The Holland Track is a challenging 290km (2-3 day) four wheel drive & camping adventure, situated in the real outback of Western Australia! We conquered this epic outback 4WD track in my Dad’s stock-standard Nissan Navara D40. See how we went – read the article!
About the John Holland Track
Looking for a self-drive outback tour in Western Australia? One that encompasses a variety of interesting farming, pastoral, mining and native bush landscapes?
The Holland Track is the ultimate 4WD-only heritage trail adventure in Western Australia that links on from John Holland Way. It’s approx. 290km in length, taking usually 2-3 days to complete and is only accessible (and recommended) to well prepared 4WD travellers.
Here, you can follow in the steps of one of Western Australia’s early pioneer explorers, John Holland, and discover the riches of Western Australia’s Golden and Red Dirt Outback region while likely seeing kangaroos, emus and goats.
Along the way, you will also drive past a section of the original Rabbit Proof Fence (formerly State Vermin Fence and Emu Fence) which was constructed in 1901 and 1907 to keep rabbits and other agricultural pests, from the east, out of Western Australian pastoral areas.
So where to start? The John Holland Track connects the town of Hyden (home to the popular visitor attraction, Wave Rock – you can read about my Wave Rock experience here) to the historic mining town of Coolgardie. As the John Holland track is so long in length, there are different directions from where you can commence on it.
We began from the main entryway near Hyden and finished in Coolgardie, then we took the the Great Eastern Highway home. All up, it took us 3 days and 3 nights to finish the John Holland Track!
The great thing about The Holland Track is majority of the challenging sections have easier routes around them, so you have the choice to tackle the obstacle or drive around it if you like.
Don’t have a 4WD? – Stick to the ‘The John Holland Way’
Only have a 2WD? Or maybe you don’t like camping or the idea of a 2-3 day 4WD challenge. No worries – just stick to the John Holland Way.
The John Holland Way covers 600 km of Australian outback scenery, connecting the regional townsites between Broomehill and Coolgardie. It’s suitable for conventional two wheel drive travel and is supported by a network of intersecting inland sealed and unsealed roles allowing you a broad range of touring experiences. I recommend staying at one of the local bed and breakfast country farmstays there to make it a really memorable Aussie experience.
Want to embark on a real Australian outback adventure? Be inspired by my own John Holland Track experience and see my videos and photos below. I had a great time and know you will too!
We took my dad’s Navara Nissan D40 ute. It’s unmodified (no added suspension, sadly stock standard! lol) was sufficient enough to get through the whole John Holland track. For any extra challenging sections, we took the easy route around it to be safe, while our friends modified Toyota Hilux’s had no problems charging through obstacles. We drove the ute very slowly and yes, it was a bumpy ride but if you go slow – your car will be okay!
The Nissan D40 had no problems except for the last day of the track when the ABS light randomly came on (we think a log or branch was flicked into the rear of the car and ripped the ABS line out). This ABS light inconveniently prevented selection of four wheel drive! Fortunately it was the last day of the track and we were able to drive out in two wheel drive and repair the vehicle once home.
Watch our homemade video below of The John Holland Track. Also I’m still learning how to video edit, so don’t judge me too much on this:
Other details you should know:
- For much of the John Holland length, the track is a narrow single lane track with many water-filled washaways.
- Vehicles can enter the track from the other direction, so be alert of oncoming vehicles – buy a sandflag and put it on your bullbar so people can see you before you come round the corner.
- Rain will render some sections of the John Holland track very slippery and muddy. Take care when wet.
- Parts of the John Holland track are only suitable for high clearance four wheel drive vehicles and should only be attempted by confident drivers. There are side-tracks available to bypass for these sections.
You know, there’s something really cool about following in the footsteps of pioneers who carved the bushland by hand out for us – they did it all with limited supplies on the back of horses, searching for water half the time! I pay my respects to Mr John Holland and his team! 🙂
Warning – in the outback, red dirt truly get’s everywhere!! Also – this blog is pretty long (sorrrrry) but you can scroll right to the bottom if you want extra info on outback driving or contact links.
The majority of travellers along the John Holland Track are self-drive visitors in 4WD vehicles. Potential travellers are encouraged to utilise the “Holland Track Map Book” which features detailed travel maps and notes. Visitor centres in the region stock alot of these flyers and maps for you take.
For more detailed outback maps, you can also contact:
- The Department of Land Administration, Midland Square, Midland WA 6056 – 08 9273 7075
- Main Roads, Western Australia. Don Aitken Centre, Waterloo Crescent, East Perth WA. 08 9323 438
Anyone planning on outback adventure in Western Australia should be well prepared with supplies and do their research on the area beforehand.
Should you break down or become lost, stay with your vehicle until help arrives. On remote roads in outback Western Australia, traffic can be almost non existent. However, with that being said, the John Holland Track is a popular activity to do and can often be quite busy, especially during the long Easter weekend. If you got stuck on the John Holland Track – help would likely not be far away, however just in case it always pays to be prepared and self sufficient.
Exercise caution if travelling very early in the morning or from dusk to late evening, as livestock and wildlife may cross the road unexpectedly. In addition, depending what season you travel – rain can also make roads impassable due to flooding. With that being said – a little rain can also make the John Holland Track quite fun and ‘muddy’, regardless, drive slower in wetter weather.
If you are doing the full length of the John Holland Track, you will have to camp. Some of the camping sites in John Holland are better equipped than others (i.e. drop toilets), but in general, expect not too much and bring supplies. Keep in mind, camping in a creek or river bed can be dangerous due to flash flooding in the outback.
- A well prepared and reliable 4WD vehicle
- 4WD recovery gear (i.e. snatch strap, max trax etc)
- Enough food and water for your vehicle occupants for four days
- Usual camping gear (seasonal stuff – if it’s summer bring the bug spray, if it’s winter bring the warm blankets)
- If you’re travelling as a solo vehicle, ensure friends and family know your planned route and estimated times of arrival just to ensure if you get stuck someone will come looking for you eventually!
- Extra fuel for at least 500 km.
- First aid kit
- Emergency food rations
- Comprehensive Spares/Tools
- Fire extinguisher
Take your time, avoid excessive speed and fatigue. Some roads are unfenced so beware of wandering stock and wildlife. Dawn, dusk and night driving are the times best avoided. Slow down and enjoy what the region has to offer you!7
As the John Holland Track is between Hyden and Coolgardie, country town’s in the region will have visitor centres that can help you with your Holland Track information. They will also have Holland Track brochures and maps.
- Hyden Visitor Centre: Wave Rock Road, opposite Wave Rock. Phone: 08 9880 5182
- Coolgardie Visitor Centre: 62 Bayley Street, Coolgardie. Phone: 08 9026 6090
Helpful John Holland Track Websites:
There’s other great websites out there besides that can help you with your Holland Track adventure planning! Check these ones out for helpful itinerary planning:
- Australia’s Golden Outback – 3 Days of The John Holland Track & The John Holland Way
- Goldfields Tourism – The Holland Track
- 4 Wheeling in Western Australia – The Holland Track and Beyond
- Wheatbelt Tourism – Holland Track & John Holland Way
- Wave Rock – Holland Track
- Caravan World – The Holland Track
- 4×4 Web – My Holland Track 1999 Spring Experience Blog