Australia's Top 5 4WD Tracks
As you weave your way through Australia’s tropical northern reaches from Cairns to Cape York, a highlight is undoubtedly the rugged Old Telegraph Track. This route follows the original telegraph line through the Cape York Peninsula, the region’s only form of communication until 1962. Built nearly two hundred years ago, the line was used for telephone cables until 1987 when it was finally dismantled. Nevertheless, many of the original poles are still in place. The track cuts through the sprawling wilderness of Cape York, where twisted vines and dense bush give way to refreshing swimming holes and foaming rivers. A stop at the pretty Fruitbat Falls for lunch is a welcome break from the corrugated off-road journey, before the adventure continues to Australia’s northernmost tip.
Trace the tracks of Burke and Wills as you traverse Queensland’s arid north-west. The failure of these two intrepid explorers to accomplish their mission of discovery says much about the harshness of the Gulf country, yet an APT 4WD experience showcases the rugged natural beauty of the region in safety and comfort. While the entire route links Cairns in the tropical north with Broome in the west, some of the best parts take place near the border between Queensland and the Northern Territory.
The Gibb River Road spans the heart of the Kimberley, rewarding its adventurous travellers with secluded swimming holes, fresh water gorges, ancient art galleries and sprawling cattle stations. Originally forged to transport cattle, ‘The Gibb’, as it's known to locals, stretches for nearly 700 kilometres from the Kimberley's western township of Derby to the eastern hub of Kununurra. As you traverse the red rocky terrain, a number of memorable detours await.
Western Australia’s sandy soils seem an unlikely home for some of the world’s most colourful and abundant wildflowers. Yet each spring, a sprawling corner of the state is carpeted with dazzling flora. Leave the gorges of Kalbarri National Park and travel along the Wildflower Way to Wooleen Station, a cattle station that plays a leading role in preserving and sustaining the unique ecology of the region. Throughout your journey, delight in a large variety of wildflowers and witness a blanket of pink, white and yellow Everlasting Daisies from July to October.
5. Birdsville Track (SA and QLD)
Once a stock route used to drove cattle from southwest Queensland to the closer markets of Adelaide, the Birdsville Track tears through some of the most arid land in the country. Passing between the Simpson and Sturt Stony deserts, this isolated dirt road is littered with ruins of farming settlements left by pioneers and remote homesteads. The harshness of the landscape makes this track starkly beautiful – the polished red stones of the Sturt Stony Desert contrast with the yellow dunes of the Natterannie Sandhills; bores drilled along the track to ease the movement of stock have now created mini oases of greenery and birdlife; and the open spaces lining the lonely road stretch as far as the eye can see.