10 Great Beach Destinations for Your Next 4WD Adventure
With around 60,000km of coastline, Australia has got to be one of the best places in the world to explore the sun, surf and sand in a 4WD. Whether you're looking for a relaxing cruise with the family or planning to tackle some adrenaline-fueled offroad driving, the Lucky Country certainly delivers. From the tip of Cape York to the southern coasts of Tassie, there are some truly amazing beaches that are just waiting to be explored with your 4x4.
The diverse terrain on offer will suit 4WDers of a wide range of tastes and experience levels. If you're just starting out, be mindful that, while there are plenty of options for beginners, some beaches and tracks may be best left to those with more experience. Before you head off, always remember to check tide times and weather conditions and have your vehicle set up for driving on sand. You'll also want to be kitted out at the very least with a compressor, tyre pressure gauge, shovel and recovery boards.
If you're still unsure what gear you need, make sure you check out our 4WD Trip Packing Checklist.
Once you're set up, all that's left to do is choose your destination! Here's what we reckon to be some of the most epic beaches for 4WDing around the county.
K'gari (Fraser Island), QLD
The largest sand island in the world can only be explored by 4X4. K'gari is renowned for its spectacular swimming holes, coloured sands and 75 Mile Beach, making this a destination that is not to be missed. Home to a native dingo population and the Maheno Shipwreck, the island has a network of stunning 4WD tracks that lets visitors explore the island's interior as well as its beaches. There's plenty of beachfront camping options available and there's some great fishing to be had on the island's northern end.
Vehicles with low range and high clearance are recommended as the terrain and conditions vary quite a bit. The island is just 15km off the coast of Hervey Bay and ferries run regularly from Inskip Point in Rainbow Beach and River Heads in Hervey Bay.
Yorke Peninsula, SA
The Yorke Peninsula is a great spot for families and with 700km of coastline, there's plenty to explore. At low tide, North Beach at Wallaroo has firm sand that makes it possible for most types of cars to drive on the beach. This is a great option for beginners but it is a popular beach, so drive slowly and look out for kids and other people on the sand. Also, keep an eye out for the dolphins that are regularly seen along the coast.
Other 4WD options on the Peninsula include Parsons Beach, just West of Minlaton. This has a nice 20km stretch ending at Minlacowie and dolphins are often spotted here. There's also another easy beach drive between Flaherty's Beach and Point Turton which has a great beach for families.
Cable Beach, WA
If not the most popular, Cable Beach has got to be one of Australia's most iconic 4WD beaches. About 2200km north of Perth there's a 22km stretch of some of the most beautiful beach you're ever likely to see. White sand edged by red cliffs and offering spectacular sunsets over the water almost every night of the year.
At low tide the beach can be nearly 200m wide, making for some chilled-out beach driving in one-of-a-kind surrounds. You will be in good company though — come sunset the beach is hugely popular with locals, backpackers and camels alike.
Stockton Beach, NSW
At 32kms this is NSW's longest beach and something of a 4WDers paradise, and with huge, shifting sand dunes reaching 30m high, it's little wonder beach driving here is so popular. Stockton's dunes are part of the Southern Hemisphere's largest continuous mobile coastal sand mass. Situated in the Worimi Conservation Lands, the beach stretches from Birubi Point to the mouth of the Hunter River at Newcastle.
You will need a permit to drive on the beach here, but these are easy to purchase at local visitor information centres, tackle shops and service stations. The beach driving is pretty epic, with the beachfront and much of the dunes open to vehicles. Just be aware that the swells can get pretty big which can make it near impossible to drive at high tide.
Portland Dunes, VIC
These impressive dunes are part of the Discovery Bay Coastal Park, a nature reserve that stretches between Cape Nelson and the SA border. The dunes themselves are mostly bare sand and cover an 1800-hectare area, making this spot a bit of a Mecca for off-road enthusiasts.
With numerous campsites available, 55km of beach, rugged headlands, lakes as well as massive dunes, Portland Dunes is definitely one for the bucket list. The southern end of Discovery Bay is home to the Portland Dune Buggy Club. You'll need a membership to access this area, and these can be purchased for anywhere between four days to a year — just be aware that the club asks visitors to allow five weeks processing time so be sure to get your application in early!
Coffin Bay, SA
If you're looking for a spot that's as picturesque as it is fun to drive, Coffin Bay should be a go-to destination. Among other things, the area's famous for being South Australia's premier oyster producer and the 'Coffin Bay Oysters' are renowned for their quality, flavour and size.
Situated on the southern side of the Eyre Peninsula, about an hour from Port Lincoln, the area offers pristine remote beaches, huge swells and quiet coves that are ideal for kayaking, fishing and snorkelling. There are two great National Parks for beach camping, but you will need to be confident driving on soft, boggy sand because the whole park is an area of substantial drifting dunes.
Bruny Island, TAS
Bruny Island is a great spot for those wanting to try some easy-going 4WDing. With stunning views, huge cliffs and long white beaches, there's little wonder why this is a spot that sees visitors come back time and time again.
Most tracks on Bruny Island are great for beginners wanting a 4WD experience, or those looking for some easy trails. Cloudy Corner campground on the island's southern end is a particularly breathtaking spot and can be accessed via an easy 3km beach drive.
Yeagarup Dunes, WA
350km south of Perth, the drive from Yeagarup Lake to Warren River will have you climbing some of the biggest sand dunes in southern WA. The terrain can be challenging but with breathtaking ocean views, it's well worth the effort.
The dunes themselves are a 10km mobile dune system that is as close as it gets to off-road heaven. With a heap of epic camping spots, it's well worth spending a couple of days in the area — Warren River is a spot you're not going to forget in a hurry!
Rainbow Beach, QLD
About an hour north of the Sunshine Coast is a great beach drive that's perfect for beginners. Part of the Great Sandy National Park, Rainbow Beach is wedged in between Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area, Fraser Island, and the Cooloola Recreation Area, and the whole region is perfect for exploring by 4WD.
One solid option for beginners is the drive starting at Rainbow Beach through to Noosa. You'll drive a series of amazing beaches with camping, sand dunes, fishing and decent surfing. The route does see some big swells which can make it slow going, or even impassable in some sections, at high tide. So, make sure to either time your journey, or be prepared for a lengthy wait.
Nine Mile Beach, NSW
Sandwiched between Redhead and Blacksmiths beaches, Nine Mile Beach is a stretch of coastline that has a heap to offer 4WDers. With native bushland and the dunes of Belmont Wetlands State Park, there's plenty to see and do including fishing and surfing.
There are some pretty special camping spots available along the beach here, where you can park up and spend a night under the stars. You will need a permit to drive on Nine Mile Beach and you can buy these online from the Belmont Wetlands State Park website and from many local retailers.
We reckon the spots we've listed are pretty amazing for 4WDing, camping and fishing, but these are still just the beginning. One of the best things about 4WDing is that it helps you get out there and find your own epic spots! Just make sure you take it one step at a time, stick to the tracks, do your research and always have your recovery gear and a decent communication and navigation setup. But above all, have fun exploring, there are some truly amazing places out there just waiting to be discovered.