With spectacular sunsets, remote scenery, and diverse wildlife, Australia’s Outback is an ideal destination for adventurers. One of the best ways to explore this ancient terrain is by car, particularly if you are an off-roading enthusiast. The following are five of the most enjoyable journeys through the majestic Outback.
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1. The Outback Way
For a broad view of the Outback’s most intriguing sights, you can take a jaunt down the Outback Way. This takes you across the desert from Kalgoorie in the west to Uluru, over a period of four or five days. You’ll want to stock up on plenty of food and water supplies in Kalgoorie before you start your journey, as the terrain can get quite remote in the desert. Along the way, you’ll pass by the ghost town of Gwalia, the historic Hoover House, salt lakes, and the vast expanses of the Great Victoria and Gibson Deserts. The journey is capped by a visit to the massive stone figures of the Olgas and Uluru, where you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to admire the way the light hits these natural splendours at different times of day. To access many parts of this track, you’ll need a high clearance 4WD vehicle.
2. Canning Stock Route
Another legendary Outback road is the Canning Stock route, which takes you through 2,000 kilometres of isolated and rugged terrain. You’ll definitely need a reliable 4WD vehicle to tackle the Canning Stock route, like a Land Rover or Jeep. Click for more information about high clearance vehicles along these lines. The route takes you through the Gibson and Great Sandy Deserts, where you’ll see spectacular scenery and ancient rock art.
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3. Wool Wagon Pathway
A three-day journey stretching from the town of Geraldton to the coastal settlement of Exmouth, the Wool Wagon Pathway takes you from red dirt roads to sandy beaches and the stunning wildlife of the Ningaloo Reef. On the first day, travel 400 km from Geraldton to the Murchison Settlement where you can stay overnight at a working cattle station. You’ll then travel from Murchison to Gascoyne Junction, travelling along the Gascoyne River. There are a number of off-road detours to explore the countryside, hot springs, and Kennedy mountain ranges before you reach the famous Ningaloo Reef with its whale sharks and colourful coral.
4. Miners Pathway
View the remnants of Australia’s gold rush of the 1800′s along this off-road adventure. The Miners Pathway passes through prospecting towns such as Sandstone and Mt. Magnet, where you can view museums, colonial architecture, and discarded mine shafts. The road to Sandstone is along a rugged dirt road, but you’ll be rewarded with local wildlife including emus and kangaroos.
5. Gunbarrel Highway
Finally, if you’re looking for a real off-roading challenge, try exploring the Gunbarrel Highway. This goes on for a good 1,400 miles of corrugated road, rocky tracks, and flood plains that will test your driving skill. You’ll see a number of historic cattle stations, caves, and dry creeks along the way, as well as the scenery of the Docker River and Northern Goldfields.
Before tackling any of these challenging routes, be sure that your car is in top condition and that you’ve stocked up on extra fuel, food, and water. You may also need permits to access Aboriginal lands depending on your route, so be sure to check with the local visitor centre in advance.