While 2022 was a big business growth year for us at Destination4WD with a new website, the release of the Bathroom Tent (our version of the show awning) and garbage bag, and 8x expos, open days and shows, we didn’t get in a great deal of travel time. There were only a few little weekenders to Far North Queensland hotspots.
So when it came time to do the last three expos of the year in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, we decided instead of flying we would drive and do the half-lap again, finishing the trip with our No.1 bucket list destination and our top rated spot for this year! Can you guess what it is?
Here are our top 10 best 4WD destinations in Australia that we visited and loved in 2022 – and hopefully it kicks off your 2023 to-visit list too! Admittedly, some of these are not 4WD destinations, but we visited them on our 4WD trip so have included them anyway.
1. Uluru at sunrise & Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), NT
Road-tripping through the desert from WA over the NT border, we got to The Olgas (Kata Tjuta is its indigenous name, meaning “many heads”) in the Red Centre first and we were in awe of the jaw-dropping size of the millions-year-old rock formations.
You come up on them pretty quickly from the highway and they are so much bigger than expected.
Arriving around mid-morning in late November meant we only did the short 2.6km Walpa Gorge walk into the rocks because the day was heating up. Who are we kidding, it was getting bloody hot!
It’s a short walk through the soaring rock domes right into the valley and a trickle of running water. The Olgas and Uluru were, and still are, ceremonial places for the indigenous of the areas. They were also a water source.
Only 35km from the Kata Tjuta is its famous neighbour, Uluru, and when we came around the bend and Ulura came into eyesight … it was magical.
It’s magnitude and presence is striking and after seeing The Olgas first, we wondered if Uluru would live up to our expectations and still be amazing … and, of course, it was!
To drive up on it and see it from a distance and then up close and personal from all its different angles was even better. We did two walks here: The short Kuniya walk into Mutitjulu Waterhole, and the Mala walk into Kantju Gorge.
The absolute highlight was Uluru at sunrise … simply breathtaking! But we also watched it glow at sunset too. We stayed in Yulara at the Ayers Rock Campground.
2. Great Australian Bite beaches, WA
Southern WA has some of the most stunning beaches on the planet – and the beaches along the Great Australian Bite are no exception … in fact, they are exceptional!
White sand that looks like snow, turquoise water that sparkles like gemstones and cliff faces that remind you just how remote and small you are.
Off the Nullarbor, there are 4WD tracks to the ocean where we relaxed with friends and zero mobile reception! We camped on the beach and just blissed out.
We’ve definitely got this down as one of hte very best 4WD destinations Australia has to offer.
3. Kalgoorlie, WA
Really loved this town! It’s a fascinating place with it’s mining history and open Super Pit mine that’s still working 24-7-365 today.
It was interesting to learn about Kalgoorlie, including that its water is piped out from Perth and you can see the pipe along the side of the road as you travel out there. We only had a night there at a friend’s place, who also doubled as our tour guide and chef – and we packed as much as we could into our short stay.
4. Camooweal, QLD + Barkly Homestead, NT
This was a bit of a surprise actually that we weren’t expecting after a very long day’s drive from The Alice.
First of all, we wanted to make it to Camooweal to stay overnight because we’d heard great things about a free camp there (plus we needed to get home to Cairns).
Before we got there we stopped off to have a bite to eat at the Barkly Roadhouse – and it was fantastic. Clean, great service and delicious food that was quick.
Sadly at the time of publishing this post, the roadhouse’s kitchen had been destroyed by a fire and it was shut indefinitely. Wishing the team a speedy recovery for the fire so they can keep being awesome!
We were keen to check out the free camp at Camooweal billabong, which was absolutely spectacular and worth the 2.5 hour drive on from the roadhouse. Definitely a highly recommend, even if we did find camp under the cover of darkness!
6. Redbank Gorge, NT
At the bottom of the West MacDonnell Ranges in the NT sits the gorgeous Redbank Gorge – perfect for a swim on a hot day (water permitting!).
After a lovely night at the Woodland Campground, one of the only two campsites in the area, we cooked breakfast at the day-use area and then headed off on the 1.8km trek into the gorge for a swim.
You’ll have to do some rock hopping but it’s worth it, and theres’s a lovely sandy area to walk into the water (or there was when we were there).
You can swim in the rock pools and up into the gorge itself too. We were lucky to see a little rock kangaroo go hopping by and it was nice to enjoy the peace and quiet. We were luck to be the only ones there.
6. Kings Canyon at sunset (+ free camp), NT
It was like a picture out of a travel magazine, sun setting behind us, red rock cliffs in front of us, table and chairs set up with drinks and nibbles – the simple pleasures.
We stayed for hours to enjoy the sunset and afterglow.
Even better was the free camp about 30km outside of Kings Canyon, which is perched on a cliff and overlooks the whole canyon area with uninterrupted views. Absolutely. Stunning. Vistas.
We did the short Kings Creek walk into the canyon, but would definitely do the Kings Canyon Rim walk next time.
7. Lucky Bay, Esperance, WA
Bucket list item, the famous Lucky Bay. Tick!
Sadly, we didn’t get to see the token ‘roo on the beach because there weren’t any when we visited. It truly didn’t matter because the place is stunning regardless.
It was cold, windy and raining but the water was still the perfect colour and we enjoyed a barbecue on the beach with new friends!
The beach road around to Lucky Bay was definitely a highlight, as was 4WDing up Wiley Rock, which got a bit hairy, and then along the beach around to Lucky Bay.
We stayed in Esperance that night because the caravan park at Lucky Bay was booked out (always is apparently!) and the weather had really turned against us.
8. Wave Rock + Resort, WA
This was our second time visiting Wave Rock but first time staying in a cabin in the Wave Rock Resort, which was so welcome after we froze and were drenched in Esperance!
While we love camping, there’s nothing like a proper roof over your head when you’ve been travelling and the weather turns bad.
It was just nice to be inside, under the heater, do some walks around the salt lake at the resort and then walk Wave Rock again. Highly recommend.
9. Devil’s Marbles, NT
One of the last places we visited in 2022, but by no means last on our list.
Devil’s Marbles is a cluster of almost perfectly round rocks, and are just as mesmerising as the other natural rock formations we saw along the way.
We did the short walk around the marbles and discovered it was water over millions of years that has given the rocks their smith round surface, and cracked a few in half. The symmetry is incredible!
Worth the very short drive in off the highway and a quick walk around.
If you're ready to get out there and need an 4x4 awning...
We have been lucky to visit many amazing places in Australia and feel privileged that Destination4WD allows us to travel (to expos and to test our new products), see amazing places and meet the most incredible people.