8 4WD Beaches In Queensland You Must Try

Queensland is a place of great beaches, sultry islands, rich rainforests, vibrating cities and the true Australian outback, Queensland is the most awesome holiday destination. Known as Australia’s Sunshine State, it offers a wealth of diverse experiences to create great memories for your family and friends.

Queensland has some great beaches, no doubt about it, and while they aren’t the most rigorous or top picks for the most serious of 4WD off-roading patrons, there is much beauty and adventure to be found in the Australian northeast.

Whether you’re relaxing on the amazing beaches, trekking through vibrant rainforests, snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef or driving your 4WD over the beach, there’s an adventure waiting to become your cherished memory in Queensland.

Are you ready now for your 4WD Queensland adventure? Read on to get our views on…

The Top 8 4WD Beaches in Queensland.

  • Cooloola Recreation Area Track
  • Moreton Island (multi-day trek)
  • Cape Melville National Park (multi-day trek)
  • Bribie Island
  • 75 Mile Beach
  • North Stradbroke Island (Straddie)
  • Poverty Point Road
  • The Bloomfield Track

So 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.

Cooloola Recreation Area Track

Length: Approximately 54 KM

Time to finish: 3-4 hours*

Difficulty: Easy (Moderate-Hard, if you decide to take on Leisha Track)

Terrain: Sandy, coastal, rocky, rainforest, woodland

How to get here:

From Tewantin, head north on Moorindil St to catch the ferry towards Noosa North Shore. Get off at Maximillian Rd and follow it north then turn right on Beach Rd. When you reach a fork in the road, head left to continue onto Beach Rd. Follow Beach Rd down to the end where it turns left and becomes Esplanade. This is where the sandy 4WD part starts.

Notables:

A sandy drive up along the coast from Tewantin to Rainbow Beach.

The Cooloola Recreation Area Track is a good choice if you’re looking for a track that combines both adventure and peace in one package. Take note! You will need a vehicle access permit for your 4WD if you decide to check this track out. Camping permit fees also apply if you decide to stay a while. You can expect to be greeted by sands of different shades of warm colors and a bountiful fishing area where food is about as fresh as it can get. Soften your tires down some, as you can expect nothing but a nice and easy sandy drive along the coast for the next 30 km.

From this point, you should be able to find a detour inwards towards Rainbow Beach via Freshwater Rd. You can choose to do this or proceed down the beach towards Double Island Point and head west towards Rainbow Beach along Leisha Track, which places you in the more risky Mudlo Rocks area.

The Mudlo Rocks are notorious for the tides and has taken its fair share of 4WD trucks over the years. The tides can change very quickly, with height differences varying from 1 ½ to 3 ½ meters in a small amount of time. Experienced 4WD off-roaders may need to make extra preparations if they decide to traverse this route.

However, if you decide to detour into Freshwater Rd, you can expect a rapid change in scenery from sandy coastline to coastal rainforest to thick forest and then gum tree woodland. There’s a whole lot more to do inland, if you decide to make some more detours; check out the Cooloola Great Walk, Wilderness Trail and sections of the Upper Noosa River (if you haven’t already ventured too far up north). 

You can find more information about Cooloola Recreation Area Track on this site.

Moreton Island (multi-day trek)

Length: Approximately 240 sq KM

Time to finish: More than one day

Difficulty: Moderate

Terrain: Sandy, coastal, bushland, lagoon

How to get here:

The most popular way for most 4WD’ers to get here is to take the Micat Ferry from the Port of Brisbane. It usually takes about an hour and a half. Depending on how long you plan on staying on Moreton Island, you may want to book as early as 4 weeks in advance to make sure you have an efficient itinerary. By taking this method, you will land on the island near the shipwrecks by Tangalooma.

Alternatively, you may also want to consider taking a look at booking a barge from Amity Trader at Victoria Point Jetty. The time tables are more sparse and takes longer (by about half an hour) to get to Moreton Island, but you can find yourself right at Reeders Point in Kooringal if you get there using this method.

Notables:

An entire sandy island to explore with your 4WD.

