If you are ever in the Newcastle region and fancy an amazing day or few days out, the Stockton Sand Dunes are one of the best places to do it.
Known as the beach playground of the East Coast, we are lucky enough to live near it, and have ventured out a few times, most recently with our new truck, the Iveco Daily 4×4.
In this article I’ll tell you about the Dunes, how to access them, what’s out there to do and show you the video we recently created from our fun day on the dunes with other 4×4 trucks!
Created thousands of years ago, these are the largest moving coastal dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. The Stockton Bight Sand Dunes, in the Worrimi Conservation Lands, cover 4,200 hectares, 1,800 of which are forest, as well as 32kms of the longest moving sand dunes in the southern hemisphere. These truly awe-inspiring dunes reach heights of over 30 metres with slopes of up to 60 degrees.
In the past, access to the Dunes was open slather for everyone and you were able to do anything out there, and drive wherever you pleased. Over time, it was found that this was degrading the dunes and assisting the migration of sand inland, by the destruction of plant life.
The solution was to make part of the dunes a proper conservation area, with driving on this area forbidden, and to make a designated 4WD area. A lot of people were disappointed with this change, however I like it as it lets you both have fun driving in an area, and see what the dunes are like naturally in a different area. As a photographer it lets me capture the wind blown patterns, as the conservation area needs to be hiked into and people rarely bother.
But don’t worry, as you will see in our video there is still plenty of dune area to drive on, and the beach is driveable all the way to Anna Bay at the northern end.
Access – There are 2 main access points,
– via Lavis Lane at Williamtown
– via Gan Gan Road at Anna Bay
Lavis Lane is by far the easier way to access the dune driving area, and has a convenient service station and Mcdonalds at the turn off from Nelson Bay road. The Service station sells permits needed to drive on the dunes. (3 day or annual available, check prices here.)
The service station has vehicle wash bays and air stations to make your return from the beach convenient, in fact, even the Mcdonalds here has air up bays! A very smart business decision in my opinion.
Once you head down Lavis Lane, it’s a few minutes drive to the main parking area before the dune access. This is a great place to air down your tyres and have a chat with fellow dune drivers.
We aired down to 20PSI on our tyres, and had no troubles getting onto the dunes, however we had some trouble with the really soft sand and climbing dunes at this PSI, so dropped our tyres further to 15 PSI. Every vehicle is different though!
Driving on the dunes is heaps of fun, but be sure to keep your eyes open for other users, including fishermen along the shore, other 4WD’s enjoying the attraction and Quad bikes and dirt bikes, which zip along on their own and on guided tours.
We stopped for lunch at the site of the Sigma wreck, now gone beneath the waves. It’s a nice flat place to stop with a great view of the ocean.
Here are some photo’s from the conservation area of the dunes that we have taken on previous visits.
While you are up here, don’t miss checking out Tin City, a small collection of beach shacks that have grown here and been given permission to stay (but not expand). Some really unique characters live here off the grid!
When it’s time to leave the dunes, follow the signs and take it easy, the dune access area is very chopped up and constantly changing and shifting, and it can be the most difficult driving of the day, especially when it gets busy later in the afternoon with everyone else also leaving.