Drastic solution to 'inconsiderate' tourist act on 4WD beach praised by Aussies: 'Good on ya'

Belle Baker and partner Patrick brought their tractor to the beach to solve a common problem.

Unprepared tourists hoping to get onto one of Australia’s most popular beaches accessible only by 4WD have caused a summer of chaos with repeated boggings in the sand.

One fed-up couple decided to take matters into their own hands by bringing their tractor down to the beach. Belle Baker and her partner Patrick have watched in frustration as countless vehicles attempting to access Goolwa Beach in SA have become bogged while attempting to manoeuvre the council-controlled sandy track down to the beach.

With only one access point for entry and exit, it’s caused major traffic jams as Aussies attempt to enjoy their favourite pastime in the sunshine.

Left: A red tractor on the beach which was used to rescue stranded motorists. Right: Belle Baker posing for the camera wearing a pink top and orange hard hat.
Belle Baker (right) brought her tractor down to the beach to help stranded tourists. Source: Supplied

This week, locals Belle and Patrick were fed up enough to take extreme action by bringing their farm tractor down to the beach to help stranded beachgoers.

“It's so frustrating that cars that are not four-wheel drives go on to the beach and get bogged,” Belle told Yahoo News Australia.

“There's only one entry and exit off this beach. So when people get bogged, they block the whole way and it's hard to get away. Sometimes you can get past but generally, it just blocks everything up.”

On Monday, Belle was on her way to the beach when she noticed a car bogged up ahead. She rang her partner and said: “Today is the day, get the tractor down here. This is nuts,” she told Yahoo.

A tractor pulls a bogged AWD vehicle off Goolwa beach.
Four cars were rescued from Goolwa Beach by Belle and Patrick. Source: Supplied

Tourists ignore signage to beach with tough conditions

Despite signage warning motorists that the beach is only accessible by 4WD, ill-equipped drivers continue to attempt the drive anyway.

“There is a perfectly big sign there,” Belle, who runs Tractoring for Women, aimed at empowering women with practical tractor operation skills said, believing it’s either misunderstood or ignored.

The couple said they rescued one bogged family who were driving a brand new Land Cruiser and simply forgot to engage the 4WD function. After engaging the function, it took Patrick “20 seconds” to get the car going again.

“I wouldn't attempt it if I didn’t know how to do it,” Belle said. “It’s actually quite inconsiderate of all the other people.”

While they weren’t doing it for cash, two of the four rescues they did paid as an expression of gratitude. What’s more, locals were chuffed with their efforts.

Belle said that the responses to their efforts spanned from some thinking it was hilarious to others calling the tractor ‘overkill’.

“We had so much positive response, anyone who drove past stopped to say ‘good on ya’. We had people sharing our social media post which was great.

“They, they also, were very grateful that somebody was making an effort on a long weekend whenever people want.”

More needs to be done by authorities

Belle is calling for more to be done to stop the beach chaos - something echoed by Alexandrina Mayor Keith Parkes who previously told Yahoo News Australia “Council needs to look at alternative solutions to manage vehicle access during these peak times, but we would need to talk to all stakeholders including SA Police and the Government of South Australia which controls our beaches.”

It's not just an inconvenience, but a major threat to the environment, with irresponsible four-wheel driving manoeuvres leaving the sand dunes damaged. Mayor Keith Parks previously it would take "years" for the popular beach to recover.

To curb bad behaviour, the South Australian government set new speed limits to protect beachgoers and the delicate ecosystem. But that hasn't addressed the problem of accessing the beach.

Belle suggested infrastructure such as matting under the sand, reinforcements along the side of the track or even a person to control the traffic and warn motorists of the conditions.

“But can you imagine if somebody stood there? The difference in the narrative and the conversation we'd all be having around this would be huge,” she said.

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