Getting back to nature and discovering the wilderness in a 4WD campervan could be just the escape you’re looking for- and if you’ve got a family, it’s a great option for a school holiday getaway.
Indeed, if toasting marshmallows by a roaring campfire beneath a night sky full of stars sounds like your idea of heaven then it is likely you scored mostly C’s on the Britz "What type of campervan traveler are you?" quiz.
For those itching to explore the remotest destinations of Australia, there are two rugged 4WD road trips you must add to your bucket list – The Gibb River Road in Western Australia and the Arnhem Way in the Northern Territory.
Both itineraries take you to some of the remotest parts of Australia, so it is essential that you are prepared with the right permits and gear you need to enjoy the journey. One essential utility that you must have it a sturdy and reliable 4WD vehicle. Many of the roads are dirt and are often prone to flooding during the wet season. The Britz Safari Landcruiser has everything you need to survive the Top End, including an annex tent that sleeps 5 adults as well as a portable gas stove, 40L fridge/freezer, roof racks and a 25L freshwater drinking tank.
Now that you have the right vehicle it is time to explore the open road.
The Gibb River Road
One of Australia's most iconic 4WD tracks. This legendary 660-kilometre stock route was originally built for droving cattle from Wyndham to Derby. Today, it’s an epic adventure exploring the Kimberley’s magnificent gorges, authentic outback cattle stations, ancient Indigenous culture and captivating pioneering history. Note that due to seasonal flooding, Gibb River Road is only accessible between May and October.
Tunnel Creek Park caves
Waterfalls at Bell Gorge
Indigenous rock art at Manning Gorge
Cattle mustering at Home Valley Station
Scenic flight over the Bungle Bungle Ranges
Head out from Derby (about three hours north of Broome) and ride the dirt track to Windjana National Park. Here you can splash in its ancient rock pools and explore Tunnel Creek Park, WA’s oldest cave system. Continue along the road until you reach one of the most spectacular sites in the Kimberley Ranges - the stunning Bell Gorge with its 100-metre cascading waterfall. Spend a day a Mount Hart homestead your new home away from home.
Kick up some fresh red dust on the endless track until you reach Manning Gorge where you can explore ancient indigenous rock art before taking a detour of the Gibb River Road to Drydale River Station. Here book a scenic flight over the coastal canyons of Prince Regent River or set up shop around the banks for a spot of fishing.
Home Valley Station, 150 kilometers down the road will be your next port-of-call. Situated on three million acres, become a drover for the day or venture into the hills and discover the unique swimming holes at the base of Cockburn Range. Finish the Gibb River Road itinerary with another flight over one of the world’s most unique landscapes – the Bungle Bungle Ranges in Purnululu National Park. Flights leave from the town of Kununurra.
Untouched and wild, the Arnhem Way begins just south of Katherine and finishes on the coast at Nhulunbuy. The road is home to some of Australia’s most pristine beaches and is the birthplace of the Didgeridoo. You will need a permit to visit many destinations on the Arnhem Way and these can be picked up at Katherine or Nhulunbuy Northern Land Council offices.
Purchase some traditional indigenous art at Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre
Kayak along the Nitmiluk Gorge
Visit the Roy (Malpi) Marika Lookout for a view of Nhulunbuy
Charter a blue water fishing tours
Begin the trip on the Central Arnhem Road near Katherine and drive north through open savannah land, stopping by Nitmiluk Gorge to kayak the clear waters or swim beneath the waterfalls. Next, make your way to Yirrkala to visit the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre, which displays authentic indigenous art expertly crafted by the local artists. Continue along the open road until you reach Nhulunbuy on the coast.
At Nhulunbuy, explore the untouched beaches at the many Dhimurru Recreation Areas, including the stunning Roy (Malpi) Marika Lookout over Nhulunbuy. Take a boat out to Bremer Island and stay at the iconic Banu Banu Eco Wilderness Resort, known for encapsulating the Territory’s idyllic laid-back lifestyle or book a chartered blue water fishing tour and go seeking for the catch of the day.
With a sense of adventure instilled in you, apply for a campervan quote and experience the real Australia under the stars.