10 of the Best 4WD Beaches in Australia That You Should Try!

Are you tired of dealing with the mosquitoes and washing off the mud from your tyres? Well, it’s a good thing that most states and territories allow 4WD vehicles to drive on the beach (but it’s not without its drawbacks as seawater is extremely corrosive), so you have more places to explore.

Australia is known for its rugged mountains and deserts for off-roading, but its beaches are also worth exploring as they are very challenging. So, all you have to do gather some friends, stock up, and head out! 

Since there are hundreds of beaches where you can use your 4WD vehicle to its maximum limit, we have made a list of ten of the best ones that you should explore. So, consider these beaches on your next trip:

Fraser Island

Difficulty: Moderate

Track Length: 391.5 km

Track Time: 3 days

Terrain: Sealed roads and sand

Fraser Island – the world’s biggest sand island, is situated at the southernmost point of the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef, just 15 km off the coast of Hervey Bay and Maryborough. Also, vehicle barges and ferry services are available daily. The barges carry walk-in passengers, but there’s no public transport on the island itself. Accommodation on the island is very diverse and plentiful, with privately-run holiday accommodation choices from budget cabins to upmarket resorts, plus a diverse range of camping options. For example, both fenced camping areas with facilities and informal beach camping are available. For hikers, you can also stay at “walk-in” only campsites.

A network of scenic 4WD drives on sandy tracks gives visitors the chance to explore the island as well as the beach and throughout inland tracks, but 4WD vehicles with high clearance and low range are recommended. Also, trailers and camper trailers are not allowed on the inland tracks, and AWD vehicles are not recommended.

When planning your stay, we recommend using several base camps at various locations. It enables you to spend a few days in areas of the island to avoid long driving and to have more time for leisure.

If fishing is high on your list, we would recommend camping further north up the eastern beach towards Eli Creek to enable easier access to other good fishing sports such as the Maheno, Moon Point, Orchid Beach and Sandy Cape.

Wilbinga

Difficulty: Moderate

Track Length: 132.97 km

Track Time: 1 day

Terrain: Unsealed road and sand

Wilbinga is located on the northern border of metropolitan Perth just over Yanchep and Two Rocks. Since it is incredibly accessible, this track is famous with local 4WD beginners and with local clubs. There are opportunities to try out sand driving from sandy tracks, soft ruts, uneven sand hills, dunes, seasonal beach driving, steep ascents and descents. For experienced drivers, it’s just a place to go and have a bit of fun.

The sand bowls close to the beach tend to be the perfect snack or lunch stop, and from this place, it is only a short walk from the beach. Some of the things you can do in the area include walks along the beach, exploring the historic huts and collecting shells which are often visible along the tide line.

Nuytsland Nature Reserve

Difficulty: Hard

Track Length: 376.65 km

Track Time: 1 day

Terrain: Sand and rock

Nuytsland Nature Reserve is an extremely long and narrow reserve of around 625,000 ha following the coast in an orientation along NE/SW with a beach that is over 500 km long. Significant features inside the sanctuary for visitors exploring this area are the ruins of the Israelite Bay Telegraph Station, Eyre Bird Observatory, Point Culver, Toolinna Cove, and Twilight Cove. The topographic/scenic high points include long remote beaches, Baxter Cliffs, Wylie Scarp, mallee woodlands, and the magnificent Bilbunya dunes. The route takes in sections of the long-abandoned Telegraph Track (c. 1874 – 1927), and it is worth knowing more about the history to fully appreciate not only its use but how it was built.  

Much of the trip includes long-distance beach driving, rough pavements, extensive scrubby stretches and some deep sand plus some comfortable dune driving making this trip ideal for veteran 4WD enthusiasts only. Telegraph Track sections are usually slow going over relatively stable sand with substantial limestone outcropping. The limestone notably slows progress as does encroaching scrub – expect scratches. The occasional remnants see evidence of the Telegraph of poles and insulators, and for long stretches, one steel wire makes its way along the route.

Part of the area has been dramatically affected by heavy rain and during winter can be exceedingly boggy along Israelite Bay and Wattle Camp. Almost all of the trek is within 100 km of civilisation via the Eyre Hwy, but travellers will be in extremely remote areas as they may be the only vehicle on the track. Do not expect to meet fellow travellers. Overall, the road is generally in good condition, including the section of the route in the middle of Wattle Camp and Culver Campsite (can be used if the beach conditions are not recommended for driving) which has recently been cleared after temporary closures because of fires.

Stockton Beach

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Track Length: 53.24 km

Track Time: 1 day

Terrain: Sand and dunes

Stockton Beach has for some years, been the playground of dune buggies, motocross bikes and now 4WD vehicles. Seeing the massive dunes of Stockton Beach for the first time is a pure delight, and you know this is one of the best trips that you’ll ever have. 

