4WDs and Dogs on our Beaches

4WDs and Dogs on our Beaches

Preserving our beaches

There are 40 kilometres of unspoilt beaches in the Richmond Valley for everyone to enjoy.

Richmond Valley Council through the implementation of its vehicular access to beach regulations recognises that recreational use of our beaches is a long established practice including four wheel drive access to the beach predominately for recreational fishing.

Council also recognises that it is essential to protect our beaches from uncontrolled vehicular access to ensure that they are both safe for all users, protected from continuing erosion and the forces of nature, and that the native wildlife inhabiting the area, particularly the endangered Pied Oyster Catcher, are adequately protected and their habitat maintained.

Both residents and holidaymakers are asked to comply with the following simple rules to ensure that the beach remains in its unspoiled natural state for future generations to enjoy. We would further encourage your help in protecting this asset by reporting to Council any illegal or careless activities you may observe.

Vehicle access points and regulations

Following a resolution by Council at its February 2021 meeting, 4WD usage of the Richmond Valley’s beaches is limited to a 4.6km stretch north of the current Airforce Beach 4WD access point at Evans Head, as of 31 March 2021.

The only vehicular access allowed to the beach areas is via a constructed access point at Terrace Street, Evans Head. No other vehicular access points are permitted or are to be used onto the beach area within Richmond Valley Council area.

Council has closed the only other 4WD access point under its management, at Boundary Creek Road north of Broadwater.

Vehicles will be permitted to drive from Airforce Beach north to a point approximately 100m from the commencement of the coffee rocks.

This follows an ongoing effort to improve the public amenity and environmental care of Airforce and Broadwater beaches.

The new rules will help Council rangers and National Parks and Wildlife Service officers better manage the beach for all users, and ensure the current environmental regulations are being honoured.

Only four wheel drive registered vehicles are allowed access to and use of the approved vehicle beaches in the Richmond Valley Council area. Vehicles such as motor-bikes, three-wheeled tricycles, quad bikes and “dune buggies” are prohibited from Council’s beaches. Council may grant exemptions where there are exceptional or special circumstances, for example, to allow access to the beaches for persons with a disability. Such exemptions are subject to an application to Council and an annual permit.


The following regulations and rules are to be complied with at all times while utilising the beaches within the Richmond Valley Council area:

  1. Australian road rules
    Motor vehicles and users are to comply with the Australian Road Rules at all times.
  2. All persons driving motor vehicles must be licensed in accordance with the requirements of the Australian Road Rules.
  3.  Maximum speed
    Maximum speed of 20km/h applies. All vehicles are required to give way when approaching horses, pedestrians, and Pied Oyster Catcher breeding areas. During the Pied Oyster Catcher breeding season, these areas will be clearly signposted.
  4. Right-of-way
    Beach users have right-of-way over motor vehicles at all times and no motor vehicle is permitted to be driven closer than 15 metres to any pedestrian beach user.
    Prohibited areas
  5. Motor vehicles are prohibited from travelling above the high water mark on all beaches within the Council area, except when crossing the beach to and from the officially constructed access points.
    Stopping within Pied Oyster Catcher nesting areas is also prohibited.
  6. All directional signs, rules and regulations signposted at access points to the beach are to be complied with at all times by all beach users.
  7. Horses and horse-drawn vehicles
    All horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles are to comply with the same rules and regulations as four-wheel drive vehicles, excluding the requirement for registration and licensing.


In the interests of both public safety and the protection of the environment, Richmond Valley Council’s Regulatory Rangers, and from time to time other authorised Officers of Council, will be patrolling the beaches within the Council area to ensure compliance with all appropriate signage and these regulations. Non-compliance with the requirements of these regulations and/or signage at beach entry points may lead to the issuing of penalty infringements notices of a minimum $110. Your co-operation in complying with the requirements is therefore requested at all times.

Dogs on beaches

Dogs are permitted northwards of the 4WD vehicular access point at Air Force Beach, Evans Head for 1.3km. This area is a dedicated off-leash area. Dogs are prohibited south of the 4WD access to the river, including the riverside reserve. Dogs are also prohibited from the Dirawong Reserve and Chinamen’s Beach area.

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