Moreton Island is a haven for adventurers and serves as a playground for 4WD enthusiasts. You need a vehicle permit for your 4WD when you’re on the island, as well as camping permits, so get them before you book a ferry. Much of the actual 4WD tracks are located in the northern area of the island; the main thoroughfare Middle Rd serving as link between the east and west beaches of Moreton. 

If you head to the northern part of the island by the western beach, be prepared to cross through high tide areas by Cowan Cowan and Cravens Creek. Alternatively, you can also take a detour and move to the western beach by cutting across the island via Bulwer-Blue Lagoon Rd by heading east from Bulwer (this leads you to the Honeyeater Lake Boardwalk). However, if you continue north you will pass Five Hills Lookout (a scenic point where you can get great views of Heath Island), Yellow Patch (a sand volcano), North Point (a popular camping spot) and Cape Moreton Light (a heritage site and the island’s main lighthouse). 

On the eastern beach, you can head south which should take you straight to Rous Battery Track, a walking trail about 10 km that cuts across the island and should take you back to the Tangalooma Wrecks. Further south, you can try your hand at tobogganing at Little Sandhills. Then, you can head on towards Mirapool Lagoon near Kooringal to check out the animal sanctuary. On your way back up to Middle Rd (if you decide to return to Tangalooma), be sure to check out The Desert near the western beach of the island. 

It’s recommended to bring some overnight supplies and some extra fuel; the stores at Bulwer only have 20L fuel drums and the closest gas station is back at Brisbane.

You can find more information about Moreton Island (multi-day trek) on this site.

Cape Melville National Park (multi-day trek)

Length: 233 km

Time to finish: More than one day

Difficulty: Hard

Terrain: Dirt, sandy, bush, river crossing, swamp, salt marsh, rainforest

How to get here:

This is a long and winding track that begins at Starcke Station. To get here, you need to get to Cooktown (also the last stop for supplies and kit before you head off), about 117 km’s away. From Cairns, get onto the Mulligan Highway (Peninsula Developmental Road) headed north. When you get to Cooktown, head onto Endeavour Valley Rd for about 35 km’s and take a left onto Endeavour Battlecamp Rd. Follow this road for another 25 km and turn right onto Isabella McIvor Rd. In 8 km, take a slight left onto Cooktown McIvor Rd which becomes Wakooka Rd. Wakooka Road alternates a few times from its name to Mount Webb Wakooka Rd, but continue to stay on this path. You should find yourself near the Starcke River towards the end, where you will start.

Notables:

One of the classic Cape York tracks to battle.

Cape York is no stranger to tough 4WD conditions, and this track is no different. Recovery gear is recommended and bringing multiple 4WD vehicles may be useful. Camping permits are required, but no 4WD permits are needed. In addition, this track is only accessible during the dry season and closed off during rainy periods (check in Cooktown about the driving conditions before heading out). It’s also highly advisable to bring ample amounts of water, fuel and food as the Cape Melville National Park track barely has access to any of these necessities.

Be watchful for crocodiles! Don’t camp near sandy areas and stay far away from highwater marks!

When you get to Starcke Station, expect to be riding in low gear for the next hundred km’s, as the terrain will be full of potholes, dusty track and uneven stone shelves. Halfway across the trek, you will come across the mystical Altanmoui Range. After taking some pictures, you will come across the remains of the old Wakooka Station, a wreck of old Series 40 Toyota Landcruisers and the turn towards the national park. Head towards it.

You can get some nice views of the coastline and the Melville Range as you approach Camp Melville National Park. You can expect to traverse some swampy areas and salt marsh here as the road becomes progressively sandier along the coast.

When you get to the beach, you have a beautiful view of the Flinders group of islands and between the beach and the salt flats is a shady area full of red trees where you can camp. Be mindful of the greenhead ants that populate this area.

Bathurst Head, to the east, is accessible by crossing the Marrett River. It is an Aboroginal land and a great place to camp and fish. Where the road leading to the park gives you your offroading fix, the path towards Bathurst Head compensates for the lack of scenery.

You can find more information about Cape Melville National Park on this site.

