Your guide to the best beach runs in the country.
For most of us, offroading has been off the cards for what’s starting to feel like time immemorial. However, with camping now allowed in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Oz, and travel restrictions poised to loosen any day now in the eastern states, there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel.
There’s never been a better time to revisit a clutch of the country’s finest sandy stretches.
From the endless remote beaches of the NSW mid north coast, to southeast QLD’s epic sand islands, the Sunshine State’s glorious Capricorn Coast, SA’s unreal Robe-Beachport run and West Oz’s fabled Lancelin-Cervantes stretch – there’s surely no dearth of options to choose from!
How many have you ticked off?
And which will you visit next?
STOCKTON BEACH, NSW
Seemingly endless prime sand driving just two hour’s drive out of Sydney, there’s plenty to love about Stockton Beach!
Visitors have 4WD access to a 22km strip of beachfront as well as over 350 hectares of dune driving in the Recreational Vehicle Area at the southern end of the park.
LOCATION: Stockton Beach is 180km north of Sydney and 15km out of Newcastle. Access is via the Pacific Highway and the beach can be accessed from Williamtown and Anna Bay.
PERMITS: Beach Access permits are required to drive on the beach and are available from local service stations, 4WDing, camping and fishing outlets. Three-day passes are available for $33 while annual passes cost $88.
MORE INFO is available at www.worimiconservationlands.com
FRASER ISLAND, QLD
The world’s largest sand island is, unsurprisingly, home to some pretty unbeatable sand driving.
Perhaps the most famous beach run in the country is the epic run along Seventy Five Mile Beach up the east side of the island. This is a bucket list drive, and one that many Queenslanders manage to tick off again and again.
Apart from the boundless beach cruising, there’s also some top-notch fishing, camping, swimming and sightseeing opportunities available – so do your research, then do yourself a favour and get here as soon as you can!
LOCATION: Fraser Island is 200km north of Brisbane and just a few kilometres offshore from Inskip Point at the northern end of Rainbow Beach.
PERMITS: Vehicle access and camping permits must be acquired before accessing the island. All details and booking information are available online at www.nprsr.qld.gov.au.
MORE INFO is available at www.nprsr.qld.gov.au
BYFIELD NP, QLD
While southeastern QLD is certainly spoiled when it comes to cracking beach runs, the state’s central and northern coastlines don’t exactly lag in this department either.
Byfield National Park is 75km northeast of Rockhampton and protects a 12km swathe of coastline. The park is home to a ripper beach run along Nine Mile Beach out to Five Rocks.
While this glorious bit of coastline is a little bit off the beaten track for most southern travellers, the weather up here is magnificent year round, and it’s a brilliant destination to beat the winter chill.
LOCATION: 725km north of Brisbane and 75km northeast of Rockhampton, access is via the Bruce and Burnett Highways.
PERMITS: Camping and vehicle access permits are required and can be purchased online at www.nprsr.qld.gov.au.
MORE INFO is available at www.nprsr.qld.gov.au
The great southern state’s most famous beach run stretches between the quaint coastal communities of Robe and Beachport.
The 50km coastal excursion along South Australia’s famous Limestone Coast takes visiting offroaders through Nora Creina and the Little Dip Conservation Park.
Conditions in winter can be bitterly cold due to the region’s southern exposure, so perhaps plan a summer visit to see the area at its best.
LOCATION: Approximately 340km southeast of Adelaide, Robe can be reached in around three and a half to four hour’s drive via the Princes Highway.
PERMITS: Camping fees apply if you wish to stay within the Beachport Conservation Park – fees are payable online at www.environment.sa.gov.au.
MORE INFO is available at www.environment.sa.gov.au
The mighty west coast has no shortage of coastal driving options – however most of them seem to be fairly far from home for Perth metro residents.
The offroad playground of Lancelin is located just 130km north of WA’s bustling metropolis, yet manages to retain a holiday vibe that feels much further removed.
There’s some fantastic sand driving to be had in the dunes at Lancelin itself, as well as on the beach at Wedge Island, Grey and Cervantes to the north. A stunning stretch of coastline well within range of a weekend visit for Perth-based 4WDers.
LOCATION: 130km north of Perth, access is via the Mitchell Freeway.
PERMITS are not required but all unregistered offroad vehicles must be registered for offroad use before entering the Lancelin Offroad Vehicle Area. Further details can be found at www.dpi.wa.gov.au.
MORE INFO is available at www.gingin.wa.gov.au