Cloudy Bay, South Bruny National Park
On the road

Tasmania’s most scenic 4WD routes

Heading off-road to enjoy some of Tasmania’s tracks and trails? Here’s some favourites from around the state.

Wellington Park

Wellington Park near Hobart offers a couple of different trail options that are popular with drivers in the state’s south. Jefferys Track is an open-access, medium-rated track that runs north-south between Lachlan and Crabtree, providing beautiful views over the Huon and Derwent Valleys. According to local 4WD enthusiast Jared Mendham it’s a great entry point into the world of off-roading. “Just be careful not to stray off the main trail,” he says. “The 4x4s with big tyres have made big holes on most of the side tracks.”

A second option around Kunanyi/Mount Wellington is the East West Trail, which is rated as difficult. Access to this trail is limited to six vehicles per day during permit season, which runs from November through to April depending on weather and track conditions. If you’re an experienced driver with a high-clearance vehicle, the deep bogs and steep slopes make for a fun drive, and the breathtaking views extend as far south as Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area. 

Mt Owen

Tasmania’s west is home to a concentration of challenging tracks, but if you want to enjoy a 4WD experience without getting your own wheels muddy, book a spot on the RoamWild Mt Owen Experience. At just 1.5 hours, this is a perfect introduction to off-roading. In the safe hands of Anthony Coulson, who has spent a decade operating tours and shuttles around Queenstown, you’ll tackle a steep ascent with bare rock face on one side, and a sheer drop on the other, before reaching the relief of the plateau. Park up on Mt Owen’s spur to enjoy the views – unspoiled wilderness and rugged mountains as far as the eye can see.  

View from Mount Owen

Credit: Bruce Davis

Mt Owen

Credit: Flow Mountain Bike

Overlooking Cloudy Bay

Credit: Jess Bonde

Cloudy Bay Beach

This beautiful Bruny Island beach drive is a favourite of Barnaby Campbell, secretary of 4WD Tasmania. Located at the southern end of Bruny Island, it offers incredible views of the coastline and the Southern Ocean, and is accessible to just about any 4WD vehicle. Access is permitted at low tide only, and all drivers must stay above the high-tide mark in order to protect the area’s wildlife. At the end of the 3km beach drive, you can access overnight camping at Cloudy Corner. A driving permit isn’t required, but you will need a valid Parks Pass. 

Climies Track, Heemskirk

Ask any 4WD fan in Tasmania for their top three tracks, and this one will always make the list. “Climies is my favourite because of the difficulty, but also because of the scenery,” says Mark Cullen, who has been running tagalong tour company Tasmanian Offroad Adventures for almost 10 years. Both of Mark’s west coast tours – the moderate ‘Explorer’ option and the tougher ‘Adventurer’ option – include Climies Track, but even if you don’t opt for an official tagalong tour, it’s recommended to tackle the track in convoy. Deep ruts, bottomless mud bogs and a waterfall traverse are worth the effort for the majestic views of western Tasmania. 

Montezuma Falls Track

If you’ve got some decent 4WD experience and you’re looking to extend your skills on a trail that’s adventurous without being extreme, Montezuma Falls is a good choice. This west coast track leads through thick native forest to one of Tasmania’s highest waterfalls, so as you’d expect it can get pretty wet. 

“The track is fairly easy, but unless you’re well-equipped it’s best to have a second vehicle on the journey as there are a couple of hard spots,” says Caleb Doherty, a Hobart-based 4WD enthusiast who loves taking his family to the west coast to enjoy some off-road driving and remote camping. “The track works its way into the bush and finishes just a few minutes walk from the Montezuma Falls swing bridge. After you walk across the bridge you can also go right to the base of the falls.”

Explore the Tarkine Coast with Tall Timbers 4WD Adventure Tours

Credit: Tourism Australia

Adventure through the heart of the Tarkine

Credit: Tourism Australia

Splashing through Tasmania's rugged north west

Credit: Tourism Australia

Balfour Mine Tour

Run by Tall Timbers Adventure Tours, this full-day 4WD experience provides a chance to explore the historic mining town of Balfour in Tasmania’s north-west. You’ll be guided by Rob Saltmarsh, who was involved in the rehabilitation of the site and knows all its hidden secrets. “Balfour’s the kind of place that if you don’t know it well, you’ll drive in and drive back out, and ask ‘what was that all about?’ If you want to actually learn about the history and have a proper look around, you need to go with someone local,” says Rob.

This tour is a great option if you’re keen to check out the unique settlement and leave someone else to do the driving. It’s a very different experience to tackling the Balfour Track, which is a seasonal off-roading opportunity in the same area with a reputation as one of Tasmania’s trickiest – in large part due to the numerous water hazards. 

Snug Tiers

Located just south of Hobart, Snug Tiers offers a range of tracks that are popular with locals and not too tricky. It’s a multi-use recreation area, so drivers need to be mindful of the potential for encountering hikers, mountain bike riders and motorbikes as well as ATVs and other 4WD vehicles. “The main part of the track works its way from Margate and heads to the top of the Pelverata Falls,” says Caleb Doherty, who counts it among his favourites. “You can drive right up to the top of the cliff face, which offers an amazing view over the valley.” 

Bridport to Bellingham

This 22km coastal drive in Tasmania’s north includes beach driving, dune tracks and plenty of soft sand. It’s brilliant fun, and there are no permits required, but it’s strongly advised to pack recovery gear and travel in a group. Parks and Wildlife has installed a car park at each end of the track, where you should stop and air down. “Check to make sure the tides will be low when you're at the Bellingham end,” recommends Jared Mendham. “There's a river crossing there that's not worth approaching at high tide.”

For full details of more than 60 great tracks around Tasmania, visit your local bookstore and pick up a copy of 4WD Tracks in Tasmania by Chris Boden, now in its fifth edition. 

For details of passes and permits required around the state, and a reminder of the off-road code of conduct, visit the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service website.