With the closure of Stockton Beach sand dunes to four wheel drivers, you might be asking yourself 'where can I get my sand driving fix now?' Well don't despair, there's still somewhere you can go that provides great beach tracks, big sand dunes and the fantastic scenic wonders that only the beautiful East Coast of Australia can provide. Welcome to Blacksmiths Beach.
You can reach the northern tip of the beach by 4WD
Located in the Lake Macquarie suburb of Blacksmiths, this beaut little stretch of coastline is open to all licensed drivers to bring their registered four wheel drives on. You don't need a permit, and as long as you follow standard road rules and obey the signage, you can drive to your heart's content. The beach also makes easy access for fishing and you can pull up anywhere along the northern part of beach to throw in a line, which can save you carting all your tackle and gear from the car park.
Help protect the dunes
The access track to the beach is off the end of Awabakal Ave and there's a small car park here that's perfect for airing down your tyres. Blacksmiths Beach is known for having some of the softest sand in the country and to reduce the likelihood of your four wheel drive getting bogged, you'll need to reduce your tyre pressures to at least 15psi. Of course this doesn't guarantee that you won't get stuck, so you should always be prepared with recovery gear including a snatch strap, shovel, shackles or a set of recovery tracks.
The beach entrance is off Awabakal Ave
Recovery is commonly needed in the soft sand
There are some big dunes that you can tackle and unlike a lot of other beaches, the closer you get to the tide mark, the softer the sand becomes. You always need to be aware that you're sharing the beach with walkers, swimmers and fishermen so make sure you approach them with caution and be aware of fishing lines that may be sometimes hard to see.
Test your skills and take on the big dune
KEEP OUR BEACHES CLEAN Being in a heavily populated area that sees quite a bit of traffic, Blacksmiths Beach can be quite vulnerable to litter and pollution. Recently the organisation known as OceanWatch teamed up with Lake Macquarie Council and called for volunteers to help clean up the beach. Members of several local and Sydney four wheel drive clubs, and local residents and uses of the beach responded to the call. The day was a roaring success with over 30 four wheel drives and more than 70 people working together to haul over two tonnes of rubbish from the beach in just two hours.
Families and their 4WDs turned up to clean up
Of course you can do your part by just taking out what you bring in, and not leaving any rubbish behind. You can also help protect the beach and dunes by driving responsibly and staying off any vegetated areas. It's one way to ensure that we get to keep enjoying this beautiful stretch of coast.
4WDers from local and Sydney clubs turned out to lend a hand
So for a fun day out, why not load the family and a picnic lunch into the four wheel drive and head for Blacksmiths. It's only a short stint up the freeway from Sydney and there's something for everyone from swimming, to fishing and of course four wheel driving.