Natural Wonders

$413 fine threatens drivers who make these errors on holiday

With its wide-open beaches and stunning seascapes, Fraser Island is a natural paradise for the many visitors who flock there to explore the region’s natural wonders.

However, anyone driving on the island needs to pay close attention to the local laws as this Queensland tourist hotspot has some unique rules that could catch out uninformed drivers.

These local laws don’t come with small penalties either, with authorities ready to strike at a moment’s notice on anyone breaking them. So what could cause trouble in paradise?

A sandy beach on Fraser Island. Source: Getty Images

Almost all roads and tracks on Fraser Island are sandy. Source: Getty Images

A permitted problem

What many people don’t know before heading to Fraser Island is that the Queensland Government has made plenty of rules to protect the World Heritage Site from being ruined by excessive driving.

For starters, anyone wanting to drive on the island itself will need to acquire a permit allowing them to be there and drive their vehicle – regardless if they own it or if it is a hire car.

Furthermore, only four wheel drive vehicles are allowed on the island. This is because almost all of the “roads” and tracks across the island are made of sand or mud.

With the only paved roads being around the island’s two holiday resorts, it means that any FWD or RWD vehicles must stay there at all times regardless of the circumstances.

That isn’t the only thing drivers need to be aware of though. Queensland Traffic Regulations also declare that hire vehicles carry extra restrictions when used on the island too.

Hire vehicles are only allowed a maximum occupancy of seven people at any one time and they aren’t allowed to carry any loads on the roof of the vehicle.

4x4 vehicle driving on beach. Source: Getty Images

Only 4×4 vehicles are permitted on Fraser Island. Source: Getty Images

An unpleasant surprise

You won’t be surprised to find that there are some harsh punishments awaiting anyone who breaks the rules on Fraser Island.

The most surprising punishments come for anybody caught breaking the rules surround hire cars.

For example, anyone caught with unauthorised loads on the roof of their vehicle will get hit with a $413 fine as well as three demerit points to their licence.

Alongside that, if the hire vehicle is overloaded, the driver will find themselves once again getting three points to their licence as well as a $413 fine.

This is on top of anyone caught breaking regular road rules as Fraser Island is still under full jurisdiction of Queensland Police and the road rules you would find anywhere on the mainland still apply.

So that means you can still be punished for breaking speed limits – which are a max of 80km/h anywhere on the island – as well as face penalties for dangerous driving or outlandish behaviour.

Car loaded with luggage. Source: Getty Images

Unauthorised roof loads could land both a large fine and demerit points from police. Source: Getty Images

All of this will apply if you are even permitted to have your vehicle on the island itself.

Should you try sneaking around without an authorised permit, you will be slapped with a fine of $200.

All in all, it is always worth checking up on local laws whenever heading to a new place for the first time even if it is just a different part of Australia.

This way, you can enjoy exploring one of Australia’s beautiful landmarks in peace and not have to worry about any unfortunate incidents ruining your time in a tropical haven.

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