Escape to Red Head Beach // Lake Macquarie (NSW)

Red Head Beach is one of only a few places in NSW that you can drive your 4WD, park up and spend the night. Explorer Jimmy packed up the truck, grabbed a bunch of mates and hit the beach.


Highlights

  • 4WDing on the beach
  • Beach camping
  • Surfing
  • Beach fishing

What better way to spend a weekend with the boys, than a 4WD camping adventure up to Red Head Beach, Lake Macquarie. Only a short 2 hour drive from Sydney, it is well worth the drive to get a front row seat of either the sunset or sunrise over one of the many dunes at Red Head Beach.

Using a drone? Make sure you check out local rules and regulations first

The Lowdown

When you have gained access to the beach, take your time and drive with care to avoid getting bogged, overturning the car or getting hit by oncoming waves. Ensure your tyres are let down to around 10-15psi. As there were a few of us and our cars, we decided to just cruise around the beach, going up and down the allocated driving zones, testing out our cars and taking in the surroundings.

We made our way to the creek at the bottom of one of the dunes, where most people had set up camp and were using this creek to escape the heat and cool down.
With good swell, there is surf at this beach, making it a good spot to park your car and go for a quick wave.

If you’re into fishing, you’ll be sure to find a good beach spot to fish from. Behind most of the sand dunes are blocked off from vehicle access but there is a small spot just behind the creek where you can still take your cars and head to a more private area to explore or to set up camp, which we ended up doing to escape the wind. Just be sure not to disturb the vegetation and clean up after yourselves

We stayed the night away from the beach just behind the sand dunes near the creek, where we set up camp for the night, getting our camping gear and cooking gear out.

One thing we brought was a hammock and we hung this between 2 of the cars making for a good spot to chill or to even sleep at night.

red head beach, jimmy DS, 4WD hammock

Setting up a campfire was a way to cook our food but also keep us warm at night which was definitely needed as it got quite cool. It was also a way to create some light at night and a place to chill at with music playing as we sat down as a group and swapped stories and tried to crack some jokes.

Essential Gear

  • 4WD car
  • Water & food
  • Surfboard
  • Camping gear (sleeping bags, swags, cooking gear, camping chairs and hammock)
  • Air compressor
  • Tyre gauge
  • Cameras
  • Towels/sunscreen/swimming clothes
  • Music
  • Lights or fire-making tools
  • Fishing gear

How To Get There

From Sydney, head towards Hornsby to the M1 and follow this highway to the A43, taking the Lake Munmorah exit off the M1. Continue along the A43 till you see the Red Head Beach signs or the Belmont Wetlands State Park.  Before you get to the beach, be sure to go get a beach driving permit, either online, simply fill out the application form and allow 7 days for the permit sticker to be sent out, or you can purchase directly from one of the local outlets — Readhead Metro Petrol Station, Ocean Jewel Take Away, Belmont North, Marks Point News Agency and Belmont Golf Club. A full list of outlets are on the Belmont Wetlands website.

Once you have got your beach access permit, make sure you have this displayed on the left hand visor in your car or the rangers will fine you $220 on the spot. Head to the Belmont Wetlands State Park beach access track where you will gain access.

If you are going on the beach, make sure that your vehicle is capable of going on the sand and you have proper equipment if you get bogged or stuck on the sand dunes.

red head beach, jimmy DS, 4WD track

Activities

  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • 4WD fun
  • Surfing

Skill Level

Intermediate, must have an understanding of 4WD if you are accessing the beach with a vehicle.

 


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