Top 5 4WD Tracks Near Melbourne
Melbourne is the mecca for the best 4WDriving tracks and here are our top five.
Mount Disappointment State Forest is home to some great off-road driving on numerous 4WD and forest tracks and is ideal for a day trip or even better, a weekend getaway. The best tracks are seasonally closed and good rains improve the look of Strath Creek Falls. It’s a challenging drive up the rocky Phone Track from the junction with Phosphate Track and Quarry Road isn’t for the faint-hearted.
There are a couple of campsites, Regular Camp and No.1 Camp with pit toilets and tables but No.1 Camp is better suited to groups, caravans or camper trailers. Whilst you can’t drive to the summit of Mount Disappointment, you can tackle the 3.5km return walk from the Blairs Hut picnic area.
The best access is from Heathcote Junction via the Hume Freeway, exit at the Wandong-Kilmore exit (C279). North Mountain Road will take you into the heart of the State Park.
TALLAROOK STATE FOREST
There are plenty of reasons to get in your 4WD and head to Tallarook State Forest. In the dry, you shouldn’t have too many issues, but if wet the tracks become downright nasty and a winch is necessary. The terrain is hilly and rugged with large granite rocks scattered amongst the eucalypt forest.
Mountain Track is a good place to start and although shaly, it's relatively easy going. Jenkins and Cadell Tracks are a nice drive while Rocky Track is appropriately named. For a real challenge, Phone Track and Steep Track have some decent washouts, wombat holes and rock steps on the steep climbs/descents, mud tyres and a suspension lift are required for these.
There are a couple of good camping options at Freemans Camp and Trawool Reservoir, both suited to tents/swags and camper trailers although Trawool Reservoir access is recommended 4x4 Only.\
Tallarook State Forest is accessed via the Hume Freeway, exiting at Ennis Road or Tallarook via Upper Goulburn Road (Landscape Road).
TOOLANGI STATE FOREST
Toolangi is an excellent 4WD destination. With towering Mountain Ash, bog holes big enough to swallow your 4WD and steep, off-camber tracks that will make your nose bleed, there is something for everyone.
The best jump-off point is off the Melba Highway 23km from Yarra Glen. Turn right onto Rocky Track and drop your tyre pressures as you decide which line to take in climbing this epic track. The second option is to turn right onto Marginal Road fifty metres further along. Plenty of tracks lead either from or to Marginal Road so it’s a good place to start.
Murrindindi Scenic Reserve has several campgrounds and is a great place to base yourself. The weather can change quickly, so make sure you have recovery gear, you’ll need it.
BUNYIP STATE PARK
Bunyip State Park has the stickiest orange clay, the deepest black mud and epic spots to have some fun. This is the number one 4WD destination close to Melbourne. Aboriginals believe that the “buneep” or bunyip spirit lives in the waterways in the park, hence why many Aboriginals and white settlers avoided the area.
While all 4WD tracks are closed between mid-June and November, it still leaves heaps of time to test out your vehicle, your driving skills and your recovery techniques.
Access to Bunyip is from Gembrook in the east or Tynong North in the south. Once there, head to Black Snake Creek Road and find a track north to the powerlines. You can have hours of fun along some of the clay and rock sections here. Anderson Track will push you in the wet and Gentle Annie, Western and Bullock Link Tracks will have you locking your diffs.
WOMBAT STATE FOREST/LERDERDERG STATE PARK
Wombat State Forest and Lerderderg State Park are very popular with 4WDrivers as the tracks are rated from easy to downright ludicrous and when wet the stakes are raised even higher. A lot of the tracks are old forest tracks from the logging days but what may start as a gravel road could turn into a tyre-spinning goat track.
One of the most challenging is Ractcliffe Track which climbs from Firth Road up to Blue Gum Track. You’ll be tested, but then the reward is magnificent views. Blue Gum Track is another favourite and recommended to be driven north to south, you will come across vehicles heading in the opposite direction. Again, it’s the views that will take your breath away as you drive the ridgeline.
There is good camping at Firth Park and Lerderderg Campground which are larger and more suitable for camper trailers or Upper Chadwick Campsite.
Access to Wombat State Forest is at Woodend via the Calder Highway or Blackwood via the Western Highway.