Loading up the car and hitting the road for a road trip has become a WA holiday tradition, but what kind of vehicle you need has become as hotly contested as whether to go north, east or south.

Yet, while there are benefits to hitting the road in a 4WD, the best part of any road trip is being on the road, and sometimes that means just grabbing a bag and an esky and heading out in whatever car you have. After all, there’s always something to see - even if you have to skip a few dirt tracks along the way.

Of course, while weather can play a part - you want to stick to the driest months of the year for driving on any unsealed roads in a 2WD - many of Western Australia’s great road trips are surprisingly accessible. Here are some of the best 2WD-accessible road trips in Australia's Golden Outback.

Choosing Your 2WD Road Trip

Now the car’s sorted, it’s time to decide which way to go. With 12 of Australia’s Golden Outback’s Epic Road Trips consisting of fully sealed roads, there are heaps of options to choose from. If you don’t mind a (2WD-friendly) unsealed road or two, your options widen even further, with another six to choose from, including the 6-day Golden Quest Discovery Trail. The combination of sealed and unsealed roads, including the gravel and dirt road leading out to Lake Ballard, requires driving to the conditions but can add an extra element of fun to your outback adventure.

Alternatively, if you want to avoid all the bumps in the road (or at least as many as possible!), fully sealed road trips offer all the epic views with none of the extra stress. They’re also great if you’re towing a caravan or don’t fancy going too far off-grid. Some of the best road trips in Australia’s Golden Outback, like the 7-day Road to Esperance and the 3-day Wildflower Way are fully sealed, as is the bucket-list-worthy Eyre Highway across the Nullarbor.

The Best Fully Sealed 2WD-Friendly Road Trips in Australia’s Golden Outback

The Wheatbelt

Encompassing some of the most varied terrain, historic settlements, and natural wonders (hello, Wave Rock!) in Australia’s Golden Outback, the Wheatbelt is far more accessible than most people might think; almost all of AGO’s Epic Road Trips in the Wheatbelt are 2WD friendly.

Fully sealed road trips include the Public Silo Trail, which is perfect for lovers of art, history and country views, along with the aptly named Winery, Woodlands, and Wheatbelt road trip. The Wheatbelt Way, Northern Wheatbelt Wonders, and the Eyre Highway and Nullarbor Links, which connects Western Australia to South Australia are also fully accessible.

Other great fully sealed itineraries include the Pioneers Pathway, the Wildflower Way, Pathways to Wave Rock, and the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail, which follows the “scheme of madness” 19th-century water pipe that still carries the life-giving elixir from the Perth Hills out to the Wheatbelt and the Goldfields to this day.

The Goldfields

Encompassing gold-rush ghost towns, enormous salt lakes studded with larger-than-life steel statues, Aboriginal culture and history, and giant mining pits, the Goldfields is one of Australia’s Golden Outback’s most remote and interesting regions. Featuring the best of the best, the 6-day Golden Quest Discovery Trail includes sealed roads out to Lake Ballard and Kookynie, a “living” ghost town known for its horse-friendly outback pub.

Following the old Dundas Coach Road Heritage Trail, the Norseman Heritage Trail is a short 2WD trail that loops through the Great Western Woodlands between Norseman and the original Dundas township. Offering a fascinating insight into the history of the remote region, the trail only takes around 1-2 hours and is especially spectacular in spring.

Esperance and Fitzgerald Coast

One of the top bucket-list spots in Western Australia, Esperance is home to stunning beaches and incredible scenery - but the journey there is also a big part of the adventure. Starting in Perth, the Road to Esperance includes visits to York, Western Australia’s first in-land town and Hyden, which is home to the famed Wave Rock.

Once you’ve made it down to the crystalline coastline, the Great Ocean Drive is a short loop that takes you out to some of the best beaches. Cape Le Grand National Park, home to the famed Lucky Bay and its crowd-bringing kangaroos, is also fully sealed, with an easily accessible car park right behind the beach (park passes required).

The Best Sealed and Unsealed Road-Trips in Australia’s Golden Outback

The Wheatbelt

The all-weather gravel Granite and Woodlands Discovery Trail is a scenic (and slower) way to explore the temperate woodlands, salt lakes, and granite outcrops between Hyden (the home of Wave Rock) and Norseman, WA’s “southern gateway” and the jumping-off point to the Eyre Highway and the Nullarbor. Depending on road conditions, the 300-km trail is usually accessible for any vehicle, including 2WDs and those towing caravans, but it’s still worth checking with local shire councils before you go.

Those wanting to extend the trip to start/end in either Broomehill or Coolgardie can also check out the Holland Way - the 2WD equivalent to the John Holland Track - which follows a similar but slightly extended itinerary up to the old gold mining (almost) ghost town, which at its peak was once the third most-populous town in WA.

The Goldfields

After completing the Golden Quest Discovery Trail, if you have a couple of hours to spare once you reach Gwalia Ghost Town and Leonora, you can also check out the Leonora Loop Trails, a 1-3 hour driving trail that loops through some of the best natural and historical highlights around the old town, with interpretive panels featuring figures from the past and the present.

The Gascoyne-Murchison

Unlike the rest of Australia’s Golden Outback, the majority of road trips in the Gascoyne-Murchison are best tackled with a 4WD, including those out to Mount Augustus. While officially Mount Augustus is 2WD-accessible, the roads are very remote and pretty sketchy, comprising gravel, dirt, long stretches of corrugations, and river crossings.

A safer - but still epic - 2WD-suitable road trip is the 4-day Miners Pathway. A figure-of-eight-style road trip connecting Meekatharra with Sandstone (home of London Bridge), Payne’s Find, Yalgoo, and Mount Magnet, this trail follows in the footsteps of the old boom-and-bust mining towns of the outback.

Esperance and Fitzgerald Coast

Winding around the Fitzgerald River National Park and the Ravensthorpe Range, the Ravensthorpe Range road trip is a 2-3 hour sightseeing adventure through the UNESCO-registered Fitzgerald Biosphere. 2WD access is via Ethel Daw Drive or Archer Drive. (Park pass required).