Hardies 4WD Track
The Northern Territory's Top End is one of Australia's wild frontiers. With around 250,000 inhabitants, the Northern Territory has a population density of more than 5 square kilometres per person and as the destination which best represents Australia's Outback, there are countless places to explore - and get lost. At the end of the 2022 dry season, Josh and I set off in our four wheel drives in search of Hardies 4WD track.
Online there are several maps and various resources that will point you into the right direction; but none of them line up with each other. In fact, it was 2 years ago where Josh and I, on our way back from Kakadu National Park, followed said navigational aids in search of the track. Unsuccessful, we abandoned the search, allowing this elusive track to taunt us until now. The easiest way is via the main turnoff 22km past the Corroboree Park Tavern. Despite the numerous maps suggesting a possible loop, the main track is a one way in, one way out - unless you have an amphibious vehicle.
There are other ways into/out of the main track. More reason to go back and explore…and get lost.
For the most part, the track was easy to traverse. There were a couple of uneven rocky sections that had steep entry and exit points, so a high clearance four wheel drive is essential. It is important to note, however, that the Hardies Track is in the wetlands, therefore, the difficulty level will most definitely increase with precipitation levels.
There were two standout aspects of this track that amazed us.
First of all, the wildlife. We saw more kangaroos on this trip than we have over the 3 years Josh and I have lived in Darwin. They were everywhere along the track and we were lucky not to have made a roo sandwich with our Bridgestones. Bird Billabong was the best overall when compared to the other Top End ones we have visited. It drew in all sorts of land, air and marine life and the aquatic plant covering provided unique beauty to the surrounding landscape.
Secondly, perhaps because we did not have high expectations of any picnic or rest areas, we were pleasantly surprised once we arrived at the final destination. We set up our lunch spot under a tree along the bank of Hardies Lagoon, which provided us with the much needed canopy, casting shade as we took rest. Someone more skilled than I would probably catch a famous Top End barramundi, but in true Wooman form, my only luck was successfully retrieving my lures after several snags in nearby trees.
Overall, I really enjoyed this track. Next time I will give more time to explore and go during a time when there is more water around. Perhaps after the first big rains, or at the end of the wet season.