Rainbow Beach and Double Island Point without a 4WD: Overnight Hike in Cooloola National Park

Cooloola NP Hike Rainbow Beach Carlo SandblowRainbow Beach is a fantastic destination. But, if you don’t have a 4WD, you may feel limited and frustrated not to be able to enjoy the best views at Double Island Point.

If you love hiking, here’s the good news: there’s a hiking track that will take you to Double Island Point.


Download the hiking map


If you don’t feel like hiking, another great option could be to join a surf lesson that will take you there!


Responsible Travel Tip: Hiking is one of the most eco-friendly ways to explore a site. Although 4WD driving on the beach is fun, it has many negative impacts (damaging the area, putting wildlife at risk, using resources).


Hiking from Rainbow Beach to Double Island Point

We started the hike from Carlo Sandblow at sunrise. There’s a carpark accessible for 2WD. Even if you’re not keen for a long overnight walk, the short walk to Carlo Sandblow is a must-do when in Rainbow Beach.

Carlo Sandblow Rainbow Beach 

We went across the dunes in the forest all morning. It’s impressive how a lush vegetation like this can grow on sand. Back on the beach for lunchtime, we then reached the beautiful Double Island Point in the afternoon (10.5km).

rainbow beach hiking forest 
Rainbow Beach Coloured Sands 

We took our time to enjoy the view and spot wildlife from the lighthouse walk before heading to Freshwater campsite (9.4km on the beach + 3.5km inland). Luckily, a nice woman stopped to offer us a ride so we could arrive just before sunset! That’s cheating, but we already spent a long time walking on the beach that day and this last part wasn’t as enjoyable.

Cooloola NP Hike Rainbow Beach 02 Poona Lake

The campground had basic facilities, including barbecue and showers.

The next day, we hiked back to Carlo Sandblow via an inland track passing by Poona Lake (15km). For those with a 4WD, Poona Lake can also be reached via a short stroll (2.2km) leaving from the Bymien picnic area.


Is it difficult to hike from Rainbow Beach to Double Island Point?

Rainbow Beach – Double Island Point is not an easy hike. Although it is not technical at all, you will need to be fit to enjoy it.

Here are the main challenges we noted:

  • carrying enough water for 2 days, in addition to the camping equipment, was incredibly heavy (or you can choose to treat the water from the campground)
  • walking on the beach is exhausting and there’s no shade
  • the forest part was full of mosquitos who did not care about our insect repellent at all
  • there’s a long distance to cover each day so you don’t have much time for breaks (29km on Day 1 – but you can hitchhike for the last 10km if you’re lucky – and 15km on Day 2)


Overall, we were pleased by the hike. We were looking for something challenging to prepare our bodies for long distance hiking for Kilimanjaro so it was a perfect choice. Going through different environments and types of landscape (forest, beach, lake…) was a great surprise. The beach before Double Island Point and Double Island Point itself were the highlights of the hike.


Have you been to Double Island Point? Share your experience in the comments below!


Planning a trip to Rainbow Beach? We always camp on the beach when we go there, at Double Island if we have a 4WD or at Inskip Point if not. If you don’t like camping, click here to check out some hotel options!*


Where is Double Island Point?


Double Island Point is at the end of two beaches, between Rainbow Beach and Noosa, approximately 250km north of Brisbane. It takes approximately 3 hours to drive from Brisbane to Rainbow Beach.


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I am a part-time traveler: I combine a full-time job with a passion for traveling. I love to share my trips and tips to inspire others to explore what’s around them. Before moving to Australia, I lived in France, England and Turkey. I’ve finally found my balance in Brisbane.

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