Driven by a passion for the region, Alyssah is a Rockhampton local who works as a marketing and communications officer, sharing her storytelling skills to enhance the profile of our exciting destination. When not writing about the wonderful discoveries you will find when you Visit Capricorn, you will find Alyssah out and about exploring every opportunity to experience the best our region has to offer.
If you are lucky enough to own a 4WD, it’s time to pack the snatch straps, warm up your engines and get ready for endless memories of exciting off-road adventures.
Our destination is packed full of secret places, unspoiled hideaways and the very best camping and fishing spots. Your real journey begins the moment the sealed road runs out so get your rig off the bitumen, pick up some dirt and sand on your wheels and discover the best spots on offer when you #visitcapricorn.
How about adding a little adventure into your upcoming road-trip! There is an abundance of off-road ventures to choose from, so we have compiled four (plus a bonus track!) of our favourite roads less travelled within easy reach – perfect for throwing some dust up on your next holiday.
Blackdown Tablelands National Park
Surrounded by waterfalls and huge rock formations, the easy 10-30km track at Blackdown Tablelands National Park takes you on a loop through fantastic scenery. The entrance to the track is 10kms west of Dingo on the Capricorn Highway, 183 kilometres west of Rockhampton. Driving through sand, sharp rocks, mud, steep ascents/descents and clay, you will see lots of wildlife including goannas!
Find your perfect camping spot along the Nogoa River after taking the trip on the unsealed roads to Salvator Rosa in Carnarvon Gorge National Park. Delve into a stunning landscape of towering cliffs, colourful gorges, endless views and sites steeped in historic and cultural connections. Approximately 168 kilometres west of Springsure in Central Highlands, the route to Nagoa River Camping Area can be unexpectedly slow due to predominantly unsealed roads. Note that roads become impassable in wet weather.
Sandy point is a pristine stretch of beach stretching 17km north of Yeppoon on the Capricorn Coast. At Bangalee, there is 4WD access onto Farnborough Beach where you begin your cruisy drive along the sand, checking out the spectacular coastline and stopping to dip your toes along the way. Beach driving on Farnborough Beach does not require a permit, however, always remember that road rules apply and that these areas are often patrolled by police. Also, keep your eye out for children playing near the water and on the sand.
Big Sandy to Five Rocks
This is one sand dune that must always be treated with respect. The 1km long uphill run in your 4WD leaves no room for error and if you have the wrong tyre pressure, you will need to reverse back down and start again. This is the only (potentially fun!) obstacle before hitting Nine Mile Beach – which is exactly that – nine miles of unbelievable beach driving. Take the tracks off Nine Mile to Northern Corio, Five Rocks and Stockyard Point. Allow one hour from Water Park Creek in Byfield State Forest to reach Five Rocks and Nine Mile beaches or Byfield Conservation Park in good weather.
With tracks ranging from 10-30km, wind your fourby through the rocks, mud and steep ascents behind the No.7 Dam at Mount Morgan, just 38 kilometres south of Rockhampton. This track varies in difficulty and can be quite steep in places and covered with loose rocks. Many of the tracks offer an up-close view of the historic mine that was dug-out in the early 1900s. Keep your eyes peeled for loads of secluded fishing spots along the way.
Before you set out on your 4WD adventure, it’s important that you and your car are prepared.
Below are 8 ‘need-to-knows’ for four-wheel-drive beginners:
Know your car’s capabilities and limitations – don’t try and bite off more than you can chew and always tell others your travel plans.
Be prepared – always check the weather and carry rescue equipment such as a winch and/or snatch strap. Shovels, recovery tracks and a little elbow grease will also help you out of sandy spots.
Research the track – read up on the difficulty rating of the track to ensure you aren’t tackling a trail that is more advanced than your skill level or that your 4WD can handle.
When travelling on sand, endeavour to follow in the tyre tracks of the vehicle in front as they have already compressed the sand to form a firmer surface that untravelled ground. Conserving momentum is the fundamental principal of sand driving.
Be aware of water – it’s important where possible to walk through water before driving through it to check its depth, and to observe how fast it is flowing.
Thumbs out! – When travelling off road, hold the steering wheel with your thumbs out – not like a baseball bat. If your 4×4 hits a rut, rock, or other obstacle, your wheel may spin too fast for you to react.
Don’t go it alone – travelling in groups of at least two or more 4WDs will ensure you can give each other a helping hand if you run into any trouble along the way.
Be a safe driver – practice common courtesy, give way to bikers, hikers and horse riders. Be especially careful around animals and their habitats.