Staying Safe

Staying safe

Read all information

Many safety and regulatory signs warn visitors of dangers, rules and regulations and ways to help conserve Moreton Island’s special features. Walking track entrances, campgrounds and day-use areas have information and orientation signs including site-specific interpretive materials. For your safety, please read and heed signs.

Walking safely

  • Always carry a map, first-aid kit, and sufficient food and water.
  • Stay with your children at all times.
  • Stay on formed walking tracks and do not shortcut.
  • Wear sturdy footwear, not thongs.
  • Walk in groups.
  • Avoid walking in the hottest part of the day.
  • Protect yourself from the sun.
  • Obey all danger and warning signs.
  • Do not climb on the shipwrecks at Tangalooma or Bulwer.
  • Keep clear of historic WWII relics at Rous Battery and Cowan Cowan.
  • Bring personal insect repellent to avoid mosquito and sand fly bites.

Pig safety

Feral pigs may carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans. They may become aggressive if their young are threatened. Feral pigs digging for food damage natural ecosystems. Moreton Island rangers are undertaking a feral animal management program on the island focussing on feral pigs.

Please tell the rangers about any feral pigs you see around the island. In particular, note the location, time of day and number of pigs.

Ensure your camp site is pig safe

Pigs learn to scavenge for food. They easily find and scatter rubbish and eat anything including bread and biscuits. Do not encourage them into camp sites.

Make sure you:

  • Never feed pigs or leave food lying around.
  • Keep food, bait and rubbish in strong lockable containers.
  • Bury fish offal below the high tide mark to a depth of 50 cm.
  • Pack away food after you’ve finished eating.
  • Keep your camp site tidy to make it boring and uninviting for pigs.

Water safety

People have suffered serious injuries in water-related accidents. There are no patrolled swimming areas on Moreton Island. Avoid tragedy.

  • Always stay with children when near water.
  • Avoid swimming in the ocean. It is not patrolled and there may be rips and sharks.
  • Do not dive into water. Serious injuries have occurred.
  • Stay away from beach rocks. Surf and swell can wash you away.
  • Powerboats, personal motorised watercraft (e.g. jet skis) and vehicles are not permitted in lakes and streams.
  • Swimming is prohibited in Mirapool Lagoon.

Driving safely

Sand driving can be difficult and dangerous. Take care and remember ALL road rules apply. For essential safety tips please view:

Obey all road rules

  • The same road rules apply on island tracks and beaches as the mainland.
  • All vehicles must be registered.
  • Wear seatbelts at all times.
  • Keep left of oncoming vehicles at all times.
  • Use indicators only when overtaking or turning.
  • All drivers or riders must hold the appropriate driver’s licence.
  • Never sit outside the vehicle or tow people behind the vehicle—it is illegal and people have been seriously injured this way.

Keep below the speed limit

  • Speed limits on beaches and inland tracks apply (see below).
  • Be aware of the speed limits at your location and obey all road signs.
  • People driving too fast for the unexpected are more likely to have accidents.

Speed limits

  • A speed limit of 30 km/hr applies at all times in front of and between:
    • Ben-Ewa and The Wrecks campgrounds, and
    • barge landing areas at:
      • Reeders Point
      • The Wrecks
    • A speed limit of 20 km/hr applies at:
      • Bulwer barge landing area
      • North Point beach
      • The beach in front of Comboyuro Point campground
    • The speed limit on other areas of beach is 60 km/hr and as signed on other tracks.

Depending on conditions, safe travelling speeds could be much lower.

No vehicle access

  • To ensure pedestrian safety, vehicle access is prohibited on the beach at Tangalooma Resort and Cowan Cowan township. Use bypass roads where available.
  • To reduce the disturbance of migratory shorebirds, vehicle access along the beach at Mirapool is prohibited 3 hrs either side of high tide, and a speed limit of 30 km/hr applies at all other times. Please use the Mirapool bypass road.
  • Stay on formed tracks. It is illegal to drive off-track on dunes.

Limited access

  • The western beach between Kooringal and Tangalooma is not always trafficable. Debris and shifting sand may make the beach impassable even at low tide.
  • Middle, North Point and Bulwer–Blue Lagoon roads are narrow and can become very rough in dry weather. For this reason caravans and camper trailers are not recommended on these roads.

