Go to a 4x4 drive in a low water level Colo River, midway of the bush.

Top 5 4WD spots less than 2 hours from Sydney

Sydney is one of Australia’s busiest cities, known for its crazy house prices and sub-tropical climate. For Sydney siders who want to make a quick escape from the hustle bustle of the city, Offmain handpicked the best spots for 4WD day trips near Sydney. Beach driving, fishing and river crossings make these locations perfect for a weekend (or weekday) challenge! They are only 1.5-2 hours away from the city and suitable for both beginners and experienced 4WDers. Read on to find out where they are, what’s around and how to get there.

FYI, water available at below campsites are not suitable for drinking. Check out our tips for clean drinking water while camping.

1. Blacksmiths Beach

Swansea Channel and Blacksmith beach at the mount of Lake Macquarie. 4wding is allowed on the stretch of the coastline.

How far:

1 hr 38 minutes (130 kms) north of Sydney

Coastal drone view of 4WD at Blacksmiths Beach and Lake Macquarie, NSW Australia.

What to do & see

  • Beach driving! One of the toughest and most fun beach drives in the NSW, Note, that you need a permit to drive on the beach and your vehicle must be registered (fine is $220 if you forget). Visit https://www.belmontwetlands.com.au/ to purchase
  • Swimming and surfing is popular among family. The beach has an active lifesaving club and is patrolled in the warmer months
  • Fishing is allowed on the beach
  • Let your dog(s) run around off-lead. The beach is pet friendly
Woman relaxing at a blue sky, white sand, silent Blacksmiths Beach in the mid morning light while on an outdoor trip with family.

Camping facilities

Camping rules seem to be changing. According to BelmontWetlands.com.au, camping on the beach itself is no longer permitted. Please check before planning your trip. Other options include Blacksmith Beachside Holiday Park and Lake Mac Holiday Park.

"Lifeguard OFF Duty" - Surf Life Saving Lookout Tower at Blacksmiths beach. Camping is not allowed at the beach.

2. Stockton Beach

Experience outdoor activities on a rocky, white sand under a blue sky in the coastline of Stockton beach,, NSW.

How far:

2 hours 7 minutes (165 kms) north of Sydney

White clouds in blue sky, sunny dry day sand formation after wind erosion, sand dunes, Stockton Beach. One of the largest coastal  dune, perfect  for 4WD.

What to do & see:

  • Driving on moving sand dune! One of the largest coastal dune drives in NSW. (Beginners can stick with beach driving on hard sand.) Note that Stockton Beach is sometimes closed for rehabilitation of sand dunes due to storms and public use. Check nationalparks.nsw.gov.au before planning your trip. You need a permit (only available via physical outlets. Visit https://worimiconservationlands.com/beach-driving/ for where to buy.
  • Scuba diving, surfing, swimming, camel riding and fishing
  • Visit the surrounding Port Stephens area. Check out Toboggan Hill Park and Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary
Enjoy a camel ride on Stockton Beach. - Port Stephens - one of the outdoor activity.

Camping facilities:

Currently camping is not permitted on Stockton beach itself but a designated remote camping area is available at southern end of the Worimi Conservation Lands. Check https://worimiconservationlands.com/camping/ for how to get there.

In a cloudy sky, eleven tin shacks known as "Tin City", remain on Stockton Beach NSW Australia. While camping area is available at southern end of the Worimi Conservation Lands.

3. Colo river

Aerial view over river stream of Colo River around Colo Heights area of the Great Dividing Range.

How far:

1 hr 37 minutes (104.3kms) northwest of Sydney

Go to a 4x4 drive in a low water level Colo River, midway of the bush.

What to do & see:

  • Plenty of fun 4WD tracks. Gees Arm South Trail is notorious for rock steps suitable for the more experienced drivers.
  • Lower Colo Reserve to Hawkesbury River is an excellent spot for canoeing
  • Bushwalking tracks ranging from beginners to experienced. Check out Bob Turner’s and Mount Lagoon T3 Track
Visitors  enjoying the mountain view at the Blue Mountain.

Camping facilities

Camping at the Upper Colo Reserve is closed for bridge repair. Other options are Colo Mud Brick Cabin, Ossian Hall, The Lodge and Colo River Holiday Park.

Drone view gum-tree woods along Colo river in Colo Heights, part of Blue mountains National Park.

4. Kurrajong Discovery Trail

You Yangs Regional Park & Kurrajong area under a blue sky. Perfect for biking, walking & 4wding.

How far:

1 hour 21 minutes (95kms) west of Sydney (start at Bells Line of Road)

Blue sky on a greeny surroundings, perfect season for biking in Kurrajong area & You Yangs mountain bike park.

What to do & see:

  • 4WDing down the Blue Mountain National Park to the Barralow Valley. Drive through the dense forest and take in the surroundings. The Mountain Lagoon Road to Comleroy Road is also a 4WD track worth checking out
  • Cafes, galleries and antique shops on Bells Line of Road
  • Mountain biking and bushwalking. Check out the Bulcamatta Track, which is full of rainforest ferns and ends in a waterfall
Wearing a blue helmet, backpack, a biker is exploring the You Yangs mountain bike park and Kurrajong area on a hot day in Little River Victoria Australia

Camping facilites

Wheeny Creek campground is near East Kurrajong. It’s free with toilets and BBQ facilities. BYO firewood.

Explore biking at Kurrajong mountain bike area trail head, surrounded with trees.

5. Watagans National Park

Rocky forest in Watagan national park, best for hiking.

How far:

1 hour 43 mins (131kms) north of Sydney

On your 4wd trip, keep your eyes to the wild white horse roaming through the trees at Watagans National Park

What to do & see:

  • Plenty of 4WD tracks to explore (best to stay a few days for this), ranging from beginners friendly to experienced drivers only. Do your research and be prepared
  • Picnic ground at Boarding House Dam with toilet facilities, BBQs and Toilets
  • Walking tracks. Check out Great North Walk if you’re an experienced bushwalker or opt for a shorter Circuit Walking track from the Boarding House Dam picnic ground. Keep your eyes peeled for wild horses! 
  • Monkey Face Lookout for scenery and bird watching (bring your binoculars)

Camping facilities

Bungalow and Gap Creek Campground has BBQs and toilets. BYO firewood. Gap Creek has immediate access to walking tracks and lookout. Both are free to use (only $6 booking fee applies, Booking required. Visit nationalparks.nsw.gov.au)

Gray Suzuki Circa 2017, small 4x4 at the Watagans National Park.

At Offmain, we believe that 4WDing and outdoor adventure is for everyone, and getting started should be easy. Founded by a team of female 4WDers and a rookie hiking adventurer, Offmain is a positive and inclusive community for people of all experience levels, from those researching Vehicles, Camping and adventure options - all you need is the love to explore.

Come on an adventure with us 🥳

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