Popular beach holiday locations in Queensland’s south east tend to be within a couple of hours drive of Brisbane.
That’s why Rainbow Beach, a three-hour drive north of the Queensland capital is less popular than the likes of Noosa or Mooloolaba. However, if you want to escape the crowds and enjoy beach, river and bushland, it’s worth the extra travelling time.
While it may be more laid-back than more well-known beachside destinations, there is still plenty to keep you occupied.
My top five things to do at Rainbow Beach are:
4WD along the beach
Rainbow Beach is named for its cliffs of coloured sands, the varied hues due to the variety of minerals within the sand.
Driving along the beach in a 4WD is the best way to appreciate the colours of the sandy cliffs that slope down to the beach.
You will need a permit to drive on the beach and it’s important that you time your drive according to the tide times, so you don’t get stranded.
Drive from Rainbow Beach up towards Double Island Point and enjoy a swim and game of beach cricket before heading back along the beach.
If you don’t have a 4WD you can also walk along the beach although be careful of the traffic, it’s like a beach highway particularly in peak season.
Carlo Sand Blow
For one of the best views of Rainbow Beach and beyond, you can’t miss the Carlo Sand Blow.
This dune covers 15 hectares and affords spectacular views of the coastline north and south of Rainbow Beach.
The walk up and down the sand dunes is a workout for the legs, but it’s well worth exploring further than the viewing deck to really appreciate the expanse of the area and the incredible views.
It’s an easy 600-metre walk from the car park through bushland to reach the sand blow and would be worth multiple visits at different times of the day, particularly sunrise and sunset.
This hidden gem is just outside the main town centre. Drive to the car park and then take a 2.2 kilometre walk through bushland. The walk is as much a treat as the swim in the lake.
We were there at the height of the summer season yet there were only a couple of other families swimming in the lake.
The water is a light brown tea colour due to the tannin from the melaleuca tress surrounding the lake and during summer the temperature is warm enough for those of us who don’t enjoy cold dips, yet cool enough to be refreshing.
There are no facilities so take any food and water you require.
Inskip Point is a popular camping and fishing spot a few kilometres north of Rainbow Beach. It’s also the gateway to Fraser Island with the barge taking vehicles to and from the island.
It’s a good spot for a bit of beach or river fishing and, because it’s more protected than the open beach at Rainbow, it’s a calmer swimming area for young children or those who don’t like the surf.
Swimming / surfing
For those who do like to surf, body board or swim in the ocean, Rainbow Beach is a beach lovers’ paradise.
There is a patrolled section and it’s strongly suggested that you swim between the flags.
As it has one of the longest surf breaks in Australia so attracts experienced surfers as well as beginners who can learn to surf through one of the surf schools in the town.
But wait, there’s more
These top five things to do are just a taste of what’s available.
For more ideas about what to do and where to stay, go to Visit Sunshine Coast.