Four-wheel driving on a stunning sandy beach is a beautiful way to spend the day and for beginners, it’s much easier than you think.
No one knows more about 4WD trails than Total 4x4, with more than 30 years’ experience as one of Perth’s leading 4WD service and equipment suppliers. We asked Mitch one of the local experts, to recommend four beaches close to Perth and what you need to get sorted before we go.
While you probably won’t need it, if you’re just starting out, Mitch suggests it’s best to be prepared and make sure you have the necessary gear in case you get bogged. An essential tool is a snatch strap, which will allow another 4WD to pull you out of the bog. He also recommends an air compressor, a tyre gauge and recovery shackles. A traction aid, such as a MaxTrax, is useful if you are by yourself. Ideally, you should go with another 4WD and as an added comfort, you could go with a local 4WD club or with people who have experience.
Mitch also advised sticking to the higher parts of the beach, as it becomes riskier the closer you are to the shore. The best air pressure for beach driving will vary depending on your vehicle, and is generally between 20psi-16psi, but remember to pump your tyres back up again once you have left the sand! Happy driving.
Aerial shot over Tim's Thicket from @lowtidetouring
15km south of Mandurah and a bit over an hour’s drive from Perth, Tim’s Thicket is one of the closest 4WD beaches south of the city. It is a popular spot for fishing, snorkelling, and in the right conditions, surfing. People have been known to catch salmon here at the right time of year, so make sure you pack your fishing rod along with your surfboard (or boogie board!). It is a 2km stretch of coastline, marked by a limestone reef at its southern end.
If a low tide permits, you can drive past the reef and access another 4WD track to get back to your starting point via the Yalgorup National Park. However, do make sure you are aware of the tide times, as you do not want to be stranded on the wrong side of the reef.
Getting there - see here.
Once you have come to the end of Tim’s Thicket Road (accessible off Old Coast Road) you will see the pedestrian track leading to the beach, and the 4WD track to your right. This 4WD track will take you to the beach, where you’ll have to stop to let down your tyres.
Shot over Wilbinga Dunes by @dan_doing_what_dan_does
North of the city and just past Two Rocks is a 4WD playground featuring multiple off-road tracks with access to the coast. About an hour from Perth, it is the closest 4WD location north of the city. It is also a popular motorbiking spot, so do look out for the smaller vehicles around you.
Mitch advised us not to attempt this beach on our first four-wheel drive outing, as the tracks can be quite soft and hilly. However, once you have a few 4WD trips under your belt, head up the coast to experience the beautiful bush tracks and ocean views Wilbinga has to offer.
An important rule to take note of is that 4W driving in the City of Wanneroo is strictly banned, so make sure you stay north of Two Rocks and keep in the Wilbinga area. If you’re into fishing, don’t forget your rod, as this is also a great spot to throw out your line.
Head up Indian Ocean Drive and turn onto Wilbinga Road, in the direction of the coast. If you’re coming from the city, this is just past Military Road. A few kilometres down you will come across an area to let your tyres down before you adventure further.
Preston Beach by @levimarshalll
60km south of Mandurah is Preston Beach, a great weekend destination with multiple accommodation options for the whole family. There are a number of self-contained holiday homes and villas right near the beach, and a general store to keep you stocked up during your stay.
You can 4WD along the whole beach, heading north about 20km to White Hills Beach, and even as far as Tim’s Thicket if the tide allows it, or you can drive south and reach Myalup and Binningup Beach. As long as you keep your tyre pressure down, this beach is a good option for beginners.
Try to catch some Herring or Whiting while you enjoy the expansive and pristine coastline of the Peel region.
Off Forrest Highway you will see Preston Beach Road, which will take you to the townsite of Preston Beach. Mitchell Road will then take you town to the waterfront.
Image of Ledge Point Dunes by @travelling.buckinghams
A few kilometres south of Lancelin and one-and-a-half hours’ drive north of Perth is Ledge Point, the quieter alternative to Lancelin. You can 4WD south along the beach or explore the 4WD tracks (and sand dunes) of Lancelin to your north.
The sand around here can get quite soft, so make sure you lower your tyre pressure down to a suitable PSI. Mitch says if you’re going with another 4WD, you can go here as a beginner. However, do be careful around some of the heads of the beach where the land comes closer to the ocean, as it can get quite boggy and steep.
If you’ve enjoyed Lancelin before, this could be a great sea-change, giving you the chance to explore new coastline and fish in a quieter location. For an overnight stay you have the choice of a Big 4 caravan park, as well as beachfront villas and houses suitable for families.
Head up Indian Ocean Drive until you reach Ledge Point Road, which will take you into the town centre. Smaller roads will lead you down to the beach.
4WD & Off-Roading