Where can I drive?
- 19km of four-wheel driving along Stockton beach in the Worimi Conservation Lands;
- 350 hectares of dune driving in the Recreational Vehicle Area, south of Lavis Lane 4WD entry.
Enter the park via the Lavis Lane 4WD track at Williamtown, or the Gan Gan 4WD track at Anna Bay.
- Drive only on the waterfront at Stockton Beach in the Worimi Conservation Lands. There’s 19km of beach driving for you to enjoy between the Lavis Lane 4WD entry (Williamtown) and Gan Gan 4WD entry (Anna Bay).
- Do not follow tracks off the beach or over the frontal dune. Keep your vehicle on the waterfront at all times.
Where can I drive on the dunes?
For dune driving adventures head to the Recreational Vehicle Area, just south of the Lavis Lane 4WD entry at Williamtown. There’s over 350 hectares of dunes for you to test out your vehicle and your driving skills.
Remember: NSW road rules also apply when you are out here. This includes wearing seat belts and following the maximum speed limit of 40km/hr (20km/hr when passing vehicles or pedestrians. You need a WCL Beach Vehicle Permit and your vehicle must be registered.
Why can’t I drive or park on the frontal dune, grass or vegetation?
The frontal dune is an important barrier that protects Worimi cultural sites and the park from flooding during storms. In a healthy coastal environment, this dune would run for the entire length of the beach, but at WCL it is very fragmented due to damage from vehicles. Vehicle traffic on the dune, grass or vegetation causes severe erosion to the dune, eventually flattening it.
This results in sea water inundating areas which would normally be buffered by the dune, causing damage to cultural sites that are present in swale area and severe erosion. This potentially results in the WCL being temporarily closed to protect the cultural and natural values of the park, and for visitor safety (as was the case following storms in 2012 & 2015).
A lot of work has been done to repair and rehabilitate this frontal dune. Keeping vehicles off the dune gives it the best possible chance to rebuild and rehabilitate.
Why are vehicles only allowed on Stockton Beach waterfront or in the recreational vehicle area?
The dune areas where driving is not permitted contain a large number and diversity of Aboriginal cultural sites. The shape, slope and stability of the dunes vary with the weather and are constantly changing, sometime on a daily basis. This unpredictability, the potential for damage to cultural sites, visitor safety issues, and impacts to species that inhabit the dunes are all important reasons why dune driving is limited to the RVA.
Vehicles previously driving over the frontal dune to reach the high dunes in the northern section of the park, has eroded and completely destroyed the frontal dune in some places. The frontal dune is an important natural barrier to protect the park from flooding and damage to cultural sites, during major storms. The demise of this dune resulted in significant flooding damage to Worimi cultural sites, and the park being closed following storms in 2012 and 2015.
Since this time, staff have been repairing and rehabilitating the dune across the entire length of the park.
The dune driving area provided at the southern end of the park (Recreational Vehicle Area), is located in an area where impacts on Worimi Cultural Sites and the frontal dune, are minimal.
Why can’t I drive or park on the beach, left of the Gan Gan 4WD track at Birubi?
Vehicles have recently been excluded from driving and parking on the beach at Birubi, to improve public safety in this area.
This small stretch of beach attracts large numbers of pedestrians including dog walkers, families with small children and commercial operators. It also adjoins the designated surf lifesaving patrolled swimming area, and allowing vehicles into this area is a significant public safety risk.
People have over 19km of waterfront driving south of the Gan Gan 4WD entry to the Lavis Lane 4WD entry, along with over 350 hectares of dune driving in the Recreational Vehicle Area, south of Lavis Lane.
But I’ve always driven and parked there. Why the change now?
These improvements to public safety are being carried out in accordance with the Worimi Conservation Lands Plan of Management, which is currently being implemented.
The plan identified that high numbers of vehicles and pedestrians in this small (600m) area is a significant public safety risk, and that for improved safety, vehicles would be excluded from this area.
The WCL Board of Management consulted widely and worked with interested peoples to develop a management plan that provides a balance between user groups.
Why can’t I drive on the waterfront south of the Lavis Lane 4WD entry?
Vehicles are not permitted on the beach front south of the Lavis Lane 4WD entry for 3 very good reasons.
1. Looking after threatened birds.
Migratory shorebirds from the nearby internationally significant Hunter Wetlands visit this specific stretch of beach to rest and feed. Other threatened birds that favour this stretch of beach are pied oystercatchers and little terns. Vehicle traffic is a major threat to these birds.
2. Rebuilding the frontal dune
The frontal dune in this area has been eroded and destroyed by many years of vehicle traffic. The dune here is in much worse condition than elsewhere in the park. A lot of work has been done to rehabilitate the dune. Removing vehicles from this area will assist with the rehabilitating this important barrier.
3. Staying in the park
This section of waterfront runs into the southern boundary of the park. It adjoins the council managed beach that does not allow driving. The fence stops vehicles from illegally driving onto the adjoining council beach, and assists in keeping visitors in the park.
Do I need a permit?
Yes. All vehicles in the park must be registered and display a valid WCL vehicle permit. Please note that NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service annual passes are not valid for the WCL. You’ll find more information on vehicle permits and where to purchase them here. NSW road rules apply on the park.
Beach driving is different
Four-wheel-driving is a popular activity at the Worimi Conservation Lands but can be dangerous if not approached cautiously.
Beach driving conditions are very different to road driving. Planning and preparing for driving on sand will help you enjoy the experience and keep yourself, your passengers and the people around you safe:
Be prepared for soft sand and beach erosion.
- Deflate your tyres for sand driving.
- Give way to pedestrians at all times.
- Obey speed restrictions. While driving on the beach 40km/h is the maximum speed limit, and 20km/h when passing vehicles or beach walkers.
- Drive according to conditions.
- Avoid sharp turns and sudden braking.
- Be prepared for dunes to conceal other vehicles.
- Avoid reckless driving—for your safety and the safety of others.
- Do not launch off dune slopes.
- Always re-adjust tyres for road driving.
- Carry a pump or air compressor and tyre gauge.
- All passengers must be seated inside a vehicle, wearing a seat belt.
- Driving with people sitting on the back your vehicle or being towed is illegal.
Paying attention to existing tracks along the beach front may help you find the safest and easiest driving route, and also gives pedestrians an idea of where vehicles are going to be. Slow down, especially around other cars, and look out for pedestrians.
- Do not drive over Aboriginal middens or shell accumulations—you may damage cultural sites
- Don’t drive over vegetation – keep dunes intact by following previous tracks
- Do not drive in or through the lagoon areas as they are a vital link within the beach eco-system.
Beach driving rules
- drive according to conditions – a speed limit of 40km/h applies, 20km/h within 100m of pedestrians or vehicles
- give way to pedestrians at all times
- avoid reckless driving – for your safety and the safety of others
- avoid launching off dune slopes
- be prepared for dunes to conceal other vehicles – consider fitting your vehicle with a flag
- do not drive over vegetation – help keep dunes intact by following previous tracks
- do not drive over shell accumulations – you may damage cultural sites.
Be smart, be safe
deflate your tyres for sand driving
- be prepared for soft sand and beach erosion
- always re-adjust tyres for road driving
- carry a pump or air compressor and tyre gauge
- avoid sharp turns and sudden braking.
Please be mindful of the changing conditions and of other park users around you and stay safe.
Fenwicks Towing (ph 02 4952 9544) is licensed to operate on the park and may be able to provide assistance to bogged vehicles (fees apply).