We love travelling in the Outback and visiting remote places in Australia. In this section we tell you about some of the amazing places we've visited: Cape York, Arnhem Land, The Simpson Desert, The Kimberley, The Red Centre, Len Beadell Tracks, Canning Stock Route, Kakadu, Savannah Way, The Channel Country, The High Country, Flinders Ranges, Aboriginal Art Sites....
A GULF TREK - December 2015
A Savannah Way trip, with some interesting diversions.
This suggested itinerary around the Gulf of Carpentaria takes in part of the Savannah Way and the old Gulf Track. It’s a great way to travel between North Queensland and the Northern Territory.
ABERCROMBIE RIVER NATIONAL PARK
Sydney or Canberra weekender
Abercrombie River National Park preserves steep sections of forested tableland, amidst less rugged, cleared country that has become pine plantations and grazing land. Abercrombie offers varied 4WD driving conditions and magnificent river-side campsites.
ACROSS AUSTRALIA BY SOFT-ROADER - updated January 2015
With care, a trans-Australia dirt-road trip by soft-roader is possible.
Although not quite as challenging as Michael Palin crossing the Andes by frog, a trip across the continent in a softroader can have its moments.
ANNE BEADELL HIGHWAY AND EMU CLAYPAN - Updated July 2015
We check out this lengthy, remote and corrugated legacy of the post-WWII rocket tesing years.
Said to be the worst road in Australia, the Anne Beadell Highway in South Australia lived up to its reputation when OTA ran it in July 2015.
ARNHEM LAND INVESTIGATION
This remote area is opening gradually to eco-tourism.
OTA was asked to consult with some Arnhem Land elders about the prospect of limited tag-along tourism in this heavily restricted area. Nothing has materialised yet, but we’re hopeful.
AROUND THE ALICE
You need plenty of touring time in the Red Centre.
Everyone knows about Uluru (Ayers Rock), which is one of the world’s best known tourist attractions. However, the Rock is just one of dozens of brilliant sites in Australia’s Red Centre and many 4WD visitors don’t leave themselves enough time to see them all.
BACK 'O' BOURKE - updated January 2015
If you like red dirt - go for it!
Here are two routes through Outback NSW that give visitors an excellent impression of this river country that has supported Aboriginal tribes and white pastoralists for eons.
BEN BOYD NATIONAL PARK
Ben Boyd National Park is a magnificent jewel on the NSW Sapphire Coast.
As with many national parks Ben Boyd is best appreciated by setting up your camp and then driving and walking to experience the attractions. Nearly all the gravel and dirt roads in the Park are suitable for 2WD vehicles, but there are some 4WD-only tracks in the northern section.
BINN'S TRACK - FEBRUARY 2014
The alternative route to the Stuart Highway in the NT.
The 2200-kilometre-long Binn's Track runs from Mount Dare in South Australia to Timber Creek in the Northern Territory sub-tropics.
BLACKDOWN TABLELAND NATIONAL PARK
A refreshing change from the mine-dominated surrounding countryside.
This high-altitude Queensland destination offers rainforest and gorge walks, forest camping, spectacular lookouts and an interesting 4WD loop track.
BLADENSBURG NP and LARK QUARRY
These two destinations are close to Winton and both are must-visit places.
Bladensburg National Park is a former grazing property and is one of the best short-drive National Parks we’ve visited. You can camp there or stay at nearby Winton and drive the ‘Route of the River Gums’ in a softroader as a pleasant day trip.
BLUE MOUNTAINS - NSW
Spectacular mountain scenery with great 4WDing.
There are plenty of 4WD tracks in the NSW Blue Mountains region. We’ve picked out some of the highlights.
BORDER RANGES NATIONAL PARK
Border Country - NSW and Queensland
This World Heritage listed area offers spectacular views of the Mount Warning volcanic site, along with drives and walks through dense rainforest. A tour through the Border Ranges National Park isn’t an off-road challenge by any means, but should be part of any tour of the mountainous region between Queensland and NSW.
BURDEKIN RIVER ROMP
This week-long tour of the Burdekin River area is great fun.
There’s great scenery and history on this North Queensland trek that weaves along the watercourse of the mighty Burdekin River.
BUSH SCIENCE IN ACTION - includes VIDEO
OTA was there for the discovery of an important piece of rock art.
Outback Travel Australia helped two senior archaeologists make a highly significant discovery in the Outback. We and Land Rover were delighted to set up this archaeological expedition and we felt privileged to be present when such an important historic find was made.
CANIA GORGE and KROOMBIT TOPS NPs
Sandstone cliffs and steep 4WD tracks in the semi-tropics.
These two national parks are close together and offer an excellent sandstone escarpment experience for visitors.
CANNING STOCK ROUTE
The CSR is the most demanding 4WD route in Australia.
