Great Australian Road Trips
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Crossing the Pentecost River

Gibb River Road: A road trip for those that want a true outback adventure.  It’s four-wheel-drive only; remote, rugged and you’ll need to be pretty much self-sufficient, carry spares, tools and extra fuel and be willing to camp most nights, but it is one of the most beautiful outback drives in the country. The track starts in Kununurra, and cuts through the heart of the Kimberleys to meet the sea at Derby.  Highlights are forests of boab trees, spectacular gorges, crocodiles, cool billabongs and waterfalls.  Roads are impassable November to April.

How long? around 700 km


Watch the video: The Munja Track: off road adventures on one of the Kimberley's toughest 4WD tracks.

KIngs Canyon from the air

Pioneers’ Path: All the icons of the Australian outback in one three-day trip: Alice Springs, Kings Canyon and Uluru.  From the Alice, head west through the ancient purple West Macdonnell Ranges to Hermannsburg, home of Albert Namatjira, then on to The Mereenie Loop Road.  This dirt road will take you to Kings Canyon, where you can hook up with the bitumen road to Uluru. Highlights along the way include Glen Helen Gorge, the Gardner Range, Finke Gorge, Mount Connor and Palm Valley. Four-wheel drive is recommended on the Meerenie, although conventional cars have been known to survive the trip.

How long? around 630 km


Watch the video: East of Alice: the East Macs

Watch the video: Finke Gorge & Palm Valley

Flinders Ranges: The weathered crags of the Flinders Ranges in central South Australia is an ancient landscape, full of almost primeval colours: rich purples and deep blues, cut through with red rock gorges.  Main roads are accessible to conventional sedans, but most side tracks are 4WD only.  Highlights include the Wadlata Outback Centre in Port Augusta, Pichi Richi steam railway at Quorn, Brachina and Mount Chambers gorges with their galleries of Aboriginal rock art, Wilpena Pound (best seen on a scenic flight) and Arkaroola’s stunning ridge-top tour.

How long? around 650 km
More: flinders-ranges-outback.aspx

Simpson desert dunes. Phot courtesy Bill McKinnon

The Simpson Crossing: One of the last frontiers of the outback.  It was the last of the Australian deserts to be explored by Europeans, the first to cross its expanse of red dunes was Ted Colson, on camel, in 1936; the first vehicle in 1962.  Now, it’s top of the list for serious four-wheel drivers, and while thousands of people cross the Simpson each year, it is still not a trip to be taken lightly.  You’ll need to be self sufficient, carry good maps, make sure your vehicle is in tip-top condition, carry enough water for several days and basic spares.  Crossing east to west is the easiest way, from Birdsville to Dalhousie hot springs, and allow three days.

How long? around 645 km

Birdsville Hotel

Birdsville Track: First established during the 1880s as a stock route between Marree in South Australia and Birdsville in Queensland, the Birdsville Track has become one of Australia’s most legendary outback tracks. Back then, it would take about a month to complete; nowadays, the track is passable to conventional vehicles for most of the year. Highlights include white salt lakes, homestead ruins, crossing the dog fence and visiting the gushing hot water bores beside the track, the Natterannie sand hills where the Tirari and Strzelecki deserts meet, and of course, the famous Birdsville Hotel.

How long? around 520 km

The Dog Fence

Oodnadatta Track: This track traverses some of South Australia’s most remote outback, following in the footsteps of explorer John McDouall Stuart, who crossed the continent from Adelaide to Darwin in 1862. The Overland Telegraph Line was built along his route just 10 years later, which was followed by the now abandoned first Ghan railway line, opened in 1929.  Explore old train carriages in Marree, have a beer at William Creek (population 7), visit the white salt vastness of Lake Eyre, bubbling mound springs, old Telegraph Station and homestead ruins and the outpost of Oodnadatta.

How long? around 620 km

Coffin Bay

Eyre Peninsula: One of the best kept beach secrets in the country is the Eyre Peninsula, the triangle of land jutting into the sea between Adelaide and the Great Australian Bight. If you like empty beaches, this is the place to go. On this drive from Whyalla to Ceduna via Port Lincoln you’ll find beach after beach, visited only by the occasional fisherman and screeching seagulls.  Highlights are oysters and fresh seafood, the stunning five kilometre cliff drive at Elliston, fishing from town jetties, four-wheel driving in Lincoln and Coffin Bay national parks and swimming with sea lions at Baird Bay.

How long? 580 km
More: eyre-peninsula.aspx


Watch the video: The Eyre Peninsula's wild side


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