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We’ve done our fair share of travelling around this great big country of ours, Australia. Predominantly we’ve stuck to the coastline of Australia and visited many of our beautiful beaches that we’re renowned for. During our travels we’ve explored some of the best 4WD beaches in Australia, which is the biggest buzz ever, even if you’re not a 4WD enthusiast.
Nothing beats the feeling of cruising on down a smooth sandy beach with the waves crashing on one side of you and sand dunes on the other. You get this feeling of absolute freedom and in some cases feel like you’re the only person in the world on this particular beach. Having the opportunity to stop wherever you like to fish, swim, surf or soak up some rays is hard to beat. Australia and its incredible coastline with the most pristine beaches in the world certainly steals the show.
Here’s a selection of beaches in Australia where you can get down and dirty on in your 4WD!
Distance: 28.5 Km
Vehicle Access: Via Iluka Road, there is a turnoff to Shark Bay (Ten Mile Beach)
Permits: National Parks Pass.
This long beach drive takes you along a wide beach with rock hard sand fringed by dense coastal vegetation of the Bundjalung National Park. Use caution if swimming along most of this long beach as it is remote and dominated by rips and alongshore troughs. There is great beach fishing on this beach in the long gutters and numerous holes.
Once you reach the large black rocks at Black Rock I wouldn’t advise going any further as the beach narrows and there are many rocks to negotiate. Black Rock is a great place to stop and check out the engravings in the flat top rocks and also fun for climbing on. There are some rock pools formed around the rocks as well that are great for paddling in.
Distance: 8.5 Km
Vehicle Access: Via Illaroo Campground road off Minnie Water Road.
Permits: National Parks Pass.
This beach drive takes you through beach vegetation on a dirt track until you reach Illaroo Campground where you access Sandon Beach. The beach drive then takes you all the way up to Sandon Bluff near the Sandon River estuary at Sandon. There are plenty of gutters for fishing and good surfing spots along this long stretch of beach.
Take care when driving along the this beach as there are many soft spots in the sand. The beach narrows at the northern end around exposed coffee rock and this point in impassable within a couple of hours either side of high-tide. At the northern of Sandon Beach, there’s a steep and exciting access track that leads into the fishing village of Sandon.
Distance: 25 Km
Vehicle Access: Either Lavis Lane in the south or Gan Gan Road in the north
Permits: Beach Vehicle Access Permit
The Worimi Conservation Lands include over 25km of coastline and most of stunning Stockton Beach at Port Stephens. The park provides four-wheel drive access to more than 22 Km of Stockton beachfront and over 350 hectares of dune driving in the Recreational Vehicle Area at the southern end of the park. This is one of the largest coastal dune driving areas in NSW. Behind the dunes is a forest of blackbutt and smooth-barked apple gums, with paperbark pockets.
The shifting sands cover the ancient Aboriginal cultural sites from time to time. This is why you must only drive or ride in the designated areas. It’s a great beach for fishing, whale watching (in season) and sand dune adventures!
Distance: Main Beach to Jumpinpin Channel 35 Km OR Flinders Beach to Amity Point 8.5 Km.
Vehicle Access: Main Beach via George Nothling Drive, Point Lookout or the Causeway entry off Tazi Road. Flinders Beach at Adder Rock, Point Lookout or from Amity Point.
Permits: Vehicle Access Permit
The ultimate in beach four wheel driving is on one of the Moreton Bay Islands offshore the city of Brisbane. You need to take your 4WD vehicle across on a ferry from Cleveland to Dunwich departing at regular intervals, but it’s advisable to book ahead with Stradbroke Ferries. Once you arrive in Dunwich it’s only a short drive over to the east side of the island where you can choose from one of the two 4WD beach drives. If you want to camp on the beach there are beach camping sites available along Flinders Beach.
Although both beaches are reasonably easy to drive just be aware that beaches have hazards, including washouts, soft sand and exposed rocks, particularly after heavy rain and rough seas. It is not permitted to drive on beaches 1 hour and 15 minutes on either side of high tide time. The reason for this is both for your own safety as well as environmental protection.
Along with beach fishing, surfing, diving and whale watching, you can also head inland to check out two freshwater lakes called Blue Lake and Brown Lake that are accessible by vehicle and then by foot.
Distance: 65 Kms
Vehicle Access: Ferry crossing over the Noosa River at Tewantin then 3rd cutting after the town of Teewah
Permits: 4WD Access Pass
Cooloola Recreation Park, or Great Sandy National Park, is located north of Noosa and covers the region right up to Rainbow Beach. It’s known as the “Great Beach Drive” and is a distance of 65 Kms to Double Island Point, and a further 13 Kms to Rainbow Beach.
