There are plenty who’ll have you believe that Stockton Beach is the closest stretch of coast north of Sydney where you can legally score your beach driving fix.
Blacksmiths Beach is in fact even closer at just a 130km burn up the M1 from the capital. The place has always stayed somewhat low-key compared to the better known Stocko, but while it receives less traffic, it’s a killer option when you’re hanging out for a straight up beach run.
For a long time all offroad action on Blacksmiths Beach went down pretty much unregulated, however the Belmont Wetlands State Park have implemented a permit system that has been in effect in recent years.
Weekly, monthly and yearly passes are now available from local outlets, and you don’t want to get caught out without one as stiff fines can be issued on the spot.
STUFF TO DO
4WDING is allowed between Red Head and Blacksmiths. Vehicle access is limited to the beach itself, the two access points and tracks that are maintained by the Belmont Wetlands State Park.
FISHING the sandy gutters that litter the beach is super popular through the warmer months, but a great option just about year round. Sand whiting, bream and dart make up the bulk of summer captures, while big schools of tailor and Aussie salmon move in through winter.
LOCATION: Blacksmiths Beach is located 130km north of Sydney and is around two hours drive from the CBD. Follow the Pacific Highway north before taking the Swansea exit to Blacksmiths Beach.
CAMPING areas are not designated anywhere on Blacksmiths Beach, according to the Belmont Wetlands State Park website, but it’s not expressly banned. The website states that visitors must stay clear of wetland areas and are responsible for their belongings and rubbish.
PERMITS are required to drive on the beach at Blacksmiths and weekly permits are available for $33, monthly permits cost $44 and annual permits are available for $88. Permits can be purchased from the Metro Redhead petrol station, Third Creek bait and tackle shop and the Belmont Golf Club.
FUEL is available in Swansea, Newcastle and on the Pacific Highway.
MORE INFO is available at www.belmontwetlands.com.au