Stockton Beach is almost synonymous to dune buggies, motocross bikes, and now 4WD vehicles because of its amazing dunes. So, it is only natural that most people, especially those from the city, want to visit this place to unwind and feel the thrill. Also, if it’s your first time to see the dunes of the beach, know that it’s a real delight.
So, why should you visit Stockton Beach? The dunes are massive, steep, and very thrilling. So, it is perfect for taking advantage of the power of your 4WD vehicle. But you should be careful when navigating across the dunes as some may be quite steep.
Are you planning a trip to Stockton Beach? Here are all the things that you need to know:
How Do I Get to Stockton Beach?
From Sydney, you can reach Stockton Beach via the following route:
- Get on M1 from St Marys Rd and Sir John Young Cres
- Merge onto M1
- After 7.3 km, keep right to stay on the same road.
- Take the exit onto Epping Rd that leads to A3/Nth Ryde after 5.1 km.
- Merge onto Epping Rd and take a slight left after 1.6 km.
- Use the right lanes to take Lane Cove Rd/A3.
- After 4.7 km, use the right lanes to merge onto A1/Pacific Hwy by taking the ramp leading to Hornsby/Newcastle
- After 5.5 km, use the right lanes to turn slightly right.
- By turning right, you will merge onto M1.
- After 116 km, take the Hunter Expy exit that leads toward Newcastle Link Rd/Singleton/Newcastle.
- After 700m, stay right when you reach the fork in the road and follow the signs on the road that leads to Newcastle Link Rd/Wallsend/Newcastle/A15.
- Merge onto Newcastle Link Rd/M15.
- After 1.7 km, take the 2nd exit at the roundabout to stay on the Newcastle Link Rd/A15.
- After 2.5 km, take the 2nd exit at the roundabout to stay on the same road (do the same at the next roundabout).
- After the third roundabout, turn slightly left onto Main Rd/Newcastle Inner City Bypass/A37.
- After 2.8 km, take the Sandgate Rd exit which leads toward Shortland/Newcastle.
- After 290 m, take the 4th exit on the roundabout that leads to Sandgate Rd.
- Continue onto Wallsend Rd.
- Use any lane to turn right onto Maitland Rd/Pacific Hwy/A43.
- After 1.5 km, turn left and head to Industrial Dr/A43.
- Turn left onto Tourie St/B63 after 1.4 km.
- Take the first exit on the roundabout that leads to Teal St/B63.
- Keep right and continue on Nelson Bay Rd/B63.
- At the roundabout after 70 m, take the 2nd exit that leads to Fullerton St.
What Should I Know About Stockton Beach?
A journey down the 32-kilometre-long shoreline is going to be filled with adventure and discovery. At the edge of the water, you can catch oysters and other shellfish. On the other hand, the dry sand is filled with dotterels and sandpipers. Meanwhile, ibis, ravens, and other birds wander around.
The famous dunes of Stockton Beach are the largest continually mobile in the state. Some of these dunes can even reach up to thirty metres high. Also, the lower portions of the dune are steep and loosely packed, so it’s perfect for sandboarding.
About one kilometre away from the beach, the dunes are abruptly cut by the forest. It is an astonishing site as most of the trees in the front are covered by sand. Eventually, some of them will be completely covered in sand. Their only recourse is to wait for the sand to move on.
As the dunes are mobile, the relics of WWII is exposed. You can see barbed-wire entanglements that are hung from many rows of pickets running along the beach. Also, massive concrete pyramids or tank traps that were installed to slow down tanks run across the beach onto the farmlands.
If you are into marine life, you will see whales, dugongs, countless species of fishes, and birds in the area. Aside from that, the beach also hosts several species of fauna.
At the southern portion of the beach, lies the shipwreck of the MV Sygna. It may have encountered an unfortunate fate, but today it is an excellent fishing ground as it has turned into an artificial reef. But it is dangerous to swim in this area. Up north, you’ll see the ruins of WWII-era fortifications.
