Big fines loom for drivers caught on the dunes
DRIVERS heading for the sands of Noosa's north shore or Bribie Island this weekend are being warned to be wary of large swell and rising tides.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service senior ranger Colin Lawton said those caught driving on dunes risked on-the-spot fines of more than $200.
"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," Mr Lawton said.
"Plan your trip carefully and restrict driving to two hours either side of the low tide.
"Park rangers will be using online 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.
He said erosion could 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.
"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.