Victoria has some of the best beginner 4WD tracks in Australia. If you have a 4×4, you’ll be spoiled for choice between the amazing offroad tracks in Victoria. But what are the best 4WD tracks for beginners?
Bunyip State Park, Lerdererg State Park and Mount Disappointment have some of the best beginner tracks in Victoria. You can find excellent beginner offroad tracks across Victoria, from Wyperfeld National Park to Marysville.
In this article, we will explore the 23 great 4WD tracks to try in Victoria, including some within easy driving distance of Melbourne. If you’re just starting out on your 4×4 hobby, this is a great bucket list of must-try tracks, including some to tackle once you have a few treks under your belt.
Read on to discover our top off-road track recommendations!
Can I Go 4WD in Victoria?
Yes, Victoria is an amazing place for 4WDing, ranging from easy to difficult tracks, solo driving or travelling with friends or family, this place is perfect for everyone who wants to explore new and less travelled destinations. From national parks to sand dunes, there’s something for every 4×4 lover in Victoria.
You can visit the state and national parks supervised by Parks Victoria or you can opt to traverse the vast network of tracks in state forests. You can also go for either short day trips or long 4WD camping trip exploring around mountains, rainforests, deserts and more.
To turn your 4WD trek into an overnight stay or holiday, you’ll also find many of Victoria’s best caravan parks close to these 4WD locations.
What Are The Best Beginner 4WD Tracks in Victoria?
There are many tracks that you can explore and discover around Victoria. Depending on your 4WD experience and expertise, you can choose the track difficulty that suits you. It also offers a wide selection of scenery, such as mountains, forests, and beach scenes.
For beginners, there are 23 4WD tracks that should make your 4WD bucket list. Note that some of these tracks shouldn’t be tackled alone for beginners, and difficulty can vary depending on the weather conditions.
Always make sure you have the right 4WD safety gear and your vehicle is equipped to tackle the track’s unique challenges.
Discover our must-try list of Victorian 4WD tracks below, including their distance from Melbourne:
1. James Barrett Nature Drive, Wyperfeld National Park
Distance from Melbourne: 450km
James Barrett Nature Drive is one of Victoria’s best 4WD tracks for beginners, and it’s next to Lake Brimin. The 15-km track is mostly gravel, which makes it a little challenging to drive through. The track passes through dry lake beds, flood plains, sand dunes and typical mallee country.
James Barrett Nature Drive offers panoramic views that make any trip rewarding. You can try climbing up Mt. Mattingley and see some emus and kangaroos at dusk and dawn. Or you can opt for the Eastern Lookout, which is a fantastic spot to enjoy the sunrise.There are also many other walks that are within 5 kilometres of the campground. If you love greenery and nature, this track is definitely for you to try.
2. Rockey Track, Toolangi State Forest
Distance from Melbourne: 80km
The Rockey Track is a 4×4 track in one of the most famous off-roading forests near Melbourne. The track’s reputation comes from its sharp rocks, and steep ascents/ descents. So much so that 4×4 enthusiasts joke about how the track has kept panel beaters (those in the business of automotive body work/ repair) in business for years.
Despite stretching only 2.4km, the track is home to a number of mud and hill challenges. It is connected to the Marginal Track, another track within the Toolangi State Forest that is worth trying. If you’re not yet up for the challenge of Rockey Track, Toolangi State Forest has a few less rugged tracks, like Martins Track.
3. Border Track, Sunset National Park
Distance from Melbourne: 537 km
The Border is one of the campgrounds at Sunset National Park in Victoria. 4WD is the best mode of travel to reach this destination. Border Track may be shorter than other tracks around Australia, but travellers testify that it is a challenging track. Passing through the Border track, you will be awed by large sand dunes with beautiful landscapes. Some roads are narrow and some are exclusively one-way to protect the vegetation along the roadsides.
Border Track does have some challenging terrain. Therefore, it is advisable to traverse the road in convoy. Beginners in 4WD who are up for a little bit of challenge can easily survive this track with flying colours.
4. Horans Track, Tallarook
Distance from Melbourne: 98km
The Horans Track is a nice looking 2WD ridge top drive through farmlands with spectacular views. You will see a number of camping spots and play areas along your way to exit Tallarook State Forest. The track is next to the Tyaak Bridge and is around 10.34km long. As you drive down Horans Track, you will eventually arrive at a point that meets a bitumen road near the Murchison Gap. From there, following the road will give you a great driving experience down into the valley and back around Strath Creek.
5. The Ladder, Mount Disappointment
Distance from Melbourne: 83km
Contrary to its name, Mount Disappointment is not a disappointment. In fact, it is an ideal beginner 4WD adventurer, especially on a day trip or a weekend getaway. The Ladder is a popular 4WD track on Mount Disappointment and is regarded as a must-try for all 4WD enthusiasts.
