Complete 4WD Guide To Tackle The Ellis Track

Are you thinking about tackling the Ellis Track? Well I hope you have the stomach for it, because it isn’t for the faint hearted. Revered as one of the most, if not the most difficult tracks for 4WDing in Australia, the Ellis Track has quite the reputation.

However, with great challenge comes great reward. Even though it may be one of the hardest tracks in Australia, it is certainly a favourite amongst many seasoned rev-heads. 

So, all this being said, how do you do it? Where is the Ellis Track and what do you need to complete it? 

Fear not, because in this article we will give you a guide on all the things you should know about the Ellis Track. 

Where and how long is the Ellis Track?

Just over an hour east of Melbourne near Gladysdale/Wesburn, the Ellis Track is surprisingly short at around 3km. However, don’t be fooled thinking it is not difficult just because it is short. It might be no Canning Stock Route in length, but those 3km can take you all day, and can be near impossible in the wet. 

Massive boulders, uneven terrain, gigantic ruts and muddy slopes will do everything in their power to prevent you from advancing on this tough trail.

That being said, you need to make sure you have the gear AND the idea to get through this treacherous stretch.

What sort of vehicle do you need to complete the Ellis Track?

Clearance, clearance, clearance. No this isn’t some sort of grand sale, I’m talking about the clearance at the bottom of your vehicle. When tackling the Ellis Track, clearance is one of the most important things to consider, because of the boulders, ruts and ledges. 

That being said, these are the characteristics your vehicle should have to get you through the Ellis Track:  

  • Low range 4WD
  • Lockable hubs/differential lock  
  • 32 inch tyres or bigger (mud tyres preferred)
  • 2 inch lift or more is preferred 
  • Underguards 
  • Short wheelbase vehicles are easier 
  • Turbo-charged diesel easier, but not essential

When it comes to it, your classic touring vehicles like Jeep Wranglers, Toyota Landcruisers, Nissan Navaras and Patrols, and the rest of the common types will all have the best chance for success. The modifications you add to your vehicle will make it much easier, so if you’re chasing more clearance, contact the professionals.  

Be prepared to damage your vehicle 

Even if you’ve put all the bells and whistles onto your vehicle, expect to get down and dirty with the rough and tumble when facing the Ellis Track. Even the most seasoned drivers in the most impressive rigs frequently get a few love bites on their vehicles. There’s a saying that people will know if you’ve done the Ellis Track or not by the look of your car. 

What equipment do you need to bring on the Ellis Track? 

So besides the obvious ones of; food, water, and fuel, what are some of the things you should bring for your adventure? Here’s a list of the essentials: 

  • Sand flag 
  • ALL of the recovery gear for 4WDing (especially a winch, shovel, and maxtrax) 
  • First aid kit 
  • Compass
  • UHF radio
  • Fire extinguisher
  • A lighter
  • Spare parts for your vehicle
  • Service manual for your vehicle 
  • Jack and base plate 
  • GPS 
  • Physical maps
  • Medications 

For a full mechanical check and advice on what else you should bring, contact a 4WD professional. 

Can you do the Ellis Track solo? 

First of all let’s define “solo”. If we are talking about doing it by yourself with no other car and nobody in the passenger seat, we’d highly recommend you don’t. This isn’t a track you can simply just drive along all honky-dory. You will definitely need at least one other person with you to spot the lines you are driving. 

You might be able to get away with doing the Ellis Track without another vehicle, but again we wouldn’t recommend doing it. By going with another vehicle, you have a way to get yourself out of a bog or other tricky situations, not if but when they arise. 

Additionally, going with other people is fun! If you don’t know anyone else with a 4WD, there are plenty of 4WD groups and clubs that are extremely friendly and fun! Ask a professional for some recommendations. 

When is the best time to do the Ellis Track? 

Being so close to Melbourne, it’s pretty easy to just pick up and go have a crack at the Ellis Track if the weather is permitting. This means that really you can go at any time of year, but you should try and go when it is dry. When the Ellis Track is wet, the mud turns into a natural waterslide, which makes it very difficult to drive on, and if it’s torrential it can be quite dangerous. 

Where should you get your car upgraded for your crossing?

For any of your supplies and upgrades for your upcoming attempt at the Ellis Track, Total 4×4 is the one-stop shop for all truck, passenger and 4WD accessories with over 30 years of experience in both recreational and commercial. Not only do we have the best brands for you to pick and choose from, we also have the friendly team to put it on your vehicle. We have the products, we have the installers, come give us a visit!

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