Stockton Beach

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesWilliamtown
FinishAnna Bay
DifficultyDifficulty 3.5/5
Suitable For4WD Motorbike 
Distance53.24 km
Minimum Days1
Average Speed35.09 km/hr
Travel Time1 hr 31 mins
Page Updated: 6 Nov 2013


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.

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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.

TrekID: 22


MUST READ: You are strongly encouraged to read the following articles prepared by the knowledge experts at ExplorOz for your safety and preparation before undertaking any published ExplorOz Trek - Outback Safety, Outback Driving Tips, Outback Communications, and Vehicle Setup for the Outback.


Please refer to Road Reports published by the local shire and/or main roads for the area you intend to visit. Road/Track conditions can change significantly after weather events. Travellers must be responsible for their own research on current conditions and track suitability.
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.

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!!!


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 Usage

4cyl 7 litres *4cyl 9 litres4cyl 11 litres
6cyl 8 litres6cyl 11 litres *6cyl 9 litres
8cyl 8 litres8cyl 9 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

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
Mean Max. °C28.127.626.223.620.317.717.018.621.323.625.527.3
Mean Min. °C18.018.116.413.
Mean Rain mm97.9122.3120.6107.5113.7121.473.975.259.873.881.679.7
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended


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Williamtown to Cabbage Tree Rd & Nelson Bay Rd
Driving: 2.94 km
Heading: 200°
Avg Speed: 41.98 km/hr
EST Time: 04:12
Cabbage Tree Rd & Nelson Bay Rd to Wreck of the MV Sygna
Driving: 16.63 km
Heading: 177°
Avg Speed: 25.61 km/hr
EST Time: 38:57
Wreck of the MV Sygna to Tank Traps
Driving: 14.5 km
Heading: 59°
Avg Speed: 34.29 km/hr
EST Time: 25:22
Tank Traps to Silver City Fishing Huts
Driving: 3.2 km
Heading: 75°
Avg Speed: 38.21 km/hr
EST Time: 05:01
Silver City Fishing Huts to Stockton Beach
Driving: 2.76 km
Heading: 71°
Avg Speed: 40.37 km/hr
EST Time: 04:06
Stockton Beach to Birubi Beach Holiday Park
Driving: 10.12 km
Heading: 77°
Avg Speed: 32.82 km/hr
EST Time: 18:30
Birubi Beach Holiday Park to Anna Bay
Driving: 3.09 km
Heading: 78°
Avg Speed: 32.34 km/hr
EST Time: 05:43
Distance is based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.

What to See

Popular 4WDing on huge soft sand dunes, excellent beach runs, shipwreck, fishing, nature watching.


Where to Stay

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.

Services & Supplies

No Services & Supplies available for this trek


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