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Byron Shire
July 16, 2024

4WD access to Seven Mile Beach to be phased out

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4WD tracks on Seven mile Beach. Photo supplied.

Ballina Shire Council (BSC) has now committed to phasing out 4WD access to Seven Mile Beach. Permits for 4WD access for periods between 1 day and 30 days have been discontinued from July 1. 

Ballina Shire Council endorsed the new 4WD Beach Access Policy in November 2023, stopping the allocation of short-term 4WD passes will leave only 6-month and 12-month permits available for purchase.

4WDs on Seven Mile Beach. Photo supplied.

‘The changes promote safe beach access and seek to minimise impacts on key environmental attributes of the beach, dunes, and surrounding areas,’ said a BSC spokesperson. 

‘Due to increasing beach use and safety concerns, Council has also committed to phasing out 4WD access to Seven Mile Beach by 2028. This decision will help protect Seven Mile Beach’s natural environment, which is home to nesting sea turtles, shorebirds, and macroinvertebrates such as crabs, worms, and pipis.’

A comprehensive report on the Seven Mile 4WD Beach Access Policy revealed a 107% increase in the 1-day permits from the 2021/2022 to 2022/2023 financial year. The total number of all types of permits sold in 2023 was 4,941, compared to 2,690 in 2022.

The surge in permit sales has been accompanied by a growing number of complaints about conflicts with other beach users, including walkers, dog owners, and horse riders.

The revised permit and policy changes were presented for a six-week community exhibition in February 2023, resulting in 268 responses reported to the Council for consideration.

4WD tracks all over Seven Mile Beach recently. Photo supplied.

‘Everyone loves the unique experience of driving on our stunning beaches. However, we must remember that this enjoyment comes with responsibilities.It’s crucial to balance our love for this activity with the need to protect the environment we cherish and ensure the safety of all beachgoers,’ said Ballina Shire Council Mayor Sharon Cadwallader.

Beach users can purchase a 4WD beach permit from the automated kiosk located along Camp Drewe Road or via the EasyPark Application.

The beach access point is continually monitored via a 24/7 surveillance camera. Vehicles without a valid permit who access the 4WD track and beach may be issued a fine.

For more information about safe driving on beaches, permit information or to read the policy visit Council’s website ballina.nsw.gov.au/4wds-on-beaches.

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  1. Since the closure of the south Ballina beach to 4wds there’s an incredible improvement to the conditions for non 4wd users. Although the pipi fishes almost removed every last mature pipi last season other wild life seems to be getting a clear run. Have seen huge ghost crabs in large numbers and large flocks of oyster catchers. It is also pretty common to see wallabies and kangaroos enjoying the ocean views too.
    Unfortunately the numbers of people illegally driving on the beach is on the increase. Hopefully the relevant authority will start enforcement.

  2. about time . are they to lazy to walk . to rich to dumb to careless to preoccupied thinking there machine does all the talking for them

  3. “Due to increasing beach use and safety concerns, Council has also committed to phasing out 4WD access to Seven Mile Beach by 2028. This decision will help protect Seven Mile Beach’s natural environment, which is home to nesting sea turtles, shorebirds, and macroinvertebrates such as crabs, worms, and pipis.”, all the importance given, why the waiting until 2028 , do it now.

    • Oh I see you are still trying to lecture us regional folk about what’s good for us from the big smoke old son, ever been to Seven mile beach?, where did you get the info from the Ballina Council’s website?

  4. Bogans driving 2 tonnes of ego…..wanting to conquer nature …get out and walk and try to commune with nature…it’s not so scary but you might have to shed the machismo for a little while …and you’ll be a better human being for it….

  5. Why must council be allowed to make money on 4wd access for the next 4yrs.
    Please tell me how much does it cost to install some gates.
    If your serious about enviromental protection you would just close it.

  6. I walk there almost every other day and cars have never been a problem to my safety or any that I could see.ive and let live, why are people so happy about this decision that only limits the accessibility to use and be nature even more? If all beaches had 4×4 access I’d understand, but this is the only beach left in the are where you can go in and enjoy for the day. This is very sad and a bit of culture has been taken away. Let’s see how long before the nature card gets thrown out and another resort gets developed. Money won.

  7. Why don’t we just shut the bloody country down and stop everyone enjoying there lives.
    I work I pay taxes, I enjoy fishing, camping.
    Most of the beach users take care .
    Let’s just stop people walking up the beach, swimming at the beach, riding horses up the beach,
    Let’s see how that gets on .

  8. After they shut down the Ballina south beach driving, we stopped heading there. We would stay every Christmas and at least one other time during the year. It’s a shame. It was such an amazing experience for the entire family and the kids loved every bit of it

  9. My family and I use to love going to Ballina south multiple times a year. Since the beach driving has closed its just not the same and we have found new places to go. It’s a pity the council have ruined it and now they are going to do the same to seven mile beach. I guess tourism isn’t important to Ballina. You can blame the hoons as much as you like, but they are still on your roads daily

  10. Hoons can be managed on beaches…unfortunately they’re not. The rest of we more conscious beach drivers are the ones who suffer.
    I’d say the majority of those who are calling for a closure don’t drive on the beaches.


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