Australian 4×4 adventures: Tips for off-road driving in Australia

Sep 01, 2017 BY AWE365 Team

With plenty of wild mountains, deserts, rain forests and coastline Australia is the perfect destination to put your four-wheel drive to work. The sheer size of this country means that on Australian 4×4 adventures offer variety, excitement and challenges. To help keep you safe we’ve put together top tips for off-road driving in Australia.

Australian 4x4 adventures: Tips for off-road driving in Australia Cradle mountain Flickr image by Scott Cresswell

Australian 4×4 adventures

If your idea of an adventure is exploring out of the way places and pushing your driving skills to the limit, then Australia is the destination for you. Although, in a nation where the scenery changes so dramatically, it is necessary to do a little bit of research before you hit the road – or in this case dirt track.

Perhaps you want to explore the arid interior around Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the Olgas visiting famous sites such as King Canyon and the Devil’s Marbles. Or you want to find hidden surf breaks along the wave bashed coastline of Western Australia, heading from Margaret River through Perth and Exmouth and on to Broome.

Alternatively you may be interested in getting off-road in the Blue or Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australian Alps of Victoria or the Southern Mountains in Tasmania. Perhaps forest is more your thing, and you’d like to drive through the rainforest of Cape Tribulation, or explore the backroads from Cairns to Darwin.

Australian 4x4 adventures: Tips for off-road driving in Australia Cradle mountain Flickr image by Scott Cresswell

On Australian 4×4 adventures the world – or in this case country – is your oyster, you can head deep into national parks on the unpaved ‘corrugated’ roads and find sites other visitors miss.

It can include everything from famous trips such as Fraser Island in Queensland or following the backpacker trail – with plenty of off-road side trips of course! – up the east coast. To a real adventure driving off-road from one side of the country to the other.

Tips for off-road driving in Australia

With so many options fun is pretty much guaranteed. So here is a list of tips for off-road driving in Australia to help you stay safe.

Get to know your 4WD

Before you venture off the tarmac, ensure that you have got a good mental image of the underside of your car in your head. Pay particular attention to fragile parts, in particular the fuel tank, gearbox and engine sump. When you know where things are, you will know what to avoid and are less likely to damage the vehicle.

Australian 4x4 adventures Tips for off-road driving in Australia Flickr CC image by NeilsPhotography

It’s also worth knowing how high the roof rack is. We know that it’s boring but it is advisable to read the manual, that way you will know everything the car is capable of and how to get maximum enjoyment from the experience.

Seek advice

If you can, for a second, forget that you hate asking for directions and chat to locals with in-depth knowledge of the area. They will be able to tell you what to expect, what to avoid and what should not be missed.

It is also absolutely essential that you tell someone your route and travel plans. So if you break down there will be someone who will know that they should be expecting you and where they are likely to find you.

Permits

It is necessary to have permits to drive in all of Australia’s national parks and any travel across Aboriginal land requires permission. The permit process varies from state to state and they can take up to six weeks to obtain so it’s vital that you plan ahead.

Australian 4x4 adventures Tips for off-road driving in Australia Flickr CC image Dushan and Miae

Don’t drive at night

One of the most important tips for off-road driving in Australia is to avoid travelling at night. Australia’s wildlife is unfortunately attracted by headlights and a collision with one of the larger species could result in serious damage to your vehicle.

Be aware of road trains

Although the adventure starts when you get off-road, you should be prepared for inevitable encounters with colossal road trains which are particularly common in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia.

These multi-trailer trucks can be up to 50m long. When overtaking, allow at least 1.5km of open road ahead of you and allow plenty of space between you when you pass as displaced air can cause serious buffering.

Always stock up on supplies

Its common sense not to head across a desert without any water or to set off on a five day journey into the wild without any food. But every year people die during Australian 4×4 adventures because they are unprepared.

Australian 4x4 adventures Tips for off-road driving in Australia Flickr CC image by JohnONolan

So one of the best tips for off-road driving in Australia is to always have an emergency stash of fuel, water and food on top of what you need for your planned activities. Having spare parts for the vehicle and knowing how to fit them is also key to staying safe if things go wrong.

Lastly… Don’t crash

Remember to drive as slowly as possible and as fast as necessary. Avoid gear changes when negotiating difficult terrain and be prepared to admit defeat, back off and try a different route. By driving safely within your and the vehicles limits will help you to avoid accidents.

Follow this advice and your Australian 4×4 adventures should be both fun and safe. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out our overlanding discounts as you could save a fortune on an off-road adventure.

 
 
     

    Related Articles

     

    Adventure sports vs traditional sports: Which are better?

    There is no doubt that traditional sports such as football, tennis and golf are participated in, and watched by far more people than get involved in adventure...

    Destinations: N/A
    Read Article
     

    How adventure sports make you happy (mostly): BetterHelp mental health

    As anyone who does them regularly will tell you, adventure sports make you happy. For the most part that is – we all have bad days when things don’t go according...

    Destinations: N/A
    Read Article
     

    Guide to Pembrokeshire Coast Path trek: Wales trekking holiday review

    This guide to Pembrokeshire Coast Path trek is by Matt Lynch from Walk Wild. Having recently completed the 186 mile route we thought who better to write this Wales...

    Activities: Trekking
    Read Article

    Newsletter sign up