If you’re the kind of adventurer who leaves no stone unturned, and no corner of the globe unexplored, you likely own a 4×4.
Rugged and practical, 4WDs go where others fear to – and, because adding surf and sand only amplifies the fun, here’s 11 incredible beaches just made for 4WDs.
1. Stockton Beach, NSW
If you’re seeking steep, rolling dunes, Stockton’s for you.
Located in Northern Newcastle, 53-kilometre Stockton Beach is a moderately difficult sand-and-dunes drive that will challenge your skills – and leave you laughing.
Popular with dune buggies and bikes, Stockton is so hot with drivers, clubs hold sand driving lessons here.
Aside from enormous dunes and soft sand, the beach lures fishermen seeking everything from sharks to salmon, and ammunition buffs, owning to its WWII history.
Double check permits required before you visit.
2. Sandy Cape and North Head, WA
This is one drive that offers dramatic scenery with exhilarating, cliffside tracks.
There are several fairly easy 4×4 tracks to take, rewarding drivers with incredible views of the ocean below.
Both areas can be covered in a day but, if you have the time to take a couple, camp at Sandy Cape to enjoy great fishing and snorkel in Jurien Bay Marine Park.
Just make sure to fuel up at Jurien Bay, carry a GPS, and check the tide schedule.
3. Fraser Island, QLD
The largest sand island in the world is bound to offer plenty in the way of beach adventures with an adrenaline kick, and none are more renowned than the 75 Mile Beach drive.
One of Australia’s best coastal drives, this iconic National Highway is scattered with challenging bumps and places of interest that make for fun diversions.
Be sure to detour to Rainbow Gorge or cool off in the popular Champagne Pools.
4. Eyre Peninsula, SA
Fuel up at Port Augusta, then head 3-and-a-half hours south to Port Lincoln to drive the Sleaford Bay coastline.
While only 14 kilometres, this track offers plenty of side quests, sand dunes, and spectacular lookouts, and you can easily spend a day enjoying it.
Here, variety is the challenge. Along the way, you’ll traverse soft dunes and rocky limestone, punctuated by low-tide beach runs.
As the terrain varies, so does the difficulty, so ensure you’re up for the task and utilise sand flags on narrower tracks.
5. Lucky Bay, WA
An easy drive from Esperance, this ocean paradise located in Cape Le Grand National Park welcomes you with a long sandy run into the bay itself.
Once you arrive take time to explore the 5-kilometre beach — a 4WD dream.
The dazzling white sand is hard-packed and easy to negotiate – so long as you’re not distracted by the bright turquoise water bordering your route.
Semi-protected from winds and swell, Lucky Bay is indeed blessed. Enjoy swimming in the calm crystal-clear ocean or relaxing with the kangaroos.
6. Blacksmiths Beach, NSW
Drive two hours north from Sydney, and you’ll discover one of the more challenging and enjoyable beach drives New South Wales has to offer.
The stretch between Red Head and Blacksmiths offers an easy and fun way to experience beach driving.
Here, you can also camp, bring your dog/s and enjoy some great fishing. Just make sure you lower the tyre pressure (it’s soft sand), steer clear of pedestrian-only areas, and carry a permit, air compressor, traction board and recovery kit.
7. Robe, SA
One of the gems of South Australia’s Limestone Coast, Robe’s just 3 hours from Adelaide, but man, is it an escape.
With driving open along the coast right up to Beachport, plus inland tracks to explore, you can easily spend a weekend here, driving and stopping to enjoy the town.
Camp at Little Dip Conservation Park (4×4 access only) to enjoy refreshing lakes and fantastic fishing.
Just make sure you grab a track brochure and petrol at Robe.
8. Sandy Cape Track, TAS
If you’re an experienced driver seeking a challenge, the Greenes Creek to Sandy Cape track is for you.
Not one to be tackled alone due to the prevalence of quicksand, this 12-kilometre track invites well-versed groups to explore Aboriginal sites.
Sandy with rocky and wet areas, this drive will test your mettle – and reward you with beautiful beach views from the lighthouse, reached via the marked beach exit.
Be wary after rain, as rising rivers can cause hazards, and ensure you carry recovery gear, including a winch.
9. Cooloola Recreation Area Track, QLD
Placed just two-and-a-half hours from Brisbane, this track makes for a great day or weekend trip – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy!
Bumpy, with occasional water hazards (check conditions before you set off), this track is fairly stable but is rough and can get boggy.
About an hour return, the track takes you through pine trees and scribbly gums, with wildflowers adding pops of colour.
If staying overnight, camp at Harry’s Hut to enjoy water sports and fishing, then head north to Rainbow Beach.
10. Dundee Beach, NT
Another great day trip, this time in the top end.
Suitable for most vehicles, but classified as ‘difficult’ by locals, this 28-kilometre track runs from Dundee Beach to the Finnis River, featuring compact sand dotted with muddy sections.
When navigating here, stay above the high water mark to protect the beach and nesting turtles.
If high tide pushes you further, drive behind the dunes – but stop there, unless you’re well equipped with recovery gear!
Out of the car, enjoy awesome fishing (mind the crocs!)
11. Ocean Beach, TAS
The wild west is the backdrop for challenging sand driving along the longest beach in Tasmania.
Pummelled by the Southern Ocean, there are over 30 kilometres of 4WD excitement packed into this stretch of beautiful and rugged coastline.
Fuel-up in nearby Strahan, then take on the dunes, dodging swift tides and huge waves.
You can extend your drive north up to the Henty River mouth – but beware of quicksand.
Once you’ve spent the day exploring, unwind at Macquarie Heads Camping Ground.
Four times the adrenaline awaits, so pack your beach gear, and make tracks.
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