10 4WD Treks Close To Sydney That Are Worth A Trip

Source: ECPT

When the weekend comes around and you’re in dire need of escaping the city, there’s nothing better than jumping in your vehicle and hitting up some 4WD treks. Regardless if you’re a seasoned 4×4 expert or an enthusiast just getting started in the hobby, there is a track to suit all driving abilities and experience levels. Even people who don’t own their own 4WD are getting into the craze with an abundance of hire vehicle options available, affording everyone the opportunity to give 4×4 driving a go.

To help you with your weekend adventure, Off-Road Aussie has put together a list of great 10 4WD treks that are close to Sydney that you need to try. There’s something on this list for everyone which covers all abilities from absolute beginners to those who want to spend a couple of days off the beaten track. New South Wales and Sydney have an extensive range of amazing 4WD treks so the list we came up with is only a sample of the adventures that are quite literally on your doorstep.

So you know you want to get out on the 4WD treks, you have your vehicle and gear ready. The next step is to choose a location and you’re good to go. Without further ado, here are some great 4WD treks that are within a short driving distance to Sydney.

Before you continue, If your new to 4wd and offroading or are not sure what equipment to take out with you on your adventures, make sure to check out the Off Road Aussies Essential 4×4 Equipment List where I have taken the time to review and recommend the equipment I use. If you kit yourself out correctly you will be able to tackle everything that your new adventures will throw at you.

Our Top 10 4WD treks close to Sydney:

  1. Wombeyan Caves
  2. Yengo National Park
  3. Stockton Beach
  4. Mt Kaputar National Park
  5. Barrington Tops National Park
  6. Kosciuszko National Park
  7. Coffs Harbour
  8. Hill End NSW
  9. Ado’s 4WD Course
  10. Dowling Track

Below we take a closer look at each of the tracks and what you should bring along to be prepared.

Wombeyan Caves

Distance from Sydney: 180km (approximately 2-hour drive)

Credit: SSS

Vehicle required: 4WD, AWD and 2WD suitable
Suggested time spent: 1-3 days
Trek difficulty: Beginner

The Wombeyan Caves trek is only a two-hour drive out of Sydney but combines incredible scenery and jaw-dropping nature tracks. This location is great for a day trip but you really get the full experience when you spend a couple of nights there.

You are able to camp on the grounds and pass through many smaller towns on the way which are great pit stops to pick up camping and food supplies. The suggested route to get here is to transverse through the Southern Highlands and pass through Mittagong to get to the caves. Mittagong will be the last chance for fuel for the next 140kms so make sure you top up.

The roads leading up to the caves snakes along due to the topography of the Blue Mountains. If you are worried at any point, be sure to honk your horn to alert any oncoming drivers of your presence. The track itself is in good condition regardless of the high amount of traffic that passes through the area. Even if there is a crowd on the weekend of your arrival, the view is well worth it!

You can learn more about The Wombeyan Caves By Going To There Website Here

Yengo National Park

Distance from Sydney: 130km (less than a 2-hour drive)

Credit: National Parks

Vehicle required: AWD, 4WD (only 4WD on the Mount Yengo Loop Trail)
Suggested time spent: Day trip
Trek difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate

One of the biggest appeals of the Yengo National Park is how close to Sydney it is. Located 130km North-West of Sydney you will find this gem of a trek. It’s less tha2-hour drive from Sydney and Newcastle and situated in the Lower Hunter region. Once you actually get out here, it’s hard to remember what the concrete jungle looked like.

The track itself is relatively beginner friendly but there are some areas that are a bit more challenging especially if it is raining. When you are attempting the track at the Yengo National Park you can expect to cross creeks and thick bushland.

Mount Yengo Loop Trail is great fun to attempt but is only doable in a 4WD vehicle. Experienced drivers with modified vehicles won’t have any trouble with it at all. With all tracks be sure to take the weather into consideration as rain can make the creeks a lot deeper and harder to cross as well as making the loop itself more challenging.

You can learn more about The Yengo National Park By Going To There Website Here

Stockton Beach

Distance from Sydney: 170km (approximately 2-hour drive)

Credit: Tracks 4×4 Earth

Vehicle required: 4WD, AWD
Suggested time spent: Day trip
Trek difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate

If you are a fan of sand 4×4 adventures this track should be high on your list. Stockton Beach is 170km north of Sydney and features a 32km length dune beach. The beach itself is a part of the Worimi National Park which is managed by Indigenous landowners and managers.

While some of the beaches are closed off to help rehabilitate the dunes, there are still plenty of dune areas to explore. There’s also something here for everyone with the highest dunes reaching up to 30 metres tall! Regardless of your 4WD abilities, you will find something to suit you.

