GET OUT OF TOWN
IGNITE YOUR SENSE OF ADVENTURE WITH THESE TRIED-AND-TRUE TRACKS
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. .......................