In terms of difficulty, Mount Disappointment is an easy to medium track, but during wet seasons, it is more difficult. Challenging tracks are located further north at Tallarook.
Mount Disappointment is a massive area, which is why navigation is so important. If you plan to head out to Mount Disappointment, you’ll need more than just Google Maps. A high-quality map app is going to ensure that once you’ve finished your Mount Disappointment trek, you’ll be able to find your way home.
6. Woods Point, Victoria
Distance from Melbourne: 178km
Woods Point and its surrounding area offers visitors a historic and relatively rugged experience for 4×4 enthusiasts. There is a nice mix of off-road tracks with multiple creek crossings and black top, graded dirt roads. Expect differing conditions depending on the time of day and year you take on the track. Beware though, as the track’s sometimes unforgiving weather conditions challenge even the most experienced drivers.
If you don’t mind taking on the track under the searing heat of the sun, the frigid winds of winter, and rocky climbs, descents, and deep ruts, then this track is perfect for you.
7. Little Bunyip Track, Bunyip State Park
Distance from Melbourne: 98km
You can find yourself trailing along the Little Bunyip Track in the Bunyip State Park if you travel an hour southeast of Melbourne. The track ranges from easy to moderately hard for 4WDers. The road has a number of medium inclines and rugged terrains. Given that the park is accessible to the public, everyone is free to explore the area. Travelling through a 4WD, you need to watch the road carefully and be alert for some bushwalking campers to prevent accidents.
8. Donnellys Creek Loop, Aberfeldy
Distance from Melbourne: 167km
Located within Baw Baw National Park, Donnellys Creek Loop takes 4×4 enthusiasts through Aberfeldy’s rich mining lands, old telegraph stations, hotels, and even cemeteries which have kept memories of the past alive. The loop has three segments, the first is from Walhalla to Donnelly’s Creel which is 23km long, the next is from Donnelly’s Creek to Toombon for a length of 22km, and finally ending by driving from Toombon to Aberfeldy for 12km.
The track is graded around a medium to difficult, depending on the capability and performance of the vehicle, so be sure not to make this your first trek. This track is a treat for 4×4 enthusiasts looking to indulge in both nature and history.
9. Strickland Spur Track, Marysville
Distance from Melbourne: 97km
Hills, mud, rocks or dirt roads — you can find all four covering the roads of the Strickland Spur Track in Marysville. If you are up for a great challenge, just take a pick from the first three options and have the challenging 4WD adventure you have been dreaming about. Otherwise, choose the dirt roads.
Strickland Spur Track will give you a scenic view of lush forests and picturesque waterways. If you prefer something different, enjoy the tracks during snow seasons. Marysville is perfect for car-based snow fun because of its 1400 metre elevation.
10. Lake Eildon National Park, Victoria
Distance from Melbourne: 235km
Located roughly a day’s drive from Melbourne, Lake Eildon is a haven not only for 4WD enthusiasts but also for those who enjoy viewing picturesque landscapes. Portions of the national park used to be the centre of a gold mining operation, which could add to the historical value of visiting the park. However, don’t let the park’s beauty fool you, as there are fun and challenging 4WD tracks deep within the park. The weather ultimately determines whether the tracks will be slightly difficult, or very difficult, so keep this in mind before running the gauntlet.
11. Gentle Annie Track, Bunyip State Park
Distance from Melbourne: 98km
You can finish this 43-km track in 3–4 hours. Located on the northeastern portion of the Bunyip State Park, the Gentle Annie Track is accessible through Forest Rd, which is north of Labertouche. Or you can try starting from the south by entering Robertson Creek Track or riding along the Western Track, heading north towards the Tea Tree Rd. However, the Tea Tree Trail and the Western Track, along with other portions of this track, are closed during extreme weather conditions.
Gentle Annie Track has a difficulty level of moderate during dry seasons and hard during wet seasons. The challenge comes from its terrain composed of gravel, mud, dirt, clay and rocks. Rivers are also located near the trails. Smaller 4WD models are better to use along this track.
12. Lyrebird Track, Warburton
Distance from Melbourne: 75km
Lyrebird Track is an enjoyable uphill track that does not have very steep inclines. Although it does get slippery during certain weather conditions, so try to make sure your tyres have enough traction. The track is recommended for beginners due to their relative ease and proximity to the highway. If you’re looking for a little more challenge, you can head to the Brahams Track from Lyrebird to test your mettle.
13. Wombat Forest Drive, Wombat State Forest
Distance from Melbourne: 82km
There are many tracks to explore in Wombat, and along the Lerderderg River lies the pleasant dirt road of the Wombat Forest Drive. The track showcases an amazing view of gorges, green forests and waterways. You can enjoy a challenging 4WD adventure on its steep and muddy terrain with plenty of water crossings.
