Attention 4WDers – DO THE RIGHT THING
Attention 4WDers – DO THE RIGHT THING

Attention 4WDers – DO THE RIGHT THING

View of the beach from the car, with the sand dunes and blue sky in the side mirrorDoc and I went to Port Stephens on the weekend. This was part of my Christmas present from him – a long weekend away with sun, ocean, restaurants and bars, sun, beach, relaxing and more ocean. And 4WDing along the beach of course. Hmm, maybe it wasn’t just my Christmas present?

Friday night started sedately. We went for a walk along the harbour front, then stopped at the bar for a couple of drinks before dinner. Then we met some locals, started talking, and had another drink with them. Then another …. and another …. and before we knew it, it was breakfast time and we hadn’t had dinner yet.

So after finding a café where we could get a breakfast that would cover our missed dinner, we headed off to Stockton Beach.

Tracks next to signI didn’t know anything much at all about Stockton Beach, but Doc’s been wanting to go up there for a while (hmm, are you sure this was my Christmas present Doc?)

The people we met at the bar the night before advised us we’d need a permit to access the beach, and lamented that you could no longer drive on the sand dunes. This was sad to them because they’d grown up in those sand hills, but they understood why it was necessary. Then when we got the permit it had two major rules – DO NOT DRIVE ON, THROUGH OR BEHIND THE FRONT DUNES, and TAKE YOUR RUBBISH WITH YOU.

The first rule was important because they were trying to revegetate the dunes to protect the rest of the sand hills and the beach, particularly in storms. It was reinforced with signs along the beach, so really, there was no excuse for those idiots driving up and over the front dunes. And I’m glad at least one of you got booked.

And then there was the rubbish.

BottlesPicture it. We drove off the road along a sandy access track. The sand got softer, whiter and more abundant, until we were surrounded by white sand dunes. Then just around the corner the vista opened up to the bluest ocean you have ever seen, and a long, white, sandy beach stretched out in front of us as far as the eye could see.

There were people fishing, families with kids playing in the water and on the sand. And lots of rubbish all along the beach.

Seriously. What is wrong with people? How difficult is it to take your rubbish home with you and dispose of it properly. And no, burying a dirty nappy and associated baby wipes a few inches down in the sand is not disposing of it properly!

Tracks going over the front revegetated sand dunesAnd it’s not just on Stockton Beach.

Doc and I have driven along outback tracks, and stopped to camp where you’d think few people had ever been, and always there’s rubbish. Cans, bottles, paper, broken equipment. On Stockton Beach there was even a potty standing at attention on the sand, waiting for a toddler who needs to go.

People who don’t do the right thing spoil it for everybody. And not just because living amongst so much rubbish is unpleasant. It’s also bad for the environment and the wild animals who get caught in it or poisoned by eating it. And if councils or those responsible have to keep cleaning everything up themselves, or spend time and money watching that people don’t do things like drive where they’re asked not to, then they will stop everybody doing it.

Plastic water bottles and other rubbish on the beachSo I’m starting a campaign.


It’s simple. Take a plastic bag with you when you go out hiking, camping, or to the beach or park, fill it up with rubbish you find along the way, and bring it home and put it in your garbage bin.

How long would it take to clean the place up if we all did that?




  1. Unfortunately, its everywhere.

    I have read stories by others, blaming the free campers, the backpackers, the Grey Nomads, the bogans etc etc. There is just an element of people who don’t care about anyone but themselves. And for us, we are left with the mess to witness (and clean up).

    Totally understand why some locations are getting fed up with mess and disrespect, and closing off areas to the public.

    If we all just did the right thing in the first place, it would be so much easier!

    1. You’re right Annie – it’s everyone, and it’s everywhere. Rubbish blows into my front garden, it’s at the park when I go down there, and around the Lake when I go for a walk. I went to the beach recently and filled a plastic bag – full – in a 20 metre walk. So much of it is plastic drink bottles.

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