Driving on beaches

Four-wheel driving can be a great way to enjoy our beaches.

Obtaining a MidCoast Council beach access vehicle permit gives you entry to a range of beautiful, unspoilt beaches in both the Manning and Great Lakes regions. By obtaining a permit you are also agreeing to comply with rules regarding where and when you can access the beach.

Please note: To drive on our beaches you require a permit to be displayed on your windscreen. Applying by email will take at least 2-3 weeks to receive your sticker allowing you access. National Parks and Wildlife passes do not allow you to drive on beaches. 

Buy a permit

To buy a beach vehicle access permit:

Step 1.1. Council offices

Download and fill in the application form and bring it to any of our Council Customer Service Centres.

Step 2.2. Approved sellers

Permits can be purchased outside of business hours and on weekends at one of our approved sellers.

(Please note: not all permit types are available from all locations).

  • Bohnock - Bohnock Bait and Tackle.
  • Forster Tuncurry Visitors Information Centre - 4 Lake Street, Forster. Open 7 days a week. Monday to Friday 9:00am to 4:30pm and Saturday and Sunday 9:00am to 2:00pm.
  • Hallidays Point General Store (Waves at Blackhead) - 15 Main Street. Open 8:00am - 4:00pm, 7 days per week.
  • Harrington - Ritchies Bait and Tackle.
  • Hawks Nest Newsagency - 34 Yamba Street, Hawks Nest. Open 5:30am to 5:30pm on weekdays, 5:30am to 3:00pm on weekends during winter, and 5:30am to 5:30pm on weekends during summer.
  • Laurieton Convenience Store -  40 Bold Street, Laurieton. Open from 7:00am, 7 days a week.
  • Old Bar - Metro - 124 Old Bar Road, Old Bar. Open 6:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Saturday and 7:00am to 6:00pm Sunday.
  • Sandbar and Bushland Caravan Park - 3434 The Lakes Way, Pacific Palms. Open 9:00am to 5:00pm, 7 days per week during summer, 9:00am to 4:00pm, Monday to Saturday during winter, and 9:00am to 3:00pm on Sunday during winter. 
  • Bulahdelah Visitor Information Centre - Crawford Street. Open 9:00am to 1:00pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. 9:00am to 3:00pm on Wednesday, and closed Sunday. 

Step 3.3. Email

If you are planning in advance you can email your completed form to [email protected] and we will post your beach permit sticker to you. Please note this can take 2-3 weeks.

Access points

There are currently 15 beach access points for vehicles in the MidCoast Council region. Some of these are restricted, and some offer boat launch facilities only. Please see the 'Beach access for vehicles' brochure(PDF, 1MB) for detailed information.

Options and fees

The following options and fees relate to the current Fees and Charges

Please note: not all permit types are available from all locations.

  • Annual Permit (12 months from date of purchase) - Cost $105.00 ($50.00 for pensioners and seniors card holders)
  • Annual Professional Fishermen Permit (12 months from date of purchase) - Cost $105.00
  • Annual 'Restricted' Permit (12 months from date of purchase) - $105.00 ($50.00 for pensioners). This permit allows access to Restricted beaches at Southern Bennetts Beach (Hawks Nest) and sections of Jimmys Beach (see brochure(PDF, 1MB) for more information).

Eligibility criteria for a Restricted Permit is a Doctors Certificate issued within the last 30 days (at time of application) verifying limited mobility. This certificate will be valid for 2 years but must be produced for validation when applying for a Restricted Permit in the second year.

Restricted Permits can ONLY be bought from a Council Customer Service Centre.

  • 30 Day Permit (from start date) - Cost $65.00

Replacement labels cost $25.00 for all permit types.




When driving on the beach, have fun but stay safe. Be mindful of the other beach users around you. If leaving your vehicle unattended, ensure it does not compromise access for other beach users.

Vehicles are not to be left on the beach above the high water mark or on the dune - always keep an eye out for weather conditions and be aware of tidal changes.

Beaches are changing environments. Access to beaches may be restricted at certain times due to safety, conservation or severe weather and environmental changes.

  • Do not access prohibited or closed beaches.
  • Whilst on the beach, 40 km/h is the maximum speed limit allowed.
  • Pedestrians have right of way.
  • Vehicles must stay at least 15 metres away from pedestrians.
  • A maximum speed of 15 km/h applies when within 100 metres of other vehicles and beach users.
  • Driving on existing tracks not only shows the safest and easiest route, they also give pedestrians an idea of vehicle passageways.
  • Vehicles must drive between the tide marks. Remain below the high tide mark and above the low tide mark.
  • Check updated weather and tidal information, as high tides leave no room for error.
  • Do not park or drive on vegetation, sand dunes, or bird nesting areas.
  • Do not allow domestic animals to roam unsupervised in the dunes or chase sea birds.
  • Vehicle paraflying is not permitted. Any other activities involving the towing of people are also not permitted.
  • NSW road rules apply; vehicles must be registered, drivers licensed and seatbelts must be secured.
  • Council Rangers and the NSW Police Force are authorised to enforce this policy.
  • Access to MidCoast beaches is at your own risk.

Beach environments are sensitive and dynamic. We as Council have a legislative and custodial responsibility to make sure that both other beach users and the environment are protected. This includes the protection of shore bird habitats and the ecological and physical integrity of the sensitive dune environment.

We want to allow the community to enjoy these natural assets in a responsible manner. Beach drivers need to do the right thing so other beach users are kept safe and our natural flora and fauna are protected.

Your permit fees assist in maintaining access points, dune rehabilitation and weed control.

A valid and current beach vehicle permit must be clearly displayed on the bottom passenger side of the vehicle windscreen and the vehicle registration must be clearly written on the label.

All vehicles must be registered with the Roads and Maritime Services, and drivers must hold a current drivers licence applicable to the vehicle they are driving.