GET OUT OF TOWN

IG­NITE YOUR SENSE OF AD­VEN­TURE WITH THESE TRIED-AND-TRUE TRACKS

Central Queensland News - - ESCAPE - WORDS: JEN­NIFER ENNION es­cape.com.au

From the in­fa­mous Old Tele­graph Track lead­ing to Cape York to the re­mote Gibb River Rd in West­ern Aus­tralia and the never-end­ing Nullar­bor Plain, Aus­tralia is a coun­try made for road trips. Here are our favourite routes and why you’ll want to tackle them.

OLD TELE­GRAPH TRACK, QLD

Trop­i­cal North Queensland’s Old Tele­graph Track is leg­endary among off-road­ers. It’s re­mote, chal­leng­ing, dirty and leads to the north­ern tip of the main­land – Cape York.

It used to be re­served for the hardi­est of trav­ellers will­ing to tow camper trail­ers through muddy ditches and croc-in­fested creeks (or roll out swags ev­ery night).

Now, how­ever, it’s open to the soft ad­ven­turer, with by­pass roads al­low­ing you to skip some of the more chal­leng­ing spots.

Don’t be fooled into think­ing it’s easy though. It’s about 350km and you’ll have to brave wa­ter cross­ings, keep an eye out for rep­tiles and be pre­pared to get filthy. Make sure you have a 4WD re­cov­ery kit and take some friends along as it’s bet­ter to have a buddy in sticky sit­u­a­tions.

Need to know: The Tele­graph Track is only ac­ces­si­ble dur­ing the dry sea­son (usu­ally May–Oc­to­ber).

GIBB RIVER RD, WA

This sea­sonal route is known to rat­tle the bolts out of your car­a­van and coat every­thing, in­side and out, in red dirt. But that’s all part of the fun, right?

The Gibb, as lo­cals call it, is 660km long and is the off-road op­tion for 4WDers trav­el­ling from Derby to Ku­nunurra. It can be by­passed along the Great North­ern High­way if you don’t have a high-clear­ance 4WD or off-road camper trailer (Derby Tourism does not rec­om­mend tak­ing a car­a­van but plenty of peo­ple do).

Top stops along the way in­clude Home Val­ley Sta­tion, El Que­stro Sta­tion and Emma Gorge. Be­fore head­ing off, be sure to get your 4WD and van checked over by a me­chanic. Need to know: You can only travel the Gibb dur­ing the dry sea­son (May–Oc­to­ber).

THE NULLAR­BOR, SA AND WA

Baby boomers wist­fully re­call tack­ling the in­fa­mous Nullar­bor Plain from South Aus­tralia to West­ern Aus­tralia in Kom­bis and panel vans. Then, the road was dirt and cor­ru­ga­tions were com­mon. Now the en­tire 1256km from Ce­duna to Norse­man along the Eyre High­way is tarred, mak­ing it easy enough for the most ba­sic mo­torhome.

But mak­ing the jour­ney is still no small feat. It can be done in a rushed two days but trav­ellers gen­er­ally give them­selves five, stop­ping at road­houses to top up fuel and stretch legs. Be pre­pared for the trip to hit the hip pocket, with diesel prices sit­ting un­com­fort­ably at 190 cents a litre.

There are plenty of places to pull over for a night that are free, how­ever if you want to camp where there are other peo­ple, Nullar­bor Roadhouse and Fraser Range Sta­tion make good stops.

Need to know: The jour­ney in­cludes Aus­tralia’s long­est straight road – the 146.6km known as 90 Mile Straight – so have pod­casts ready to play and toys to keep kids happy.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A 4WD RE­COV­ERY KIT AND TAKE SOME FRIENDS ALONG AS IT’S BET­TER TO HAVE A BUDDY IN STICKY SIT­U­A­TIONS. .......................

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