Fish Creek 4WD tracks; have an amazing coastal adventure

On a recent stay to the beautiful Pemberton area, I was determined to check out Windy Harbour, and the 4WD tracks out to Fish Creek. I’d been there once before, and way back in school we hiked from Windy Harbour to Marrinup Lake, and since then always wanted to head back to explore it more.

Gardiner River Crossing
There’s lots of great 4WD tracks around Windy Harbour

Windy Harbour

This time, we called into Windy Harbour to get a feel for the place, before taking the 4WD track to the Gardiner River mouth.

Its worth noting that you can get from the river mouth to Windy Harbour via the beach, as long as the tides are friendly. On this particular day it looked like they might be, but the beach was still quite tight and being on our own, I wasn’t keen to push our luck.

Windy Harbour Views
Views from north of Windy Harbour

Gardiner River

Gardiner River is stunning, and varies in water level considerably. When we arrived, it was only about 4 metres wide in some sections, and around 20 – 30cm deep.

Gardiner river crossing
We could have crossed, but I hate salt water
Windy Harbour River
It’s a beautiful spot though
Gardiner River Mouth
Relaxing at the river mouth

I considered crossing, knowing that it would be much faster to get to Fish Creek, but watching the rising tide push waves of salt water into the river mouth I decided it wasn’t worth it, and we pushed inland.

There’s a track that heads along the northern side of the Gardiner River, and bumps into Chestershire Road, which starts just south of Northcliffe and is one of the more common ways into Fish Creek.

Once we hit that, you head south along it all the way until Moores Hut Road. This takes you through a well marked out river crossing, and from there you can head in lots of different directions.

Gardiner River crossing
You’ll come across here, where its all fresh water

Moores and Fish Creek Hut

Moores Hut is one way, Fish Creek Hut is another and Fish Creek is the southern most option. We took the furthest south option and headed out almost all the way to the Broke Inlet, only turning around due to a lack of time.

Fish Creek 4WD Tracks
There’s a huge number of tracks in the area

The 4WD tracks are generally pretty easy, with exception of some hill climbs that have huge wombat holes. We did a few that I was really surprised the Dmax got up, and came to one that had several holes more than a metre deep which made us turn around.

I decided it wasn’t worth going down to explore a track we didn’t even know the end of, and luckily found a cleared section of bush to spin around.

Rubber matting on 4WD Tracks
Some areas have rubber matting put down to protect the track
Fish Creek coastline
The coastline here is quite incredible
Fish Creek Beach
On the beach right near Fish Creek

What do you need?

You absolutely need your tyres down, and around the 18 – 20 PSI maximum, with even lower as needed. At one stage I did get stuck on a hill trying to turn around, and had to rock it back and forth a number of times before it crawled out.

Let your tyres down
You need to deflate, and well or you’ll get stuck and chop the tracks out

Don’t head here without a good set of maps too; there are quite a number of loops and different tracks that go all over the place, and even with the maps we had to double check a number of times that we were heading in the right direction.

We saw a lot of people launching boats at the end of a cove, but you’d want to know exactly what you are doing as the swell can be big, and make beach launching and retrieval very difficult.

All in all, an amazing day out exploring some great coastline we’d not done before, and we’ll be back.

Dmax on the beach
A good day out in the 4WD!

Where can you camp?

There’s 3 official camp grounds in the area, with plenty of evidence of people camping outside of these areas too. Gardiner River Camp, Fish Creek Hut, and Moores hut are the big, official camp grounds with plenty of other options nearby.

We loved this part of the world, and whilst it was a decent hike from Pemberton and our accommodation at Fernbrook Farm Stay and out for the day, its completely worth it.

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