I thought I would do an occasional series of book reviews of books, maps and other gear that is of interest to those wanting to get off-road.
Explore Australia by 4WD by Craig Lewis and Cathy Savage describes over 25,000 kilometers of remote tracks with detailed route directions and GPS readings. .It doesn’t include the main sealed road routes at all. However if you are interested in exploring more remote corners of Australia such as the Tanami Desert , Canning Stock Route, Gibb River Road or the Cape York Peninsular then this guide is very useful. Along with the well know tracks, the 18 tracks detailed include the less-well known such as the Connie Sue Highway west from Coober Pedy, and the Holland Track in Western Australia.
This emphasis on the remote, and invariably unsealed roads, means that most tracks fall within Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. This book will be of no use to you if you are looking for a route from Sydney to Brisbane or Cairns, or even the sealed road across the Nullabor from Perth to Adelaide. Queensland is only covered by the Cape York Peninsular and part of the Gulf Savannah track. Victoria’ only mention isa single track in the Victorian High Country, and New South Wales’s single mention is in the very far NW of the state north of Broken Hill. Tasmania misses out entirely. Therefore overseas visitors are probably not going to be able to use this book as their only guide in Australia.
. For each of the 18 tracks described they provide:
An introduction including the general description of the track a suggested time to complete and longest distance without fuel.
Route directions are given in a milestone format which is easy regardless of the direction you are driving and in addition there is a nice strip map indicating key points of interest, camp spots, towns (if any), and services.
Advice and warnings including any permits required an phone numbers for relevant National Parks and other services.
Campsites are listed included whether a fee is charged, suitability for off-road trailer, off-road caravan, whether fires are allowed, whether activities such as swimming fishing, bush walking are advisable.
There is also a summary section at the back with good general advice for preparing for your trip, gear, and vehicle equipment.
The book is large format (11 x 8.7 inches) and at 3 pounds quite heavy. Our copy has covered over 30,000km of road, usually on the front seat, and is still in one piece though a little dusty. Its a very well bound book.
Available widely in Australia if you don’t want to bring it with you – though in Australia the retail price is usually around US$45, it may be cheaper to buy it before arriving. Highly recommended.