You'd be forgiven for thinking Western Australia was just a convenient place to keep the Pilbara and the Kimberley. The truth is it's home to some of the most breathtaking beaches Australia has to offer.
Located right at the end (or start) of the Great Australian Bight, Israelite Bay really should be the gateway to Western Australia.
It's everything WA has to offer all rolled up into the one park. It's rugged, remote, beautiful, and quite frankly, some of the best 4WDing Australia has to offer. Just don't ask the locals to show you their fishing spots, secret squirrel.
You'll want to leave the camper trailers at home for this; in some sections the corrugations are big enough to swallow a 35" tyre whole. Combine that with booby-trap-like seaweed that can leave your chassis deep in lapping waves and it's clear this area is no joke. Especially when help can be days away.
The terrain varies from tight tracks cutting through dunes to rocky escarpments jutting out into the ocean within minutes. Originally used as a telegraph station for contacting Europe, the area is still home to more than its fair share of abandoned homesteads and long-forgotten graves.
Israelite Bay is the kind of location where you need to keep your wits about you. There's no one around for a very long way, so if you find yourself in trouble you better be self-sufficient. But truthfully, that's the appeal.
Cervantes to Jurien Bay
If you like your adventures a little closer to civilisation, this one should be right up your alley. Located just two hours north of Perth, Cevantes to Jurien Bay can be knocked over in just a few hours if you're café hopping along the blacktop.
Although if you're after some of the most stunning beaches on the west coast you'll want to lock the stubby lever in low range and drop down onto the beach where you'll be face to face with two days of aired-down action through rolling beach side dunes and twisting inland sand tracks.
There are two major dune systems along the way; they're relatively straight forward if you're just blasting through, although the real fun is to be had exploring the dunes.
They're quite substantial so if you're planning on exploring a GPS is an essential piece of kit.
Like most decent dune systems you'll find plenty of varying difficulty for any skill level. You'll want to pack in a few sand boards for the kids too. At the northern end of the dunes you'll find the track tracing the shoreline with the rolling waves to the west and river on the right. In wetter months these tracks have been known to hold up to half a metre of water which can make for an interesting end to the trip. To get the most out of your trip pump the tyres back up at Jurien Bay and head north 20 clicks and camp at Sandy Cape.
D'Entrecasteaux National Park
There's no doubt about it, we've saved our best beach for last. If you're not from West Aus you've probably never even heard of it, but D'Entrecasteaux National Park is one of the west coast's best kept secrets, if not the most difficult to pronounce.
Right from the start it's full of loose hill-climbs with stunning cliff lines piercing through the bushland into the crashing waves below, with more than a few water crossings along the way.
It wouldn't be a stretch to describe D'Entrecasteaux as Western Australia's answer to the high country. Although instead of freezing to the bone in an isolated cabin you're kicking back on the beach sinking a few drinks with no one in sight, bar a few hundred kangaroos. WA might have you beat here, Victoria.
The park is the perfect place to kick back for a few days exploring sandy inland tracks to find your own little slice of beachside isolation. It's littered with campgrounds too, although the isolated Sandy Peak is without doubt the pick of the bunch and perfect for a small group.
The Rangers have got a tough job keeping on top of it all, so if you're heading there use your head. Bring your own firewood, stay off the overgrown tracks, and enjoy one of the most magical places in Australia.
As with any of these trips, the best way to make the most of exploring a new area is to go with someone who knows the area back to front. Ronny and Brian from 4 Wheeling In Western Australia live and breathe this part of the world, so be sure to drop them a line.