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Four-wheel-driving

People in four-wheel-drive vehicles can reach some of Queensland's most remote and beautiful natural places. However, with special privileges come special responsibilities—please look after the beach and the bush when you visit, and leave it unspoilt for others to enjoy.

Where you can go four-wheel-driving

Popular destinations in Queensland for four-wheel-driving include Moreton Island and K'gari (Fraser Island), Mount Mee and Kenilworth forest reserves, Byfield National Park, the Simpson Desert and Cape York Peninsula.

Beach four-wheel-driving is allowed on some offshore sand islands and adjacent to a few mainland national parks such as the Cooloola section of Great Sandy National Park. Read more about driving at the coast.

Permits and fees

Access to some roads in parks and forests is restricted. Restricted access roads are indicated by signs and road users must comply with any requirements specified on the signs. A special permit is not generally required except for commercial activities, organised group activities and competitive events.

In some recreation areas, including Bribie, K'gari and Moreton island, a vehicle access permit is required.

If you are driving as part of an organised group, an organised event permit may be required.

As a general rule, park visitors' vehicles are required to be fully road registered. There are limited exceptions for conditionally registered vehicles and written authorisation is required in each case.

Watch the short video below to find out how to organise a camping vehicle access permit.

Video transcript

Think outside and take your 4WD to the places it was intended for.

You’ll need a vehicle access permit to drive on recreation areas in Queensland, such as national parks and beaches.

To book your vehicle access permit – head to qld.gov.au/camping

Then click ‘Vehicle Permit’ from the menu bar.

You’ll need to have your account details handy or if you don’t have an account, you’ll need to create one. For help, check out the video ‘How to Create an Online Camping Account’.

Select the desired park or recreation area you wish to drive on.

It’s important you take note of any Park Alerts – you’ll notice a warning icon if there’s one current. Remember to check park alerts when making the booking and again prior to travel.

Continue with the booking process by selecting the duration using the drop-down menu. Permit durations vary depending on the park selected.

Select the start date for your permit and be sure to match the start date of the permit to the start date of your camping booking.

Then enter your vehicle’s registration number.

Be sure to read and accept the Vehicle Access Permit Requirements by ticking the box.

To continue with the booking process, click on ‘Add to Cart’

Review your booking details, read and agree to the terms and conditions before checking out.

If everything is correct proceed to ‘Go to Checkout’

You’ll be prompted with the payment screen to enter your Credit Card or Gift Card details. Stuck with processing payment, then checkout the video ‘How to make an online camping booking’.

All payments are processed securely. If your payment involved a credit card, you’ll have the opportunity to re-check your vehicle access permit booking details before completing the transaction by selecting ‘Make Purchase’.

Once your order has been processed successfully, you’ll receive your confirmation/permit number.

Your transaction receipt and a copy of your vehicle access permit will be sent to the email address linked to your camping account, OR, you can head to ‘Your Account’, then ‘Purchases’ then ‘All Bookings’ to review and print your vehicle access permit.

All vehicles must be registered. Your valid permit must be displayed on the left side of your vehicle’s windscreen so it can easily be seen by park rangers upon inspection.

Before travelling make sure you check Park Alerts for any changes in driving and camping conditions. Head to the link on screen for information.

Still need help with the booking process? For further assistance please contact 13QGOV or head to a counter or kiosk.

Visit the Queensland Government YouTube channel to check out more videos to help you navigate the Queensland National Parks Booking Service.

Essentials to bring

  • Maps and guidebooks.
  • An adequate vehicle recovery kit for the type of terrain you are likely to encounter.
  • Tyre pressure gauge and a pump to reinflate tyres.
  • Well stocked first-aid kit.
  • Adequate drinking water.
  • Sufficient fuel (and be aware of where you can refuel).

Staying safe

Many accidents involving four-wheel-drive vehicles have occurred in national parks and on beaches. Accidents can be avoided by following road rules and driving carefully. Normal road rules apply to driving along beaches and on roads in national parks, regional parks and forests. Drivers need to be prepared for difficulties that could be encountered in remote areas and in rough terrain. If you are planning to drive on sand and you have limited experience, download a copy of the Driving on sand (PDF, 2.0M) safety guide. It includes tips for planning your trip and recommendations for obtaining further information.

Follow these tips for driving safely.

Before you leave

  • Make sure your vehicle is in good condition before you travel.
  • Travel lightly. Load your vehicle evenly with heavy items stored low. Distribute your load evenly for extra stability. Vehicles with too much stored on roof racks can overturn or become stuck.
  • Always seek local advice about road conditions. Contact RACQ, local police or the park ranger.
  • Let the local police or a responsible person know of your plans.
  • If possible, travel with another vehicle if you are going to remote places.

Watch out for wildlife, pedestrians and other road users

  • Drive slowly to allow time to react to sudden or unexpected problems.
  • Keep an eye out for wildlife on or near the road, especially in the early morning and late afternoon.
  • Expect to share some roads with pedestrians and other vehicles, including small tour buses.
  • Watch out for, and give way to, walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
  • Be very careful when approaching walkers and sunbakers on beaches. The noise of the surf makes it almost impossible to hear your vehicle.

Take extra care during and after wet weather

  • Watch out for washouts, scoured road shoulders and loose surfaces.
  • Be especially careful in wet weather. Some roads become impassable, even to four-wheel-drive vehicles!
  • Avoid driving on roads (especially unsealed roads) during and after heavy rain. Driving on wet roads causes damage to the road surface.

Drive responsibly

  • Make sure all passengers wear seatbelts at all times and stay inside the vehicle.
  • Keep left, especially at sharp bends and crests.
  • Pull to the side to let other traffic pass but do not damage vegetation or create new tracks. Use passing bays if provided.

Minimise your impact

Tips for low impact driving.

  • Stay on existing roads and tracks.
  • Give way to animals. Parks and forests are for their protection.
  • If you get stuck, try not to use trees for winching. If you have no choice, use tree protectors.
  • Wash your vehicle thoroughly before and after trips to prevent the spread of weeds.
  • Leave gates as you find them.
  • If an obstruction blocks your path, don't drive into the roadside drain to pass it. Remove the obstruction, if possible and safe to do so, or return from the direction you came. Ensure that obstructions do not block roadside drains.

Associations

Publications

Last updated
22 May 2019