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9 Best 4WD Beaches NSW

There’s nothing quite like a drive along the beach in your 4WD. If you’ve gone to the trouble of securing a vehicle that can handle off-road terrain, why not enjoy it?

Beach driving is one of the simplest and most satisfying ways to get outdoors, see the gorgeous Australian ocean, and get some fresh air.

So the next time you’re hankering for some beach driving in NSW, here’s our top nine picks to tide you over. These national parks and beaches are New South Wales’ finest 4WD locations.

Long Tracks

Heading up our list are some of the longer drives you can enjoy. Each of these beaches can provide you with hours of enjoyment. So pop open the sunroof, lean one arm out the window and get ready for kilometres of great beach driving.

1. Stockton Beach

Length: ~53km

Difficulty: Easy to Medium

We’ll start off with the most obvious: Stockton Beach. This is an incredibly well-known and well-loved 4WD beach track.

The track is not too hard, but also not “too easy”, with just enough interesting terrain spicing it up for veteran drivers to still have a good time. The real draw here, though, is the sights. The views are gorgeous and when the tide is right, you can even see WWII tank traps and ship wreckage.

It’s also the longest drive on this list, so be sure you give yourself ample time to spend here. You’re going to need it!

2. Redhead Beach

Length: ~11km

Difficulty: Easy to Medium

What’s more fun than beach driving? Getting to take your furry friend along for the ride, of course. Redhead Beach is the first dog-friendly beach on our list, so bring your canine companion along to play!

This beach connects to some pretty killer hiking trails, as well, and sight-seeing is a must. The big red rock cliff on the northern side is what gives the beach its name.

The sand is a bit boggy on this one, so be ready to adjust your tyre PSI accordingly and make sure you’re aware of how to drive in these conditions. And don’t forget your recovery gear!

3. Mungo Beach

Length: ~21km

Difficulty: Medium to Hard

This track is full of dunes and great surfing, although the strong currents make general swimming inadvisable. The track connects to Mungo Brush Campground, so it’s the perfect drive if you’re looking for an all-weekend outing.

Sandboarding is another popular activity on this beach, so give it a try too if you’re feeling adventurous.

4. South Smoky Beach

Length: ~15km

Difficulty: Easy to Medium

The Mid North Coast is a paradise for beach 4WD’ing, the longest stretch being the South Smoky Beach. This sandy highway offers about 15km of open road, featuring a variety of beach breaks for the seasoned surfer.

South Smoky Beach is a pearl tucked away from most traffic, which makes it the perfect spot to sunbathe undisturbed.

An added bonus? The Smoky Cape Lighthouse on the north end of the beach is a popular whale watching spot during the wintertime. So see if you can spot a glimpse of one of the magnificent beasts as you explore the shoreline. Keep in mind the last 500 metres of the north corner is closed off to all vehicles.

5. Illaroo-Sandon Beach

Length: ~9km

Difficulty: Medium to Hard

Between the Illaroo North and South campsites sits this sandy, remote track. There’s usually not a large crowd here, so it’s the perfect getaway for the lone wolf looking to ditch their thoughts for a bit.

Be ready for some overgrown trees and narrow, one-lane areas of track that can trip up a less experienced driver. The sand gets pretty deep and soft in areas, too, so make sure your tyre pressure is adjusted properly or you could get stuck.

But if you’re up for the challenge, the track leading to Sandon cuts steeply through bushland with plenty of ruts and mud to let your vehicle really flex that 4WD.

Short Tracks

These next five are on the smaller side, perfect for half day expeditions or those times when you want to hit up multiple tracks in a row.

6. Pebbly Beach

Length: ~3km

Difficulty: Easy to Medium

We had to throw this one in for those middle-ground 4WD enthusiasts. Once you’ve got a few drives under your belt and you’re looking to ditch the “common” beaches and start driving with the expert crowd, Pebbly Beach is where you want to head.

The track isn’t particularly difficult, offering a simple to slightly challenging drive (particularly once you get close to Station Creek), but it’s a well-known “4WD spot” and if you go during peak driving weekends, you’re likely to run into quite a crowd of your peers.

7. Evans Head Beach

Length: ~5km

Difficulty: Medium

This short track is home to a lot of dunes (some up to 30m!) and also a surf club for anyone looking to double up on their day activities.

The track is solid, and relatively short (unless you want to expand it by popping over to adjacent beaches in the area). The extra amenities really are the draw here. The beach is great for greenhorn surfers still looking for some practice that’s safe from larger waves, and you’ll find convenient showers at the end of the track, as well.

Plenty of hiking trails split off from this beach area, as well, so no matter who’s in your crew, there’s bound to be an activity for everyone here.

8. Kurnell Beach

Length: Less than 1km

Difficulty: Easy

This track is short and sweet. There’s not much here to challenge a seasoned 4WD enthusiast, and the drive is over pretty quickly, but it still makes our list because of its value as a practice track.

If you’re new to beach driving or have been out of the game for awhile, this is the perfect track to get out and stretch your muscles a bit before trying anything more taxing.

This is one of the more crowded areas and won’t provide much seclusion, but the tradeoff is great food and drink options!

9. Samurai Beach

Length: ~3km

Difficulty: Medium

Near Port Stephens you’ll find Samurai Beach, but look carefully because this off-roader gem is pretty easy to miss. With no signage (and no permit requirements!) a lot of people pass this beach on by, or don’t know you can take your off-road vehicle onto it.

It’s a pretty firm trail, with lots of sand, trees and dunes that give way to campgrounds. An added bonus? Samurai Beach is A-okay with nudity, even in the campsites!

Your 4WD Beach Checklist

Before you head out, make sure you check ahead for weather conditions and the tide schedule. Many areas of even the most popular 4WD beaches become inaccessible during high tide, and you don’t want to get stuck!

Also make sure you have your tyre PSI adjusted accordingly and that you’ve acquired any of the necessary permits to drive on the beach. Some will require a day pass and others won’t. Be mindful of your ecological impact on the area and remember to stay safe.

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