The 15 Best 4WD Tracks Near Brisbane | Easy to Expert Trails in South East QLD

The Sunshine State is home to a range of beautiful and natural bucket list locations and landmarks. There are many ways to see them, but four-wheel driving is one of the most thrilling options to explore these locations. 

The best 4WD tracks near Brisbane are lined with diverse and unique flora and fauna and promise beautiful scenery in remote forests and beach lookouts. From National Parks (like Bellthorpe, Sundown, and Great Sandy) to islands and beaches (like Fraser, Moreton, and North Stradbroke), you’re spoiled for choice!

From 4WD day trips to brilliant 4WD camping spots, Queensland has something to offer every off-road enthusiast. So let’s escape the city in our 4×4 and discover the best 4WD tracks near Brisbane. 

What Are The Best 4WD Tracks Near Brisbane? 

You don’t have to travel far from town to find great 4WD tracks around Brisbane and in the QLD region. There are several national parks, rainforests, and tracks perfect for four-wheel driving at different difficulty levels. Best of all, these are all located within a few hours’ drive of Brisbane, meaning they’re perfect for a day trip or weekend getaway. 

From the Sunshine Coast to the Scenic Rim, you can find all the adventure you need within driving distance from the big city. 

If you want to get out of the big smoke for a thrill-seeking drive, here are the seven best 4WD tracks within a few hours of Brisbane. 

The Rainforest Way 

Distance from Brisbane: 65km

Track Distance:  4km

Difficulty:  Easy to Moderate

Recommended Time: 1 day/night 

The Rainforest Way in Lennox Head, New South Wales, just southeast of Queensland, has natural, cultural, and historical attractions.

You’ll be immersing yourself in the World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia – Shield Volcano Group, as well as 12 National Parks including Mt Barney National Park. The Rainforest Way website will even help you with self-drive touring guides and maps to help you tick off your bucket list destinations along the Rainforest Way.

Feast your eyes in stunning peek-a-boo vistas, high waterfalls, steep gorges, and awe-inspiring cliffs. Aside from off-roading, you can even book camping or extreme nature and adventure-based experiences through the visitor information centres.

Mount Mee – D’Aguilar National Park

Distance from Brisbane: 70km

Track Distance: 16km

Difficulty:  Easy to Hard depending on track

Recommended Time: 1 day

You can grab your 4WD and take a scenic drive about 70 km away from Brisbane. You’ll find the D’Aguilar National Park offering a 16 km touring route for your off-road adventure. This route will take you on dips, climbs, and turns. 

When you feel like taking a break, the native and plantation forests will offer you a haven in the cool waters of Rocky Hole, Neurum Creek camping area, Archer camping area, or the Falls lookout. This track will give you sensational views of the D’Aguilar Range and the Bulls Falls.

Just south of D’Aguilar National Park is the Mount Mee Forest Reserve, which has relatively fewer visitors and a lower level of off-road driving required. In fact, some people practice their four-wheel driving here because of the steadier inclines and less brutal rocky terrain.

Bellthorpe National Park 

Distance from Brisbane: 85km

Track Distance: Tracks range from 6km-20km

Difficulty: Challenging

An hour and a half drive from Brisbane is the Bellthorpe National Park, which boasts fantastic 4WD tracks. They’re challenging but well worth it. There are creeks, rock pools, open eucalypt forest, rainforest, and cascades.

If you want to camp in Bellthorpe National Park, you’ll have to change your plans as camping is prohibited. You can go to Stony CreekOpens in a new tab. for a day picnic instead, or you can opt for coastal or forest camping in nearby parks like the D’Aguilar National Park, Imbil State Forest, Beerburrum State Forest, Conondale National Park, and the Bribie Island National Park and Recreation Area.

Note that because of the challenging terrain, 4WDing is only allowed in dry weather at Bellthorpe National Park. 

Moreton Island 

Distance from Brisbane: 40km

Track Distance: 38km

Difficulty: Varies 

Recommended Time: 3 to 4 days 

Between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast sits Moreton Island or Mulgumpin. It is reachable by private boat. But there are also ferries and barges that run daily.

Moreton Island is the third-largest sand island in the world, only next to Fraser Island and North Stradbroke. It is quite remote and peaceful. Some of the landmarks you’ll see are Mount Tempest, Cape Moreton Lighthouse, and Northpoint.

You have 420 km of sandy tracks to play with. But once that has tired you out, you can walk or camp and relax in the grassy, shaded areas. This will lead you to discover other sights, such as the Blue Lagoon, Honeymoon Bay, Comboyuro Point, Yellow Patch, Champagne Pools, and some World War II relics in the old Rous Battery service road. Give it a good three to four days when exploring Moreton Island.

It is recommended to use 4WD vehicles with high clearance and low range functions. Make sure to have your sand recovery gear on hand as well.