There are drives that are rougher, sand dunes that are taller and floodways that are stickier, but no track compares with the CSR in terms of sheer distance and the mechanical and physical endurance required.
CAPE MELVILLE NATIONAL PARK
Wild and historic country en route to Cape York
Cape Melville is a little visited destination on the way to Cape York and the main reasons are the remoteness of the place and the difficult access tracks. However, if you don’t mind slogging through rutted bulldust and deep sand, then living with crocs, rays, sharks, stingers, dingoes, feral bulls, giant pigs and hordes of voracious sandflies you’ll just love it. Oh, the fishing’s not bad either
CAPE YORK - FORBIDDEN BEACH RUN
This footage from 1989, is the now forbidden beach run from Ussher Point to Captain Billy Landing.
Many 4WD adventurers were forced to abandon their 4x4s after becoming hopelessly bogged in sand on incoming tides.
CAPE YORK ADVENTURE - includes videos
Right from the start of a Cape York odyssey there are route choices.
Cape York can be tackled in a variety of ways, from full-on, extreme 4WD tracks to the corrugated main road. This suggested itinerary takes in some demanding off-roading, but not hard-core tracks like the one through Gunshot Creek.
CARNARVON NATIONAL PARK
Carnarvon National Park is in forbidding terrain.
Carnarvon Gorge is one of the best known National Parks in Queensland, but not so well known is the fact that it’s only one of four major sites in what is the greater Carnarvon National Park.
CONNIE SUE HIGHWAY - June 2015
Rough and remote, so you need to be self-sufficient.
Len Beadell named this ‘highway’ after his baby daughter, who accompanied him and his wife, Anne, when he drove across country, planning this track that was later finished off by his Gunbarrel Road Construction Party.
CORNER COUNTRY NSW
When the rains came we high-tailed it to the NSW Corner Country.
The explorer Charles Sturt was the first white man to pass through the area, in 1845, on his way to find the anticipated inland sea. Australia’s inward-flowing rivers surely meant that there must be a central sea into which they flowed and so convinced of this was Sturt that he hauled a whaleboat on wheels with him.
CROAJINGOLONG NATIONAL PARK
This area is one of only 12 world bioshpere reserves in Australia.
More than 1000 species of native plants have been recorded in the Park, including 90 varieties of orchids. Fauna range is also vast, from tree-dwelling mammals to dolphins and whales in the coastal waters.
The OTA team travelled down the legendary Diamantina River - updated June 2016.
Like many of Australia’s giant rivers the Diamantina has its source in shallow hills, spreads majestically wide when full and ends anti-climactically in an inland swamp. Also like many inland rivers the Diamantina is little more than an expanse of dusty channels, with isolated waterholes, in most years. Flooding rains change that scene.
Don't rush through the beautiful East Kimberley area.
It’s tempting for east coasters emerging from the Tanami Desert to push through the East Kimberley region and onto the Gibb River Road, but you need more time near the WA border before going west.
EAST MACDONNELL RANGES
When in The Alice go east as well as west.
Although the best known sites around Alice Springs are in the West MacDonnells, there are many natural and historic wonders to the east of the town that are not so well visited.
Combine easy walks with 4WD exploring in the Flinders Ranges.
The loose gravel track climbed out of the rocky creek bed and wound its way up a steep slope. When the Land Rover’s bonnet crested the rise the view literally stopped us in our tracks: as far as the eye could see the twisted, tortured hills of the Flinders Ranges stretched to the horizon, their folds accentuated by the fading rays of the sinking sun.
FOLLOWING WARBURTON'S 1873 FOOTSTEPS - includes video
OTA gains new respect for Australia's early explorers
The OTA team joined Jol Fleming and some traditional owners to follow in Colonel PE Warburton's 1873 footsteps through Aboriginal Lands west of Alice Springs.
FOLLOWING WARBURTON'S FOOTSTEPS - PART TWO
OTA joins Jol Fleming in finding the elusive Waterloo Wells location.
In Part Two of following Colonel Peter Warburton's desert footsteps the team, headed by Jol Fleming, spent a great deal of time locating a native well area that has remained hidden for many decades. Originally we thought that we could retrace Warburton's footsteps in two desert trips, but it will take three - at least.
FOSSIL HUNTING AT LAKE CALLABONNA
OTA joined forces with senior archaeologists from the National Museum and UNE. This expedition began with a search for elusive diprotodon fossils on the shores of Lake Callabonna.
Off-season visiting is best!
Fraser Island is one of the jewels in Australia’s crown and is justifiably on the World Heritage List. We have a need to get to Fraser every few years and the problem is: so does everyone else, it seems.
GEOSURVEYS HILL - September 2014
OTA guides archaeologists into the remote Northern Simpson desert.