The Wombat Forest Drive is about 65 kilometres long. If you choose this track, you can begin at Daylesford and continue with the picturesque sites of the Wombat State Forest. Graded as an easy track, you’ll find various stop points to enjoy the place. For one, there’s the Lyonville Mineral Springs, which has some of the best mineral water in the district. There’s also the Garden of St Erth – Lerderderg Heritage River Walk and Nolans Creek Picnic Area.
Walking and exploring the towns along the way will take one full day to finish this track. You can expect a crowded track during weekends and a much quieter one during midweeks.
14. Croajingolong National Park
Distance from Melbourne: 428km
The Croajingolong National Park is home to a host of pristine inlets, ancient forests, giant sand dunes and a variety of flora and fauna. The park’s broad selection of activities makes it an ideal place to visit for people who prefer to spend their time doing as many outdoor activities as possible. Although the park is not primarily known for 4WD tracks, it does have a lot of 2WD gravel roads that could serve as a training ground for would-be 4WDers.
15. Eastern Lookout Nature Drive, Wyperfeld National Park
Distance from Melbourne: 436km
Do you want to experience a daytime exploration and a night-time star gazing? You can do that in the 15 kilometre circuit of the Easter Lookout Nature Drive in the Wyperfeld National Park. This national park is the third largest national park in Victoria and one of the most interesting national parks in the country. It’s truly a paradise for nature lovers with its beauty and wide spaces. In addition to 4WD, you can also go fishing, camping, touring mountain biking and bushwalking in the area.
What makes travelling in the Easter Lookout Nature Drive very rewarding is its amazing panoramic view of green forests and mountains. In this easy loop drive, you will pass through flood plains, dry lake beds and sand dunes, as well as the peaceful Mallee country. If you want to see the wildlife, it’s better to take a look in the evening and morning.
16. Alpine National Park
Distance from Melbourne: 401km
Alpine National Park actually forms part of an Aboriginal cultural landscape. It is home to the traditional Country of the Tangurung and Gunaikurnai Peoples. Dubbed as an adventure-lover’s dream, the park hosts a number of off-road tracks, such as the Paradise Falls via McMillians Track Tailhead, The King Billy, Zeka Spur, & Wonnangatta Track, and the Mile Jeep Track, among others.
The plethora of tracks found within the park ensures that offroaders of every skill level can enjoy their visit. However, keep in mind that the tracks vastly differ in length, so make sure you check the map and fill up the tank before you hit the tracks.
17. Ratcliffe’s Track, Lerderderg State Park
Distance from Melbourne: 74km
The Lerderderg State Park is very popular among bushwalkers, campers, rock-climbers and off-road tourers. With the rugged terrains, scenic gorges and water crossings, this is a great place for off-roading. You can drive right through the park via Ratcliffe’s Track on O’Brien’s Road.
The Ratcliffe Track can be found in the eastern portion of the Lerderderg State Park, taking you along the park’s edge, and on the border of Wombat State Forest. If you’re driving via this track, you can have a stop off at O’Brien’s Crossing. Get a refreshing dip into the river and then explore again through a meshwork of muddy tracks going to Blackwood.
Despite its 10-kilometre long steep and rutted track, Ratcliffe Track is quite easy to traverse for beginner 4WDers. However, don’t risk yourself on this track after heavy rain.
18. Grampians National Park
Distance from Melbourne: 258km
Grampians Drive inside the National Park is one of Victoria’s iconic 4WD off-roading areas. If you are craving to see mountain peaks, dramatic rock formations, beautiful waterfalls, and even Aboriginal rock art sites, then this offroad adventure is right for you. It is classified as a medium difficulty track under dry conditions based on VIC’s 4WD Recreational Track Classification System.
The tracks you can challenge are segmented into portions; the Halls Gap to Buandik (60kms), Buandik to Dunkeld (136kms), and Dunkeld to Halls Gap (90kms). With roughly 286km total length, there’s something to see for everybody, and something to challenge for the hardcore off roaders.
19. Anderson Track, Bunyip State Park
Distance from Melbourne: 98km
Another beginner 4WD track in Victoria is the Anderson Track along the Bunyip State Park. In addition to the diverse ecosystem you’ll see here, this state park is a fantastic place for off-roaders with its sticky orange clay and deep black mud. It’s a favourite place for a day or long weekend trips among locals.
Anderson Track is very close to Melbourne, so the track is accessible to many. All terrains are easily passable during dry seasons, but it is quite challenging when it rains. It pushes you to the wet, testing out not only your vehicle but also your skills and recovery techniques.
The best time to visit the Anderson Track is during the middle of June up to November.
