Auckland Council cracking down on drivers damaging dunes at Muriwai Beach

Muriwai Beach has long been a hot spot for 4-wheel drivers with a need for speed.

But now, the council is cracking down on those venturing onto the dunes and damaging vegetation.

These treads are well used to the black sands of Muriwai Beach and this group of drivers from Auckland will be the first to admit they're petrolheads.

"Wind blowing in your hair, can't beat it," one said.

"The downside of being the passenger is that you have to be the one that gets down and opens all the gates," another said.

And soon there'll be one more gate to open. Auckland Council is hoping to install one at access points to the beach to keep out people without permits and it could cost drivers up to $200 a year to get one.

And while many believe permits are necessary, others doubt they would pay it.

"We essentially think it should be unnecessary, but because we have situations like this with people breaking the rules, maybe some controls have to be put in place," said Auckland 4wd Club spokesperson Peter Vahry.

The beach acts as a road. It has a speed limit of 60km/h and if you're in the driver's seat you have to give way to anything that crosses your path. And not everyone's sticking to the law.

The rules dictate that drivers stick to the flat part of the beach but unfortunately one too many are being tempted by the dunes and the concern is they'll cause irreparable damage.

"Without the vegetation holding that sand together and making up the shape of the dunes, basically the sand is free to move and the whole dune system ends up degrading," Auckland Council's western principal ranger Stephen Bell said.

Drone vision shows how much of the dunes have already been damaged into what Auckland Council calls a sand wasteland.

It's a message local 4-wheel driver groups are trying to get out too, on Sunday performing their good deed by cleaning up the beach. To protect the land for those who want to enjoy it responsibly.