Planning a 5 Rocks trip? It could cost you big time
DESPITE five signs warning him not to, a former-Emu Park man made the costly mistake of driving on a pedestrian-only beach.
The now Sunshine Coast man was busted with his vehicle on the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park, adjacent to Byfield National Park.
He was caught and charged under the Marin Parks Regulation on New Year's Day, but it was on October 25 that a Rockhampton judge revealed the hefty price of his actions.
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) reported the man pleaded guilty before he was ordered to pay a total $1896.75.
On top of a $900 fine, Magistrate Clarke ordered the man pay $250 in legal costs and $746.75 in investigation costs.
No conviction was recorded.
The man was caught north of the Five Rocks Beach access, however the State Government only permits vehicles on the southern end.
The QPWS principal ranger Peter Moore said there are plenty of other beaches in the area where motorists can legally drive including Farnborough, Nine Mile and the southern section of Five Rocks, known as Three Rivers Beach.
"Drivers are only permitted south of the vehicle access point on Five Rocks Beach, whereas the offender drove north,” Mr Moore explained.
"North of the Five Rocks Beach vehicle access point, the beach is only for visitors on foot.”
The beach is used by nesting turtles and other species, and restrictions protect the marine ecosystem.
"The magistrate found that this was a deliberate breach and the penalty would send a strong message that people needed to comply with signs in the area,” Mr Moore said.
"At Byfield National Park vehicles must only enter and leave the beach at the signed locations.
"These are each clearly marked with a four-wheel-drive totem sign.
"To protect the dunes and fragile dune vegetation, vehicles are not permitted to enter or leave the beach at other locations.
"In the past, drivers have caused significant damage to the dunes and vegetation behind the beach by driving through them.”
Park visitors must comply with all signage on a national park, and it's recommended they check the relevant park web page before they visit.
"QPWS rangers carry out regular patrols of Byfield National Park and the adjacent beaches,” Mr Moore said.
Byfield information and maps are at www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/byfield/