This trek was two years in the planning. The aim was to escort two senior archaeologists into this remote region, to search for evidence of ancient Aboriginal occupation in what is today an arid, desert region, with no surface water.
GOOG'S TRACK - August 2015
An interesting track through a huge dune field.
This north-south dune track in South Australia never achieved its original aim to connect arid-region pastoral properties with coastal shipping ports. However, thanks to the persistence of the Denton Family in the 1970s it’s a great 4WD recreational route today.
GREAT CENTRAL ROAD
An interesting way to travel from the Red Centre to the Goldfields.
The great east-west challenge is the Gunbarrel ‘Highway’, but years of neglect make it a severe 4WD vehicle test. The Great Central Road is an easier run from Uluru to The West.
GREGORY NATIONAL PARK - FEBRUARY 2014
Spectacular rocky country dotted with biillabongs and boab trees.
Gregory National Park doesn't have the scenic attractions of the wetland NT Parks, but is sited in unique country with great historical significance and offers good off-road driving.
HATTAH-KULKYNE NATIONAL PARK - March 2015
Easy dirt track touring among the River Red gums
This Victorian destination offers easy 4WD touring, bush walking, boating, canoeing, fishing and bird watching.
HAY RIVER TO BEDOURIE - August 2015
Another Northern Simpson Desert crossing.
This track was pioneered by Jol Fleming, from Direct 4WD Awareness in Alice Springs. His company is also the contact point for people wishing to follow this route.
HAY RIVER TRACK
The ultimate tow test: hauling campers up the remote Hay River Track
When we turned left up the Hay River valley it wasn’t immediately apparent that we were travelling up anything other than another swale, but after a few kilometres we started to see signs of water flows and obvious flood erosion.
IDALIA NATIONAL PARK
This former grazing property nestles in amazing country - February 2014.
Idalia National Park is a resumed grazing property in central-west Queensland. The Park protects mulga woodlands, the headwaters of the Bulloo River and tributaries of the Barcoo River. It’s home to 15 native fuchsia species and the endangered yellow-footed rock wallaby.
KAKADU NATIONAL PARK - with video - May 2014
This world heritage listed site is the largest land national park in Australia.
Located 240 kilometres east of Darwin in Australia’s tropical north, Kakadu National Park is Australia’s largest terrestrial national park. Kakadu covers almost 20,000 square kilometres and is a place of enormous ecological and biological diversity.
KARIJINI and MT AUGUSTUS NATIONAL PARKS
World famous gorges and a world famous mountain - updated July 2016.
Two of the must-visit sites in Western Australia are Karijini National Park and Mount Augustus National Park, although neither place requires a tough 4WD. The access roads to both areas are gravel and that’s the extent of the driving adventure.
LAURA TO MAYTOWN COACH ROAD - January 2016
Demanding 4WD trip to an historic mining area - January 2016
It’s tempting on a Cape York trip to bypass many of the interesting sites along the way in a headlong rush to get to The Tip. One such significant area is Maytown, the centre of the Palmer River Goldfields.
LAWN HILL NATIONAL PARK
A breathtaking arid-country oasis that's a must-see.
The innocuous name doesn’t exactly capture the imagination, but Lawn Hill National Park in north-west Queensland is one of the State’s most spectacular sites and wasn’t ravaged by the recent floods or cyclone.
LENDING A HAND IN THE OUTBACK
Be a Good Samaritan as you travel.
Denise Williams recounts her rewarding experience as a volunteer with Outback Links.
LIMMEN NATIONAL PARK - May 2014
Great fishing and brilliant scenery on the Savannah Way.
Limmen National Park is a recently gazetted area that preserves beautfiul savannah country at the base of Arnhem Land. Highlights are riverside campsites and fantastic 'lost city' sandstone hills.
LITCHFIELD NATIONAL PARK
Some great creek-crossing adventure with swimming holes at the end.
The best way to appreciate this relatively unspoilt National Park is to enter at the southern end and drive on interesting and sometimes challenging tracks to the more popular and easily visited northern sections.
MITCHELL RIVER ODYSSEY
This alternative route to Cape York has its hazards.
The normal approach to Cape York is via the east coast tracks and the Peninsula Developmental Road, but this route starts on the western side of the Peninsula, for those coming from the Gulf.
MONGA NATIONAL PARK - January 2015
Trees, trees and more trees.
This 25,000ha National Park was gazetted in 2001 and contains a mixture of rainforest and regrowth and old growth forest. Easy tracks make this an interesting one-day excursion for softroaders.
MUNGO NATIONAL PARK
Aborignal and settler history overlap in this eroded location.
Three wet seasons have restricted Mungo National Park access, but this World Heritage Area is still a must-see destination.
