Top 5 4WD destinations near Mackay

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Here is our quick list:

  1. Eungella Dam
  2. Cathu State Forest
  3. Cape Palmerston National Park
  4. Captain’s Crossing, Mia Mia State Forest
  5. The Diggins, Crediton State Forest

Known for its scenic sugar-cane fields and booming mining industry, Mackay is the underrated part of Queensland’s east coast. It has literally everything a traveler could want—from rich wildlife (which includes wallabies on the beach) to beautiful secluded islands! Mackay deserves the love that is long overdue, especially by 4WD enthusiasts for whom it can be an absolutely adventure-packed destination.

We have picked some of the best spots to take your family and loved ones in a 4×4 while in Mackay.

 

  1. Eungella Dam

Distance from Mackay: 2-hour drive

Why this place?

Eungella Dam is 30 kilometers away from Eungella and you can get there via a dirt road—which is a great idea to drive a 4WD on. The dam itself is immensely scenic and full of activities to do. You can enjoy boating, jet skiing or swimming in the water. There’s plenty of fish in the dam, however you can not eat the fish because of the blue green algae. The water is actually stocked with “oversized” Sooty Grunters amongst other fishes. Everything about Eungella Dam makes it an incredible place for camping. All you need to do is get on your four-wheel drive and set off towards this destination.

Keep in mind:

It is advisable to bring your own drinking water since potable water is not available at the campsite. If you intend to have a campfire, bring along some firewood since it is illegal to chop wood at the dam. Also, there is a lot of wandering stock and cattle so beware while driving!

  1. Cathu State Forest

Distance from Mackay: 1 hour and 10-minute drive

 

Why this place?

Cathu State Forest is a quaint forest where you can find more than a hundred species of birds. So don’t forget to take along your binoculars! The view from the lookout is spectacular, offering a good view of the sea below. The camping grounds in this forest are equipped with picnic tables, toilets, and fireplaces. Just bring along some firewood and drinking water. 4WDs are recommended for accessing the camping area, so you know that this is going to be an adventurous journey!

Keep in mind:

Since this is a state-owned forest, check for when the forest is closed. The mobile phone coverage at the venue is pretty poor so, heads up! You might want to be really careful on your way to the lookout since it is pretty steep and has sharp turns. The path up to the lookout can also get quite slippery when it rains.

 

  1. Cape Palmerston National Park

Distance from Mackay: 1 hour and 15-minute drive

Why this place?

This national park is one of the only existing natural coastlines in the Mackay region. It is a great place for fishing and boating as well. In fact, from atop Cape Palmerston, you can even spot whales sometimes!

Since the park is only accessible by driving a 4×4, we think that this is the ultimate calling for anybody who owns one. With its minimal facilities and large tidal changes, this place is for adventure-junkies only. The abundance of middens throughout the park simply adds to the charm—reminding us of the special connection it shares with the indigenous people.

Keep in mind:

You need to display a camping tag with the booking number while at the campsite. There may be crocs in the area so watch out! Entering the water is risky, as dangerous marine stingers inhabit the area. While this place is ideal for an adventure, safety methods are paramount.

 

  1. Captain’s Crossing, Mia Mia State Forest

Distance from Mackay: 1 hour and 30-minute drive

Why this place?

Another 4WD access-only park that it would be a shame not to visit. The Captain’s Crossing campsite is right beside the picturesque Teemburra creek that homes various species of birds and fishes. What’s more? You can also spot platypuses in this area. The open eucalyptus forest in which the campgrounds are located is full of lush green leaves. Bush camping in allowed all over the State forest but you need to book a camp permit online beforehand. Horse riding is permissible here as well so giddy-up! Do be mindful about riding safely, however.

Keep in mind:

Roads are often closed here during the rains so check the weather forecast before making plans. Many travelers end up unknowingly trespassing a private property ahead of Captain’s Crossing. You’ve been warned! Since vandals have been known to remove road signs in the past, be mindful about where you are going.

 

  1. The Diggings, Crediton State Forest

Distance from Mackay: 2 hour and 15-minute drive

Why this place?

This welcoming and peaceful campsite is super popular amongst the 4WD community. Situated right next to the Broken River, this is a great place to spot some platypuses. For history enthusiasts, there’s another element of surprise—The Diggings, as the name suggests was a place for gold-mining in the 1800s! In fact, you can still spot some relics from the exploration in this historically rich area. The campgrounds are pet-friendly so feel free to bring your pooch along! There are provisions for toilets and fire rings, but you must bring your own firewood. The famous Mackay Highlands Great Walk passes right through the Crediton State Forest where the campsite is.

Keep in mind:

Don’t be tempted by the cuteness of platypuses because swimming is not allowed in the Broken River. While water can be used from the river, ensure that you boil or treat it before consumption. Bring along rubbish bins, stoves, and firewood! Only high-clearance 4WD vehicles are allowed at The Diggings, so be wise. Another thing to be mindful about is the need for extreme care on the tracks. Some sections in the tracks may be eroded or too steep.

Now that you have some kickass places on your to-visit list, it’s time to ensure you have the right wheels! Our wide range of high-quality 4WD vehicles can be found here. If you are still confused and need someone to talk to, we’re here to help.

Happy camping!

 

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