Tourist's 'invasive' 4WD encounter highlights increasing tension at Aussie beaches

Thiago Mizutani says his belongings were stolen after an unknown offender broke into his car, damaging it in the process.

Left, Thiago Mizutani's 4WD with a smashed window after it was broken into while parked at an Aussie beach. Right, Thiago Mizutani and his wife Lidia standing in front of wildlife signs on the side of a road.
Thiago Mizutani said he was shocked to find his 4WD had been broken into while recently visiting Eleven Mile Beach in Esperance, WA. Source: Supplied

A tourist is urging authorities to do more to protect travellers around the country after his 4WD was broken into while making a short pitstop at a popular beach.

Thiago Mizutani is driving “a lap” around Australia with his wife, Lidia, who are both from Brazil, but their plans went awry on Sunday when the couple returned to their car after going a walk for 30 minutes and found it full of broken glass and their belongings stolen near Eleven Mile Beach in Esperance, Western Australia.

“A bunch of our stuff was stolen… diving gear, cables, hard drives, a gallon of petrol we carry and our wallets with all our documents and credit cards,” he told Yahoo News, claiming $800 worth of items were taken, as well as precious pictures saved on their hard drives.

“We left Melbourne to do the lap so basically the car is our home now, it’s the feeling like someone is breaking into your home… my wife just started crying, we were shocked,” he said.

Thiago reported the incident to WA Police, however, they declined to share details when contacted by Yahoo News.

Left, Thiago Mizutani's 4WD with smashed window. Right, the Esperance beach.
Thiago Mizutani said $800 worth of items were taken from his 4WD, as well as precious pictures saved on the couple's hard drives. Source: Supplied

There are some parts of the country Thiago says he feels are better equipped for travellers than others, being full of praise for National Parks which are “regularly monitored by rangers”. However, he believes more “deterrents” are needed to stop people from targeting tourists, which he questioned may have been the case on Sunday.

“With remote sites like the Great Ocean Drive that are pretty popular, more needs to be done to monitor spaces and keep people safe. There’s no cameras for example… they help to deter,” he said.

He claims to have spoken to a local at the petrol station after the break-in who said there is increasing tension from some locals towards tourists, with some feeling disdain that car parks are filled overnight with people passing through, and roads and public spaces are becoming crowded.

Thiago sitting on top of the 4WD in rural Australia.
Thiago said he believes more 'deterrents' are needed to stop people from targeting tourists. Source: Supplied

In recent years, councils across the country have introduced 'no overnight parking’ rules to combat tourists lingering in public car parks and sleeping overnight in their vehicles in Perth, Sydney and Sunshine Coast.

The local reportedly told Thiago they fear this tension will only worsen and possibly heighten over peak times, like during the school holidays.

“You never expect this would happen here,” the Brazilian told Yahoo. “I feel invaded, like I’m not safe anymore.”

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