The Track



TIME: One Day

DISTANCE: 248KM, Overlander Roadhouse to Cape Inspection Lighthouse 

LONGEST DISTANCE WITHOUT FUEL: 568km, Overlander Roadhouse Return


PERMITS AND FEES:  National park entry fees apply or Edel Land National Park. National park camping fees apply for Edel Island and Dirk Hartog Island national parks. Access to Dirk Hartog Island is by a privately operated barge from Steep Point which operates from March to October.

MAPS: Hema's Mid West Western Australia.


Leaving the North West Coastal Hwy at the Overlander Roadhouse, head west on Shark Bay Rd past Hamelin Pool for 41km to turn off onto Useless Loop Rd. The track soon hugs the southern reaches of Henri Freycinet Harbour – it’s best to drop your tyre pressures at the first dirt as this track is famous for its corrugations! 

As the track leaves the salt plain and crosses into Edel Land National Park, it drops from a dual-track to a single. While the corrugations continue, they are now joined by sections of soft sand and some steeper climbs, twists and turns that may test those either heavily laden or towing.

Further along and you will be driving parallel to some stunning pristine dunes before a final run along the shoreline approaching the Ranger Station and finally the campsites at Shelter Bay. 

Those choosing to spend time over at Dirk Hartog Island will catch the barge across to the Island from Shelter Bay. The barge takes one 4WD or one 4WD plus one camper trailer across at a time. It’s an adventurous experience that commences with a reverse beach landing near Cape Ransonnet . 

The Island is a national park with restricted visitor numbers. There is a choice of camping with facilities at the Homestead, or at a handful of facility free locations spread across the Island. Be warned that going can be slow when traversing the Island’s network of sometimes soft, corrugated or rocky single-lane tracks. 


A photograph at Steep Point (the westernmost point of the Australian mainland) is a must. Fishing from the cliffs or by boat is popular, and it’s also a great place for water sports. 

Dirk Hartog Island is Western Australia’s largest island and there is a lot to see. The west coast is rugged with steep cliffs and blowholes, and in season, spectacular views of migrating humpback whales. The east coast is generally more protected, and its bays are filled with great beaches and marine wildlife. Cape Inscription Lighthouse, at the northern point, is a place steeped in history. In 1616 Dirk Hartog ‘discovered’ the Island. His was the second recorded European landing on the Australian continent, and the first on the west coast. 

If you have time, there’s plenty to explore back near the highway, including the ancient stromatolites at Hamelin Pool. In fact, the entire World Heritage–listed Shark Bay area is worth exploring.


Drop tyre pressures to 18-20psi or lower at the windmill.

The closest fuel is at Overlander Roadhouse so you will need extra fuel to explore the length of the Island freely.

Off-road camper trailers and boat trailers can be taken but it can be hard going so they need to be heavy duty.

Use extreme caution near cliff edges, especially when fishing.

Campfires are not permitted.