Hazard areas

  • Beaches have hazards including washouts and exposed rocks, particularly after heavy rain and rough seas.
  • Accidents have happened due to reckless driving or silly pranks. Passengers have suffered serious spinal injuries in vehicles travelling too fast for the road or beach conditions.
  • At times, creek crossings and exposed rocks make beaches impassable, especially after rough sea conditions.

Before heading off

  • Ensure your vehicle is mechanically sound.
  • Carry essential spares, extra fuel, water, tyre gauge, tyre pressure, pump, snatch strap, tow rope and a first-aid kit.
  • Be familiar with your vehicle and correct driving techniques.
  • Reduced tyre pressure can aid in traction when conditions are soft, dry and boggy.
  • If you choose to lower your tyre pressure, make sure to reinflate tyres to manufacturer’s recommendations prior to driving on hard surfaces.

Load your vehicle correctly

  • Do not overload your vehicle.
  • Load your vehicle evenly with heavy items stored low.
  • Vehicles with too much stored on roof racks can overturn or become stuck.
  • Remember the weight and balance of a 4WD is different to a normal car.

Drive only when you are safe

  • Do not drive when you are tired or under the influence of alcohol or medication.
  • You need to be constantly alert and familiar with sand driving techniques—4WDs handle differently in sand.
  • Police visit the island with speed detectors and breathalyser units.

Give way to

  • Pedestrians—they often cannot hear approaching vehicles above the sound of surf or strong winds. Slow down near people on the beach, especially around children.
  • Seabirds and other wildlife—always go slow and go around flocks of birds.
  • Other vehicles—most tracks are narrow and carry two-way traffic. Frequent passing bays can be found along roads. Do not create your own by driving over vegetation.
  • Vehicles coming downhill, heavy vehicles and vehicles with trailers have right of way in any situation, as they are more difficult to handle.

When sand driving

  • Engage locking hubs and 4WD on inland tracks and soft beach sand.
  • Check your tyre pressure gauge works. Reduced tyre pressure within manufacturer’s specifications helps maintain traction on inland tracks and soft sand. If you choose to reduce your tyre pressure, re-inflate your tyres again to resume speed on harder sand or mainland driving.
  • Avoid sharp turns and sudden braking.
  • Select low gears for soft, dry sand.
  • If your vehicle bogs, reverse out and try to drive forward again.
  • Stay on formed tracks. It is illegal to drive off-track on dunes.
  • Be very careful when crossing creeks. Large volumes of water create steep creek banks.
  • Before crossing any creek, walk through it, if safe, to check the depth of water and softness of sand.
  • Never stop your vehicle midstream; your vehicle may sink or stall.

Watch the tides!

  • The best time to travel is around low tide. Avoid driving two hours either side of high tide and often for longer, as some areas are more affected by tidal activity and onshore winds than others.
  • Beach travel is not always possible, even at low tide.
  • Be prepared for delays, as you may need to wait for suitable beach conditions.
  • Creeks flowing out onto beaches should be traversed with caution.
  • Do not stop your vehicle in any creek bed—use low speed and check depth and sand softness before crossing.
  • For safety, avoid travelling at night.

Tide variations

  • Ocean beach is 1hr 30mins earlier than tide times at Brisbane Bar.
  • Day’s Gutter is 45mins earlier than Brisbane Bar.
  • Tangalooma is up to 40mins earlier than Brisbane Bar.

Tide times vary from year to year. Refer to the official tide times for Queesland for further information.

Travelling times from Cape Moreton

From Cape Moreton to:


Bulwer via North Point


Bulwer via Blue Lagoon Road


Little Sandhills via ocean beach


Tangalooma via Middle Road



Travelling times from Tangalooma

From Tangalooma to:


Bulwer via Cowan Cowan


Kooringal via Toulkerrie


Times will vary depending upon beach and weather conditions and tide height at time of travel. Inland track conditions deteriorate as sand dries out. After rain, track conditions often improve. But when dry, expect a slow bumpy trip!

In an emergency

  • Dial 000 for fire, medical and police emergency assistance.
  • If no mobile reception, try 112.
  • Dial 106 for a text-only emergency service, for speech or hearing impaired people.
  • If calling from the ocean beach, advise 000 operator of your closest distance marker. These are located on the ocean beach at two kilometre intervals north and south of Middle Road.
  • Carry a first-aid kit with you and know how to use it.

Stay with the injured person—keep them calm and protect them from the elements.

For further information please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.