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Vehicles on Beaches

4wd beach

4WD Beach driving permits

4WD Vehicles may use beaches in the Nambucca, Kempsey and Port Macquarie Hastings local government areas with a common  Beach Driving permit472KB pdf(PDF, 472KB).

  • Permits are issued on an annual basis and are valid from 1 July to 30 June - the following permits are available for purchase:-
    - Yearly Permits ($66.00  per annum)
    - Yearly Pensioner Permits ($33.00  per annum)
    - 30 Day Visitors ($33.00 for permit period) - Port Macquarie-Hastings Council LGA only
  • Permits are issued only to vehicles that hold a current certificate of registration. A copy of the vehicle's current certificate of registration to be provided at the time of purchase as proof of compulsory third party insurance cover
  • Annual permits are to be displayed on the inside bottom left-hand side of the windscreen of motor vehicles and in a visible position on motor cycles

Permit holders must:

  • Have a registered vehicle & be a licenced driver
  • Display or produce the temporary permit receipt on request. Annual permits should be displayed on the inside bottom left-hand side of the windscreen or near the registration label for motor cycles.
  • Obey the 50km/h speed or 25km/h speed limit when within 100m of people
  • Not drive through a surf patrol area unless you have the permission of the patrol captain on duty
  • Give people the right of way at all times and keep within a safe distance of other beach users
  • Not travel above the high water mark on all beaches except when crossing the beach to and from officially constructed access points and designated boat launching sites
  • Drivers are to turn around and not proceed through a drift section. 

Purchasing a permit

Permits can be purchased in our area at the following locations:

Council offices

  • Port Macquarie - Cnr Lord & Burrawan Streets 
  • Laurieton - 9 Laurie Street
  • Wauchope - High Street


  • Visitor Information Centre at the Glasshouse - cnr Clarence & Hay Streets, Port Macquarie 
  • Mid Coast 4WD Centre - 25 Acacia Avenue, Port Macquarie
  • North Haven Take Away & General Store - 73 The Parade, North Haven
  • North Haven Holiday Coast Marine - 1 The Parade, North Haven
  • Laurieton Convenience Store - 40 Bold Street, Laurieton


Unregistered Vehicles

  • Motor vehicles not registered under the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Act 1997 and Road Transport (Vehicle Registration Regulation 2007 are prohibited from all beaches.
  • Disabled drivers MAY apply for a special licence under RTA unregistered vehicles provision.

Unlicensed Drivers

  • All persons driving or riding motor vehicles must be licensed in accordance with the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1998 and Road Transport (Driver Licensing Regulation 1999.

Maximum Speed

  • A speed limit of 50 km/h applies and vehicles are required to slow to a speed of not more than 25 km/h when within 100 metres of people on beaches.

Surf Patrol Areas

  • Vehicles are not permitted to drive through a surf patrol area unless arrangements are made with the patrol captain on duty.

Right-Of Way

  • Beach users have right-of-way over motor vehicles at all times and motor vehicles must be kept at a reasonable and safe distance from other beach users. 

Defined Areas

Motor vehicles are prohibited from travelling above the high water mark on all beaches except when crossing the beach to and from officially constructed access points and specifically designated boat launching sites.

If when driving on the beach below high water, a section is encountered that cannot be passed because of sand drift situations, drivers are to turn around and not proceed through the drift section. 


It is an offence to :-

  • Operate a vehicle on the vegetated dune of any beach.
  • Drive on any beach (except at boat launching sites) without a current beach driving permit,  the permit holder is to ensure that the sticker is displayed as required.
  • Drive in restricted or prohibited areas.

The penalty under the Local Government Act 1993 is $110 on the spot fine with a maximum penalty of up to $1100.

Drivers of permitted vehicles are required to observe the safety of other beach users including bathers, pedestrians and persons sun-bathing.

Port Macquarie Hastings Council reserves the right to withdraw the beach driving permit from vehicles found in breach of the Act or Policy. 


The following persons are authorised to enforce this policy:

  • Officers of the NSW Police Force
  • Council Rangers
  • Officers of the National Parks and Wildlife Service

This page was last updated on: 10 July 2020