Keyhole Track 

Distance from Brisbane: 90km

Track Distance: 23km

Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging 

Recommended Time: 1 day 

The famous Keyholes Track is located within North Stradbroke Island and offers beautiful scenery as you travel along the track. When you venture behind the sand dunes on the island, you will come across the Fishermans Road track. There are two entry points for this track via the north or south ends. 

As you travel along this adventurous 4WD track you will pass lagoons, lakes, marshland and more. It is recommended you only tackle this track if your off road vehicle has a high clearance or a 4WD snorkel, as there are a number of steep drop-offs. 

When you’re ready to cool down from a day of treacherous driving, you can enjoy a swim or kayak in the lake or a lakeside picnic. 

Janowen Hills 4WD Park – Goomburra

Distance from Brisbane: 160km

Track Distance: Varies 

Difficulty: Varies from easy to hard 

Recommended Time: Up to 1 week

Southwest of Brisbane is Janowen Hills 4WD Park in Goomburra Valley, QLD. It’s part of the Scenic Rim region which is fantastic for camping and outdoor enthusiasts. 

This track has roughly 80 tracks created by husband and wife in 2004, giving a playground to off-road driving enthusiasts, beginners, and experts alike. The terrain is 1,000 acres of gullies and hills with easy, medium, difficult, and extreme tracks.

Now, the owners implement a buddy system for 4WDing. That means you have to be accompanied by at least one other vehicle to help you with 4WD recovery in case of a tough spot. 

Apart from off-road driving, the park also offers 2WDriving, caravanning and camping opportunities to visitors. If you didn’t bring your picnic basket, no worries! The owners have got you covered as there are basic grocery items, camping gear, and takeaway food available on-site. (They can even cater for your group!) Also, they welcome dogs, so if you’re travelling with pets, that’s no problem here.

Sundown National Park – Ballandean

Distance from Brisbane: 300km

Track Distance: 20km

Difficulty: Hard – Rough and rocky terrain. 

Recommended Time: 1 day/night 

Southeast of Brisbane is the Sundown National Park, the east side being accessible only to 4WD. 

This Ballandean 4WD playground is consistently rocky with steep ups and downs. Despite the remoteness and challenges, this track is worth the spectacular views. There is the Red Rock Gorge, Severn River, Rats Castle, Reedy Waterhole, and Burrows Waterhole, just to name a few.

Rats Castle is known to be taken by serious 4WD drivers only since the terrain is unforgiving. If warning signs, large wombat holes, and loose rocks don’t put you off, then this is the thrill-seeking ride you’re looking for.

This remote natural haven is underdeveloped but has basic unpowered camping areas. Lessen the difficulty of going here by visiting in the winter months when you can avoid heat and humidity at their peak.

14 Rivers Run – Condamine

Distance from Brisbane: 140km

Track Distance: 85km

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard 

Recommended Time: Overnight 

One of the most loved 4WD trails in Southeast QLD is the 14 Rivers Run. The Condamine Gorge in Queensland is where this muddy and bouncy track resides. This track got its name from the Condamine River zigzagging 14 times.

Though this track is recommended for beginners, passage in the wet season is impossible as the river level rises, so make sure to plan your visit. Another word of caution: if you can’t see the bottom of the river, don’t accelerate through it as it may cause damage to the underside of your car. Make sure you pack your 4wd recovery gear as well when you go here.

Passage through the 14 Rivers Run will take you to Queen Mary Falls and Carr’s Lookout, just to name a few natural landmarks. You can even wade through the Condamine River itself or have a picnic in designated camping sites.

Lennox Head Beach

Distance from Brisbane: 190km

Track Distance: 2 to 10km 

Difficulty: Easy 

Recommended Time: 1 day 

Lennox Head Beach is a great destination to practise your sand driving skills and enjoy a fun day out. You will need to pick up a permit from the parking dispensing before you venture down onto the beach. Like any time you’re beach 4WDing, be sure to adjust your tires and check the tides to avoid any sticky situations. 

Lennox Head makes a great day trip for family and friends. Once you have had your fun driving along the beach, enjoy a swim or surf. This beach is actually a declared National Surfing Reserve, home to some of Australia’s most famous waves. Consider staying nearby for the full beach camping experience

Fraser Island (K’gari)

Distance from Brisbane: 350km

Track Distance: Various tracks 

Difficulty: Varies 

Recommended Time: 1 week 

Fraser Island (K’gari) is a World Heritage natural and cultural site famous for being the only place on Earth where rainforests grow on sand dunes. It’s the world’s largest sand island, and it has clear blue waters and coloured sands. This is a top destination for both locals and tourists alike.

Some sights you’ll see on the island are the 75 Mile Beach, McKenzie Lake, Eurong, the Maheno Shipwreck, and Eli Creek, just to give you a teaser.

