Love camping? Of course you do! Fresh air, time with the fam (or without!) and just a great way to chill out and enjoy the great outdoors. Beach camping is still the most popular way to get away from it all, but with a tonne of amazing beaches to choose from the hardest part is picking where to set up camp. Unsealed 4X4 has taken out the guesswork, done the hard part for you and narrowed down the list to six of the top beach camping locations – and how to get there. All you need to do now is load the fourby with the camping gear, and set off on your next adventure. Nice!
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DID YOU KNOW? Australia has 10,685 beaches. You could visit a different one every day for the next 29 years and still not see them all.
CLOUDY CORNER – BRUNY ISLAND, TAS
Things to see and do: Beachside camping doesn’t get much better than this. Situated in South Bruny National Park is one of the prettiest 4X4 beach camping locations in the country. Sheltered from the southerly winds, Cloudy Corner campground provides a great spot to base yourself and explore all that Bruny Island has to offer. Bushwalking, swimming, fishing, boating and kayaking are all on the doorstep at Cloudy Corner and there’s culinary delights scattered throughout the island … all of which can be enjoyed back at camp.
How to get there: Ferry access to Bruny Island itself is via the town of Kettering, about half an hour south of Hobart. Cloudy Corner campground is accessed via the beach ramp at Cloudy Bay and requires approx 3km of beach driving with the last 200m via a rugged and sandy track up onto the headland. Ensure you drop your tyre pressures and drive below the high tide mark to ensure any shore bird nesting sites are left alone.
Things to see and do: A great trip out of Melbourne or Adelaide, the Robe/Beachport area offers heaps for the four-wheel driver. Little Dip Conservation Park allows you to explore the bush behind the dunes; or if you want to get sandy, the dunes themselves offer world-class driving. Make sure you bring a sand flag as the terrain makes it all too easy to not see what’s up ahead. Spend your time soaking baits or just kicking back in coastal bliss.
How to get there: Coming out of Melbourne, take the Glenelg Highway west and sit on it for six hours or so until you see signs to Robe, follow them and you’re golden.
Coming out of Adelaide, take the Princes Highway south for a bit over three hours and follow the signs to Robe. The locals will be able to sort you out with beach permits, directions and up-to-date camping conditions.
PEBBLY BEACH, NSW
Things to see and do: Yuraygir National Park is just north of Coffs Harbour, and has arguably one of the best beach camping spots in the country: Pebbly Beach. It’s perfect for fishing, swimming, diving and just relaxing by the fire and (if you can swing it) is best visited mid-week when you may well have the place to yourself.
How to get there: Head north out of Coffs on the freeway and take the signposted turn-off to Yuraygir National Park. Head east for about 10km until you see the signs for Station Creek. A short drive up the beach will bring you to Station Creek itself (which is tidal). You’ll need to cross the creek to gain access to the camping ground, so make sure you time your arrival around low tide.
Things to see and do: One of the closest beaches to Perth where you can go four-wheel driving, Wilbinga is a great place to spend a few days by the water. If dune-driving, lying in the sun and swimming in crystal waters sounds like a bit of you – then this place will be paradise. There are numerous dunes for you to test your skills on and the beach fishing is excellent too. If I wasn’t at work, I’d be there right now.
How to get there: Wilbinga is only 70km north of Perth so it makes the ideal weekend getaway. The entry track is a couple of kays south of Woodridge along Indian Ocean drive. The entry track is soft sand, so make sure you bring your air compressor and shovel; and don’t forget the sand flag either!
FLINDERS BEACH, QLD
Things to see and do: Flinders Beach is quieter than other spots due to the 4WD-access-only camping site. Enjoy camping the way it was when you were a kid – with limited facilities but a killer view and fantastic beach access. Dogs are allowed on the beach too, which is a big plus. Grab a permit and let your tyres down and enjoy trips up and down the dunes.
How to get there: Flinders beach camping area is a 4WD-accessible-only camping area. Only a short drive and ferry ride from Brisbane and you’re at North Stradbroke Island. From the ferry, follow the signs to Flinders Beach or drive out to Point Lookout and enter the beach at the Adder Rock Beach access. An annual permit is required to drive 4WDs on Flinders and Main beaches.
CAPE HARDY BEACH, SA
Things to see and do: The camping ground is very easy to access. Locals say Cape Hardy beach is a hidden gem and the best camping ground going around. They also offered up a tip for your trip: The best spot to camp is along the fenceline. Cape Hardy is a ‘must do’ stop for keen campers/fishermen – with plenty of beach access for boats and 4X4s.
How to get there: The route into the camping ground is a gravel road but it can easily be traversed by a two-wheel drive and caravan. The camping ground is located 6km off the Lincoln Highway, with the turn-off approximately 11km from Port Neill.
Words by Nicole Cooper