4WD ban at nude beach: committee urges Shire of Esperance

A Shire of Esperance committee has urged council to ban four wheel driving on a stretch of coastline along Great Ocean Drive, citing environmental damage and proximity to the nude beach.

The Off Road Vehicle Working Party are hoping to close multiple beach access tracks between the 10 Mile and 11 Mile Beach carparks.

Working party council representative Lara McIntyre said the reason for the ban was to bring the area in line with the rest of the beaches along Great Ocean Drive, which prohibit 4WDs.

“I think there’s three factors; that it’s a nude beach, that there’s environmental damage, and that it’s not appropriate use of a beach on our great ocean road,” she said.

“The free [nude] beach comes into it a bit as well because I guess people are down there doing their thing, and to have a 4WD whiz past them is probably not great either.”

Ms McIntyre said 4WD access to the beach had always been problematic as it created a lot of erosion.

“I think there’s about three access points, one’s definitely being closed off and two are in really bad shape,” she said. 

“One track becomes so bad that they can’t drive on it, and then another track gets push through, and then another.

“It’s not a lot of beach that’s looking at being closed, it’s just the 10 Mile Beach, and from 11 Mile onwards 4WDs can still access the beach,” she said.

“Just because we’re looking at closing this particular beach doesn’t mean we’re immediately going to be scouting beaches along the coast to close.”

Back in January, a local resident expressed concerns to council during public question time over a lack of signage for the nude beach at 10 Mile Lagoon.

Laurence Cruickshank was concerned tourists would not know it was a clothing-optional area due to minimal signage and the use of the word “free” instead of “nude”. Ms McIntyre said in response that the car park at 10 Mile Lagoon Beach was up for re-zoning and the issue would be addressed.