Bordered by 40kms of pristine, white-sand coastline, Hervey Bay is a favourite destination among 4WD enthusiasts. Located an easy, 3½ hour drive north of Brisbane, this laid-back, sub-tropical town with plenty to do, makes for a perfect weekend adventure.
If you’re looking for your next off-roading destination, here’s everything you need to know about your 4WD trip to Hervey Bay. We’ve also included a trip plan with the top 4WDing tracks within the area so all you need to do is hire a 4WD and hit the road.
Hervey Bay is a small and unpretentious town located just under 300kms north of Brisbane. It’s a popular, all-year-round tourist destination for all kinds of travellers from beach loving backpackers to families, retirees and of course, 4WDers.
Here you’ll find miles of sheltered, picture-perfect white sand beaches. The World Heritage-listed Fraser Island sits just off the coast to the east, making the water perfect for swimming, sailing, water sports and fishing.
While you could easily spend at least a week exploring 4WD tracks and relaxing on Hervey Beach, a long-weekend is enough time to make for a worthwhile getaway.
As a popular tourist hotspot, you’ll find yourself with plenty of eating and sleeping options at Hervey Bay. Camp on a drive thru beachfront site at the Scarness Caravan Park, self-cater in a holiday apartment or enjoy a bit of luxury in one of many upscale resorts.
Along the Esplanade, you’ll find a wide range of great restaurants and cafes to suit all budgets. The town has built a reputation for being a gourmet delight. If you want to check out the options before you go, head over to Discover Hervey Bay’s Food Guide.
If you want to self-cater, you’ll find a Coles and Woolworths just a few blocks back from the main drag. Petrol stations are also quite frequent but we’d still recommend fuelling up before heading out for a day one the tracks.
These 4WDing tracks can all be completed as half or daylong trips from Hervey Bay. However, if you’d prefer to spend more time at each location, turn this list into a circuit starting and finishing at Hervey Bay.
Track distance: Various
Drive 20 minutes west of Hervey Bay to reach Vernon State Forest. Here you’ll find an unsealed road commonly known as the chicken track that leads up to the Telecom Tower. The track is steep in sections. After rain, the road can be very muddy but during the dryer months, the sandy ground turns powdery making access more difficult.
There are number of unmarked tracks to explore at the top of the hill. Most of them are one-way so once you are back on the main track, keep heading back to Hervey Bay down the hill.
Take care as the track becomes a bit more difficult behind the sand mines and through the Melaleuca swamp. Allow at least 3-6 hours for the trip.
Track distance: Various
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Approximately an hour’s drive west of Hervey Bay will take you to the Burrum Coast National Park. The Woodgate and Kinkuna sections are popular 4WD only destinations with plenty of gravel and sand to navigate. Bad weathers or overflowing swamp waters may cause closure of some 4wd tracks. If in doubt, check with the national park service before heading out.
Here you’ll be able to explore hectares of undisturbed coastal plains, drive through tidal wetlands, native forest and up rocky escarpments. Beach driving is permitted at Kinkuna and from Woodgate Beach to Burrum Point. You’ll also find fuel and other limited supplies at Woodgate Beach although we’d still recommend stocking up in Hervey Bay for more choice before heading out.
For a break from driving, do not miss the popular Banksia boardwalk and walking track. It is just over 5kms return and takes most people about 2 hours. You’ll also find great, remote swimming and fishing parks within the park.
Camping is available within the park or head back to your Hervey Bay accommodation.
Track distance: Approximately 80kms total
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
An hour southwest of Hervey Bay, you’ll find Wongi State Forest. This park is full of treasures for 4WD enthusiasts with numerous tracks suitable for a range of different experience levels.
Maps of the area are often incomplete and out-of-date so we’d recommend talking to a ranger to help plan your trip. A GPS is also a good idea to help navigate around the park.
4WDing tracks weave through a string of waterholes and around Lenthalls Dam (the water supply for Hervey Bay). The park is truly stunning with plenty of great swimming spots, fishing opportunities and pine plantations.
Camping is permitted at the waterholes (permit required). There’s also toilets, picnic tables, cold showers and tank water. You will need to stock up on fuel and other supplies before heading into the park though.
Track distance: Approximately 140kms
Difficulty: Easy to moderate after wet weather
1½ hours west of Hervey Bay or Burrum Coast National Park takes you to another great 4WD destination, Goodnight Scrub National Park. Although the roads here are suitable for a conventional car during dry weather, an off-road vehicle is highly recommended. Here is the link to the official website.
If you enjoy hill climbs and water crossings, this park would be lots of fun. You’ll also find great views, some swimming spots and a fun, unlined and unsupported old, rock tunnel that you can drive through.
Camping with in the park isn’t permitted. Make your way back to Hervey Bay or camp south of the park in Paradise Dam Recreation Area.
Be sure to stock up on fuel and supplies in the nearby town of Gin Gin since there are no facilities and conveniences in the park.
Hervey Bay is the whale watching capital of Australia. If you’re there between July and November, park up the 4WD and head out for a whale-watching cruise.
There’s no shortage of other water activities to do too. Apart from endless lounging on the beach and swimming, you can also kayak, Jet Ski or try your luck on a fishing charter. There’s even a small but fun WetSide Water Park that offers free entry.
To give your driving skills a high-octane challenge, head to the Hervey Bay Go Kart Track. The track is nice and wide so you’ve got plenty of space to hit high speeds. There’s even a water slide to cool off between races.
However, if you’re looking for an extreme experience to top off your 4WDing holiday, try skydiving. Hervey Bay is an incredible place to tick this bucket list item. The view is incredible!
If you’ve got a few more days, Fraser Island makes for the ultimate Hervey Bay 4WD trip extension! Check out our guide here and complete your trip with some sand driving. There’s over 75 miles of white sand beaches to explore as well as rainforests and inland 4WD tracks.
By taking the barge across to the island from Hervey Bay, you can create the perfect add-on loop home to Brisbane. Explore the island from north to south and head back to the mainland via the barge at Inskip Point.
From there, take the famous 4WD only Great Beach Drive down the coast towards the city. Spend a couple of nights at the relaxed Rainbow Beach and check out the great 4WD tracks in the Great Sandy National Park.
Before you head up to Hervey Bay on your next 4WD adventure, hire a vehicle in Brisbane from FleetCrew. Simply pack up the 4wd at home before heading north.
We’ve a great range of off-roading 4WD vehicles to choose from. All our vehicles include unlimited kilometres, comprehensive insurance and 24-hour RACQ breakdown servicing as standard.
If you’ve got any other questions or would like a quote, contact us today. We will help get you off-road at Hervey Bay.