Tasmania: Adventure at the end of the world
You'd be forgiven for thinking Tassie is just the one big place, but the truth is it's as diverse as the rest of Australia, and just as stunning.
Here's our pick of the island's 4WD hotspots:
ST ALBANS BAY
St Albans Bay is the perfect way to kick off any Tassie trip. It's just a two-hour drive from Devonport, so if you're heading from Melbourne you can kick back for the night on the Spirit of Tasmania and be cooking up bacon and eggs on the beach the very next day.
You'll drop onto the beach at Bellingham and follow the waterline through countless rolling dunes and hidden campsites to the sleepy coastal town of Bridport through the Double Sandy Point Recreation Area. If you're hopped up on energy drinks it can be done in as little as a couple of hours, although to really make the most of it you'll want to set up camp for a day or two.
The area is a haven for 4WDers, trailbikes and fishermen, so there's no shortage of tracks zigzagging through the dunes for you to explore. It's easy to lose a full day driving the dunes, wetting a line, swimming or just kicking back on the beachfront far from the stresses of modern-day life.
As with most beaches, conditions can change drastically within hours. So it's vital to bring recovery gear, drop pressures, and ideally bring along a mate to help with recoveries. Although with the Bridport Hotel awaiting at the end of the beach there's plenty of rewards for whoever grabs the shovel quickest.
If you've ever dreamt of 4WDing in Tasmania you'd no doubt know of the famous, or infamous, Sandy Cape. Located in the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area on the west coast it is easily one of Tasmania's most iconic 4WD destinations, and for good reason.
The area is notorious for its rocky inland tracks, beach driving and river crossings - well, more the fact that they've been known to swallow 4WDs whole, especially in winter months when water levels make most tracks all but impassable.
While it is true that tracks can get a little out of hand, you should bring at least three capable vehicles on any trip, and expect to put your recovery gear and snorkel to good use. When you pop out the end of an inland track overlooking endless sandy beaches with no one but your mates around, it makes it all worth it. In fact, the best description for Sandy Cape would be "very easy, until something goes wrong and it becomes very, very hard".
You'll want to set aside three full days to see the Cape itself, although if you're using it as a jumping off point to see the rest of the west coast you could easily lose weeks down here.
There's primitive bush camping throughout the Cape, and the area is steeped in Aboriginal heritage so you've got to keep your wits about you and keep on the marked tracks.
Sandy Cape is the perfect mix of challenging 4WD terrain, beautiful scenery, wild beaches and remote campsites, all at the edge of the world.
If a hidden oasis at the end of a dense rainforest track is the first thing that jumps to mind when you hear adventure, Montezuma Falls might be right up your alley.
Relatively unknown on the mainland, the falls boast an impressive 104m vertical drop, one of the tallest in Tasmania and the perfect example of what could be hiding down that tight track most others drive straight past while aiming for the well-known areas.
To get there you'll need to follow the remnants of the North East Dundas Tramway tracks. They've been abandoned for well over 100 years but will see you crawling through the rainforest at little more than walking pace for the 14km, two-hour drive to the falls.
The track is generally easy, but as always on the wild west coast, weather and track conditions can change rapidly.
When you get to the falls you'll find a footbridge that can best be described as adventurous, leading you across the bottom of the falls and up to a viewing platform.
Or, if you're chasing adventure at the end of a winch rope you can point your spotties towards the Ring River Track, although we've got to recommend you take someone who knows the area. It'll put any 4WDer to the test and after rainfall the normally placid Ring River can turn into a 4WD-eating raging torrent of water. Keen?
Despite its size, the back country of Tasmania is every bit as remote as it is beautiful.
With that said, whether you're an experienced off-roader or locking in the hubs for the first time it's worth getting a bit of local knowledge on the area.