Stockton Beach

Stockton Beach Stockton Beach is the 4WD and dune buggy playground capital of Australia. Just 2 hours north of Sydney via the freeway, this huge expanse of sand dune area is open for camping and frolicking. Some say the dunes are higher than in the Simpson Desert! A great experience.
StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesWilliamtown
FinishAnna Bay
DifficultyDifficulty 3.5/5 Suitable for4WD Bike 
Distance53.24 kmMinimum Days1
Average Speed35.09 km/hrDriving Time1 hr 31 mins
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Rating Be the first to rate this item0 Reviews
Article By: ExplorOz Team
Page Updated: 6 Nov 2013

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Description

Stockton Beach has long been the playground of dune buggies, motorcross bikes and now 4WDs. Seeing the dunes of Stockton Beach for the first time is a real delight - you know it doesn't get much better than this.

The dunes are enormous, very steep and quite thrilling! Many are so steep that you have no hope of climbing up but have to carefully navigate across and down then up the more gentler ones.

Weekends can be very hectic, especially with clubs conducting Sand Driving courses. These clubs bring large numbers of students and they traverse the dunes in convoy, stopping to snatch one another out of a soft spot or to wait for the convoy to catch up.

Be aware that numerous changes and restrictions are now in place - Stockton has changed! Please check the Worimi Conservation Lands website for more information and details about camping restrictions.

How to Use this Trek Note

The idea of a Trek Note, is that we provide a recommended route to explore an area with point-to-point guidance and extensive trip planning information about when to go, what to see, and where to camp. However, all the facts and data files are available should you prefer to build your own route/itinerary.

To see the route we recommend, click on the "Map" tab. Then, use the Moving Map Control to take a virtual tour of the route. You can reverse the order of the direction notes by clicking the arrow alongside the words Start/Finish at the very top of the information on this page.

Click on the "What to See" & "Where to Stay" tabs to see more about each Place that the route follows. Click each listed Place to open a separate page (and download for Members only) to enrich your understanding of the area.

A text list of Place to Place distances (see Directions tab) is given, plus you can download the route file to load into your GPS/Navigator. Go to our shop to obtain the complete EOTreks Route Files download.

If you just want the raw data files (for use with mapping software or to load into a GPS/Navigator), then the track file and waypoints are downloadable for free (Members only), using the Download Treks button at the top of this page.

You can also print this page (use the print icon button) and text from all sections (Description, Preparation, What to See, Where to Stay, Directions, Related, Feedback) will be reformatted into one easy-to-read document (except for detailed Place information – do these separately).

Environment

South along the shoreline you will find a shipwreck (MV Sygna) that provides good fishing off its artificial reef but treacherous swimming, north you'll find interesting ruins and further north you can swing inland through marshy swamps to the Anna Bay community - a great spot to pick up a fish 'n' chip lunch.

Note - there is a set of tank traps that are often exposed at waypoint 14330 which is roughly 12.5km south of the Anna Bay beach access point. If not exposed, then they are buried under the sand, but who knows how deeply. Check the coordinates.

Also be extremely careful when driving over the dunes. It's hard to see one dune from another and some of the wind swept faces are very steep. Check your Sand Driving Skills. Also check our specific driving tips for Stockton Beach.

A journey down this thirty-two-kilometre beach is an adventure full of beauty and discovery. At the water's edge, oyster catchers, gulls and terns wait to see what the pounding surf reveals. Up on the dry sand dotterels and sandpipers groom the flotsam. Back in the dunes an ibis winkles a sand crab from a burrow, while overhead ravens scan their territory for a tasty scavenge. A fisherman reads the beach's rips, gutters and sandbanks for an informed decision on where to cast. Here and there are patches of bream, whiting, tailor and jewfish. Professional fishermen haul their catch to the beach, having surrounded travelling schools of mullet with their nets. Underfoot, pipis live in such abundance that a hand thrust into the wet sand will have one of these shellfish at the tip of each finger.

The wind-blown sand dunes of Stockton Beach comprise the largest continuous mobile sand mass in New South Wales. The yellow grains have been washed in from the sea and blown ashore to form dunes up to thirty metres high. Most of the sand was deposited about six thousand years ago. Despite the stabilising effects of plants such as spinifex, pigface and bitou bush, the wind-driven dunes move about four metres a year. The lee side of a dune is steep and loosely packed, making a perfect surface for sliding down on a sheet of cardboard or something more elaborate.

About one kilometre back from the beach, the moving dunes run abruptly into the forested dunes. At the interface, trees of all sizes are slowly covered by moving sand until they disappear completely. Perhaps ten years later, when the dune has moved on, they are uncovered to stand as stark sentinels, witness to the irresistible inevitability of sand on the march.

