Much of the driving on Moreton island is done on the beaches which are designated roads and are subject to the same rules as other roads in Queensland. Ignore advice given in other places that hard sand is good for speeding at ??khp. The speed limit is 60kmh.
Most beaches have washouts cause by creeks cutting across the beach. It is imperative to slow to walking pace to cross them.
Roads across the island are unsealed, rough, rutted, sandy and narrow. Not suitable for speeds anywhere near the maximum. Slow down. Be prepared to back up for oncoming traffic.
Many roads/beaches are now marked with 30 kph speed limit signs.
Don't become a statistic. There are fatalities each year at Moreton & Fraser Islands and on beaches along the coast in-between. Speed, alcohol, overloading and overconfidence are contributing factors.
Beaches don't have lines drawn down the middle of the road. Drivers who drive on the right instinctively do so when off-road - not the thing to do when meeting Aussie drivers head on.
NOTE WELL August 2008: 9 severely injured people and one dead body helicoptered off the beach at Fraser Island after 2 hire-vehicles carrying non-Australian tourists collided head-on. Not an isolated incident!! What a waste!!
Don't cross the hard sand between the soft beach sand and the water's edge without looking both ways first. Watch out for your children playing at water's edge. Cars use that hard section of beach.
Sections of beach have been closed to vehicles to increase safety of the users. Locations of Beach closures: In front of Tangalooma Resort. In front of Cowan Cowan township. North Point Campground. Comboyuro Point Campground. Driving in the restricted zone may result in on-the-spot fines of $50.
30 kph zones apply in front of: Ben-Ewa Campground. The Wrecks Campground. Barge landing areas at Reeders Point, The Wrecks & Bulwer.
Check out the Moreton Island Protection Plan on the link below:
Have just returned from a four day trip to Moreton. Spent 20 minutes one day watching the antics of 6 corpulent tourists in a NSW registered people mover (non 4x4) - a hire car.
They had taken the ferry across to Tangalooma then tried to leave the hard wet sand to gain access to the furrowed sandy inland road system. There was no way they were going anywhere off that compacted sand. The ride height of the vehicle was so low they were lucky to even get up the beach with its creek crossings. The only positive: when the vehicle bogged & bottomed out there were 5 hefty pushers to push the car backwards into the salt water while they enjoyed a loose sand bath from the wildly spinning wheels. ( it could have been an "all-wheel-drive" vehicle but this does not equal 4x4 locked diffs).
Tyre pressures are critical in driving through lose sand. If one reduces the recommended tyre pressure from say 35lbs to 18 lbs driving becomes relatively easy. Most bogged vehicles we come across have failed to reduce tyre pressures. Of course, companies hiring out 4 wheel drives do not volunteer the tyre pressure reduction trick in case they become liable when the drivers forget to re-inflate them before driving on the road.
A Permit is required to drive on Moreton. Permit is required to camp.
Many vehicles, including hired 4x4s driven by tourists, are lost each year on Queensland beaches at Moreton Island, Fraser Island etc. The reason: disregarding advice not to enter the water to pass rocky parts of the shore or to cross creeks flowing over the beach.
Conduct an experiment yourself some time. Stand in the surf with water up to your knees. What happens to your feet? Water moving up the beach and then back down again undermines your feet. You end up standing IN the sand not on the sand. The same happens to stalled vehicles in the surf or in creek crossings. The moving water scours out the sand under & around the tyres and the vehicles sinks deeper into trouble!!
No one can stop the tide. Once a vehicle is bogged in sand on a rising tide that's it. It's cactus , mate!
1. All that's left after last year's attempt to pass the rocks in the surf
2. Range Rover got too close to the edge of the wash-out.
3. Wash-out. Flowing fresh water produces sudden drop off. Only a few inches high at the moment. Come back at high tide and drive off the bank on the far right!!!
Even a shallow washout Can cause problems if vehicle stalls or bogs. Oh what a sinking feeling!
Driving on the sand roads at times can be extremely difficult and you will probably get bogged once while trying to explore the island. However, its usually easy enough to free your car from. Pleas do take in this simple warnings.
Beach conditions change constantly, driving saftely and slowly is the way to go.
Travel close to low tide times, high tides often create huge problems.
Drive only on hard sand NOT soft sand.
Beach travel is not always possible, even at low tide check with resort first on driving conditions.
Keep to existing tracks, do NOT wander off them.
Driving on the dunes is prohibited.
Be careful crossing creeks, some may be deep.
If you hire a 4WD from the resort the car also comes with a radio, if you need any assistance
Why is it that so much advice about Australia is about the dangers? Because they are real dangers!! Just last week (Feb '07) a bloke who should have known better lost his life swimming in the surf on the Gold Coast after dark. This summer, at least two tourists are dead - gone for ever- lost through surf swimming on unpatrolled Gold Coast beaches.
Moreton Island has a beautiful surf beach with wonderful gutters which are very attractive for fish to swim in. However, the counter currents of the southerly current flowing the length of the eastern Australian coast produce rips and undertows which can overpower the strongest human swimmers.
The advice offered over and over in Australia to surf swimmers is "Bathe between The Flags". These red and yellow flags define the area of the surfing beach patrolled by surf life savers or life guards. There are no patrolled beaches on Moreton Island.
Don't risk it! If you want to surf, wait until you are on a mainland patrolled beach!
Annual Spring/Summer toxic algae bloom in Moreton Bay? Never heard of it? How does it affect me?
This little publicised seaweed can cause reactions to those coming in contact with it from mild irritation to severe breathing difficulties. I have a friend who was helicoptered off Moreton island to hospital on the mainland after contacting the weed while fishing then rubbing his eyes.
Fireweed is blue-green algae called Lyngbya majuscula, which contains toxins that can cause rashes, itches, burns, tingles, blistering and breathing problems. After one man bit a fishing line in two, his mouth and tongue swelled so badly that he couldn't eat solid food for a week. Others made an even more painful mistake, neglecting to wash the residue from their hands before relieving themselves over the sides of their boats.
Check with locals to see if it has been reported when you visit Moreton or other Bay areas such as Bribie Island.
On moreton island you usually drive when it's low tide along the beach. In this case it's no problem to drive up to 80km/h. But when there is high tide you have to drive at the edge of the beach where the sand isn't wet but very soft. you'll be much slower! So it's the best only to drive when it's low tide!
Careful of driving your car along the sandy beach and definitely don't drive through any water as your car might get stuck