I am a freelance photographer and writer from Port Stephens NSW Australia. Visit my web site at www.philipduncanphotography.com
Published April 12th 2015
Easy 4 wheel driving around Newcastle
As 4WD vehicles are becoming more common on our roads why not get off the black top and get your wheels dirty or sandy in this case.
There are 2 beaches where you can access the beach and drive along it and one that is 4WD access to the car park.
Sun rise and the Sygma wreck.
The biggest and most known is Stockton Beach.
This beach requires a beach driving permit to access. You can pick up a 3 day or 12 month permit from a number of locations close to both of the entrance tracks to the beach.
You can bring your best friend (dogs) to Stockton Beach but they must be keep on a lead and clean up after them.
At the time of writing there is no camping on the beach.
You can access Stockton Beach from Anna Bay off Gan Gan Road. There is a well marked access between the roundabout on Nelson Bay Road and the shops at Anna Bay.
The sand is much harder at this end of the beach and access is easy.
Driving is permitted only on the beach front in this area, but as there is almost 20 km of beach front that should not be too much of a problem.
The other access track is off Lavas Lane at Williamtown.
The sand at this end of the beach is much softer and there is a sand dune at the very end of the dirt road that can be a challenge for the less experienced. Drop your tire pressure to 16 PSI and you should be fine; just remember to pump them up when you are finished.
Driving at this end of the beach is only on the beach front and there is a RV area. If you have a bike or quad that you would like to drive in the dunes you can get a conditional registration and a beach permit to drive here.
There is also a Quad bike tour company that runs in this area if you just want to have fun for a short time.
Stockton Beach has a couple of famous landmarks that you may want to check out. The wreck of the Sigma that run aground in a storm is still around and a popular fishing spot. This is closest to the lavis lane access.
After you reach the beach front from Lavis lane turn right and you can't miss it.
Tin City Stockton Beach
The other famous attraction on the beach is Tin City. This is a collection of Fishing shacks that have been there for a very long time. The owners need to do regular maintenance to stop them from being reclaimed by the sand dunes.
The easiest way to find them is from the Anna Bay end of the beach. As you enter the beach turn right and follow the beach for 10 km. There are some signs along the beach to indicate how far you are along. Just after the 10 km sign there is a barricade with a lot of reflectors just in-case you are arriving in the dark in the sand dunes. Park in here and you are on the front door of tin city.
Depending on weather conditions you may also come across some tank traps that have been there since the Second World War, but they are regularly covered in sand and hidden from view.
There are also some aircraft wrecks hidden on the beach but they are a very rare find if the sand has been moved in just the right way.
Samurai Beach is a little further up Gan Gan Road. You don't need a permit for this beach.
The access track to the beach is between the Middle Rock Holiday Resort and the new Treescape holiday park.
This is a 4WD track around 2 km that opens up onto a very nice beach.
It is not advisable to visit here if you are easily offended as this beach is a clothing optional beach.
Don't worry if you want to keep your cloths on as you will not be alone and nobody will worry about you being there, but there may be some people in there in their birthday suits.
The Northern end of the beach has a camping area but there is no amenities there, so you need to be self sufficient.
This is a very popular spot for the fisherman and the surfers.
The next stop along Gan Gan Road is Big Rocky.
The access track and road is well marked and about half way between Frost Road and Nelson Bay Road.
The point at Big Rocky
There is a car park for the 2WD cars about half way to the beach and a 4WD track will take you all the way to the carpark near the beach. Once there, you have a small sheltered bay between big rocky and little rocky. There is also some popular rock fishing spots here and a walking track to near little rocky for more fishing spots.
From here you can also walk around to bolder bay.
All of these tracks and beaches are easy to access and have some fun in your 4WD, even if you don't have much experience.