Thousands of drivers are being turned away from one of Australia's most beautiful beaches as the hotspot explodes in popularity.
Tourists have been turned away from one of Australia's most beautiful beaches amid traffic "gridlock" caused by day-trippers wanting to see the world's whitest sand.
Hyams Beach is 180km south of Sydney in Jervis Bay, New South Wales, and holds a place in the Guinness Book of Records for having the whitest sand in the world.
But the site's exploding popularity - which has achieved international acclaim - has sent the once-sleepy village of just 110 permanent residents into tourist chaos, with narrow roads congested, cars parked illegally and rubbish left strewn across bushland reserves.
"Go back, Hyams Beach is at full capacity," one illuminated sign on the only road leading to the beach this week read.
Over the past fortnight, thousands of drivers have been turned away from the hamlet as the local council brainstorms solutions with residents over how to combat the influx of visitors during peak holiday season. It comes after a cap was put on the number of vehicles allowed in the village to combat the parking issue which has plagued the village during peak periods.
Hyams Beach Village boasts just one shop, the Hyams Beach Store & Cafe, and only one road leads to the village. The site's parking capacity is 400 but up to 5000 vehicles are around each day in summer.
On Sunday, Hyams Beach Villagers Association member Lois Sparkes said Hyams Beach "has been loved to death" and pointed to the tens of thousands of #HyamsBeach photos on Instagram. "We are a social media phenomenon ... and everyone wants to come and see the white sand at Hyams Beach," she said.
"The beaches are being damaged, in a way, because people are now coming here and if they can't get somewhere to stay they are just illegal camping on the beaches, and the rubbish problem is quite concerning.
"Those who camp on the beach often light fires in the dunes and we are surrounded by national park.
"We want people to come and enjoy the village and the beaches but we ask that they respect the environment."
Shoalhaven City Council has appointed traffic controllers to redirect visitors from the Hyams Beach village in Jervis Bay and a temporary roundabout is in place at Naval College Road and Boderee Avenue until January 6, which will drop the speed limit from 80km/h to 40km/h.
One resident at a meeting with council last month said "we are loving Hyams Beach to death" as ideas were raised such as a shuttle bus service, parking meters or alternative car parks out of the town with walking tracks.
The village's traffic woes date back about five years, when a wildly successful Destination NSW campaign promoted the beach's "squeaky" white sand to the world, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
In 2018, Hyams Beach residents stepped up their campaign to save the region from buckling under pressure from overcrowding.
The council surveyed Hyams Beach ratepayers last year on short and long-term solutions to the area's popularity.
A meeting of residents with Shoalhaven Council resolved to establish a working group to prevent a repeat in the current peak season, with talk of a charging beach visitors by the hour, introducing bus drop-off zones, and even establishing a car park outside of the village and making them walk. Several of those proposals were canvassed during community consultation at a council meeting last month.
Ms Sparkes said there was quite strong support for "out of village" options such as car parks with combined walkways or traffic rationing against available spaces, and some support for paid or time-restricted parking. She said the traffic management arrangements, such as the vehicle limit, have worked "very effectively" to ensure a safer and better visitor experience on hot days when they are "inundated" with thousands of cars.
Meanwhile, residents say a permanent solution is needed to combat the ongoing Christmas traffic problems.
As part of a long-term solution, residents and tourism groups are pushing for more marketing of other beaches in the area, which are said to be similarly blessed with powdery, white sand and crystal clear waters.
Destination NSW has also jumped on the bandwagon and is now urging tourists to visit "one of the 15 other equally beautiful and less busy White Sand beaches in Jervis Bay".