Australia’s largest state, Western Australia, offers up plenty of adventure for off roaders looking to push themselves with challenging terrain. But the state is also home to a wealth of stunning flora and fauna, as well as natural features that will leave you breathless. Here are our favourite off road drives in Western Australia.
Gibb River Road
Stretching over 660kms from Kununurra to Derby, the legendary Gibb River Road is the ultimate in outback adventuring. Originally used for droving cattle, The Gibb takes between 2-3 days to traverse depending on the conditions, and will take intrepid off roaders through the heart of the Kimberley.
With stunning gorges, river crossings, and the odd croc sighting, the track carves its way through several privately owned cattle stations and Aboriginal lands, so keep an eye on signage. Stretching the drive over three days, rather than two, will give you more opportunity to get out and explore the beautiful natural features, but the road can be covered in two days if you’re committed to long driving stints.
Learn more about Gibb River Road here
The Great Central Road
Curving past brilliant ochre bluffs, fields of wildflowers, and plenty of caves and rivers, the Great Central Road is a must for every off-roaders bucket list. This 1,100km journey begins in Laverton, WA, a small mining community 12 hours north east of Perth, and takes drivers all the way up to Yulara in the Northern Territory for the true Outback experience.
While the Great Central Road is mostly a smooth drive, there are areas of corrugations, rocky outcrops, and soft sandy riverbeds to challenge drivers. Camp sites, accommodation, and supplies are available along the way, though planning ahead is recommended.
If you’re travelling on The Great Central Road, Aboriginal Entry Permits will be required, and you can find out more information about the permits at The Outback Way
The Nullarbor Plain
Is there anything more Australian than a trek across the Nullarbor? This is a journey that every off-roader has to do at least once in their life. The Eyre Highway is your gateway to the Nullarbor, and will take you across Western Australia and into South Australia.
Along the way you’ll see the true beauty of Australia. Home to the world’s largest Limestone rock exposure, the beauty of the Nullarbor will stay with you long after you’ve washed the red dust off your tyres.
While the road is mostly easy driving – after all, the Nulla is home to the world’s longest straight stretch of road at 146kms – there are challenges along the way. Keep an eye out for kangaroos, emus, and even camels as you make your journey, and during the night the wildlife can pose even more of a risk to drivers. You’ll also be sharing the road with trucks and road trains, so although it may feel like you’re the only person in the world while crossing the Nullarbor, always keep an eye out and stay focussed. You’ll also be able to catch sight of the Indian Pacific railway as it travels along the transcontinental rail line.
As far as challenging terrain, you’ll have to go off the highway, with the granite hills of Fraser Range cattle station offering up harder to navigate tracks for more experienced off roaders.
Learn more about crossing the mighty Nullarbor here
Canning Stock Route
Considered by many to be one of the most challenging 4WD trails in the world, the Canning Stock Route is not for casual off-roaders. This trail will provide challenges that will require drivers utilise all of their off-roading skills, but the natural beauty of the many deserts and Aboriginal traditional lands you will travel through along the route will make the effort seem like nothing.
Once used as an old stock route, the trail follows a series of 51 wells that were used by the cattlemen of the Kimberley as they travelled south along their journey to the stock yards. Stretching over almost 2,000kms, the Canning Stock route is one of the most remote off-off-loading tracks in the world and, as such, you need to be well prepared for the journey. You will not come across towns or emergency assistance centres on the Canning, so prepping is a must.
As far as terrain goes, expect severe corrugations – so solid suspension is a must if you’re travelling the route – and you’ll also get plenty of sandy dune driving in, as well as rocky outcrops. The Route is usually open from June to September, but keep on top of weather reports as wet weather even in this time period can make parts of the trail impassable.
Learn more about planning and permits required for the Canning Stock Route here
Western Australia showcases the natural beauty of Australia in a way that will stay with you forever. If crossing into South Australia or the Northern Territory is part of your WA adventure, check out our off roading guides for those states here