DO YOU NEED A 4WD TO TRAVEL THE OUTBACK?
Many Aussies and international tourists alike assume that to see the outback, you need a real heavy-duty vehicle that can handle the harsh Australian conditions. They spend a fortune hiring a 4WD, then drive it over to Alice Springs or Uluru and it never leaves tarmac and they might as well have saved their money and rented a Holden hatchback.
THE SHORT ANSWER IS NO
Essentially, no. You do not need a 4WD vehicle to see some of the outback. With National Highway One, a lot of places are connected by plush tarmac roads and you have no need to venture onto the dust.
However, because you are here, I know you are the adventurous type. If you don’t have a 4WD, you are going to miss some of the gems the outback has to offer. Last year I drove up to Kakadu National Park with my family in the 4×4. My mate joined us with his family in a sedan.
I wanted to get away from the crowds and head up slightly further north to Garig Gunak Barlu National Park and see some of the more remote regions, but there was just no way we could risk it with a sedan.
WHEN THE ROAD RUNS OUT THE FUN BEGINS
You can get to places like Alice Springs, Birdsville, Ivanhoe, Kalgoorlie, Laverton, and Tennant Creek without a 4WD, but if you want to find the real adventure, you need to get off the tarmac. Cape York, the Gibb River Road, Binns Track, and Tanami Highway are where the real excitement begins.
The advantage of having a 4WD is you get to the places where 90% of the population can’t. You find the unspoilt terrain. You get away from the crowds. Given a choice between not exploring the outback at all, and having to use a 2WD vehicle, of course, I would say take the 2WD. You will see some of the outback and get a taste of what rural Australia is like.
But to really dive right in and immerse yourself in the feral landscape, you need a feral vehicle, you need a 4WD.
Do you have any other ideas? Share them in the comments section below.