As we get closer to summer, the thought of driving on beaches sounds odd to beachgoers that are there to swim and walk the dog.
Generally driving on beaches in the Auckland region is allowed only if drivers contact the council and ask for permission in writing. Permission tends to be granted for such things as events and filming but parameters are put in place.
A permit system to drive on Muriwai and Kariotahi beaches was introduced as a trial in September due to the length of these beaches and some older council rules. Since 1 September 2015, more than 3,500 permits have been issued for driving on these two beaches.
The permit can easily be applied for online and is free – all drivers need to do is fill in their details and make sure they have their permit in their vehicle when driving on the beach. The permit system provides a way for the council to explain and reiterate safety requirements for people who choose to drive on those beaches.
Drivers must read the corresponding rules and guidelines, which include staying off the dunes, looking out for partially submerged objects, only accessing the beach three hours either side of low tide and slowing down when there are people or animals around.
We’re encouraged by the large number of people who have already signed up for permits, however we need to educate drivers further of the importance of being aware of their surroundings, including all the other people and animals using these much-loved beaches.
If you’re planning to enjoy a cruise along the beach this summer, be sure to apply for your free online permit and enjoy a safe day on the sand.