Campers at Teewah Beach, near Doule Island Point during Easter beach traffic mayhem, parked their cars up on the sand dunes. Drivers have been warned not to do that this Australia Day long weekend.
Campers at Teewah Beach, near Doule Island Point during Easter beach traffic mayhem, parked their cars up on the sand dunes. Drivers have been warned not to do that this Australia Day long weekend. Sarah Barnham

Beach drivers warned stay off dunes or cop hundreds in fines

BEACH drivers at Cooloola, north of Noosa, are being warned to stay off the dunes as high tides threaten to make Teewah Beach impassable at times during the Australia Day long weekend.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) is reminding visitors to drive safely and to respect the environment and other people over the long weekend.

Ranger Erin Atkinson said the dunes were not an alternative route and visitors needed to travel 2-3 hours either side of low tide.

"Driving on the dunes is not permitted, and rangers can issue $261 on-the-spot fines,” Ms Atkinson said.

"Using the dunes as an alternative route is dangerous, and it's prohibited. Not only can it cause damage to your vehicle, it is damaging to the environment and can impact nesting wildlife such as turtles and shorebirds.

The Mudlo Rocks are impassable again after king tides ripped sand away from the notorius section of Rainbow Beach. Photo Craig Warhurst / The Gympie Times
BEACH drivers at Cooloola, north of Noosa, are being warned to stay off the dunes as high tides threaten to make Teewah Beach impassable at times during the Australia Day long weekend. Craig Warhurst

"If there is not enough space to drive between the water and the dunes, turn back and wait,” Ms Atkinson said.

"During Easter last year, many drivers failed to check tide times and beach conditions and drove on the dunes, causing serious damage.

"Every driver needs to check conditions before coming to Cooloola, and obey lawful directions from rangers and police once there. Avoid damaging your vehicle and the beach and dunes. Let's keep Cooloola beautiful for the next generation.”

Ms Atkinson said rangers would be using online park alerts, phone messages and signage to alert drivers this weekend.

"QPWS will send SMS alerts about the high tides to visitors who have booked vehicle permits or camping permits over the high-risk period,” she said.

Teewah Beach and Freshwater campground are close to fully booked for Saturday, however, there are still plenty of sites available at Inskip.

"We want everyone to have a great Australia Day weekend and Rangers will be working with Police and the community to help visitors keep themselves safe,” Ms Atkinson said.

Please check Park Alerts regularly for updates on current park conditions.