Bribie Island

Length: 74 KM (about 32 KM one-way)

Time to finish: 3-4 hours*

Difficulty: Easy (Moderate-hard in the Westaway Lagoon area)

Terrain: Sandy, coastal, bitumen, lagoon, swamp

How to get here:

From Brisbane, get onto the M1 heading north. Get off at Bribie Island Rd and this should take you straight into Bellara. Your adventure starts at the Bribie Island Visitor Information Center.

Notables:

A more urban, less rugged, sandy 4WD track.

Bribie Island is a tourist destination in the Moreton Bay Region that has both camping grounds, national park areas and urban accommodations to satisfy both rugged adventurers and casual weekenders. Get a permit for your 4WD, and remember, no dogs allowed!

From the Visitor Information Center, follow Goodwin Dr until it turns left onto First Ave. Turn left onto North St at Woorim which should lead you into the Ocean Beach Access Track. You can drive up north along the beach for about 32 km’s and take in the briney atmosphere until you reach the Northern Searchlight area of fortifications, where you will have to turn around as vehicle access is not allowed beyond the gate.

As you head back down south, head west, past the Fort Bribie Day Use Area where the track becomes less sandy and more bushland-like. You will want to take the Northern Access Track back to the Visitor’s Center (or the Inland Track for a less scenic, but more challenging 4WD experience). Be mindful of the Westaway Lagoon section of the track, as the ruts can be deep and has deceptively deep sand pits. Follow this road for another 30 or so km and you should end up in White Patch. Take a right past the Esplanade to get onto Endeavour Dr and take a left to get onto Sunderland Dr. You should bump into the Visitor’s Center within a few km’s. 

You will notice that Fort Bribie is full of old war forts and installations, which should come as no surprise; huge coastal portions of the island are a Queensland Heritage site that commemorates the efforts of the armed forces during WWII. Check out the forts and bunkers along the track, as well as the Southern Searchlight, Number 1 & 2 Guns, and the Mine Control Huts. In terms of things to do, check out Freshwater Creek (although the water here is brackish and salty), Norfolk Creek and Mermaid Lagoon for decent swimming holes and the Fort Bribie Day Use Area, Poverty Creek Campgrounds and Gallagher Creek Camping Area for decent camping and fishing grounds (although there are few bathroom facilities).

You can find more information about Bribie Island on this site.

75 Mile Beach

Length: 105 KM

Time to finish: 5-6 hours*

Difficulty: Easy

Terrain: Sandy, coastal

How to get here:

You will need to get on board the Manta Ray Fraser Island Barge to access this track. From Cooloola, head north towards Rainbow Beach via Rainbow Beach Rd. Turn left on Carlo Rd, then right on Karoonda Ct (which becomes Karoonda Rd), which continues onto Inskip Ave. Take a right after about 12 km to head onto Inskip Point Rd. Look for Inskip Point for the ferry service. You should be able to access the track as soon as you disembark.

Notables:

A beach track that isn’t necessarily 75 miles long.

The 75 Mile Beach track is very straightforward and is an area where you can potentially drive faster than 65 km/h in an off-road setting! You start off at Hook Point on Fraser Island from the Inskip ferry and drive your way up north towards Orchid Beach. Permits are required for 4WD vehicle access and camping.

This stretch of beach is used as a landing strip for private aircraft and is regularly patrolled, so keep proper road etiquette in mind. If you keep your speeds below 80 km/h, you should be just fine, but keep an eye out for the occasional hump and dip. Watch out for dingos!

Swimming is prohibited as the waters in the area are full of sharks. If you want to swim, head towards the Champagne Pools area past Indian Head. It’s called “Champagne Pools” because of the way the water reacts after making contact with the volcanic rock; a definite tourist spot.

If you’re up for more adventuring, you can head up towards Sandy Cape, which will add more time in your journey, but be mindful of the treacherous North and South Ngkala Rocks which will require an experienced 4WD driver to traverse during low tide.

You can find more information about 75 Mile Beach on this site.

