Western Australia’s Iconic 4WD Tracks

Decorative image showing the beach

“Never let someone else define your adventure, or tell you how to do it. Not even us.”

This is the message we put at the beginning of each post. 

The Rough As Guts mandate is that we must always tell it like it is, regardless of popular opinion. Sometimes it may seem like we’re trying to gate keep the word “adventure” when we say things like “real four wheel driving” or “real camping”. That’s not our intent, but what we damn-sure are hell-bent on, is to make sure people are never putting their limitations on others, advising against reasonable risk and lowering the bar for people who just might have gone and done something incredible if they hadn’t been talked out of it.

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Table of Contents

Western Australia’s Off-Road Odysseys | Six Iconic 4WD Tracks in WA

Western Australia is the second largest state in the world..

With a huge area that includes 5 deserts and with such a small population outside of Perth, it’s no wonder there’s some blisteringly good adventures to be had out here.

Here’s some of our favourite off-road routes through Western Australia. There’s certainly other areas of the state that we like just as much to travel through, but if you’re looking for known iconic routes and bucket list items, here’s some of the greats, in no particular order.

A map showing all the deserts in Australia, showing 5 in Western Australia
One hell of a desert playground in here.

 

 

Canning Stock Route

aerial map showing the Canning Stock Route

close-up map showing a section of the Canning Stock Route in detail.

The oldest historic stock route in the world and one of the last frontiers of remoteness.

The Canning Stock Route is a 1,800km journey across some of the most remote areas in the world, through the desert where 51 wells were originally established so that drovers, horses, camels and livestock could make the journey without perishing from thirst, though plenty did.

Cresting 900 sand dunes over 21 days, the CSR is no mean feat and requires some serious packing when it comes to fuel and water.

Permits are required for traversing the track between well 5 to well 51.

 

Gibb River Road

long distance shot of mitchell falls, western australia

map of gibb river road, western australia

The Gibb River Road has always been a special place to me. It’s where I was first reported missing at the age of 9, and oh what a time that was.

Having been all along and around the Gibb River Road over the last 21 years, I have seen it become busier bit by bit, until Covid hit. With the state border being closed leading to a huge increase in intra-state tourism, the Gibb River Road went from seeing some traffic to every man and his dog with an oversized caravan and $200,000 worth of car, hitting it all at once.

We are hypocritical, as a company that takes tourists to the Gibb River Road, despite being sad at how busy it now is. The fact is, that it’s still quite possibly the most stunning place on Earth and tourist numbers will inevitably return to normal as people become jaded once more and go back to existing in the suburbs with their only reprieve being an overseas trip.

 

The Holland Track

aerial shot showing a D22 Navara and an Amarok driving along the Holland Track
Taken from our filming trip on the Holland Track, when we made Desert to Dune.

A sign post on the Holland Track

The Holland Track is great. Even before I ran a tour business, I would hit the Holland Track once a year on a dirt bike with a group of mates. We even made one of our films, Desert to Dune, there.

We like to describe the Holland Track as the closest thing WA has to a sample pack of terrains and landscapes. With either end being less than 6 hours from Perth, it’s basically just around the corner and can provide 4 days of remote bliss, if you take some of the side tracks.

The Holland Track was originally surveyed by John Holland as a way of connecting would-be prospectors and miners between existing routes to the South Coast and the Goldfields. People seeking their fortune during the gold rush would walk for weeks with all their belongings, hoping to find gold in the goldfields. Not everyone would make it the whole way though.

 

The Anne Beadell Highway

photo showing the Anne Beadell Highway after a heavy rain.

A map of the anne beadell highway

Named after his wife, Len Beadell first surveyed what would become this track in 1957.

It’s a ~1,300km track that travels through the Great Victoria Desert, between Laverton in Western Australia and Coober Pedy in South Australia.

There are no settlements along this track and subsequently no fuel or water stops. It’s a properly remote desert track, something which we’re slowly running out of in this world.

 

Gunbarrel Highway

a straight section of the gunbarrel highway with low scrub either side

A sign for victory downs on the gunbarrel highway

The Gunbarrel Highway is 1,300km of desert track that meanders through  Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia.

It was named after Len Beadell’s intention for sections to be as straight as a gun barrel. Something which he did indeed achieve.

Another brilliant track through Australia’s centre, traversing desert, flood plain and sand, it shares a lot of similarities to the Anne Beadell Highway, Canning Stock Route and the Great Central Road, which all have a Westernmost or Southernmost end in the same region.

 

Great Central Road

a photo showing how wide and level the Great Central Road is.
One of the only ones not named “highway”, but actually looks like one. A thoroughfare, rather than a track.

a map of the great central road.

Less of a track these days and much more a dirt road, the Great Central Road would leave a lot to be desired as a stand-alone 4WD route. It does provide access to a lot of tracks however, such as the Connie Sue Highway, Gunbarrel Highway and it meets the end of the Anne Beadell Highway

Freedom does not come automatically, it is achieved. And it is not gained in a single bound; it must be achieved each day”

– Rollo May, Man’s Search for Himself

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4WD Tours in Western Australia

Rough As Guts offers guided tag-along tours through WA’s rugged Outback.

two four wheel drives driving on the holland track

The Outback for Beginners

Challenge yourself just enough, as we take you through the Golden Outback and on the Holland Track.

Adventure starts here.

5 DAYS

$2,300

landscape shot of a rust coloured hill with spinifex in the east pilbara

Pilbara outback adventure

Rugged, pre-historic desert landscapes that look like they’re from another world.

8 DAYS

$4,560

Gunbarrel highway during the rain

Three Desert & Canning stock route

Three deserts, Gunbarrel Highway, Great Central Road, Canning Stock Route & more.

12 DAYS

$8,280

4WD Tours in Western Australia

Rough As Guts offers guided tag-along tours through WA’s rugged Outback.

two four wheel drives driving on the holland track

The Outback for Beginners

Challenge yourself just enough, as we take you through the Golden Outback and on the Holland Track.

Adventure starts here.

5 DAYS

$2,300

landscape shot of a rust coloured hill with spinifex in the east pilbara

Pilbara outback adventure

Rugged, pre-historic desert landscapes that look like they’re from another world.

8 DAYS

$4,560

Gunbarrel highway during the rain

Three Desert & Canning stock route

Three deserts, Gunbarrel Highway, Great Central Road, Canning Stock Route & more.

12 DAYS

$8,280