One of the most appealing prospects of having an off-road adventure is getting into isolated areas where people are few and far between. Here are the most remote 4WD tracks in Australia for travellers seeking solitude along their journey.
It may be shorter and less challenging than the revered Canning Stock Route, but the Anne Beadell Highway is just as remote and less travelled than the CSR. Unmaintained and largely untouched - with a lone supply point available in Ilkurlka Roadhouse – the Anne Beadell cuts through the dune-filled expanses of the Great Victoria Desert for 1324km from Laverton to Coober Pedy. Travel is slow, the landscape is rugged and traffic is non-existent, meaning it’s not uncommon to encounter no-one else for days on end while on this week-long adventure.
2. Madigan Line
While the southern crossings of the Simpson Desert have become increasingly well-known among four-wheel drivers in search of a desert adventure, the remote northern section maintains a heightened atmosphere of isolation. Occasionally feeling more like a cross-country jaunt than a track, the Madigan Line follows the marked camps of Dr Cecil Madigan’s 1939 expedition, which resulted in a rugged and direct route across the Simpson Desert that Madigan describes in his book, Crossing the Dead Heart.
3. Gary Highway
As far from a highway as one can imagine, the Gary Highway is a mainly two-wheel track through flat spinifex country that is renowned for linking a variety of tracks blazed by Len Beadell and the Gunbarrel Construction Company. The fact that it’s topographically benign and uncomplicated to drive (in comparison to its neighbours) means the Gary Highway is less pursued than the Gunbarrel Highway and Gary Junction Road, making it one of the most remote tracks in one of Australia’s most remote regions.
4. Talawana Track
Linked to the Gary Highway is the Talawana Track, a rough and often corrugated sojourn that passes by the southern edge of Karlamilyi National Park and through the Gibson Desert. The last track built by Len Beadell, the Talawana connects Marble Bar Road with Windy Corner on the Gary Highway, and intersects with the more challenging (but equally punishing) Canning Stock Route. Featuring beautifully desolate desert landscapes punctuated by hardy spinifex, the Talawana Track is a drive for those who are prepared for isolation.
5. Nyangumarta Highway
Formerly called the Kidson Track, the Nyangumarta Highway is an abandoned oil exploration track that cuts through the Great Sandy Desert to 80 Mile Beach north of Port Hedland. Shifting from red sand to a flat or washed out gravel track, the Nyangumarta has no water access and offers little relief from the elements of the Outback along the way, making it a lonesome and self-sufficient journey through the heart of Australia’s second-largest desert.