The dunes are enormous, incredibly steep and very thrilling! A lot of them are so steep that you have no hope of climbing up but have to navigate across and down then up the gentler ones carefully.

Weekends can be very crowded, especially with clubs doing Sand Driving lessons. These clubs bring a lot of students, and they go through the dunes in convoy, stopping to snatch one another out of a soft spot or to wait for the convoy to catch up.

Be aware that numerous changes and restrictions are now in place – Stockton has changed! Please check the Worimi Conservation Lands website for more information and details about camping restrictions.

Cooloola Coast

Difficulty: Moderate

Track Length: 57.27 km

Track Time: 1 day

Terrain: Sand

The Cooloola Coast is located between the coastal towns of Rainbow Heads, and Noosa Heads The landscape of the Cooloola Coast is an essential ecological treasure – carved by the air, water, and sand washed away from river systems for millions of years. Cooloola Coast is located within the Great Sandy National Park, which is one of the world’s largest ‘vegetated dune systems’. Along with its unique wilderness of indigenous fauna and flora, and its historical importance, the region has been nominated to among UNESCO’s ‘World Heritage’ list.  

The coastal strip of Cooloola features high dunes, coloured sand cliffs, sand-blows, perched lakes, tall dune rainforests, and over 70kms of pristine beaches. Whales can often be seen offshore around August and October, while dolphins and manta rays are more regular visitors. 

There are plenty of camping spots within the 15km Teewah Beach camping zone, as well as plenty of sites to see, like the spectacular Coloured Sands. Visitors can enjoy bushwalking, camping, picnicking, boating, fishing, lake and surf swimming (although the beaches are unpatrolled) sharks are common and bluebottles are present during northerly winds. Wildflowers bloom on the heathlands in spring, which is the ideal time to visit.

The Cooloola Coast is a great beach run and is one of the 4WD routes from Noosa to Fraser Island. The Cooloola Way, another 4WD access road into Cooloola, passes through the western catchment and links the Kin Kin-Wolvi Road with Rainbow Beach Road.

Warren Beach Dunes

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Track Length: 87.38 km

Track Time: 1 day

Terrain: Sand

The town of Pemberton and neighbouring areas has become a famous tourist destination in the past few years, and there are a lot of attractions for people of all interests, including four-wheel drive enthusiasts. This trek, which begins in Pemberton, takes you through the Warren, Brockman, and D’Entrecasteaux National Parks and gives spectacular scenery ranging from towering karri forests to endless dunes that are akin to the Sahara.  

The Karri forests, distinct to the lower southwest portion, contain trees with heights over 80 metres and harbour a lot of birdlife and flowering plants. Along the way to Callcup hill, a 240-metre high dune gives extensive views of Warren Beach with its continual procession of waves. Warren Beach is a well-liked fishing spot with tailors, mulloways, salmons, herrings and silver breams being the usual catch. 

After going over the mouth of the Warren River, the trek leads you onto the dunes of Yeagarup, an impressive expanse of bare sand slowly moving inland, covering everything along the way. So, always attempt sand driving with lowered tyre pressures and never hesitate to drop them even further. 

Further along the way, within the Warren National Park, marron, rainbow trout, and freshwater cobbler can all be caught from the river when they are in season. So, don’t forget your fishing gear with you. The Warren River is also an ideal destination for canoeists year-round through sections can be hazardous during the winter months due to the presence of underwater snags.

Black Point

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Track Length: 104.84 km

Track Time: 2 days

Terrain: Sand and unsealed roads

This purely 4WD trek goes along a coastal track that leads to D’Entrecasteaux National Park, which is located in the far southwest coast of Western Australia. One of the main drawcards to D’Entrecasteaux National Park is the excellent Black Point. This massive outcrop of basalt was shaped from a large volcanic lava flow coming from the Darling Fault about 135 million years ago. To the western side of Black Point lies a smaller – albeit spectacular outcrop of basalt featuring classic ‘organ pipe’ columns.  

For you to reach the black basalt columns of Black Point, a kilometre stroll is needed along the beachfront (on the northwest front of Cape Beaufort). Right from the parking lot at the beach, you’ll see the headland right away. The waves often crash hard on the basalt, and you may have to choose a quiet, low tide to get near enough to catch their distinctive cacophony as the wind echoes through the gaps inside the pillars. On the south side of the beach, a rough vehicle track heads out to the southern section of the area to numerous fishing spots with impressive scenery along more basalt cliffs that are always pounded by the Southern Ocean’s waves.

