South Australia has amazing beaches for 4WD’ing. Just saying! Especially for the avid 4WD’ers located in Victoria. Driving to Queensland isn’t needed, with dune driving and some of the softest beaches you will ever drive, a third of the distance away. In fact, you can start beach driving just minutes across the border. Check out the map below, border > highway > beach entry. Enough said!
Forget Beachport to Robe – Carpenter Rocks to Robe
Starting your journey at Beachport is a waste of epic dune and beach driving. Whilst you can enter beaches close to the border, you can drive the majority from Carpenter Rocks to Robe, on the beach and/or dune tracks, with a bucket load of camping positions tucked nicely behind dunes and within growth to spare you from the sea wind.
We stayed in accommodation and ventured out for day trips, exploring the coast from the border to Robe, but if you have camping gear/camper trailer (caravan will not make it on the beach or dunes), then camping would be my hot tip. When we buy our camper in the coming years, that will be one of the first places I return for a solid week of driving and camping. I’m talking about a small light camper or trailer only.
You can drive either direction, but towards Robe would be my recommendation, because Robe is the largest of all the towns along the beach, making it an ideal destination that requires another full day or two to explore, and sample the local food and drink.
Mount Gambier has supermarkets to stock up, and most of the towns have smaller general stores for essentials, with Robe having a large Foodland to replenish.
Hot Tip: Open up Google Maps, satellite, and take a look at how many dunes there are between Carpenter Rocks and Robe. Some are cordoned off, but the rest are a fun time.
There is no single answer, but I will give my opinion based on what I witnessed on my trip.
People need to let more air out of their tyres when on soft sand. Too many vehicles had MT tyres, they don’t bag well, are heavy and dig into the sand. These vehicles struggled the most in all aspects, beach and getting over dunes. These vehicles were driven hard, thrown all over the place, and often sunk or had to reverse and use more speed again. Some had to be snatch assisted.
Some young blokes commented on the UHF that I wouldn’t get up a soft dune, as I was stock (factory tyres and suspension). Not only did I get up it the first time, but I did so at no more than about 10-15kph the entire time. I crawled up it, had tyres bagged at 16 PSI, sat on top of the sand and was lightly loaded. The smart alec comments subsided to shock and awe. I didn’t reach the top and feel wheezy from being thrown about from the ruts.
Big muddies are your enemy for this trip. So too are low-profile tyres. Seen a few of those consistently bogged with their 20″ rims. Tall, skinny tyres, soft sidewalls.
I’m not clever, I just listen to the experts. Experts seem to say similar things about sand driving, HT is best, AT next, MT will make it the most difficult. The lowest you can get your tyre pressures without breaking the bead is the ideal pressure for soft sand driving. The bigger the sidewall, the better.
You need a big tyre footprint on this trip. These beaches are soft. Sure, some aren’t, but most are, and the entry/exits to them are churned up, deep and super soft. Let me put it this way, if you’ve driven Inskip point at Fraser, that is what the majority of the beach driving is like on this trip. Soft and deep. Whilst you can, and have no choice at times, drive on dune tracks which are packed and pretty easy, as you progress the beach is the track.
This area is amazing to drive. Honestly, I can’t recommend it enough. Light is best on this trip. You need to find the sweet spot for your tyre, but you need a decent footprint if you want to make it with ease along this trek. Plenty of people do the trip, they just struggle a whole lot, especially because these struggling vehicles are the ones making entry to a dune like the PDR at Cape York. The slower you can drive these, the more comfortable you will find the trip, and enjoyable.
I should note, there is a lot of rock through the sand, some of it sharp, so don’t forget a tyre repair kit, just in case. I didn’t experience any issues myself, but I’m sure it happens.
This was some of the deepest, softest sand I have ever driven, and I’ve driven a whole bunch of North Australia. In my experience, it was chalk and cheese, as I had driven soft sand with muddies and despised it. We didn’t have Maxtrax back then and had to cut down a tree/logs. Driving sand with a stock vehicle and low-pressure HT’s, was just so easy.