Fraser Island is great for coastal off road driving. No matter how tempting it is to drive anywhere, though, make sure you stick to the tracks so that we can protect the ecosystem in the sand dunes. Try to avoid night driving as well since some species on the island are nocturnal.

Just like our warning for 14 Rivers Run, make sure you check the water level or the tides and bring your recovery kit. Drop your tyre pressure as well. This will be a bumpy ride.

The island is only accessible via 4×4, and if you’re just learning the basics of four-wheel driving, you can learn from the Australian Offroad Academy. Apart from four-wheel driving, there are many other activities on the island, such as swimming, fishing, and whale watching.

If you’re planning to visit Fraser Island, check out our Fraser Island camping guide to choose the right campgrounds for you. 

Great Sandy National Park

Distance from Brisbane: 160km

Track Distance: 30km one way 

Difficulty: Challenging 

Recommended Time: 1 day 

The Great Sandy National Park is part of the Great Beach Drive, connecting the Sunshine Coast, Gympie region, and Fraser Island. This track offers picturesque natural sand sculptures, with massive dunes and coloured sand towers.

The Cooloola Way 4WD track in the Great Sandy National Park is a challenging scenic drive with tall pine plantations, scribbly gum woodlands, low heathlands, and sandmass. A high-clearance 4WD is recommended.

Once you’re out of your car, unwind with beach camping at Inskip Point or Rainbow Beach for amazing views and sunsets. Other activities in the area include fishing, walking and hiking, trailer and caravan camping, boating and sailing, canoeing and kayaking, and birdwatching.

North Stradbroke Island 

Distance from Brisbane: 90km

Track Distance: Various tracks 

Difficulty: Varies 

Recommended Time: 1 to 2 days 

North Stradbroke Island is a three-hour drive from the Sunshine Coast with a 45-minute ferry ride from Cleveland to Dunwich.

Once you’re on the island, North Stradbroke offers you sand and bush tracks as a 4WD playground. Sights include the 18-Mile Swamp, Blue Lake, Brown Lake, The Keyholes, Amity Point, Point Lookout, and beach camping grounds, such as Adam’s Beach, Bradbury’s Beach, and Flinders Beach.

Aside from four-wheel driving and camping, you can go surfing, stand up paddleboarding, diving and snorkelling, fishing, cycling, and whale watching. Amenities include grocery stores, bars, resorts, bed & breakfast venues. There are even events on the island, like the Quandamooka Festival, Straddie Oyster Festival, and Straddie Assault (surfing competition). You can even bring your dogs to the party (but only a maximum of two furry friends).

Make sure to reduce tyre pressure when you’re on the island. Other tips are to engage the four-wheel-drive setting and the locking mechanisms in your wheel rubs. Enjoy the drive but watch out for soft sand, washouts, and exposed rocks. Make sure you have your recovery kit.

Cooloola Coast 

Distance from Brisbane: 150km

Track Distance: 16km

Difficulty: Challenging 

The Cooloola Coast is on the northern side of the Sunshine Coast. It is south of Fraser Island, and it is where the Great Sandy National Park sits.

You know you have great views here as it is part of a Ramsar Wetland of International Significance and the Great Sandy Marine Park. It is also located within the UNESCO Great Sandy Biosphere Reserve. It has natural and cultural significance and is home to endangered, threatened, and vulnerable wildlife. 

Your drive will be accompanied by the views of the Pacific Ocean in the east. You will also access Double Island Point, Wolf Rock, Teewah Beach and its coloured sands, and the Cherry Venture.

Nightcap National Park

Distance from Brisbane: 220km 

Track Distance: 10-30km

Difficulty: Easy 

The beautiful Nightcap National Park is the perfect scenic 4WD track for beginners. This park is a World Heritage listed rainforest and is great for a day trip or overnight stay. With easy driving tracks that include small river crossings, you can easily make your way to the great look outs for an amazing view of the waterfalls. 

Be aware that the park may close during times of heavy rainfall and flooding for safety reasons. So check the website and weather before your adventure.

If you want to turn your adventure into an overnight stay, check out the Rummery Park campgrounds for a well equipped, family friendly spot. 

10 Mile Beach 

Distance from Brisbane: 270km 

Track Distance: 28km

Difficulty: Easy

The stunning 10 Mile Beach has 4WD access to allow you to enjoy the thrills of sand driving. This is a great spot for a day out with friends as family with so much to do along the beach. After you’ve enjoyed a long drive on the white sand, you can jump out for some fishing, swimming or surfing. 

If you want to experience night camping on the beach, Black Rock Camp is the way to go. Filled with shady bush camping sites. You can easily walk to the sands of 10 Mile Beach from your campsite. Enjoy all the activities from bird watching, canoeing or kayaking. You don’t want to miss out on seeing this beautiful location. 

