Top tips for four-wheel-driving on South Australia’s famous Googs Track

Top tips for four-wheel-driving on South Australia’s famous Googs Track

4WD-ing Googs Track is as spe­cial as it gets. Our Eyre Penin­su­la park rangers share their tips for an epic drive.

For four-wheel dri­ve enthu­si­asts, South Australia’s Googs Track is def­i­nite­ly one for your buck­et list.

It starts approx­i­mate­ly 30 km north of Ceduna, and is about 170 km long, cross­ing rough­ly 370 sand ridges.

There’s no oth­er way to describe the Googs Track besides: expect the unex­pect­ed. It real­ly is an amaz­ing, remote spot to immerse your­self in nature.

The track runs one way (from south to north) through Yum­bar­ra Con­ser­va­tion Park and Yellabin­na Region­al Reserve with­in the Eyre and Far West nation­al parks region, in the west­ern part of South Australia.

Read on as the rangers at these parks – Rob Sleep and Tamahi­na Cox – share their tips on how to make the most of this epic expe­ri­ence, start­ing with a great itinerary.

Plan­ning your jour­ney along Googs Track

From Ade­laide, it’s a 777 km dri­ve to Ceduna, so pull up stumps and stay the night here before head­ing off on your 4WD adventure.

On day 1, make your way from Ceduna to the start of the Googs Track in Yum­bar­ra Con­ser­va­tion Park.

From here you’ll get to expe­ri­ence the park’s rolling sand dunes and rocky out­crops. Keep your eyes peeled for rare malleefowl, sand hill dun­narts and din­goes as you make your way north.

Along the way you might like to stop off and check out the mon­u­ments to Goog and Dinger Den­ton, who forged Googs Track, or take a stroll on one of the easy walk­ing tracks.

After 4 km you’ll reach Googs Lake Camp­ground, where you can camp out under the stars at one of the 7 camp­grounds locat­ed here. There are a num­ber of bush camp­sites to choose from, and facil­i­ties includ­ing pic­nic tables and toilet.

Top tips for four-wheel-driving on South Australia’s famous Googs Track

Set off on day 2 and make your way through the sparse­ly veg­e­tat­ed red sand dunes of Yellabin­na Region­al Reserve, where after approx­i­mate­ly 25 km you’ll enter the Yellabin­na Wilder­ness Pro­tec­tion Area.

The stark con­trast of red sand and blue sky is a pho­tog­ra­pher’s delight, while the park also offers var­i­ous tracks to explore by 4WD. Rare wildlife can also be found, includ­ing scar­let-chest­ed par­rots, major mitchell cock­a­toos, thorny dev­ils, sand hill dun­narts and malleefowl.

Top tips for four-wheel-driving on South Australia’s famous Googs Track

Vis­it Mount Finke along the way – a pre­dom­i­nant rocky out­crop that ris­es abrupt­ly from the sur­round­ing open shrub­lands and offers spec­tac­u­lar views across the land­scape, espe­cial­ly at sunset.

Spend the night at Mt Finke Camp­ground, which is 72 km from where you start­ed the day at Googs Lake.

Day 3, it’s time to return home. Head east and trav­el through to Glen­dambo and back to Ade­laide via Port Augusta.

Top tip: Yum­bar­ra and Yellabin­na parks and reserves are part of the tra­di­tion­al lands of the Far West Coast Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple. They wel­come vis­i­tors and ask you to appre­ci­ate the sen­si­tiv­i­ty of this land and to respect Country.

Top tips for trav­el­ling Googs Track

  • Googs Track is a sin­gle lane, dual direc­tion­al track. While it’s rec­om­mend­ed that you trav­el from south to north – for your safe­ty and the safe­ty of oth­ers – you should still expect oncom­ing traf­fic at all times, as peo­ple don’t always trav­el the rec­om­mend­ed way
  • Dri­ve safe­ly by keep­ing speeds below 40 km an hour at all times and fit­ting a sand flag to your vehicle
  • The cool­er months are the best time to trav­el. Spring is when wild­flow­ers are in bloom, mak­ing it anoth­er great time to vis­it the area
  • It’s impor­tant to be self-suf­fi­cient on this track. Make sure you have enough food, water and fuel for the trip, with appro­pri­ate reserves 
  • It’s vital that only high-clear­ance 4WD vehi­cles trav­el along this track 
  • Make sure you lis­ten in to UHF Chan­nel 18 to com­mu­ni­cate with oth­er track users 
  • Use extreme cau­tion on dune crests 
  • Expect rough cor­ru­gat­ed road sur­faces, espe­cial­ly upon approach­es to dunes 
  • Make sure you pack your vehi­cle appro­pri­ate­ly to avoid your belong­ings mov­ing about
  • Only dri­ve the track if you have sound knowl­edge of 4WD use 
  • Tow­ing trail­ers is not rec­om­mend­ed on the track
  • Deflate your tyres to sand pres­sures (15 to 25psi, depend­ing on the weight car­ried) upon enter­ing the park and re-inflate to manufacturer’s rec­om­mend­ed pres­sures upon leav­ing the park 
  • Be aware there is no reli­able mobile phone ser­vice along the track, how­ev­er there is some phone cov­er­age on ele­vat­ed sites on Mt Finke.
  • Pub­lic access is pro­hib­it­ed along the ver­min-proof fence, this is a main­te­nance track only
  • Always dri­ve to the con­di­tions and use cau­tion when dri­ving through over­grown veg­e­ta­tion as it may scratch or dam­age your vehicle
  • Don’t be deterred by the rain dur­ing the cool­er months, it helps to com­pact the sand
  • Check out­back roads before you head out. For a report on cur­rent road con­di­tions for sur­round­ing areas, call the 24-hour auto­mat­ed ser­vice on 1300 361 033, or vis­it the DPTI web­site

Things to pre­pare before you go

Before you head into these parks, buy your vehi­cle entry pass either online or from one of the book­ing agents on your way.

It’s also a good idea to down­load park and camp­ground maps on your phone while you still have inter­net recep­tion, or get the Aven­za PDF Maps app and down­load the park maps.

When you’re in these parks, the app will use your phone’s built-in GPS to plot your real-time loca­tion onto a map – even when you don’t have inter­net reception.

Make sure you pack enough drink­ing water and food. It’s also a good idea to pack sun pro­tec­tion (a hat, sun­glass­es and sun­screen) and insect repellent.

If you’re plan­ning on hik­ing, it’s also essen­tial you wear suit­able footwear and cloth­ing, such as long pants.

There are no bins in nation­al parks, so you’ll also have to think about how you can take your rub­bish home. Find out more about how you can leave no trace.

(Main image cour­tesy of Tray­on Campers)

Keen to expe­ri­ence four-wheel dri­ving in oth­er nation­al parks around the state? Take a read of our blog,6 nation­al parks for four-wheel dri­ving in South Aus­tralia.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living