The tracks that leads into and around the area itself can be very soft and will require dropping your tyre pressures. Also, there are two campgrounds on the way into Black Point that have pit toilets, shaded peppermint gum trees and fireplaces. The beach is further past the hill, but you can’t camp in this area. But you’ll appreciate the protection of your campsite anyway. This trek also takes in Jasper Beach (further east), which is a beautiful secluded spot – and similar to Black Point, features camping spots on the way in. To get to Jasper Beach, you take a narrow and winding track called Wapet Track. This challenging track becomes very steep with rutted sandhills as you head towards the beach, and it’s not a good thing to drive your trailer down there.  

Coffin Bay

Difficulty: Moderate 

Track Length: 218.78 km

Track Time: 3 days

Terrain: Sand and unsealed roads

Coffin Bay is located on the south-western side of the Eyre Peninsula. The region is famous for being the premier oyster growing region for South Australia, producing the ever-popular ‘ Coffin Bay ‘ Oyster, well known for its quality, flavour and size, and marketed all over Australia and overseas.

There are two excellent National Parks for beach camping, boating, and fishing. It’s one of those where you can get away yet not be too far from most facilities. To reap the benefits out of a trip to Coffin Bay, you need a 4WD and be confident at driving in very boggy sand conditions because the whole park is an area of substantial drifting dunes.

To maximise your trip to Coffin Bay, you’ll need to take a few days in the park. From the ranger station until Point Sir Issac is only 55 km and is around a 10 hr loop! Access through Seven Mile Beach is dependant on the tide, so plan your trip carefully. 

2WD access is possible to both Point Avoid (18km) and Yangie Bay (15km) a popular camping area. Gunyah Beach is definitely for experienced 4WD only, but it is the best place to catch Australian salmon. 

Sandy Cape Track

Difficulty: Hard

Track Length: 63.46 km

Track Time: 2 days

Terrain: Sand and unsealed roads

Sandy Cape is a vast headland which was once the home of the ‘Tarkiner’, from which the region got its name. It was their home for millennia, and today, there’s evidence of large shell middens, hut depressions, and a lot of valuable cultural relics, which bear witness to the life they once had. Sandy Cape is enclosed by beautiful granite boulders creating several sheltered and secluded swimming pools. It also features one of the world’s most remote lighthouses, but with the increasing number of visitors up for the challenge to reach the area – this may not be the case anymore!

The Sandy Cape Track is famous for its very thrilling 4WD challenges. It has muddy waterholes, steep boggy dunes, river crossings, and undetermined quicksand. It is a wild country, and there have been cases where vehicles were unable to be recovered after getting stuck on quicksand, so drive carefully and consider the advice from rangers. You’ll also need to have an Offroad Permit that you can get from the ranger’s office at Arthur River before starting.  

The trip can be split into two sections, with the first 20 km going through Ordinance Point to Greenes Creek far less challenging than the second section. In fact, under the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area Management Plan 2002, travelling south of Greenes Creek is only allowed for group travel with at least two vehicles. So, be warned! 

Yorke

Difficulty: Easy

Track Length: 774.46 km

Track Time: 2 days

Terrain: Sand and sealed roads

This trek note is a round trip starting and ending at Port Pirie and will require to drive a total distance of approximately 774 km. Also, there are many towns and ports along the way including Port Victoria, Port Moorowie, Port Vincent and the villages of Ardrossan and Edithburgh. There is a lot of things to do while driving, such as surfing, fishing, swimming, and diving. Aside from that, the beautiful bays and beaches make the long drive is well worth it.

The highlight of the trip is the Innes National Park. It is where the Yorke Peninsula’s real tourist attraction starts, and as you head around the tip of the peninsula, the coast turns very scenic and surrounded by cliffs which have claimed a fair share of its shipwrecks. So, be sure to check out the salt lakes and the historic town of Inneston as you head further into the park. 

Within the Innes National Park, there are several campsites. Pondalowie Bay is the largest campsite in the park which has showers and is located just near a bay of the same name. Aside from that, it is a fantastic sheltered beach. A lot of visitors are also drawn to Innes National Park on its excellent surf, and the break from the Surfers Campground (aptly named) is slowly becoming popular and deservedly so. From the Surfers Campground, it’s another 6kms to Dolphin and Shell Beach (both with excellent swimming) and Browns Beach is a beautiful spot and suitable for snorkelling. It’s worth a 2-3 day stay in the park to see everything that it has to offer.

Related Questions

Can You Take An AWD On The Beach?

So, can an AWD (All Wheel Drive) drive on the beach? In short, yes! AWD vehicles though they aren’t designed for off-road usage, they are capable of doing so, as long as your car has the adequate ground clearance and the sand isn’t too soft or deep.

What PSI Should My Tires Be On Sand?

The only safe and controlled way to drive on soft sand is with significantly deflated tyres. Based on your tyres’ size and the weight of your vehicle, drop from your normal tyre pressure of about 30 psi and reduced it to around 20 psi – much better for soft sand is ten psi.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5STNkWbdEs

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