20. Craig’s Hut, Mansfield Mt. Buller
Distance from Melbourne: 250km
Craig’s Hut is the celebrity among all Australian 4WD destinations. Sitting atop Mt. Sterling, it’s one of the most photographed landmarks in the region. It is iconic and popular because it is specially built for the film The Man from Snowy River.
You can access Craig’s Hut through Circuit Road; it’s 19 kilometres away from the Telephone Box Junction. A 4WD track will lead you directly to the iconic hut, but some tracks are closed between June and early November. This is due to winter seasonal road closures. With its stunning views of mountains, driving around the easy to moderate track of Craig’s Hut for three hours is definitely worth it.
21. Otway Ranges, Great Otway National Park
Distance from Melbourne: 209km
Otway Ranges in the Great Otway National Park is filled with scenic views of magnificent forests, waterfalls and coastal views. If you go off-roading in this area, you will traverse not only through dirt roads, but you will also get up close with the lush ecosystem, the native wildlife and the fascinating local birds. You can use your standard 4×4 car when the roads are dry. However, when it is rainy, prepare your mud tyres and winch.
At Otway Ranges, you can choose whether to track on easy terrains or on challenging ones. Whether it’s the beaten track or the secluded ones, the track has a number of options for drivers of all skill levels. Regardless of the difficulty, you are sure to encounter amazing bush scenery along the tracks.
The Otways has more than just great places to go offroading, there are also some amazing beaches. If you don’t want to trek back home after your 4WD expedition, you can follow an Otways beach camping guide to turn your day out into an amazing weekend.
22. Bullock Link Track, Bunyip State Park
Distance from Melbourne: 98km
If you want to up your 4WD game, Bullock Link Track is the destination for you. This 2–10 kilometre-long track is situated in the Bunyip State Forest near Drouin. It’s a very rocky and rutted place.
Bunyip Link Track is considered medium difficulty, so the track is challenging enough for you to master the use of your 4×4 car’s diff-locker switch. You will need lockers and winches, and do not consider going alone – you might end up bogged or hung up, or both. Especially for those new to 4WDing, this is a track to tackle with help.
The terrain is covered with both clay, sharp rocks, mud and steep ascents and descents providing plenty of challenges, so avoid tackling it during the wet season. However, the track is closed between mid June and November, so make sure to carefully plan your visit. Because in heavy weather, these tracks can be more difficult, make sure you are packing all of the essential 4WD accessories so your 4×4 experience is a fun and safe one.
23. Cathedral Ranges, Cathedral State Park, Taggerty
Distance from Melbourne: 115km
The Cathedral State Park is located 100 kilometres away from Melbourne. It showcases wonderful scenery of sandstone and shale peaks of the Cathedral Ranges. It is an easy and friendly track that is perfect for travelling families with kids. There are also walking tracks that lead you to all the main destinations of the park; these tracks range from an easy stroll around the Friends Nature Trail to the very difficult one, the Ridge Track.
If you’re driving south from the township through the state park, you can consider Taggerty as a base. You can also start from Buxton and pass by Taggerty, Snob Creek Falls, Rubicon Road and Mount Pinniger until you reach Eildon Dam.
Where Can You Drive on the Beach in Victoria?
The only place in Victoria where you can drive on the beach is the Portland Coastal Park. The dunes in the area are live, which means that they are constantly moving and shifting. Your vehicle’s tracks will be quickly wiped out with even a light breeze.
You also won’t have to worry about damaging plant life while driving as there is no vegetation around. Areas with vegetation have vehicle restrictions.
Operated by the Portland Dune Buggy Club, Portland Coastal Park is open to the public and legal to enjoy driving your 4×4 along its coastal sand dunes. While you need to be a member of the club before you can drive on the dunes, there are also temporary memberships you can apply for. There are many coastal destinations in the region, but it is illegal to drive on the beaches because of privacy issues.
What Is the Hardest 4WD Track in Victoria?
Voted by the people who have experienced the track, Ellis Track in Wesburn is famous as the most difficult track in Victoria. Its huge boulders, uneven terrains and very deep ruts are the reason for this reputation.
You will go home with dents and scratches on your vehicle. What’s more, Ellis Track has a mixture of mud and orange clay that adds to its brutal level of difficulty. Definitely, it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Can You 4WD at Wilsons Promontory?
Yes, you can 4WD at Wilsons Promontory, especially on roads too steep to walk, but most of the trails are non-accessible by car. Therefore, going into the park through 4WD will not let you experience the beauty of the park in full.
However, Wilsons Promontory National Park is surrounded by many campgrounds packed with campers and wildlife. It is designed for exploration on foot with moderate to difficult walking trails. Make sure you follow a 4WD camping guide to ensure you pack all the essentials and make the most out of your camping experience.
This article is published in good faith and for general informational purposes only. Let’s Get Away does not make any warranties about the ongoing completeness and reliability of this information. Always confirm current local conditions and follow safety guidelines.