High tides and high waves mean high risk for beach drivers

Issued: 5 July

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) are reminding visitors to keep safe when driving on popular beaches along the Queensland coastline this weekend and remember if you drive on the dunes you risk an on-the-spot fine of more than $200.

QPWS Senior Ranger Colin Lawton said high tides were forecast for the weekend and would affect popular beach driving areas of South East Queensland.

"Rising tides combined with large swell may make some sections of the beach impassable and can lead to danger and submerged vehicles for motorists who don’t take care.

"Plan your trip carefully and restrict driving to two hours either side of the low tide. Park Rangers will be using online park alerts (at https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/park-alerts/) and phone messages to alert drivers to current conditions.

"Enjoy your visit to areas like Great Sandy National Park or the Inskip Peninsula by keeping your vehicle out of harm’s way," Mr Lawton said.

"Erosion may cause steep drop-offs at beach and campsite access points. Drivers should slow down, stop and check access conditions before deciding if it is safe to proceed."

Mr Lawton said to expect difficult beach driving conditions along sections of the Great Sandy National Park, including beaches at Cooloola and K’gari (Fraser Island), and Inskip Point.

He said to use the inland bypass tracks if moving past the following spots outside of the low-tide window.

  • Mudlo Rocks near Rainbow Beach
  • Indian Head, Yidney Rocks and Poyungan Rocks on K’gari

"These are notoriously tricky spots. Just last month a tour bus got bogged attempting to cross Yidney Rocks—it was completely destroyed within 24 hours."

Mr Lawton said driving was not permitted on the fore dunes just above the high-tide mark.

"Driving on dunes damages vegetation. It can also harm nesting wildlife such as turtles and shorebirds and destroy their nests," he said.

"Park rangers and police are patrolling the area and will be issuing fines of $266 to people caught driving onto the dunes.

Visitors to the region are advised to check park alerts at www.des.qld.gov.au as well as the Bureau of Meteorology website at www.bom.gov.au.

To make the most of your visit:

  • be aware of the tide times and weather conditions
  • avoid being on the beach during high tides
  • only drive along the beach two hours either side of the low tide
  • do not attempt to access the beach at Mudlo Rocks
  • do not drive on the dunes.