4WDing is a family tradition that fill my memories with fondness. When we were younger, we would all pile into the car, tackle the endless landscape and arrive home exhausted but all smiles. A lot of the time, our cousins would join us in their Land Rover, and when that happened, we would love to switch cars to be in the thick of the adventure with our Uncle and Aunt (what is more fun than riding in a different car, when you are younger?)!
My childhood was full of adventure, and even to this day, 4WDing across the sand dunes or in the vast and very rural “back garden” of our Pop’s farm brings me so much happiness and thrill – and is something I wish to pass onto my family in the decades to come (when I eventually stop travelling and find myself a nice husband, ha)!
So, in the spirit of four-wheel-driving, I thought I would let you in on my top picks for the best places to go 4WDing with kids in Australia: all with the Lucy’s-tick-of-approval!
Stockton Beach is a tradition of my family’s. Having spent every single Summer (and some winters) in Soldiers Point, we often take a day to let the air out of the tyres, and let the open road turn into sand and just drive.
Located in Port Stephens (my second home), the Williamstown to Anna Bay sand dune adventure is one you must try with the family. Perfect all year round, Stockton Beach is a haven for sand enthusiast and beach lovers (although, best not to swim: also a shark haven).
If you are wanting to take a break from the sand dunes, definitely hit up the MV Sygna wreck which washed ashore in the 70s, or Tank Traps (installed in the second world war as a defence mechanic). Stockton Beach is full of adventure and sheer beauty, and is the perfect intro into 4WDing with the family as there is always a friendly car-full of people willing to offer a hand if you get bogged.
RAZORBACK ROAD TO SOFALA
Not for the faint-hearted (and probably best to lock the doors if your kids are prone to a side of ‘must open doors at the most dangerous part’), the Razor Back Road to Sofala is a tradition that I must share with all my friends from other countries, when they visit.
The name is exactly as the road is: razor sharp (and massive cliffs with nothing stopping your car from plummeting down it)! The unpaved road starts about 3 kms before my Pop’s farm (in Running Stream; just off the Castlereagh Highway) and goes for 25km. When we were younger, all the cousins would pester our parents to take us to the Turon River for a swim (just so we could go down the Razorback). We would all pile into the Land Rover, and then watch the car in front take the sharp turns and come very close to the cliffs. Oh, the squeals when another car came up the road were loud, as the road is only one lane wide!
Sofala is an idyllic, sleepy little town that sits around 46km from Bathurst, and is reportedly Australia’s eldest surviving gold-rush town. It is a beautiful town with a convenience store, a pub and a cafe. Sure, it might not have a lot of pull like most traditional rural towns, but it is a must see for the history, the river (which offers a great swim and slime fight) and the kindness of the town’s folk!
When I think back to the time that my family and our best friends ventured to Queensland when I was about 5/6, I look back at it with such joy. I remember the trip so fondly, thanks to the inescapable sand and plethora of surprises around ever sand dune.
Fraser Island is a heritage-listed island located to the souther coast of Queensland, and is the largest sand island in the world. It is a strictly four-wheel-driving island, and is home to many freshwater lakes and rainforest, ancient rainforest supported by sand dunes, silent streams, shipwrecks, crystal-clear lakes, pure white silica sand and Dingoes! It is a must-see at least once in your lifetime, and is especially brilliant for kids as there is soooo much to see and do.
If you visit, I would recommend checking out:
– Maheno wreck
– Take the day-long Lake McKenzie Circuit Walk
– Visit Lake Wabby and Lake Bowarrady
– See the coloured-sand formations
– Go whale-watching
– Visit Arch Cliffs, where Aboriginal men once played didgeridoos to migrating humpback whales and Moon Point
– Take a scenic flight over Happy Valley and Orchid Beach
Oh goodness, I could go on and on – there is honestly so much beauty on this island, you and the kids will never want to leave.
Do you have any 4WDing trips that you can share? Any ‘must-do’ roads in Australia?
Oh but now how do you make your 4WDing adventure one epic adventure? Well, Brooke from World of Wanderlust has some tips to make your next road trip epic!
This post was brought to you by Land Rover.