One of the best things about camping is the road trip. For those of us who love off-road adventures, it’s all about the 4WD tracks that test your skills and your confidence. It’s the mud splatters on the windows, the wheels kicking up dust, and the way your stomach drops when you just barely make it down a hill in one piece.
So, for all the adrenaline junkies out there – this one is for you. We’ve done our research to bring to you the best four-wheel driving tracks in south-east Queensland.
Condamine Gorge (aka Cambanoora Gorge)
Level: Easy – high clearance vehicles only
Distance: 128km return
The Condamine Gorge Road is a true favourite for any four-wheel drive beginner, as it’s a relatively easy track if you’re using a high-clearance 4WD. The track crosses the Condamine River 14 times and generally takes about an hour without stops. In normal conditions, you won’t have any trouble crossing the river as the rocky river bed provides a solid and steady base for your 4WD to crossover. Be aware of the conditions prior to setting off on this track though, as a decent amount of rain can flood the river making it impassable. (Common sense really!)
The drive takes you through the stunning rugged mountains of the Great Dividing Range and the Scenic Rim. You’ll pass stunning lookouts and the flowing Daggs Falls and Queen Mary Falls, making this a worthwhile drive! When you reach Queen Mary Falls you’ll have the opportunity to take the walking track down to the base of the falls, where you’ll find a café and a caravan park across the road.
On the return loop of the driving track you’ll find Carr’s Lookout, where you can experience a panoramic view of the landscape.
(Image by @elwestrup – Shared with permission)
Cooloola’s Coloured Sands
Camping: Rainbow Beach
Imagine driving between towering cliffs of coloured sand and the rolling waves of the open ocean. The idea isn’t so far-fetched. You just need to head to Rainbow Beach! Along with the stunning collection of sand cliffs, you’ll also find the remarkable Carlo Sand Blow which stretches across a massive 15 hectares.
The stunning Cooloola coloured sands – (Image by @klc0210 – Shared with permission)
This drive is a little bit more difficult and we recommend it to those who have experience four-wheel driving on the beach. As with all beach drives, timing is key. Make sure you only drive at low tide, you’ll need to be especially careful to time your drive around the Mudlo Rocks – also known as the ‘Million Dollar Car Wash’. The Mudlo Rocks and the ocean are the perfect partners in crime, as they are famous for claiming one vehicle a week, on average. You can even still see the remains of lost vehicles stuck under the sand!
Be careful when driving as you’re sharing the beach with other visitors – walkers, anglers, horse riders, and emergency services. Remember to give them right of way.
Take your time visiting this region, we recommend that you spread your drive over two days and to stop and set up camp overnight!
Mudlo Rocks: the beach that swallows cars –
(Image by @blaiseydaisey – Shared with permission)
Power Line Track, Glasshouse Mountains
Camping: Glasshouse Mountains, Beerwah, Landsborough
The Glasshouse Mountains are just a stone’s throw from Brisbane and are famous for its spectacular scenery, breathtaking lookouts, and adventurous hiking trails. But, it’s also got a secret.
Hidden among the trees and power lines are some of the best 4WD tracks in south-east QLD, all ranging in difficulty from easy to extremely hard. And that’s where we bring to you the Power Line Track.
This one is not for the inexperienced nor the faint of heart. You’ll need be a pro at four-wheel driving and have a vehicle that can handle the rough terrain and ridiculously steep inclines. Take turns being spotters with your mates if or when you attempt the Little Red and Big Red tracks…not all vehicles will survive. Off-road dirt bike riders also love these tracks, so watch out for them!
This is a heart-stopping, stomach-dropping, number plate crunching track that the daredevils will love! Don’t worry though, if you’re not as experienced there are several easy tracks in the Glasshouse Mountains as well. Have a chat to the locals while you’re there, as they’re sure to know about some secret tracks that you can try out.
Power Line Track: Glass House Mountains –
(Image by @joelgordonn_ – Shared with permission)
75 Mile Beach, Fraser Island
Camping: Fraser Island
This list couldn’t be completed without including the drive along 75 Mile Beach on Fraser Island, which is the largest sand island in the world! The drive alone will give you a glimpse of Fraser’s size. It’s a pretty easy drive as well, you’ll be able to drive along the solid surface at up to 80km/hr in most sections. As with all beach driving, you’ll need to be aware of the conditions and what time high tide will be each day.
The drive will eventually lead you to Eli Creek, a flowing fresh water creek that leads into the ocean. This is the perfect spot for refreshing dip, so make sure you take your inflatable donuts and float down the river. Be warned though – the creek is freezing cold!
Further along the beach you’ll come across a shipwreck that has been beached for over 80 years. You’ll also have the opportunity to take some of the tracks inland for a scenic drive to the island’s freshwater lakes. These tracks are more difficult and we suggest a high-clearance vehicle for those journeys.
(Image by @cordwell.gayral – Shared with permission)
So, who else wants to go on a four-wheel driving adventure now? And these are just some of the best tracks in south-east Queensland! If you think you know of another track that needs to be included in the list, tell us in the comments below.
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