4WD is the Way to Explore Western Australia
There’s no better way to explore the great outback expanses of Western Australia than on a road trip. In fact, it’s the only way you can reach many of the best places, since bus and rail connections are almost non-existent! A 4WD gives you the freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want, without strict schedules or limitations. Compared to the populous and tourist-riddled East Coat, the West Coast is wild, untamed, and full of adventure. The journeys are longer, the destinations more spread out – which means the unspoiled beaches stretch out further, and stars shine even brighter at night! Preparing for a Western Australian 4WD road trip is well worth the effort, and will set you up for a smooth, exciting experience you’ll never forget.
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Due to the wide-open spaces of this huge state, cars can be tricky to come by, and often book out well in advance. Making your booking ahead of time will give you a better chance of securing your ideal vehicle. Where a hire car is critical to your visit – for an epic road trip within a certain time frame, for instance – consider booking that car arranging flights and hotels. At the very least, check availability first, prior to locking down other travel arrangements.
See our 4WD & caravan/campers availability here
Choose Your Destination Wisely, as it’s Going to be Hot … Really Hot!
Did we mention that summer months are hot in Western Australia? The state covers a lot of ground and experiences different kinds of heat depending on the location. The southern areas tend to have a drier heat, while the tropical north experiences its wet season from November to April, bringing tropical storms and high humidity to places like Broome and Darwin. Inland areas can be scorchingly hot and dry during the day. Average summer maximum temperatures are:
● Perth: 29-32°C (84-90°F), but will often reach the high 30’s.
● Kalgoorlie : 32-34°C (90-93°F) and can climb to over 40°C (104°F).
● Broome: 33-34°C (91-93°F) – with 70-75% humidity.
● Albany: 22-23°C (72-74°F), rarely reaching the 30’s.
Travelling north of Exmouth during summer is not recommended if you want to avoid the heavy rains and sticky heat – head to the southern parts of the country such as Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River, Denmark, Albany, and Exmouth to find the mildest weather.
It’s a good idea to loosely pre-plan your route and set driving targets, to allow for long distances between destinations. In order to see everything that you want, you may need to drive for several hours on most days.
See our recommended travel itineraries here.
Being Sun Smart is Your Safety Equipment!
We supply everything! Yes, you heard it right – everything from full recovery equipment to kitchen utensils, and even bed linen for hires over 14 days. All you need to pack is your clothing, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and bathers.
The sun is no joke in WA, and visitors are often caught out by how fast a nasty burn can occur. Skin cancer is still the most common form of cancer diagnosed in Australia. Check the UV index daily – when it’s 3 or above (which is most of the time in summer,) you’ll need to use sun protection. When it goes above 8, staying out of the sun as much as possible is recommended. We’re brought up on the “Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide” here:
● Slip on protective clothing,
● Slop on sunscreen,
● Slap on a hat,
● Seek shade and
● Slide on some sunglasses.
Don’t let a painful burn ruin your fun!
See the full list of everything included with our hires here, and find our handy packing checklist here.
Meet Your Annoying Friends – the Bugs, Flies and Birds
Seeing Australian wildlife up close is usually a highlight of the trip – but it’s certainly not always the case. Bugs and flies can be a real pain; you’ll quickly learn to do the “Aussie Salute” when swatting bush flies away from your face.
To combat the annoyance, there are a few measures you can take:
- Make sure to bring plenty of bug repellent with you.
- Wearing light, long sleeves and pants protects you from the sun AND reduces the areas where mosquitos can bite you.
- Avoid wearing perfumes or colognes – these can often attract more flies.
- Keep your camper flyscreen zipped up, especially from dusk onwards.
- Consider bringing a mosquito net for extra protection at night.
- Try a netted hat, or the classic Aussie corked hat if the flies won’t leave you alone.
We love our native kangaroos and wallabies, but they can become a real hazard when driving. Always keep an eye out for them on the side of roads, especially during dawn and dusk hours when they’re most active.
Some cheeky critters who get used to the presence of humans might take opportunities to steal your food, so make sure everything’s packed away and sealed at night to save it from marauding birds, possums, and other marsupials. Keep your camper zipped up to make sure curious snakes can’t let themselves in uninvited.
Think Food, Fuel, and Water
It can be a long way between towns in some parts of the country, so make sure you plan your trip around places you can fill up the tank. Service stations (also known as “servos”) will usually stock snacks and drinks too, so at each stop you can ensure you have enough fuel, food and water to get to your next destination.
It’s particularly important to stay hydrated in the warm weather – make sure you travel with plenty of water! Our caravan holds 180 litres, and our camper trailer holds 160 litres of water. This is enough for about 2 weeks’ worth of drinking and cooking water for a family of four. If you choose to use the water for bathing as well, we suggest filling up the tank more often.
Bring water bottles to refill and carry with you. You can keep your bottles and food cold in our convenient 40L Engle fridge, located in the back of the 4WD vehicle. Healthy snacks make everything more enjoyable, especially long car rides, so make sure to try out the local options and grab a few of your favourites!
Written by Kerri Duncan