We take a look at five awesome 4WD tracks within three hours of Brisbane for sure-fire offroad fun.
Brisbane might just be the best place to live if your passion is hitting up the offroad tracks in your 4WD. There are plenty of options within a three-hour drive of Queensland’s capital. You could almost make K’gari (Fraser Island), but that’s not on this list. However, you can drive for 20 minutes from Brisbane CBD and get onto the car ferry to hit up the 4WD tracks on Moreton Island.
Great beaches and sand islands don’t take your fancy? Then head west to Sundown National Park which is just on the three-hour limit of this yarn. Although, best to take your swag cause you won’t want to come back anytime soon. Sundown too far? Then head south of Brisbane for some real mountains, steep 4WD tracks and plenty of creek crossings in the Mt Barney area.
Sick of beach driving? Cooloola offers a whole heap more than just great beach driving and fabulous fishing. Looking for some steep, dark forest tracks? Then Amamoor might just be the place for you!
Yep, 20 minutes from the Brisbane CBD and you’re taking the 4WD for a cruise on the Micat Ferry across Moreton Bay to sandy track paradise. Sure, the ferry costs a bit but you save that on petrol and enjoy the journey. There may even be whales to spot in winter.
Drive straight off the ferry onto the western beaches. This is the calm side of the island, providing shelter from the onshore winds common on the surfside. There are a number of campsites along the western side, with one being close to the small settlement of Bulwer (which is the place to re-supply at the small shop).
The surfside beaches offer beach camping in certain areas and a great campsite behind the dunes at Blue Lagoon. Keep heading north along the beach and you’ll find Cape Moreton with its rocky headland and obligatory lighthouse. There’s another great campsite at Northpoint.
Towards the southern end of the island are some derelict WW2 bunkers. With inland lakes, terrific beaches, great campsites and a lot fewer people than Fraser, Moreton Island is hard to go past for a weekend from Brisbane hitting up the 4WD tracks.
Girraween National Park is one of the most popular National Parks in southern QLD, but across the highway is Sundown National Park where 4WDs are mandatory! The steep rocky 4WD tracks found just over three hours from Brisbane keep the tourists down so you are likely to have the place to yourself.
The rocky terrain and Cyprus pine woodlands will remind you of the Flinders Ranges. The camping at Burrows Waterhole is very pleasant with swimming in the long stretch of creek. You might even catch some dinner as there are some nice-sized fish for anglers… but they are known to be elusive so bring a can of tuna just in case.
An hour and a half south of Brisbane via Beaudesert or Boonah, the Mt Barney area offers great camping; steep, scenic 4WD tracks, and water skiing in Lake Maroon.
The multiple peaks of Mt Barney can be seen from many parts of Brisbane but once you are in the foothills, the city is the last thing on your mind. There are some great swimming holes and creeks, with some requiring a bit of hiking and others right alongside the tracks. The Lower Portals in the Mt Barney National Park is a favourite (but a bit of a walk).
There are a few campgrounds in the area close to your favourite pastime. They are extremely popular at times like Easter but are often pretty peaceful during off-peak.
We’ve all seen images of drowned fourbies near Rainbow Beach and the views of Double Island point, but have you ever heard of Harry’s Hut? There is a lot to see and do on the 4WD tracks behind the massive sand blows of the Cooloola Coast just a stone’s throw away from Brisbane.
Boating on Lake Cootharaba is very popular, as is cruising the Narrows of the Noosa River. If you paddle a canoe or kayak, there are a number of campsites only accessible from the river. The camping at Harry’s Hut is excellent but bookings are recommended.
If the upper reaches of the Noosa River are not your thing, Teewah Beach is very accessible and some people’s heaven on earth. Plenty of beach camping is available, even if you tow a van. Fishing and whale watching are popular at Double Island Point. There is even a great right-hander for those with a surfboard on the roof (if you don’t mind sharks).
By the way, you do need a 4WD. I have seen an old Sigma driving up the beach but I wouldn’t recommend it!
Now, this is a place you may not have heard of before. Amamoor is located south of Gympie and west of Noosa and has been a favourite for 4WD tracks enthusiasts from Brisbane for years. There are steep, slippery tracks amongst forests of hoop pine with great views once you make it to the lookouts. Of course, you don’t need to be from Brisbane to enjoy these 4WD tracks!
Some tracks are overgrown (some with lantana for a bit of pin striping) and some tracks end in locked gates. This is part of the attraction, as tracks lead you all over the hills. A sense of adventure and a willingness to explore are requirements for some of the more challenging tracks.
There are a couple of very nice campsites along Amamoor Creek, with walking tracks and waterholes for when it gets hot.