Overseas Overland: The World's Top 4x4 Spots

Australia: Voyages into the Wild Interior
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The landscape of Australia's Outback—barren and beautiful, rugged and ready for exploration—may be the best region of the world to explore in a 4x4. Notable destinations include Ayers Rock, the opal mining fields, the Simpson Desert, Litchfield National Park and the Flinders Range. Most expedition vehicles are air-conditioned and fitted out with all necessary camping equipment.
If you're heading Down Under, but plan to stay on Australia's east coast, you still have many excellent off-road opportunities. Numerous 4WD outfitters run jeep treks out of Cairns into Queensland's tropical rainforests, and out of Darwin into the desolate northern outback. Take a 14-day rainforest and reef 4x4 trip from Cairns to Cape York, cruising up the coast, visiting the Daintree Rainforest and Lakefield National Park, passing old gold mines and crossing the Jardine River on the way to Somerset. From there, board a large motor catamaran for a three-day cruise of the inner Barrier Reef and Albany Coast.

Practically Speaking
If you decide not to rent a 4x4 and have at the Outback on your own, there are a large number of local outfitters that will join you behind the wheel. Driving duties are handled by expert local guides who double as chefs during the tours. Crocodile Dundee may be an invention of Hollywood, but these outback drivers come close. Snakes, wild boars, flash floods, and dust storms won't stop them, and their enthusiasm for their work is unbounded and quite contageous.


Paul McMenamin is the author, editor, and photo director of the original Ultimate Adventure Sourcebook.

Published: 21 Feb 2001 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

Best Hotels in Australia

$192
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Sir Stamford at Circular Quay
$311-$391
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Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney
$294
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Sheraton on the Park
$295-$427
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Four Seasons Hotel Sydney

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