Ready to hit the beach in your 4WD? Course you are, baby! With summer here there’s no better time to find the best beaches to drive on near Brisbane. But who’s got time for research? Luckily, we do. We’ve done the hard work for you and rounded up the best five beach tracks. Enjoy!
We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Countries on which these adventures take place who have occupied and cared for these lands and waters for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.
There’s no better adventure than a day spent driving along some of the best 4WD-friendly beaches near Brisbane. Whether you’re new to 4WD or looking for some new beach tracks, you’ve come to the right place. Grab ya Maxtrax, grab ya mates, grab the sunscreen (seriously, it’s essential) and get driving, legends!
But first, a little safety PSA.
4WD Beach Driving Safety Checklist
- Sounds obvious, but if you own an AWD, don’t attempt to drive on the beach. It’s only going to end badly for you. Read about the difference here.
- Also, know how to use your 4WD. Again, sounds obvious but if you’re new to 4WDing, it’s a good idea to do a course or have someone teach you how to properly drive your 4WD. This is a good article to help you out.
- Always go beach driving with another 4WD. This is in case you get stuck and need to be winched out. It even happens to 4WD pros, so don’t think you’re immune.
- Keep a pair of Maxtrax and a winch handy in the boot. A shovel is important too, as is a snatch strap. You can never be too cautious. A UHF radio is also wise so you can easily communicate with your mate in the other 4WD, or in case you need assistance and there’s no phone reception.
- A tyre deflator/inflator is also essential for beach driving. Some tracks will have a deflator nearby but having your own is handy.
- Deflate your tyres before beach driving! Each 4WD will have its own recommendations for the correct PSI level, so make sure you check. The softer the sand, the lower the PSI.
- Check the tides! Know when high and low tide is before driving on any beach. The tide creeps up on you very quickly (trust me), so try to stay on the beach for only two hours each side of low tide.
Best Beaches to Drive on Near Brisbane
#1 Ocean Beach Drive, Bribie Island
Distance from Brisbane: 86km northeast (1 hour 45 minutes)
Length: 23km (one way)
Entry fee: $52.35 for one week or less
Bribie Island is a well-known hub in the Moreton Bay area for tourists and locals alike. And it’s a great spot for some 4WD beach driving. Set out on your 4WD adventure along Ocean Beach Drive, the island’s eastern beach from south to north, stopping along the way at some of the cool creeks and freshwater lagoons or cast a line on the sandy shores.
It’s an ideal drive for newbies and pros alike as you get stunning views of Caloundra and Moreton Island. You can also explore the heritage-listed World War II structures of Fort Bribie.
#2 Moreton Island
Distance from Brisbane: 47 km northeast via ferry (1 hour 15 minutes)
Entry fee: $54.55 per vehicle for up to a month
If there could only be one place to take your rig on the beach, you’d want it to be Moreton Island. It doesn’t have 4WD beach tracks… it’s a whole 4WD island. Over 420km of unsealed bliss only accessible by 4WD (AKA the elite).
Safe to say, Moreton Island has something for everyone – from smooth sailing open beaches to the challenge of tracking overland. Most of the 4WD tracks are located in the northern area of the island. So, escape the pesky Sunday drivers and head to Moreton Island for one of the most rugged and sandy 4WD destinations that’s so conveniently close to Brisbane.
#3 Cooloola Track
Distance from Brisbane: 237km northeast (3 hours)
Length: 60km (one way)
Entry fee: $13.6 online or $20.55 at station for 1 day
The Cooloola Recreation Area Track is another beaut spot to give your 4WD a nice 54km run on the sand. Situated three hours north of Brisbane, the Cooloola Track offers scenery that’s other-worldly, with blue ocean on one side and massive multi-colored orange and brown-hued cliffs on the other.
If you have the luxury, take the roof off or wind down the windows and breathe in the salty sea breeze as you explore the coastline from Noosa North Shore to Rainbow Beach while soaking up views of expansive seascapes, sweeping coastline and high dunes of the Cooloola sandmass.
#4 North Stradbroke Island
Distance from Brisbane: 30km east to the ferry terminal (45 minutes) – then 1 hour on the ferry to the island
Entry fee: $52.75 per vehicle for up to one month
North Stradbroke Island (AKA Straddie), is a seriously cool spot for some 4WD beach driving near Brisbane. With kilometres of sandy white beaches to drive on (and some bush tracks too), Straddie is a 4WD enthusiast’s haven.
You can drive on Flinders Beach and Main beach, but stay clear of the water and dunes. You’re also not permitted to drive on the beach 1 hour and 15 minutes either side of high tide (both for safety and environmental reasons). Other than that, drive safe and enjoy the beautiful shores of Straddie.
Read more: A Weekend at Minjerribah / Stradbroke Island
75 Mile Beach, K’Gari (Fraser Island)
Distance from Brisbane: 270km northeast (4 hours)
Entry fee: $53.65 for 1 month or less
Don’t be fooled by the name, the iconic 75 Mile Beach track isn’t 75 miles long at all, but it’s certainly an epic and iconic 4WD beach track on K’gari (Fraser Island). It’s an easy drive and somewhere you can drive faster than 65km/h in an off-roading setting.
The sand is pretty smooth going most of the way, but there are of course hidden sand bumps and dips, so drive with care.
This stretch of beach is also used as a landing strip for private planes, so keep an eye out at all times.
Also, keep your togs at home – swimming’s forbidden as the waters are teeming with sharks. But you can swim at the Champagne Pools area past Indian Head.
Oh, and watch out for dingos, mmkay?
Feature photo by Frankie Dixon