The dunes are a friendly place. Most plants that grow there have an edible part. Fresh water can be collected from a hole dug anywhere in low ground between the dunes. Tracks of animals and crabs lead to their underground homes and the sea is full of life. Every hundred metres, piles of bleached white shells indicate the site of an Aboriginal shell midden. These are the remains of meals eaten by the people of the Woromi Tribe and contain the bones of mammals, birds and lizards as well as the shells of molluscs and crustaceans.

As the sand moves about, it exposes sections of barbed-wire entanglements left over from World War II. The wire had been hung from several rows of star pickets along the length of the beach. Running across the beach into the farmland for several kilometres was a line of heavy concrete pyramids designed to slow down tank movements. Many of these tank traps are still where they were placed all those years ago. Some of the blocks have been moved to line the beach car park at Birubi Point.

Storms bring in all sorts of flotsam, both man-made and natural. Whole trees can be washed down flooded rivers to bob about on the high seas for a while and end up firmly embedded on the beach. Whales, dugong, fish and birds leave their earthly remains on the beach just above the high tide mark. Heavy seas or careless navigation account for shipwrecks such as those of the Sygna, Uralla and Oimara.

Map

Take a virtual tour of this trek using the interactive map below. You can click any feature on the map, or use the Moving Map controls to watch the trek in auto-play from start to finish. As each feature is selected, it will flash green on the map, and a panel will open above the map with more detailed information for that selection.
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Preparation

For detailed checklists & advice regarding remote area travel, you are strongly encouraged to read the following articles: 4WD Driving Skills & Rules; What to Take; Recovery Gear Needs; Spare Parts and Tools; Food & Water; Water Tank; Long Range Fuel Tanks; Suspension; EPIRB; HF Radio; UHF Radio; Satphone; Staying in Touch as well as Travel Etiquette; Care for the Environment; Snake Bite Treatment; Outback Survival; & Driver Fatigue.

Official track reports are reviewed weekly and you'll always find the latest report in the ExplorOz Road Conditions section.
The changed access for driving in the Worimi Conservation Lands implemented in 2012 remain in place at at July 2013.

The beach front and the Recreation Vehicle Area are open for driving. This means you can drive on the beachfront, and in the RVA. Access is via the Lavis Lane (Williamtown) and Gan Gan Road (Anna Bay) entrances only. All dunes, back-beach and swale areas between the Lavis Lane and Gan Gan Road entrances are closed to driving - do not follow tracks into these areas.
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A permit to visit Stockton Beach is required (see Permit section).

It is essential to carry a snatch strap and shovel for this trip. You should never embark onto a beach drive without your own air compressor. For more info see our Recovery Gear Articles.

It is easy to overheat an engine labouring along in soft sand and even easier to become dehydrated in the hot wind during summer so take plenty of fresh water plus food. It is certainly safer and more fun to go with a minimum of two vehicles and use a UHF Radio.

Rubbish is a continuing problem on Stockton Beach - you are required to take it all out so be prepared with plenty of garbage bags. You might even consider doing a bit of a cleanup yourself if you see stray rubbish around. Please read our Travelling Etiquette article. Once on the beach itself, there are no real treks to follow. That said however, there are a few good things to spot so please ensure you read all the warnings, tips and suggestions here first.

Sand Driving at Stockton Tips

  • In the carpark it is best to deflate your tyres for sand driving - start by deflating to at least 20psi and depending on your vehicle and how you're going, consider letting out a bit more air if you have troubles.

  • Provided you don't turn too sharply with soft tyres you shouldn't have any problems going as low as 12psi.

  • Ensure you have a good heavy duty air compressor to inflate your tyres back in the carpark at the end of the day (no compressor provided). The other option is to inflate your tyres at the service station in Anna Bay.

  • Always drive straight down the dunes, driving at an angle may cause your vehicle to roll over

  • Never use your brakes descending a sand dune, in fact it is best to use the accelerator a little

  • Never stop your vehicle half-way down a dune or side-on at the top of a dune - soft sand may fall away from under the weight of your vehicle causing you to roll over

  • Only one vehicle per dune at a time

  • Never come up behind a vehicle climbing a dune

  • If you get stuck going up a dune, reverse, don't roll and try again

  • Never turn on the face of a dune

  • 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.

  • HAVE FUN!!!

Permits

All vehicles entering the WCL must be registered and display a valid WCL vehicle permit.

NPWS Annual Passes are not valid for the WCL. For information on vehicle permits go to the Worrimi Conservation Lands website.
Road rules apply.