When you’ve explored the whole beach, you can swing inland via the marshy swamps to reach the town of Anna Bay. It is a great place to grab a bite and taste their fish & chips.
Where Can I Drive My 4WD in Stockton Beach?
The whole track in Stockton Beach is 53 km long, and it runs from Williamtown to Anna Bay. Although it’s quite long for some, it offers an exhilarating experience and breathtaking views. Also, the track is suited for vehicles with both low and high range.
However, crowds can gather on weekends and during holidays. But it’s still worth it because you can explore the whole area and see a lot of exciting things.
The dunes on the beach are very steep, so it is quite thrilling. Some of them can even reach up to 30 metres high. During high tide, some areas on the beach can be impassable so you should check the tide times before driving. Also, you should never head to the dunes without bringing along your air compressor.
Most importantly, keep a reasonable distance away from vehicles that are attempting to climb a dune. You should also drive straight when descending the dunes as driving at an angle can cause your car to roll over. Checking your engines for any sign of overheating is also very important.
Aside from that, bring along enough supplies and water as you can get dehydrated quickly because of the hot wind, especially during summer. Also, you should never go through the dunes alone and without taking a UHF radio with you.
Note: You will need a permit to enter Stockton Beach.
What Are the Best Things to Do in Stockton Beach?
You can head to the following locations to fully explore Stockton Beach:
- Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters
- Gan Gan Lookout
- Oakfield Ranch
- One Mile Beach
- Fly Point
- Soldiers Point Marina
- Toboggan Hill Park
- Tilliigerry Habitat Tanilba Bay
- Barramundi Farm
What Do Other 4WD Enthusiasts Say About Stockton Beach?
“Enter from Lavis Lane at the southern end of the beach. But before you do that you will need to purchase a permit from the UNITED petrol station at the start of Lavis Ln. You can’t miss it. [It] is where you should fuel up, stock up on food and water and also [re-inflate] your tyres before you head home.
As for pressures, you can deflate in the main carpark, or just before you hit the sand, there is a deflation area. I run between 14 and 16 psi in my Hilux.
Be sure to let your car cool down before hosing it down as you have about a 2-hr drive home. I’m not sure if the challenger has a chassis but hose out every hole under the car, you can find, rinse off the engine bay and suspension, and finally wash the car. I’d invest in some floor mats (rubber mats about an inch deep) as they will reduce the amount of sand through your carpet.
Where Can I Stay in Stockton Beach?
Camping is not allowed on Stockton Beach. Also, rangers patrol the park and target illegal camping and access. On-the-spot fines and prosecution apply.
The suburb of Stockton, which is at the southern end of the beach, has a caravan park, backpackers’ accommodation, pubs, motel, service stations, a supermarket, butcher, chemist etc.
You can find accommodations in the following places:
- Williamtown, NSW
- Birubi Beach Holiday Park
- Anna Bay, NSW
Do You Need A Permit to Drive on Stockton Beach?
A Worimi Conservation Lands Beach Vehicle Permit is required for four-wheel drive and recreational vehicle access to Stockton Beach in the Worimi Conservation Lands.
Can You Take Dogs to Stockton Beach?
Dogs must be fastened to a leash at all times and are only permitted on the Gan Gan entrance road and a 3km section of beachfront south from the boundary with Birubi Point Crown Reserve at the northeastern portion of the WCL.
How Long Is Stockton Beach?
Stockton Beach is 32 km (20 mi) long, stretching from Stockton in the South to Anna Bay at its northeastern end. In some part, it can reach up to 1 km wide, and it has dunes reaching up to 30 metres high. But at the Stockton end, the beach is at its narrowest.
Can You Swim at Stockton Beach?
Stockton Beach has picnic shelters and barbecues in the park near the beach, a beach kiosk operating next to the central car park, change room facilities, plenty of parking, and relatively sheltered waters perfect for family swimming and learning to surf.