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Australia’s toughest outback tracks for next-level touring

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Australia’s outback offers no shortage of rugged and beautiful landscapes to entice adventure-seekers. But for those seeking a greater challenge, this vast continent is home to some of the most challenging 4WD tracks to be found anywhere in the world. Not for the faint of heart, these treks demand skill, preparation, and a spirit for overcoming obstacles. Read on to discover the top tracks for kicking your off-road touring up to the next level. 

One of the most formidable tracks is the Simpson Desert's infamous QAA Line and French Line. Crossing the world's largest sand dune desert requires a well-equipped 4WD, a plentiful water supply, and an experienced hand behind the wheel. The track is studded with steep dunes, soft sand, and relentless heat, so best time your trip to be taken in the cooler months, and never alone. This terrain is the ultimate representation of untamed wild that is the Australian outback. 

Farther west, the Canning Stock Route in Western Australia stretches over 1,800 kilometres, challenging travellers with its stark isolation and total lack of facilities. Once a path for cattle drives, it's now a journey through history, demanding self-sufficiency from those brave enough to take it on. The route crosses four deserts and numerous salt lakes, offering a hauntingly beautiful panorama that underscores the remote and challenging conditions.

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In the Northern Territory, the Binns Track offers a diverse range of challenges over its 2,200 kilometres. From rocky paths and water crossings in the Davenport and MacDonnell Ranges to sandy trails skirting the Simpson Desert, Binns Track demands respect for the land and preparation for unpredictability. It provides a journey through ancient landscapes and a deep connection to the cultural stories of the Indigenous peoples who have lived there for millennia.

Tasmania’s infamous Balfour Track taunts those who dare with deep mud holes and impossibly slippery terrain. It's a place where 4WD and winching skills are put to the ultimate test. The track is not always open, often closed to recover from the havoc wreaked by the elements as well as the intrepid travellers put through their paces. Check ahead before embarking on this wild adventure. 

South Australia's Googs Track offers yet another extreme route, featuring over 300 sand dunes. It's less trafficked than the Simpson Desert, offering a sense of solitude that's increasingly rare. The track is a tribute to the tenacity of those who first forged these paths, with landmarks along the way named for the family that blazed the trail in the 1970s.

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Venturing into Australia's most challenging terrains requires preparation beyond what the usual trails demand. A dependable vehicle, survival supplies, and communication equipment are just the beginning. Knowledge of vehicle recovery, first aid, and navigation are also crucial. It’s also essential to inform relevant authorities of your travel plans, as these remote areas do not forgive complacency.

Aside from the exhilaration of conquering the land, these tracks offer an opportunity to witness some of Australia’s most well-hidden wonders—from ancient rock formations and Indigenous art to rare wildlife and flora. They are a reminder of the raw beauty and vastness of the Australian continent.

Each track offers a unique adventure that echoes the heart of Australian 4WD touring—resilience, adventure, and the discovery of a land that predates history. For the bold and the prepared, these trails are more than a journey; they are a rite of passage into the heart of Australia’s wildest landscapes.

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