North Stradbroke Island (Straddie)

Length: 53 KM

Time to finish: 2-3 hours*

Difficulty: Easy

Terrain: Sandy, coastal, bush

How to get here:

From Brisbane, take Old Cleveland Rd (State Route 22) southeast towards Cleveland. Exit onto Passage St and take a left onto Russell St which should take you straight towards the Toondah Harbour. From here, take the Cleveland-North Stradbroke Ferry and you should disembark at Dunwich.

Notables:

A beach track that offers a little bit of everything to 4WD enthusiasts and campers alike.

Straddie, short for Stradbroke, is a great place to go 4WD’ing. Vehicle and camping permits are required

From Dunwich, head north and get onto East Coast Rd. However, instead of continuing on to Point Lookout, turn right onto Fishermans Rd (about 10 km from turning onto East Coast Rd) which should offer a more wholesome 4WD off-road experience. This road is a sandy drive covered with coastal vegetation and gives ample opportunities to stop and take in the scenery; Tripod Lookout is a good place to rest. 

As it exits onto the eastern beach, you can either choose to continue south, or stock up on supplies with a bit of civilization up north at Point Lookout. If you head back north, turn off at George Nothling Dr so you don’t bump into the No-Vehicles Access zone.

To get back to Dunwich, head down the beach south and turn right at Alfred Martin Way. This cuts through the island from east to west, passes through Blue Lake Car Park and the North Straddie Golf Course. It’s about a 12 km drive.

You can find more information about North Stradbroke Island on this site.

Poverty Point Road

Length: 12 KM

Time to finish: Less than an hour*

Difficulty: Easy-moderate

Terrain: Sandy, coastal, bush

How to get here:

Not more than 20 minutes away from Cooloola, head onto Rainbow Beach Rd towards Rainbow Beach and you should bump into the road within 10 km from Cooloola.

Notables:

A short 4WD track for those looking for a quick escape.

This is a track best-suited for individuals who need their 4WD fix near the Cooloola Recreation/Great Sandy National Park Area. High-clearance is a requirement to go exploring Poverty Point Road. During the dry season, the sand can become very soft, which may affect your traction.

When adventuring in this area, be mindful of crocodiles and jellyfish! Canoeing, kayaking and fishing are allowed. If you decide to camp in this area, also be mindful that boulders and the occasional rock slide have been reported near the campgrounds. 

Interest points include the nearby estuary by the camping area, the southern portion of Tin Can Bay and the Christmas Bell flowers lining the drive on the way to the campsite. Honeyeaters are also known to frequent the area.

You can find more information about Poverty Point Road on this site.

The Bloomfield Track

Length: 30 KM

Time to finish: 1-2 hours*

Difficulty: Moderate-hard

Terrain: Dirt, bush, creek crossing, woodland, rainforest

How to get here:

Start from Daintree and head east along the Daintree River via Mossman-Daintree Rd and take a left onto Cape Tribulation Rd. Take the ferry across the river from the Daintree Gateway and follow Cape Tribulation Rd towards the locality of its namesake. Continue north past the locale, and turn left onto Rykers Rd. At the fork, take a left onto Cape Tribulation-Bloomfield Rd. This is where you start.

Notables:

A dusty, exciting track with a controversial history.

The Bloomfield Track is a 4WD off-road trail that offers a rich, scenic forest atmosphere to adventure in. Because of the current road conditions, the track is only open in the dry season and is 4WD-exclusive. It is a 30 km track that runs from Cape Tribulation to Wujal Wujal and is as exciting as it is lush.

The track has steep embankments, contains no bitumen and is known to be very dusty at the best of times (keep your headlights on when dust clouds get too thick). There are creek and river crossings on this track so be warned! Multiple 4WD vehicles is recommended when trying it out. In addition, expect grade elements ranging from 20-33%, so make sure your 4WD is low-gear ready.

Check out the Bloomfield River Lookout, Wujal Sports Center, and Bana Yrriji Art Center if you want to do some scenic adventuring. For a more hands-on experience, kick your boots off and relax at Cowie Beach, Wujal Wujal Falls, and Mount Sorrow Ridge.

This track is also steeped in political history, a very engaging and enriching topic to soak in.

You can find more information about The Bloomfield Track on this site.

*All times to finish are approximations and are subject to time spent sightseeing, camping, fishing, bushwalking, etc.

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