After you cross the Noosa River on the vehicular ferry at Tewantin, it’s only a short drive to Teewah and the access to Teewah Beach. This large flat stretch of sandy beach soon transforms into towering coastal sand cliffs and coloured sands. There are beach campsites amongst the sand dunes that are very popular with campers. During the peak season it becomes extremely busy.
The coastal headland of Double Island Point offers mesmerising views along the beach and out to sea and has a historical lighthouse that sits at the highest point. There is also a freshwater lake that is located just south of Double Island Point that is a short drive inland from the beach.
The Great Beach Drive continues north along Rainbow Beach to Inskip Point, where you can catch the barge across to Fraser Island, another great 4WD beach adventure!
Distance: 40 Kms
Vehicle Access: Middle Road to Eagers Beach
Permits: Vehicle Access Permit
Moreton Island is known as a haven for four-wheel drivers. Access to the island is by vehicular barge and once ashore you need a four-wheel drive vehicle to drive around the island as there are no sealed roads. The ramp from the ferry drops straight into the sand and you will need to be prepared to begin 4×4 driving as soon as you reach the island.
Once you arrive on Eagers Beach on the eastern side of the island you can either head north towards Cape Moreton or south towards Campbells Point. There’s heaps to see and do on this large sand island including, beach camping, freshwater lakes and lagoons, sand hill surfing, surfing, fishing, dolphin encounters, Tangalooma shipwreck diving and snorkelling, exploring Cape Moreton Lighthouse and whale watching in season.
Distance: 12 Kms
Vehicle Access: Second Ramp 1km north of the southern end of Long Beach.
Permits: Not required
Long Beach is a beautiful white sand beach just north of the holiday town of Robe on the Limestone Coast of South Australia. It’s ideal for 4WD access and the beach is safe for swimming, surfing and beach fishing.
During the summer hundreds of cars can line the beach creating traffic jams, so you’re best to access the beach during off-peak times during the year.
Distance: 14 Kms
Vehicle Access: Take the Esplanade at Coffin Bay all the way around to the National Park entry via Long Beach Road
Permits: National Park Permit
Four-wheel driving on Gunyah Beach and down the Coffin Bay Peninsula, is initially firm with a gravel/dirt/rock surface before a sign warns of the soft sands ahead leading to the beach. The drive through the dunes is marked and stunning, dropping down to the beach from the hills above it in one giant panorama.
Known for its remote coastal scenery, the bays and coastline around the Coffin Bay National Park are ideal for boating, fishing, sailing, scuba diving and windsurfing.
When travelling on the Gunyah Beach 4WD track please follow the route markers and if travelling on beaches first check tide times and heights. On Gunyah Beach, you cannot drive further than 3km either side of where the track joins the beach. Beyond this there are important seabird refuges and breeding areas.
Distance: 4 Kms
Vehicle Access: Western end of Emu Beach
Permits: Not required
This stunning, sweeping beach stretches four kilometres and not only provides a safe swimming beach, but is also a great boat launching spot. This gorgeous stretch of sand and surf is protected from the elements with calm and clear conditions.
Emu Bay has a colony of Fairy Penguins so driving along the foreshore at night is not recommended.
Distance: 4.5 Kms
Vehicle Access: Off Wharton Road
Permits: Not required.
The amazing Duke of Orleans Bay is around 85 Kms east of Esperance, via the small town of Condingup. It is renowned for the sweeping beach called Wharton Beach, that you can four wheel drive along for kilometres. Additionally there is the more intimate beach – Little Wharton Beach, with lots of interesting rock pools for exploration.
Wharton Beach faces south and curves round in a semi-circle for 4.5 Km with snow white, soft sand and clear, calm aqua water. Wharton Beach is one of the most popular surfing spots in the region and you might even be joined by a pod of dolphins in the waves.
Distance: 22 Kms
Vehicle Access: Vehicle ramp at Cable Beach Road West, north of the rocks at Cable Beach
Permits: Not required
Bounded by sand dunes and ochre red cliffs, Cable Beach is a 4WD dream! This white sandy beach offers great swimming, fishing, kayaking and even surfing when the swell is up. For a spectacular ocean sunset, Cable Beach does not disappoint. With colours ranging from purples and golds to fiery reds, the skies light up as the sun slowly sinks into the sea, providing picture perfect photo opportunities. It’s the perfect spot to set up your camp chairs and esky for a sundowner!
If you are planning to drive on the beach it is important to be aware of the tide times. Also be aware that this beach is clothing optional!