Driving is also permitted along the beachfront where you can go from the Lavis Lane access point to the Gan Gan Road point. There are plenty of other activities for the whole family apart from exploring the dunes you can also wind down with some surfing, swimming and scuba diving to make you completely forget about the city.

As of right now, camping is not permitted in the area of Stockton Beach which is why it is optimal to go out there for a day trip.

You can learn more about The Stockton Beach By Going To There Website Here

Mt Kaputar National Park

Distance from Sydney: 558km (approximately 7-hour drive)

Credit: Queensland & Beyond

Vehicle required: 4WD, AWD
Suggested time spent: 2-3 Days
Trek difficulty: Intermediate

The scenic mountain range of Mt Kaputar National Park along with camping facilities, cycling tracks, horse riding and bird watching make it a must visit location for any family needing some R&R. This wilderness escape features one of the most unique 4WD tracks on our list.

Spanning 8km, this track only permits a maximum of 8 vehicles entry per week. That means if you are lucky enough to gain entry to the track, the chances of you running into anyone else are slim. The track itself is called the Barraba Track and is closed during wet weather conditions prevail. It’s highly recommended that you are well equipped for any kind of weather condition before you arrive at this National Park.

Entry for the track will only set you back $10 but you will have to pay a refundable deposit fee of $40 After a long hard day on the Barraba Track there are many other activities that the whole family can enjoy. With all of the amazing things to do and see at the Mt Kaputar National Park, it is recommended that you spend at least 2-3 days here.

You can learn more about The Mt Kaputar National Park By Going To There Website Here

Barrington Tops National Park

Distance from Sydney: 255km (approximately 3-hour drive)

Credit: National Parks

Vehicle required: 4WD, AWD
Suggested time spent: 2-3 Days
Trek difficulty: Intermediate

What once was a pedestrian-only trail, the Barrington Trail is now open for 4WD enthusiasts. The trail itself is only open for 4WD vehicles from October to May to avoid the wet weather months. If you do plan on coming out here be sure to pack your camping, hiking and fishing equipment as there is an abundance of other activities to do.

The trail is 15km long and is fairly beginner friendly but can also provide those with more experience a greater challenge in some areas. Not only is this 4WD track one of the best in New South Wales it is also home to some of Australias oldest trees. Do not miss this track because you will be treated to some incredible mountaintop views. The misty forests, scenic streams, an abundance of birds and wildlife means its a picture perfect paradise for avid outdoor photographers.

You can learn more about The Barrington Tops National Park By Going To There Website Here

Kosciuszko National Park

Distance from Sydney: 479km (approximately 5-hour drive)

Credit: Tim Robinson

Vehicle required: 4WD, AWD
Suggested time spent: 2-3 Days
Trek difficulty: Intermediate

The incredible Lobs Hole Ravine 4WD drive track features a 37km length track that is free to enter! If you are a 4×4 enthusiast you definitely need to head out to this track. The breathtaking mountain views along with a fresh dose of nature is a great excuse for a weekend away. Drivetime to get here is just under 5 hours so you will be sure to maximize every minute this spectacular area has to offer.

While the area is definitely something to write home about, the entire place is just full of Australian history. Back in the 1800s, the mountain was used by gold miners where you can still see the remnants of the mining access tracks.

This isn’t a track that you want to be a speed demon on. Taking your time and taking in the landscape is what makes this area truly appealing. If you don’t want to dedicate your entire weekend to driving around, you can also take advantage of the beautiful bush walks as well as the historic ruin areas that Kosciuszko National Park has to offer.

You can learn more about The Kosciuszko National Park By Going To There Website Here

Coffs Harbour

Distance from Sydney: 527km (approximately 5 and a half hour drive)

Credit: National Parks

Vehicle required: 4WD, AWD
Suggested time spent: 2 Days
Trek difficulty: Difficult

Located just south of Coffs Harbour along Englands Road you will find one of the more difficult 4WD tracks around Sydney. This track is notorious in the 4WD New South Wales community as being a challenging ride but what many people don’t realize that it is only a 5-minute drive out of the town centre.

The track itself is quite steep and slippery but if you are a 4WD veteran the view that you are greeted with at the end is well worth it. In dry conditions, it can prove to be hard for even the most experienced drivers and ‘modded’ up vehicles. After heavy rain, it becomes even more difficult, so, bring your recovery gear in anticipation.

We recommended that visitors from both Sydney and Brisbane consider staying overnight in Coffs Harbour. There are plenty of accommodation options available in town and some nice water views when you go out to grab a bite to eat.

