Exploring Stockton Sand Dunes

Surfing and Shipwrecks - Stockton Beach, Newcastle

G’day Travelers! For something a bit different, I spent a couple of days trying my hand at some off-road/beach driving. Taking the opportunity to head on up to Stockton Beach to explore the sand dunes and shipwrecks near Newcastle.

Stockton Beach

Stockton Beach is a very interesting place with a varied history which makes it a great place to explore. It was frequently visited by Worimi Aboriginal tribe for thousands of years, with numerous artefacts from their time in the area found within the sand dunes.

Stockton Beach

While more recently Stockton Beach has been the site of several shipwrecks, a fighter jet crash and a military training facilities, with evidence of these washing up on the beach from time to time.

While a large area of the sand dunes are closed off to conserve the Aboriginal artefacts. Towards the southern end of the beach, there is an area that you are free to explore the sand dunes in your car.

Stockton Beach

Driving on sand was an interesting experience, particularly given that the car I was driving was not exactly a proper off-road vehicle. But it was good fun. I got the chance to test out my ability as a driver and the ability of the car exploring different parts of the dunes and down to the beach. I picked up a couple of  things from my experience of driving in the sand, so I’ll put together another blog post about that later.

If you’re not up to driving or don’t have a car capable (a 4WD car is highly recommended, but some AWD cars are capable), there is the opportunity explore the sand dunes on Quad Bikes. I saw a couple of different companies offering quad bike tours of the dunes, so having the right car is not a limiting factor if you wanted to explore Stockton. I’d actually like to give quad-biking a go in the dunes at some point in the future.

Stockton Beach

While driving in the dunes is limited, you are able to drive along the 32 kilometer long beach from Williamtown all the way up to Anna Bay. Which gives you the opportunity to explore all of Stockton Beach’s attractions.

Stockton Beach

Towards the southern end of Stockton Beach is the most visible of its shipwrecks. It’s the wreck of the Norwegian bulk carrier MV Sygna which ran aground in 1974. While only a small section of the original ship remains, it’s still has enough of the ship above water to be clearly visible up and down the beach. It makes for a rather unique photo opportunity. I’ll have to head up there for a sunrise at some point, I’m sure that will make for a spectacular photo.

Stockton Beach

Stockton Beach

Stockton Beach

Stockton Beach

Stockton Beach

About halfway up the beach are several beach shacks, affectionately known as Tin City. Tin City was originally setup by squatters during the depression of the 1930’s. Now only a few of the shacks remain, but they are utilised today as fishing huts. Although there are limitations on their use, and they can not be rebuilt should they be claimed by the Sand Dunes. Tin City was also used to film parts of the movie Mad Max.

Stockton Beach

Stockton Beach

Stockton Beach

That wraps up exploration of the Stockton Sand Dunes, it was a good couple of days of exploring. If you’ve got a suggestion of somewhere to explore, feel free to either leave a comment below or get in touch via the contact page.

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About the Author: Rhys Vandersyde

Traveler, Photographer, Content Creator. I've spent the last 10 years exploring all over the world, but there is still plenty more to see.

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