Vehicles on our beaches

Driving on beaches is a popular recreational activity in the Burdekin and is a way to explore and enjoy the great outdoors. However, driving a 4WD, quad bike or even a trail bike on a beach can damage the natural environment and endanger other beach users. It is  important to know what you are legally allowed to do when driving on beaches and how to best reduce potential hazards.

Obey the law when driving along our coast

Drive responsibly to help protect our beaches and ensure they remain open to vehicle use.

  • Beaches are considered roads and normal road rules apply.
  • Carry your licence and proof of vehicle registration.
  • Do not drive on beaches where vehicle access is not allowed.
  • Only access the beach through legal access points (there is a map of these access points on the ‘Vehicles on our beaches’ factsheet available here: Vehicles on beaches fact sheet
  • Keep a distance of at least 200 metres between your vehicle and a bathing reserves.

You may not access beaches through:

  • Privately owned land (unless you have permission from the landowner).
  • Council land unless designated vehicle access is provided.
  • Protected areas (e.g. national parks, state forests and conservation parks) unless driving on a designated road (your vehicle must be registered to drive in a protected area).
  • Locations within the Queensland Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park that restrict access for the protection of natural and cultural values.

Keep yourself and others safe

  • Drive slowly and carefully
  • Wear your seat belt
  • Drive between the high and low water marks on firmer sand
  • Make sure your passengers stay inside the vehicle
  • Never drive drunk or tired
  • Give way to wildlife as well as pedestrians and other vehicles
  • Watch for beach hazards such as rocks, pools of water or washouts
  • Avoid night driving

When engaged in 4WD:

  • Select low gears for soft, dry sand
  • Avoid shard turns and sudden braking
  • If reducing tyre pressure to maintain traction, keep within the manufacturers guidelines
  • Reinflate tyres for harder sand or surfaces
  • Carry recovery gear such a shovel, tow rope or traction aids in case you get bogged.

Help protect native animals and their habitats

  • Avoid disturbing wildlife – disturbance may affect their survival
  • Drive around (not through) flocks of birds. They may be nesting, feeding or resting after long, exhausting migration flights
  • Keep off fragile sand dunes and drive between the high and low water marks to prevent erosion, damage to dune vegetation and minimise disturbance to bird and turtle nests
  • Keep of fragile salt pans to avoid damage to marine plants
  • Carry your rubbish home
  • There are a number of areas that are currently under revegetation in the Burdekin, including at Alva and Wunjunga. These are signed and some areas are fenced off. It is important to leave these areas undisturbed as they re-establish.
  • Beach accesses have been made available at Alva and Wunjunga for easy access to the beach and to protect the surrounding environment.

You can report unlawful driving to relevant organisation depending on the activity.  There is a table to help with contacting the responsible organisation on the ‘Vehicles on our beaches’ factsheet or call Council on (07) 4783 9800 for further information.

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