Rainbow Beach has always been one of our favourite destinations. In fact, it was the first place we ever went with our camper trailer. We loved it so much that we have been back there a couple more times over the years and it has never disappointed.
Rainbow Beach is located about three hours drive north of Brisbane. It is a small, laid-back coastal town and generally considered to be the gateway to Fraser Island.
THINGS TO DO
The town of Rainbow Beach is a popular spot with tourists. It is generally busy all year round because of it’s temperate climate. There are a couple of nice coffee shops, a bakery, pub, bowls club and surf club, which overlooks the water. There are also two small super markets – a Foodworks and an IGA which stock all the usual essentials. You will also find a good camping store and the usual “tourist style” shops.
One of the best things to do at Rainbow Beach is to go ‘beach driving’. There are two sections of beach you can drive on without a permit. The first section is between Inskip Point and Rainbow Beach. The second area extends for 4 kilometres south of the centre of Rainbow Beach to an area known as Middle Rocks. This will take you straight past the stunning coloured sands. These towering sand cliffs give Rainbow Beach its name and the colours truly are spectacular.
If you wish to travel past Middle Rocks you must have a Beach Permit which you can obtain from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. You can then travel all the way to the Noosa River mouth on the Sunshine Coast.
When driving on any beach, remember that normal road rules and speed limits do apply and that Police do patrol the beaches. If you are planning a longer drive you will also need to check the local tide charts. Parts of the beach may become inaccessible or unsafe to drive on at high tide.
If you’ve never driven on sand before it may pay to go with someone who is experienced and also to have some appropriate recovery gear with you. The area at Rainbow Beach where you get onto the sand, known as Mudlo Rocks can be particularly tricky to navigate and has claimed many 4WD vehicles.
Carlo Sand-blow is one of those awesome natural phenomenons that has to be seen to be believed. A Sand-blow forms when strong on-shore winds break through the vegetation cover, and pick up grains of sand and blow them inland. Sand-blows take thousands of years to form and are a common feature of both Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island.
To get out to the sand-blow is about a 600 metre walk from the car park along a formed track.
If you are going to walk on the sand-blow do not go near the cliff edges overlooking the beach. They are fragile and can give way. Whilst we were there, a local Policeman arrived carrying a snatch strap so as he could drag a woman back up who had slipped over the edge. He said she gave herself a fright but was uninjured. He also said that he performs this task frequently during the holidays.
The sand-blow is also a popular spot for hang-gliders and para-gliders to launch from. Many people bring their ‘boogie’ boards so they can slide down the sand hills. I personally wouldn’t recommend this as the sand-blow is a very fragile environment and this activity could damage the vegetation in the area.
TAKE A DAY TRIP
Just outside of Rainbow beach you will find the Cooloola Recreation Area, which is part of the Great Sandy National Park. There are walking trails and 4wd tracks, as well as picnic areas. Again you will need a National Parks permit for this area.
Also just a short drive from Rainbow Beach is the small town of Tin Can Bay. This is another very popular spot, with a laid back, coastal village atmosphere. It is perhaps best known for the dolphins that come in every morning to be fed.
WHERE TO STAY
Each time we have been to Rainbow Beach we have stayed at Rainbow Beach Holiday Park at Carlo Point.
Rainbow Waters Holiday Park is situated on 23 acres at the end of Carlo Point Road, but is still only 10 minutes from the centre of Rainbow Beach. It has cabins, powered sites and un-powered sites available. If you are only after an un-powered site, you can pretty much choose anywhere to set up. As a bonus, you are also able to have a camp fire, which we love in the cooler months.
The park is surrounded by bush on one side and water on the other. There is also a public boat ramp just at the back of the park. Perfect if you own a boat or like to go fishing.
The amenities block is clean and always has plenty of hot water. Also on site is a small shop, a TV room, a games room and a small playground. There is also a good sized camp kitchen with barbeques available.
Another option is to camp at Inskip Point. This is an extremely popular camping area where you can camp right along side the beach. You will need a National Parks permit to camp anywhere at Inskip Point. There are toilet facilities only but no showers.
There is also another caravan park located right in the heart of Rainbow Beach which is also extremely popular.