Lamington National Park 

Distance from Brisbane: 69km

Track Distance: 15km

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate 

Lamington National Park is home to Duck Creek Road, a favourite 4WD track for offroaders close to Brisbane. This track is perfect for a day trip from Brisbane or a great Scenic Rim camping spot. Enjoy your time driving on the unsealed 4×4 track on Duck Creek Road, which is a relatively well maintained and gentle driving track. 

From there enjoy exploring more tracks through Lamington National Park. If you want to stretch your legs there are even some beautiful walking tracks. 

Turn your adventure into an overnighter by spending the night camping at O’Reilly’s Campground. This campground has recently had a makeover and now boasts some great amenities including safari tents, ensuite pods, communal kitchen and even a meeting room. 

At the time of writing, this area is closed due to damage from recent flooding. Keep an eye out for this track to reopen as you don’t want to miss out on this experience. 

Easy 4WD Tracks Near Brisbane For Beginners 

Two of our recommended 4WD tracks for beginners are Janowen Hills 4WD Park in Goomburra and 14 Rivers Run in Condamine.

Janowen Hills 4WD Park is a controlled space, and there are tracks specially made for beginners. Because it’s a park, there are other 4WD enthusiasts and pros out there that you can talk to. You’ll also be exposing yourself to tracks with medium, hard, and extreme difficulties without having to take them on yourself. It’s a good opportunity to scout what’s out there.

14 Rivers Run is also great for beginners because of its predictable zig-zag tracks. It’s more fun as well since the track is not controlled but au naturel. We recommend having a buddy, though, just in case you get stuck in the middle of this track.

 Best Camping 4WD Spots Near Brisbane 

Of course, the best camping spot depends on your mood and taste—are you a beach camping enthusiast? Do you like remote locations? Do you like waking up to a sea of clouds? But two of our best recommendations for 4WD camping spots near Brisbane are North Stradbroke Island and D’Aguilar National Park.

Straddie camping is beautiful all year-round. The turquoise water and the unobstructed sky views are amazing. There are designated campgrounds—including the foreshore. Fishing is allowed, so you get to have a fresh catch with a fresh view. Minjerribah and Cylinder Beach Camping Grounds are our top two spots on Stradbroke Island. 

Remember that camping on the beach is illegal outside designated campgrounds in Queensland, so always follow local regulations and get the right permits ahead of time. 

D’Aguilar National Park is always on the top of the list when it comes to 4WD adventures. You can opt to stay inside your 4WD for vehicle camping or opt for a bush camping facility. If you love the great outdoors, this one’s for you. You’ll be one with the trees, and you’ll get to interact with the wildlife. There might be hiking and orienteering involved, so if you’re into that, we recommend the D’Aguilar National Park. Our top campsites are Archers Camp Ground and Neurum Creek camping area.

Related Questions

What Beaches Can You Drive on in Queensland? 

You have options such as the North Stradbroke Island, Cooloola Recreation Area Track, Moreton Island, Bribie Island, and the 75 Mile Beach on Fraser Island just to name a few beaches you can drive on in Queensland. 

In addition to knowing these locations, it’s also important to know what kind of sand you can drive on and what red flags you should be aware of when driving a 4WD. 

Some of our tips when driving on beaches are to lower tyre pressure, use lower gears and engage your 4WD locking hubs. Make sure you always have your recovery kit and a phone handy just in case you need to dial 000 in an emergency.

When Is The Best Time To Off-road In Queensland? 

The best time to off-road in Queensland is during the dry season. Avoid wet weather as much as possible, especially if you want to cross rivers and sandy dunes. So, check the weather forecast before you drive.

Where is the Best Place to 4WD in Queensland?

There are many great places for 4WDing in Queensland, but our top choice is North Stradbroke Island. You have exciting sand and bush tracks as well as an amazing view with turquoise waters and beautiful sky views. Information about island activities and amenities is also very accessible.You’ll also find fantastic 4WD campgrounds and plenty of local trails to explore. 

How do I get a 4WD Permit in Queensland? 

If you are keen to explore all of Queensland’s best 4×4 tracks, you will need to invest in a 4WD permit. A vehicle permit is required to enter a number of national parks and driving tracks across Queensland. This includes Bribie ISland, Fraser Island, Moreton Island, North Stradbroke Island, and Cooloola. You can access a 4WD permit by booking online here, booking over the counter or using a self serve kiosk. Alternatively, call 13 QGOV to make a vehicle permit booking.

James Mitchell

Hi, I’m Jimmy Mitchell and I love exploring this great country with my wife and two boys. I have a 2015 Sterling LX that is the Mitchell Family camping machine. Lets Getaway is the website where I share things about my trailer as I learn them, and help other camper owners to enjoy their RV even more.

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