle has a road licence and registration, you can use it on open public roads and designated off-road areas. If your vehicle only has an off-road registration, you can only drive in designated off-road vehicle areas or on private property with the owner’s permission.
Do Off-road Bikes Need To Be Registered In Western Australia?
If you want to ride an off-road vehicle on private property or a club track, you don’t need to register such a vehicle with the Department of Transportation. However, if you want to ride an off-road vehicle on an open public road, you will need to register the vehicle and have a valid WA motorcycle licence.
You should also register the ORV if you want to use it in permitted ORV areas. However, you do not necessarily need a WA motorcycle licence in this case.