Distance: 6 Kms
Vehicle Access: Sandy Cape Campground
Permits: Not required
Sandy Cape is a small camping spot 14 Km north of Jurien Bay that has some amazing coastal sand dunes, fishing spots and places to snorkel. Once you access the beach from the campground keep the ocean on your right. You will see heaps of interesting spots along the coast that are worth a look or stop to take a photo.
Heading towards the tip of North Head, the track gets narrow until you find yourself in a large sand bowl. Forming one side of North Head, this area is almost entirely sheltered against the wind and is a great little spot to take a break. From the sand bowl, there are two tracks which lead up to the cliff at North Head – the top of this cliff marks the end of the track.
Where in Australia have you been 4WD’ing? Can you add to this list?
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
Comments are closed.
janAugust 13, 2019
Awesome post Kathy. We have rarely 4WD on a beach. It’s not allowed most places in NQ. I do think we will have to get into it down on the Sunshine Coast. Our Son has done the one from Noosa to Double Island Point. I think we will go with him in our 4WD next time.
KathyAugust 13, 2019
Oh yes, you don’t know what you’re missing out on! I absolutely love driving on the beach. It’s the best feeling out. I can highly recommend the Noosa Northshore to Double Island Point drive, but do it off-season and of a week day because it gets crowded.
JoAugust 13, 2019
First of all I’m thinking what some awesome beaches you’ve been to! And what some fantastic beaches you’ve featured. Secondly, how lucky we are in Australia to be allowed to 4WD on beaches. We have a couple near us, and so far they have not been abused. I expect the time will come though :(
KathyAugust 14, 2019
It just goes to show that Australia has the most spectacular beaches in the world. We are so blessed to find a beach that is relatively uncrowded and be able to drive on it is a huge bonus. A couple of the beaches I’ve featured do become extremely crowded during holidays and weekends, but others aren’t that well known and are less inhabited.
Melissa ChambersAugust 14, 2019
We love driving on the beach so you have given us a couple to add to our list.Our favourite spot so far would have to be Fraser Island. Just spectacular!
KathyAugust 14, 2019
Fraser Island is incredible for 4WDing. I’ve not been there in ages and I would love to go back here one day soon. I’m sure you will find some more great Aussie places for beach driving during you travels. There’s so much to explore!
Tony WilsonAugust 14, 2019
Nothing beats driving down the beach and parking on the edge of the tide and throwing a line in the water. So peaceful without putting up with the crowds.We used to have season passes to Bribie Island and Cooloola. Spent many years at Teewah Beach climbing the Cherry Venture.
KathyAugust 15, 2019
Yes there is nothing quite like it is there? It’s one Aussie tradition that I love and I can never understand why people want to lie on a sun lounge at a beach resort when they could be doing this!
Annette JonesAugust 18, 2019
Great list here Kathy.
I love 4WD driving on the beach, there is something surreal about it for me.
We love the surf side of Moreton and quite happily “drop out” for 10 days.
We’re looking forward to getting back into it in a few years.
KathyAugust 19, 2019
There certainly is Annette. Moreton Island is one of our favourite 4WD’ing places. We’ve camped here many a time.
wendyAugust 22, 2019
We’re heading down to Esperance in the summer so will check out Wharton Beach then.
KathyAugust 22, 2019
Oh lucky you. We absolutely loved the beaches around Esperance. They are some of the best ones I’ve ever seen in Australia. Yes I would recommend a drive out to Duke or Orleans Bay and Wharton Beach. Stunning place!
Perth Is OkAugust 28, 2019
Nice blog, you have mentioned all famous beaches of Australia and I am from WA, Wharton Beach is one of my favourite place to travel. Next month I am going Sydney with my friends and I will spend some time on Bondi Beach.
KathyAugust 28, 2019
Thank you. Wharton Beach was one of the highlights of our caravan trip in 2014. In fact all of the beaches around Esperance were amazing! Bondi Beach is beautiful, but can get very crowded.
Estelle AndersonSeptember 3, 2019
We have travelled extensively around Australia, and love visiting beaches.But have a guess what? We are not 4WDers. Reading about the thrill of the waves on one side and the sand dunes on the other makes me think I’d probably enjoy it. I could imagine 4WD on Stockton beach. And of course the beautiful Cable beach. Thanks for the inspiration to try yet another form of travel adventure.
KathySeptember 4, 2019
You don’t know what you’re missing out on Estelle! Driving along a long stretch of sandy beach gives you a feeling of absolute freedom. We just returned from a few days on the Coffs Coast and there were a couple of beach access points, but unfortunately the tide was too high for 4WD’ing.