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Four-wheel drive with care
Taking care of yourself and your environment will ensure your exploration by 4WD into some of Queensland’s most remote and beautiful natural places is safe and enjoyable.
Before you go
- Ensure you are proficient in 4WDing—try driving with an experienced four-wheel driver if you’re a novice.
- Pack good recovery gear.
- Check that your vehicle is in good working order.
- Check manufacturer’s tyre pressure recommendations for different terrain.
- Check which roads or tracks you are allowed to drive.
- Plan your trip thoroughly—calculate driving distances, check refuelling points and allow plenty of travelling time.
- Prepare for the conditions of the region you are travelling to—where possible get local advice.
- Pack detailed paper maps—GPS or other navigational devices are good but may stop working in some conditions.
- Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
Navigation and communication
- In all emergencies call Triple Zero (000).
- Know your location at all times—plot your course on your maps.
- Take reliable communication equipment such as a satellite phone or UHF radio, and a list of local UHF radio channels and/or emergency contacts.
- Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) are recommended—these help rescuers locate your position and should only be used when you are when you are in danger or injured.
- Stay with your vehicle if you break down or become stranded.
Rules you need to know
- All Queensland road rules apply, even on beaches—police patrol anytime, anywhere.
- A vehicle access permit must be purchased before driving on Bribie Island, K'Gari (Fraser Island), Morton Island, Cooloola and Minjerribah recreation areas.
- Watch out for, and give way to, walkers, cyclists and horseriders.
- Park visitors' vehicles are required to be fully road registered. There are limited exceptions for non-standard, conditionally registered vehicles, but written authorisation is required in each case.
Don't take risks
- If it’s flooded, forget it—do not drive through floodwaters or fast flowing creeks.
- Do not drive into parks during and after periods of heavy rain—you could be cut off for days.
- Don’t get stuck—creeks can rise suddenly, roadsides can be boggy, wildfires move fast and trees can fall unexpectedly during high winds.
Look after the parks
- Closed means closed—never drive into areas that are closed or have locked gates.
- Be prepared to turn back—fallen trees and washouts can occur on remote roads and tracks.
- Stay on track—if the road is blocked by an obstruction, don’t drive off the road or into roadside drains. It is recommended that you turn around and go back or look for another suitable track that is open. If safe, you may choose to remove an obstruction where possible, but do not put yourself or others in danger.
- Help protect our parks by ensuring you don’t carry plant seeds, soil or pests in footwear, clothing, boats, vehicles and gear.
- Avoid using trees for winching. If you have no choice, use tree protectors.
- Winch safely—try not to use trees for winching. Use tree protectors if you have no other option.
When driving on sand
- Only use well-established tracks to reach the beach.
- Use passing bays on inland tracks, when encountering oncoming traffic.
- On the beach:
- Park well away from traffic areas.
- Park at an angle to the water so that drivers can see that you have stopped.
- Watch out for people and animals—they may not be able to hear your vehicle over the sound of the surf and wind.
- Stay away from nesting seabirds. If disturbed, adult birds can abandon their nests leaving eggs and chicks vulnerable to heat, cold and predation.