Before we get into the list here are a few general tips for anyone heading off the beaten track:
- Travel in a group where possible
- Always bring recovery gear (including air compressor for beach/sand tracks)
- Don’t attempt tracks out of your skill level or beyond the limits of your vehicle
The tracks at the Glasshouse Mountains are a favourite among local 4WD enthusiasts and it’s easy to see why. Featuring rainforests, gorges, steep inclines, creeks and plenty of red dirt, you’ll feel a world away from the nearby highways and townships.
There is a heap of 4WD tracks to explore, from the 4WD novice all the way up to the extreme off-roaders. It is a hugely popular spot with locals so there will usually be other 4WDers there to suggest which tracks are the best for your skill level.
The toughest and most spectacular of the Glasshouse 4WD tracks would have to be the infamous Big Red Track. Big Red is a 4WD track for the very experienced with a very well set up 4WD (a roll cage is suggested for the toughest sections). Most experts say to be prepared to break something on this track, so it is definitely only for the highly experienced off-roaders.
- Tracks are treacherous and nearly impassable after big rains
- It can be a busy spot, so be wary of other vehicles on the tracks
Much to the delight of local enthusiasts, this 4WD heaven reopened back in September 2016. With over 200kms of 4WD tracks designed for all skill levels, you’ll easily find a track or two to keep you entertained for the day. There are tracks ranging from easy to difficult with hill climbs, gullies and creek crossings galore on this privately-owned property.
If one day isn’t enough time to explore, the park also offers camping areas with hot showers & toilets. So why not get your mates together and make a weekend of it!
- Permits are required, and availability/prices may vary in peak periods (long weekends, holidays & events)
- The park only has basic supplies available, and the nearest town is 60km away, so make sure you bring everything you need.
For those who love beach driving, this is the track for you. The track starts with a barge trip across the Noosa River and continues on in spectacular fashion. With 30kms of endless ocean on one side and massive sand dunes, spectacular coloured sand cliffs and coastal forests on the other, the views alone make this trip worthwhile.
Depending on your preference, you can then head inland along the Freshwater Road for impressive coastal rainforests or keep travelling north up the beach to the popular Double Island Point. There is plenty to see on either route with a range of camping, fishing and swimming spots along the way.
There are a number of popular tracks in and around the Great Sandy National Park to check out including Harry’s Hut Road and the Great Beach Drive (Teewah Beach).
It is important to note that a vehicle access permit is required for the Cooloola Recreation Area. These can be purchased from the National Parks website prior to departure.
- Plan your trip around low tide to enjoy driving on the firm
- Watch out for soft sand at beach access points during busy periods
- If you have the time, from Double Island Point, head west to Rainbow Beach along Leisha Track
Another beach lovers paradise is Fraser Island. You can drive right onto the island off the ferry, with the Manta Ray at Inskip Point getting you over there the fastest (trip takes about ten minutes). With almost endless 4WDing options, including the famous 75 Mile Beach Highway, as well as plenty of inland bush & beach 4WD tracks. The island is a world heritage site that is famous for its wildlife, great fishing, impressive sand dunes and fresh water lakes.
If you have the time, Fraser Island is best experienced over a few days. There are plenty of camping spots around the island as well as beach houses and resorts if camping isn’t your style. If you’re taking the kids on the adventure, check out our top 9 activities to do with the kids on Fraser Island.
- A permit is required before driving on Fraser Island. They can be purchased from the National Parks website.
- Experience driving in sand is a MUST before tackling the island
With easy access via a bridge joined to the mainland, Bribie Island is the perfect spot for a 4WD day trip. The island itself is quite developed but still boasts a few hidden gems of you are willing to head off the beaten track. The beach drives on Bribie feature pristine white sand, freshwater lagoons and even some old WWII bunkers.
The northern beaches feature some great surfing spots and spectacular scenery, and the inland 4WD tracks are a great for exploring the coastal bushland. There are some great, remote camping spots in the national park for anyone wanting to extend their stay. Permits are required for beach driving and camping, they can be purchased from the National Parks website.
- Watch for soft sand at beach entry and exit points during busy periods
- Experience with sand/beach driving recommended
A good starting track for any novice 4WDers is Conondale National Park. The main track travels through the mountainous Conondale Range, with thick rainforest and tall eucalyptus dominating the track. The track also features a few shallow creek crossings, with some interesting climbs and descents also in the mix.
While the drive itself is relatively short there is plenty of other activities on offer in the national park. The park features a wide range of bush walks, lookout spots, creeks and spectacular waterfalls for anyone keen for a swim.
- Tracks can get tougher after heavy rain so ensure your vehicle has enough clearance to get through higher creek levels
- Head further south for some tougher tracks towards Jimna
This is another great one for anyone looking for an easy track to get a bit more experience. The tracks are relatively short and easy to manoeuvre, however, it is important to take extra caution if there has been recent rainfall. Take a drive up to Point Glorious Lookout and if you’re wanting to extend your stay, the secluded Gheerulla camping area is also accessible by 4WD.
Although the tracks aren’t as substantial here compared to many of the other parks, this is a great spot to head out for a quick with plenty of walking tracks to check out if you’re feeling extra adventurous.
- Floodwaters can rise very quickly in this area. As always, drive only to conditions, and take extra care if driving in rain.
Other Great Tracks in South East QLD:
Apart from Tangalooma, getting around Moreton Island involves all kinds of sand and beach driving. The northern 4WD tracks will take you to most of the major attractions around the island while heading south down the beach will take you to the Blue Lagoon. Beach driving experience and a high clearance vehicle recommended.
Sneaking in just this side of the QLD/NSW border this red, rocky national park is a 4WDers dream. The adventure begins straight off the bat as you enter the park and the tracks get increasingly difficult as you venture further into the ranges. Not for the 4WDing newbies, these tracks require high clearance, tough tyres, and plenty of experience on rocky, rugged tracks.
Crossing the Condamine River 14 times, this track is situated on the QLD/NSW border and features rugged mountains, stunning lookouts and waterfalls. The rocky track is suitable for 4WDing novices but may require high clearance in some areas. Be wary of higher water levels after significant rainfall.