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel SymbolWilliamtown, Anna Bay Diesel4cyl 7 litres * ULP4cyl 9 litres LPG4cyl 11 litres
6cyl 8 litres6cyl 11 litres *6cyl 9 litres
8cyl 8 litres8cyl 9 litres

Best Time To Visit

The Stockton Beach Run can be undertaken all year round. Keep in mind however that cool or wet sand is firmer and when the sand is hot, it is easier to get bogged.

Closest Climatic Station

Williamtown Raaf
Distance from Trek Mid Point 12.5km W
 JanFebMarAprMayJun JulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C 28.127.626.223.6 20.317.717.018.6 21.323.625.527.3
Mean Min. °C 18.018.116.413.2 10.07.96.46.8 9.111.914.416.5
Mean Rain mm 97.9122.3120.6107.5 113.7121.473.975.2 59.873.881.679.7
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

The following locations have various services and supplies: Williamtown, Anna Bay

What to See

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Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This list may not be complete for the entire region. Places listed here are directly located along the plot file associated with this Trek Note. You can locate other nearby Places by browsing the map or searching Places.
Popular 4WDing on huge soft sand dunes, excellent beach runs, shipwreck, fishing, nature watching.
There are a total of 3 place entries

Wreck of the MV Sygna - NSW

Point of Interest
The wreck of the stern half of the bulk carrier "MV Sygna", which dragged its anchor and was washed ashore in a violent storm in 1974 is found about 10 Km as the crow ...
Position: -32.85758 151.8453 Altitude: 2m PlaceID: 14329 Updated: 26 Apr 06 03:39

Tank Traps - NSW

Point of Interest
The tank traps at Stockton Beach are slowly been covered by sand. The traps were put along Stockton Beach to stop the invasion during WW2....
Position: -32.81417 151.93183 Altitude: 17m PlaceID: 14330 Updated: 14 Mar 06 02:23

Stockton Beach - NSW

Beach Point of Interest
Position: -32.80126 151.98225 Altitude: 2m PlaceID: 23180 Updated: 17 Dec 07 06:09

Where to Stay

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Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This list may not be complete for the entire region. Places listed here are directly located along the plot file associated with this Trek Note. You can locate other nearby Places by browsing the map or searching Places.
Camping is not permitted on Stockton Beach. Rangers patrol the park and target illegal camping and access. On-the-spot fines and/or prosecution apply.See Worimi Conservation Lands website for more information.

The suburb of Stockton, which is at the southern end of the beach, has a caravan park, backpackers accommodation, pubs, motel, service stations, a supermarket, butcher, chemist etc.
There are a total of 3 place entries

Williamtown - NSW

Populated Place Fuel Water Supply Toilet Food,Shopping Resort,Motel
Position: -32.79414 151.85327 Altitude: 10m PlaceID: 23175 Updated: 17 Dec 07 06:52

Birubi Beach Holiday Park - NSW

Resort,Motel
Position: -32.78244 152.07968 Altitude: 9m PlaceID: 78446 Updated: 01 Nov 10 01:39

Anna Bay - NSW

Populated Place Roadhouse Fuel Water Supply Toilet Food,Shopping Camp Fee Resort,Motel
Position: -32.78135 152.08586 Altitude: 10m PlaceID: 23164 Updated: 17 Dec 07 06:32

Directions

LocationsDistanceDirectionTime
Williamtown to Cabbage Tree Rd & Nelson Bay Rd 2.94 km S 200° 4 min
Cabbage Tree Rd & Nelson Bay Rd to Wreck of the MV Sygna 16.63 km S 177° 38 min
Wreck of the MV Sygna to Tank Traps 14.5 km NE 59° 25 min
Tank Traps to Silver City Fishing Huts 3.2 km E 75° 5 min
Silver City Fishing Huts to Stockton Beach 2.76 km E 71° 4 min
Stockton Beach to Birubi Beach Holiday Park 10.12 km E 77° 18 min
Birubi Beach Holiday Park to Anna Bay 3.09 km E 82° 5 min
Williamtown to Anna Bay 53.24 km     1 hr 31 min
Distance is GPS recorded driving distance (not straight line), Direction is straight line from start to end, Time is calculated from actual GPS driving data.

Related

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Travel Journals

The following are links to Members' Blogs that contain the words Stockton Beach. Creating Blogs is restricted to Members only. Not a Member? Join here.
There are a total of 1 matching blog entries. Results based on search "Stockton Beach"
[01/Aug/2011] Stockton Beach (6488x640, 540kb)

360 Degree Panoramic Photos

Member: Hideya (vfr800hu)   Search Rank: 204
Here are 360 degree panoramic photos taken during my touring in last August. 12-14 photos are joined into a panoramic photo using Hugin....
Created: 09 Mar 2012 16:24  BlogID: 3693  Comments: 1  Views: 2444 
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