If you are like me, the closer the 4WD tracks are to home, the better. Sure, a day down at Harvey, Brunswick or Collie is well worth the effort, but if you could explore some cracker 4WD tracks much closer to Perth, you would, wouldn’t you?
Where is Waroona Dam?
Waroona Dam is just under an hour and 20 minutes from Perth. For those of you who live south of the river, it’s barely an hour’s drive. To get there, you can either head straight down the South Western Highway, or you can go down Kwinana and onto Forrest Hwy, and cut across on Greenlands Road, and finish the rest of the drive on the South Western Highway. Either way, you want to end up here.
Waroona Dam/Lake Navarino
The proper name for this spectacular place is Lake Navarino. Still, it is most often referred to as Waroona Dam. Call it what you will! The primary use of the dam is for irrigation, but it is used for many recreational activities too. It was built in 1966, and the old construction camp was turned into a Caravan Park, run by CALM. It has since been leased to a private enterprise, and is truly an awesome place to visit.
What are the main attractions?
The main attraction for Waroona would be the skiing. In the warmer months, it’s not uncommon to have 10 – 20 boats in the dam. After skiing, there are a number of other popular activities like fishing, 4WDing, camping, hiking and canoeing.
The good news is that you can stay at Waroona, either in the Caravan park or lakeside camping. Camping next to the lake is only $10 per night, and you can literally wake up every morning and watch the sun rise over the lake. It’s a magnificent place, and one that I can’t recommend enough.
EDIT – you can no longer camp next to the lake, thanks to a bunch of muppets who couldn’t do the right thing. The police, rangers and Caravan Park closed it down due to anti social behaviour happening almost every weekend.
Where are the 4WD Tracks?
Onto the most important part of the post; Waroona 4WD Tracks! I don’t need to give you any GPS coordinates; you simply make your way around the dam itself. You can start on the gravel just after you cross the dam wall, and work your way around the dam.
You will need to go inland a bit when the water is up, and Scarp road is the boundary to many of the 4WD tracks. If you go all the way around the dam, you will end up climbing some hills and following a track that comes out at Scarp road.
Once you are back on Scarp road, you can either return to the dam or head home!
How serious are the 4WD tracks?
The tracks around the dam vary from mild angled gravel tracks through to big bog holes and some very chopped out hill climbs. Any 4WD would be able to comfortably drive the whole way around the dam, so long as they avoided the bog holes, and skipped the hill climbs.
This area changes dramatically as the water level goes up and down. Be very wary of bog holes, and always get out of your 4WD to check them before proceeding. There are plenty down there that would swallow cars on 35’s with lockers. Needless to say, you can drive around them!
There is a little creek on the eastern side of the dam that you can cross (and many people drive down it and out before the dam!), and this is a brilliant little spot to stop and relax.
In regards to the hill climbs, you can take the far east side, which is the easiest, and asides from a few side angles further up the track is a bit of a challenge, but not extreme. In a few places you need to straddle ruts and stay out of weird angles, but providing you aren’t a novice at 4WDing, and you have someone experienced to spot you through, you shouldn’t have too many issues.
The hill climb furthest to the west is the hardest, and vehicles without lockers really struggle to drive it. If you have lockers, pick the right line and drive up in first low with your tyres deflated and you won’t have too many issues. There are a few places where wheels come off the ground, so be prepared for it.
Please stay out of the dam itself. Whilst driving around right on the water’s edge might be fun, you wouldn’t be the first to tip your vehicle onto its side and into the water.
I’ve just spent the last weekend camping at Waroona, and we went down the Saturday before. We had a great time, and you can see most of the 4WD Tracks around Waroona in the youtube video below:
Where are more 4WD Tracks?
The beauty of Waroona is that it is also very close to Dwellingup. Once you’ve driven the 4WD Tracks around Waroona, head out to Scarp road, and take this track, which leads to Nanga Brook Road. From there, you can head to Nanga road, and turn left. The Captain Fawcett Track starts here, and you can take River Road, which will eventually see you come out right at Stringers camp site, via the North Junction track.
There are plenty of 4WD Tracks around Dwellingup, and between the two places, you have more than enough to keep you occupied for a full day (and more!). Be aware that a lot of the land east of Waroona Dam is private property, and is not passable.
Can I take my dogs?
Dogs are permitted around Waroona Dam. If you are camping, you need to register them, but you don’t have to pay a fee for having them there. Obviously, respect others and clean up any mess!
Look after our bush
It’s a huge privilege being able to access amazing spots like this, so please look after them. Take your rubbish home (and pickup any rubbish left behind by inconsiderate people) and don’t rip the area up in your 4WD unnecessarily. When an area is not treated with respect, it most often results in closures, and we’ve all had enough of them!
Have you been to Waroona before? Did you do any of the 4WD Tracks? What did you think of it?