Best 4WD trips close to Brisbane

Southeast Queensland is home to diverse wilderness areas, which means there are plenty of off-road destinations to explore close to Brisbane.

Condamine Gorge

Southwest of Boonah is Condamine River Road, a picturesque  journey through ancient rainforest that follows the curving course of the Condamine River. The drive is famous for how often it crosses the river – 14 times – giving travellers a splash of adventure to match the lush scenery.

Starting from Boonah, the trip takes you south to Main Range and Koreelah National Parks, and can be done in conjunction with visits to other attractions or journeys around the area, from catching a sight of Queen Mary Falls to staying in one of the many camping areas close by.

Cooloola Recreation Area

Travellers can experience a slice of island paradise, without getting on a barge, by heading north of Noosa to Cooloola Recreation Area. Part of Great Sandy National Park (as is Fraser Island), the area offers pristine beach driving up deserted coastline, as well as inland sand tracks along the Freshwater Road.

The trip ends at Double Island Point, considered to be one of the best camping spots in Queensland, by way of the tough Leisha Track. Along the way, you will encounter tall red cliffs, pockets of rainforest and low-lying woodland.

Mount Mee

Perhaps the closest bush escape to Brisbane, Mount Mee is in the northern section of D’Aguilar National Park, and within it lies a treasure trove of 4WD tracks to explore. Predominantly lying across elevated ranges, the tracks within the more remote parts of the park go up scrambling gravel inclines and plunge down into cool valleys, the landscape changing from eucalypt scrub to lush subtropical rainforest with regularity.

Tracks of various levels of difficulty criss-cross the landscape around Mount Mee, with trails breaking away from trails to different views of the surrounding mountains. Camping is available at different camping areas both in the south and northern sections of D’Aguilar National Park.

Bellthorpe National Park

The Sunshine Coast is well-known for its beaches and rainforests, and Bellthorpe National Park is the perfect way to explore the latter by four-wheel drive.

The park’s undulating tracks are red clay in parts, which makes them incredibly challenging after rain, but in dry weather they’re a guided tour to some of the densest rainforest in southeast Queensland. The tracks within the park are connected by sealed sections outside of its boundaries, while just north is beautiful Conondale National Park, which is one of the best National Parks in South-east Queensland.

Moreton Island

Accessible by barge from the centre of the city, Moreton Island is paradise on Brisbane’s doorstep. The roads on the island are entirely unsealed outside of Tangalooma Resort, which means plenty of sand driving for intrepid visitors; beach drives and a single track cutting through its centre means travel on Moreton is dictated by the tides. Ensure you don’t attempt vehicular travel within two hours of high tide, as a recovery situation or worse can happen quickly, making it important to slow down and enjoy the island’s natural attractions.

Moreton Island is the world’s third-largest sand island, so be sure to drop the tyre pressures on your vehicle appropriately before even leaving the barge. With numerous camping (and even glamping) areas to choose from across the island, visitors often have solitude and the sound of the ocean to keep them company at night, which belies its proximity to Brisbane City.

Content courtesy of Hema Maps. Hema Maps has been crafting folded maps, guides and digital navigation products for exploring Australia off the beaten track for over 30 years. Visit the Hema Maps website to find out where your next adventure could take you.