Craig Warhurst

Nature takes toll on Rainbow Beach

NATURE imposed its own tax on beach driving when these two vehicles fell into the time-honoured trap known as the Mudlo Rocks at Rainbow Beach.

Water temperature at a delightful 20 degrees was the only good news about beach conditions yesterday, or over the past few days.

As the State Government prepares to impose beach access fees from Middle Rock to Double Island Point, nature got in first when the Mitsubishi Starwagon at the bottom of the photograph got into trouble attempting to round Mudlo Rocks, in conditions where angels would very literally fear to tread.

What used to be a Nissan Patrol attempted to come to the rescue and quickly proved that it would have been better to keep the vehicle safely on the Rainbow Beach side and to have invested a few hundred dollars in a really long length of tow rope.

Beach residents said yesterday that the incident occurred on Saturday night and the cruel sea had by yesterday smashed the Mitsubishi to near-smithereens, with metal flexing and waving around like paper as surf and tides overwhelmed its structural integrity.

The Nissan appeared to be faring slightly better, in that it had still retained its general shape – if you call being submerged and destroyed faring well.

The legendary rocks have been a notorious vehicle trap for many years.

It was a “good news-bad news” day at Rainbow Beach yesterday, with water temperatures at a delightful 20 degrees Celsius.

But the rest was bad news, according to lifeguard Lleam Rees, as he surveyed the empty beach, red flags and warning signs at his patch of wind blown paradise yesterday.

The warning sign said it all: “Beach Closed – No Water Activities! Strong current and rips, large powerful waves, lots of floating debris.”

The beach has been closed for two days, not a good look for a beach tourist town.

But that was not enough to deter a few surf tragics who had earlier attempted to challenge 2m washing machine seas and 40-knot gusts, the lifeguard said yesterday.

“But you get in here and you’re pretty much down there in seconds,” he said, indicating a fair way to the north, along the sweeping current. It’s better to stick to the warnings,” he said.

With new government taxes on beach access for vehicles and a wild and wet summer season widely expected, businesses were almost as quiet (and worried about being as poor) as church mice.

As one shopkeeper said of the upcoming beach access fees for drivers travelling past Middle Rock to Double Island Point: “How much else do we need?”

Writing in his local publication, Rainbow Beach Cooloola Coast Community News, resident Tony Huxley described the taxes as “our worst fears realised.

“No longer can we take a pleasant leisurely drive down to Double Island Point with the kids on a Sunday afternoon for a fish or a swim unless we want to fork out fees to the government for driving on our beach.”

Without knowing about the weather at the time of writing he described the precarious nature of the town’s tourist-driven economy in a year when visitor numbers are “very low.

“To make matters worse we are told by the member for Noosa Glen Elmes that he welcomes this new regime and by our Mayor Ron Dyne that we should look to the positives in this outcome. It appears the only growth industry on the coast is Queensland Parks and Wildlife which gets more regulation, more power and more money.”

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