DRIVE on MidCoast’s stunning beaches can be a great way to explore the coastline, but not without a 2020/21 beach vehicle access permit, available now at outlets across the region.
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The permits provide access to some of the region’s most pristine beaches, stretching from Kylies Beach in the north, down to Hawks Nest in the south.
But the team at MidCoast Council are keen to remind 4WD’ers that our beach environments are sensitive and dynamic, and that holding a permit comes with a responsibility to protect both the environment and other beach users.
“It’s important that beach drivers are considerate of others, and respectful of their surroundings”, said Paul De Szell, MidCoast Council’s Director of Community Spaces and Services.
“There are rules that apply, not only for the safety of all beach users, but to help protect the dune environment.”
Permit-holders are responsible for complying with beach driving rules which include driving only between the high and low tide marks, using only designated access points, observing a maximum speed limit of 40km / hour (or 15km / hour when within 100m of others), and remaining at least 15m away from pedestrians at all times. Rules are also in place to protect endangered shorebirds that feed and nest on our beaches and are vulnerable to vehicles and animals. Signposted and fenced-off shorebird nesting sites are prohibited zones for 4WDs, pedestrians, and pets.
Council rangers and NSW Police are authorised to enforce the rules, with fines and permit cancellation in place for those who do not comply. More information and a full outline of rules and responsibilities for beach drivers can be found at www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/beachdriving
Catering for locals and tourists alike, standard permit options include an Annual Pass (July to June, $100), and a shorter 30-Day Pass (valid for 30 days from date of purchase, $60). The fees collected through the sale of permits are allocated to maintaining beach access points, undertaking important dune rehabilitation works and weed control, and implementing initiatives to assist in the protection of shore bird habitats. A focus over the past 12 months has been to review and improve signage at access points, fencing and pedestrian access upgrades, and improved track delineation.
“Our message to all beach-goers is about sharing the shore responsibly, whether that’s by adhering to beach driving rules, controlling dogs on our dog-friendly beaches, or taking your rubbish home with you, our beaches are natural assets we can be proud of and should work together to protect”.
Beach access vehicle permits can be purchased from all Council Customer Service locations as well as through authorised re-sellers. The pensioner concession available on Annual permits has this year been extended to all seniors card holders, however you will need to show your card at the time of purchase.
For further information about beach driving, our dune and shorebird protection initiatives and where you can purchase a permit, head to www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/beachdriving