Do I need a 4WD?

Part of Kakadu’s charm is its remote nature and wilderness environment – but that means there are several types of unsealed roads. Major unsealed (or gravel) roads can get corrugated and bumpy at times, they can develop deep ruts and patches with very soft sand. The smaller 4WD tracks in Kakadu can lead you through all kinds of rough terrain, a 4WD with high clearance and even a snorkel may be required to tackle rocky tracks and water crossings.

You need to have the right vehicle, and you need to drive to the conditions.

First off, there are lots of sites in Kakadu that you can get to with a 2WD.

But, some can only be reached with a 4WD.

Popular sites that can only be reached with a 4WD are

Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin Gorge)

Out of the way

There are other spots in the park that you need a 4WD to get to, but they’re more often used by locals and regular visitors. However, if you are heading off the beaten track to any of these areas, check you’ve got the right vehicle and insurance.

This map makes it really easy to see which roads require a 4WD


Hire car companies in Darwin rent 4WD vehicles. However, not all hire vehicles are insured for driving on unsealed roads. Ask your rental company which sites you can access before booking.


4WD’ing is also a skill – it requires practice and sometimes gets scary even for experienced drivers.

If you’re not bringing your own 4WD, or your rental doesn’t cover you to drive on the unsealed roads, don’t worry! You can still get to your must-see spots. Tour companies offers a range of options from half day tours upwards for both large and small groups so there’s no need to miss out on any of the stops on your bucket list.

KNP-Gagudju adventure tours 3