A pile of old rocks turned out to be quite a find!
When we do Outback trips with our archaeological mates it never ceases to amaze us how they see things we don’t. On this excursion into the Strzelecki Desert we helped them locate what looked like a pile of old rocks, but it turned out to be something quite different…
NEVER NEVER TRACK
OTA joined an escorted tour through Aboriginal traditional lands.
It’s an unfortunate fact that 4WD enthusiasts are locked out of many Aboriginal lands, so it came as a refreshing change when we were invited by well-known Alice Springs based 4WD guru, Jol Fleming, to join him and Central Lands Council member, Lindsay Bookie, on a ‘recce’ for what is intended to be a regular tour through Aboriginal lands in the northern Simpson Desert.
NORTH STRADBROKE AND MORETON ISLANDS - October 2015
This two-Island odyssey is a great summer trip.
Queensland’s North Stradbroke and Moreton Islands aren’t as well known as Fraser Island, but they’re well worth a visit.
This historic drive is not to be missed - updated July 2016.
The Oodnadatta Track is one of the most scenic and interesting drives in Australia. The country is flat to gently undulating for the most part and the gravel road is generally kept in good condition.
OTWAY RANGES - May 2014
This area is one of Victoria's finest.
Our suggested route takes in some of The Otways highlights, but it’s possible to spend a lifetime exploring this mountainous region.
PLENTY LAKES EXPEDITION
OTA joined a combined Direct 4WD Awareness and Central Lands Council expedition into the Northern Simpson Desert. The purpose of the trip was to look for evidence of Aboriginal occupation in the remote Plenty Lakes area.
QUEENSLAND'S PASTORAL NATIONAL PARKS - January 2015
Queensland has gazetted a number of former grazing properties as national parks, to conserve significant geography, flora and fauna, as well as for pastoral historical value. We've picked out three parks that lie north-south between the Savannah Way and the Diamantina.
ROBE BEACH RUN
This is a short, beachfront trip, but there are some hazards - March 2014.
The Beach Run is a fun pursuit today, but Robe’s situation made it an important port in the days when most freight went around the coast by ship. The Beach Run is great 4WD adventure, but there’s plenty more to do in the Robe area.
RUDALL RIVER NATIONAL PARK
This ruggedly beautiful Park is as remote as it gets - July 2016
Rudall River National Park is one of the most remote national parks in Australia and is strictly for experienced and well equipped 4WD travellers
SANDOVER AND PLENTY HIGHWAYS
'Highways' mightn't be the right description but go anyway.
It’s often been said that the journey is half the fun and that’s certainly the case with the gravel road alternative routes to the Red Centre from the East Coast: the Sandover and Plenty Highways.
SANDY BLIGHT JUNCTION ROAD - June 2015
This is a beautiful but remote track.
If you travel on only one of Len Beadell’s desert tracks the Sandy Blight Junction Road is the one to do. It runs through beautiful, interesting country and was justifiably his favourite.
Wth 4WD Off-Road Driver Training and Tours
This trek follows a route laid out by NSW-based 4WD Off Road Driver Training and Tours. The route takes in popular and less travelled tracks across the dune field, followed by a run through the Painted Desert, to Coober Pedy.
Corrugations, stones and wandering stock are ever-present hazards.
The main purpose of the Tanami Road for 4WD travellers is a short cut between Alice Springs and The Kimberley, but there's plenty to see along the way.
TAPIN TOPS NATIONAL PARK
Not far from the NSW Pacific Highway is a peerless rainforest experience
Magnificent, tall ferny blackbutt, brushbox, tallow wood and blue gum trees dominate the ridge lines and valleys, and rainforest pockets appear around virtually every corner. Almost half of Tapin Tops NP is old-growth forest and provides a habitat for threatened species, including the parma wallaby, squirrel glider and sphagnum frog.
THE MADIGAN LINE - February 2015
The remote Madigan Line, plus a side trip to Geosurveys Hill
Patrick Walsh has sent us this report and video on a recent trip across the famous Madigan Line, with an excursion to Geosurveys Hill.
VICTORIAN HIGH COUNTRY - includes video
Tracks vary from easy to very difficult - something for everyone!
There are literally hundreds of tracks through Australia’s tallest mountain ranges, but we’ve selected just a few of our favourites.
VICTORIA'S MALLEE NATIONAL PARKS
There's a lot more than just many-stemmed trees in this country. February 2014
Victoria’s Mallee National Parks capture arid and river-front landscapes, and flora and fauna that seem quite ‘un-Victorian’ to people accustomed to High Country destinations.
YURAYGIR NATIONAL PARK
This two-part park offers stunning ocean-front camping and scenery.
Yuraygir National Park was created in 1980 and embraces more than 30,000 hectares of coastal land that’s largely unspoilt.