INUNDATED. A vehicle comes to grief on the Mudlo Rocks at Rainbow Beach.
INUNDATED. A vehicle comes to grief on the Mudlo Rocks at Rainbow Beach. Contributed

Roll up for the 4WD follies


AS THE visitors pour into Rainbow Beach for the New Year, so do the numbers of drivers crossing the notorious Mudlo Rocks.


The rocks, which sit a few hundred metres south of Rainbow's main beach and have a history of snagging cars enroute to Double Island Point, played host to the latest spectator sport again this week.


A crowd gathered on Wednesday to watch as cars tried to negotiate the exposed rocks, which had been covered just the day before.


While there were no total write-offs, as has happened in the past, a few brazen beach drivers came close.


A LandCruiser shorty that tried to cross the rocks on Wednesday afternoon was captured on video and the attempt posted on the Rock Report Rainbow Beach Facebook page.


And it seems like most people who saw it thought the driver had rocks in his head.


"Absolute idiocy" is how long term local Jessica Haring described the driver's actions when he tried to cross at high tide.


"This guy went into it as if walking blindfolded on the highway. He totally disrespected the tidal times."


The car, which was awash with saltwater, was eventually pulled out.


Ms Haring, who co-owns Rainbow Beach Adventure Centre & 4WD Hire, said often drivers thought they were invincible in a four-wheel drive.


"It's a car, not a boat," she said.


"People just don't understand the damage they're doing to their cars by driving through salt water.


"When you expose salt water to any part of your vehicle, it's like pouring acid onto your car."


Ms Haring said grease and lubricants are expelled, leaving components unprotected, which ultimately fail a long time before their use-by date.


Alternator bearings, A/C bearings and pulley bearings are among the most susceptible, she said.


She said a vehicle does not have to be submerged to be affected; even salt spray under the engine can cut the lifespan of the alternator and starter motor by 80%.


"If anyone is wondering: no, you can't just rinse it off - the damage is done," Ms Haring said.


If the rocks prove impassable, the Rainbow Beach businesswoman recommended drivers use the inland freshwater track, which is accessible from Rainbow Beach Rd and Teerwah Beach.




  • Check the Rock Report Rainbow Beach Facebook page or the Qld Parks & Wildlife website for tidal times.


  • The general rule of thumb is that 2.5 hours either side of low tide renders beach access (which provides between 5-6 hours daily).


  • Whichever the predominant tide, whether high or low, tide times move forward approximately one hour every day.