You can learn more about The Coffs Harbour By Going To There Website Here

Hill End NSW

Distance from Sydney: 272km (approximately 4-hour drive)

Credit: 4WD Safaris – Rezdy

Vehicle required: 4WD only
Suggested time spent: 2 Days
Trek difficulty: Beginner

Amidst the Hill End of New South Wales, you will find the highly exciting track that is the Bridle Track. The former gold mining town that is full of Australian history also features this very unique 4WD track that is approximately 60km long. Due to its reputation as a beginner-friendly track, you will find that a lot of people tend to start off with this course when beginning their new hobby.

While it is classified as an “easy” course it doesn’t mean that you should be less safety conscious when trying to cross the terrain. The gravel roads are loose and do require some care from the driver to avoid any potential risks. It begins as a narrow bitumen road with a stunning view that then turns into a dirt track which makes for a bit of fun.

After any rains, be sure to have your recovery gear packed as the roads can become boggy and slippery so, take extra care after rainfalls.

If you do plan on heading out here, there are a few rules that you need to be familiar with beforehand. For starters, the track is only available to 4WD vehicles and there are no guard rails along the steep inclines. Additionally, caravans and trailers are strictly forbidden due to the danger that they may cause to themselves and others. If you encounter a vehicle approaching you from the opposite direction you need to be prepared to reverse several kilometres around the steep corners to let them past.

You can learn more about The Hill End NSW By Going To There Website Here

Ado’s 4WD Course

Distance from Sydney: 405km (approximately 5-hour drive)

Credit: Australian 4×4

Vehicle required: 4WD only
Suggested time spent: 2 Days
Trek difficulty: Intermediate

Located amongst the cattle and sheep properties in Dubbo you will find the gem that is Ado’s 4WD Course. The course itself lies in between the Warumbungle mountain range that has an intermediate difficulty level. A lot of visitors to this track tend to stay a night and head out to the nearby national park the following day.

To ensure that you get the most out of your time at Ado’s 4WD Course, the staff of the course take bookings and don’t allow any more than 20 vehicles a day. To gain full access to the tracks it will only set you back $20. If you do however get stuck at any point and require assistance that will cost you extra! The 50km long track has been granted the praise of a lot of locals and visitors claiming that it is great fun and a perfect weekend getaway location.

If you want to stay on the grounds for the night, adults are charged $5 each where kids under the age of 16 get to stay free of charge.

You can learn more about The Ado’s 4WD Course By Going To There Website Here

Dowling Track

Distance from Sydney: 775km to Bourke (approximately 9-hour drive)

Credit: ExplorOz

Vehicle required: 4WD, AWD
Suggested time spent: Several Days
Trek difficulty: Intermediate

No list of great 4WD tracks around Sydney is complete without mentioning the Dowling Track. The location of this track lies between Bourke and Quilpie with a minimum of 3 days’ driving recommended. In total, the track is 560km long where you travel in the footsteps of Vincent James Dowling. Rich with history you will follow the route that early pioneers took to discover the area that starts in New South Wales and ends in Queensland.

There are many great outback towns along the way a perfect overnight or refreshment stop. Some of the towns that are worth stopping in at include Bourke, Fords Bridge, Hungerford, Thargomindah, Toompine and finishing at Quilpie.

Due to the remoteness of this track, it is strongly recommended that you have plenty of water and the appropriate recovery gear packed in cases of emergencies. We also recommend for safety reasons that you provide someone with an ETA if you don’t check in at a certain time.

You can learn more about The Dowling Track By Going To There Website Here

Before you head out on your adventure, If your new to 4wd and offroading or are not sure what equipment to take out with you on your adventures, make sure to check out the Off Road Aussies Essential 4×4 Equipment List where I have taken the time to review and recommend the equipment I use. If you kit yourself out correctly you will be able to tackle everything that your new adventures will throw at you.

Related Questions

What Recovery Gear Should I Be Packing Before A Trek?

The essential and basics of your recovery gear should include a tyre gauge, shovel, rated recovery points, snatch strap, tyre compressor, rated bow shackles, jump starter, hand tools, work gloves, headlight and a satellite phone if possible.

How Much Water Should I Be Packing?

Weight is a very important factor when it comes to 4WD so the less excess weight you carry the better. However, when packing water you need to have at least 2 to 3 litres for each person each day. From that, you can do the basic math of how much water you need to bring. Make sure you plan your route beforehand and make note of any replenishing points where you can buy water so you dont have to carry the full supply with you all the way.

What Vehicle Checks Should I Do Before Heading Out On An Overnight Trek?

The worst thing that can happen when you are planning on an overnight 4WD trek is that your car breaks down. There is a quick and simple checklist you can to before you head off to ensure that everything is in order. Before you leave you should check your engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, hydraulic-clutch fluid, transfer-case oil, differential oil, power-steering fluid, belts, grease on all drive shafts , lights, windshield fluid, radiator coolant level, tire pressure, tow hooks and most importantly tell someone where you are going and your ETA so you can contact them at your earliest convenience.


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