The Northern Territory ranks high on the list for some of the best 4WD tracks close to Darwin and surrounds.
If you’re looking to explore new boundaries, head north and venture into a haven of mind-blowing 4WD tracks in NT. Below are some favourites that can’t go amiss on your bucket list.
1. Binns 4WD Track
To get the true essence of the Northern Territory, and all it has to offer, this track is ideal! With miles of open country, rolling mountainous regions and sandy deserts, it’s a dream come true for 4WD enthusiasts.
This isn’t a track you want to rush and the suggested time dedicated to this track should be around 10 days in order to cover the 2330 kms this 4WD track in NT has to offer. The track offers really challenging and exciting sand dunes in parts as you travel from Mount Dare, through the beautiful Alice Springs and come to an end in Timber Creek – be sure you’ve nailed some testing trails before giving this one a go.
*At a stage the Binns Track runs through Gregory National Park which allows limited access from December to May, so do your research before heading for this track.
2. Kakadu National Park 4WD Trail
A World Heritage site known for its biodiversity; Kakadu National Park is one of the best areas to head off the beaten track. Situated just over 200km east of Darwin, the south of the park is home to various unsealed tracks which may only be accessed by 4WD, such as Maguk, Jim Jim Falls, Jarrangbarnmi, Twin Falls, and if you head up north, you’ll find West Alligator Head. If you’re craving a challenge, these 4wd tracks in NT are a good place to start.
There are various campsites situated throughout the park (some with more facilities than others) which provide you with the perfect opportunity to take in more of the indigenous wildlife, impressive rock formations, waterfalls and plunge pools – perhaps even head to the water for some fishing, if that’s your thing. Permits are required for some of the campsites so check that out and book prior to your journey.
*These tracks are only allowed to be tackled in the dry season due to the unpredictable weather throughout the rest of the year.
3. Gunbarrel Highway 4WD Track
This world-renowned track is definitely not for the faint-hearted. In fact, it is one of the most daunting 4WD tracks in NT, or in the whole of Australia for that matter. That being said, if you are an experienced four-wheel driver and you’re looking for a thrill, look no further!
Off-roaders can expect to experience big stones, rough terrain, flooded plains and evidence of landslides due to harsh weather conditions. This track isn’t suitable for a day trip and requires a minimum of four days should you wish to cover the 1400km of the track, however, there are some decent campsites en route, such as the Mingol Camp, in which to recoup.
*It is highly recommended that you carry along all necessary recovery gear, plenty of fuel and other necessities such as food and water – there are only a few stops, one of which is Carnegie Station, where the above will be available.
4. Reynolds River 4WD Track (Litchfield National Park) – Greater Litchfield Loop
Although not considered to be the most challenging, the Reynolds River 4WD Track will still give you a run for your money. This 44km track is a ‘dry season only’ track and runs through the Litchfield National Park drawing visitors to the majestic Tjaynera Falls at Sandy Creek, before leading adventurers all the way to the Daly River Road situated south of the park.
The track will take approximately 3.5 hours to complete one way, so ideally accommodation should be sought for the night, whether at a campsite in the park or elsewhere.
Off-roaders with some experience will be pleased to hear that parts of the track are rough, and depending how early in the dry season you go, you may come across quite deep rivers and creeks to cross, so make sure your snorkel is fitted! The unique landscapes surrounding this route will make this track stick out in your memory.
5. Finke River 4WD Track (Finke Gorge National Park)
Challenge accepted! This is one of the most exciting 4WD tracks in NT and is sure to keep even the most experienced 4X4 drivers on their toes. Situated within the Finke Gorge National Park, this track follows the Finke River all the way to the Watarrka National Park and exposes drivers to some spectacular bird life, sandy red cliffs and some fun amongst the River Red Gum trees.
Although there are camping grounds in the park, there are no facilities available so it’s a case of ‘roughing and toughing it’ with all your own gear and supplies. Remember to bring along the necessary recovery gear as the route is mainly sand driving, but drivers can also expect bog holes depending on previous weather conditions.
6. Sandover Highway 4WD Track
If you’re looking to really break away, as in, not-a-car-in-sight kind of breakaway, Sandover Highway is one of those 4WD tracks in NT. The track consists of more than 500km of remote landscapes and runs from Plenty Highway heading just about all the way to the Queensland border ending at Barkly Highway.
Although seemingly simple, this track is far from. Drivers can expect extremes from very slippery and sandy, to muddy bog holes and sometimes even flooding.
Be ready for the challenge and ensure you pack all required recovery equipment; plenty of extra water; fuel and supplies as there is no mobile coverage and very little help along the way, should you need.
Autumn and spring are the recommended seasons to take this track on, and if possible, travel in groups.
7. Red Centre Way 4WD Track
A unique outback adventure that does a round route starting and ending in Alice Springs, this route covers almost 1200km of land and shows off diverse and unique scenery throughout every part of the journey.
Travel through the MacDonnell Ranges and look forward to the unmatched characteristics of places like Standley Chasm; Simpsons Gap and Ormiston Gorge before heading up to Watarrka National Park where the iconic Kings Canyon can be enjoyed, along with the beautiful spring that highlights its beauty. The route continues onto Uluru and then the incredible Olgas rock formations of Kata Tjuta.
Although this 4WD track is an easy-going one, it is so worth a few days away from the hustle and bustle of every day life. Be sure to track the magnificent sunrises and sunsets as you pass through the different areas of the trail – showstopping to say the least.
Jump on the phone with your friends and start planning your next 4WD adventure.
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