Rainbow Beach is reputed for being the best access to the famous Fraser Island (K’gari). I love Fraser Island; it’s somehow my favourite place in Australia. But if you have time, don’t be too impatient to reach Fraser and stay a bit in Rainbow Beach: it’s also worth a visit!
It takes about 3 hours from Brisbane to reach Rainbow Beach. Although the town is quite small, it offers various activities and amazing nature all around. That makes it one of my favourite weekend destinations to escape from Brisbane. What to do in Rainbow Beach? I’ve now made a few trips to Rainbow Beach, so it is about time to list on the blog my favourite activities there. I always love to discover something new so please don’t hesitate to add tips in the comments!
What are the best things do in Rainbow Beach?
I’ve now made a few trips to Rainbow Beach, so it is about time to list on the blog my favourite activities there. I always love to discover something new so please don’t hesitate to add tips in the comments!
The list is in no particular order of preference. I found it too hard to compare activities that were all very different!
1. Admire the Coloured Sands
These fantastic cliffs are located on the beach, about 2km on the east side of Rainbow Beach Surf Club – which by the way offers a great view of the ocean.
At first sight, you may think you are looking at a rock. But the nature around Rainbow Beach will surprise you: these cliffs are made of sand of different shades. From white to black, with some yellow, red, pink, orange and brown… They list over 70 different tints of sand created by the iron and other minerals in the ground. Stunning. The colours are even better after a windy or rainy period as the top layer of the sand would have been removed.
The best way to enjoy the coloured sand? I’m not sure. From the beach, from a boat, from the air… I’ve tried them all, and it’s always beautiful.
2. Have fun on the beach: 4WD & camping
Except for the swimming zone in front of the town centre and where the ground collapsed into the ocean (literally), all the beach from Noosa to Inskip Point is open to 4WD.
Low tide is the easiest if you want to do some 4WD and also the best to thoroughly enjoy the coloured sand scenery.
Beach camping is very busy during weekends. Still, that’s Australia’s busy: from our experience at Teewah Beach, you should be able to find your spot at least 20m away from the neighbours. Beach camping is something I love. Evenings on the beach around the fire with the moon lighting the ocean, being rocked by the waves as we fall asleep and opening the door tent as we wake up to watch the sunrise without leaving the bed is just amazing.
If you don’t have a 4WD, Inskip Point is one of the rare opportunity to go beach camping with a 2WD and without hiking! The bitumen road goes quite far into the Inskip Peninsula so you can park your car in the campsite and pitch your tent on the beach. If you’re there early, you should be able to find a spot at a walking distance from it.
Teewah Beach (towards Noosa) and Inskip Point (towards Fraser Island) are the two closest beach camping areas not too far from Rainbow Beach. Permits for driving and camping are required.
3. Check Out the Inskip Peninsula
With the ocean on one side, the bay on the other, and a great view of Fraser Island, the Inskip Peninsula is another jewel around Rainbow Beach. It is very busy with all the 4WD waiting for the barge at Inskip Point to go to Fraser Island, just a few metres away.
It became internationally famous earlier this year when the ground collapsed into the ocean. That’s the second time in four years that it occurs in the area, and another event of the same type just happened on North Stradbroke Island – a bit further south.
Be aware although people park their cars nearby and fish all around it, the sand is still unstable around the hole.
4. Check Out Double Island Point Lighthouse
Double Island Point is about 30km south of the town of Rainbow Beach.
On the cliff where the lighthouse stands, you can get one of the best views ever of the ocean. From there, if you are patient enough, you will spot pods of dolphins, turtles, and maybe dugongs, sharks, or whales depending on the season!
You will need to have a 4WD to reach Double Island Point. If you don’t have a 4WD, you can book a tour from Rainbow Beach to go canoeing or surfing; it will take you there (see below for details).
Another option is to do an overnight hike (more info below).
5. Kayak with Dolphins
I haven’t done this one myself, but I’ve seen several times a tour organising it. They take you to Double Island Point in a 4WD with the canoes, and you can explore the ocean from there. From the lighthouse, we could see the canoes surrounded by dolphins. It must be an awesome experience!
6. Surf Australia’s longest waves at Double Island Point
My travel buddies hired a surfboard and got a lift to Double Island Point to surf Australia’s longest waves. Unfortunately, I had the flu that day, so I opted for the option to try to spot marine life from the lighthouse. If the opportunity arises again, I’d be keen to try the Double Island Point waves: they are reputed to be easy for the beginners! To be honest, my tentative to surf the main beach was ridiculous, so I wish we had started with Double Island Point!
7. Hike the Cooloola Great Walk, Double Island Point and/or Poona Lake
There are several hiking options around Rainbow Beach.
The short stroll to the top of Double Island Point is a must-do when visiting Rainbow Beach. Again, you’ll need a 4WD to reach it. You can also choose the hiking option, but it will take you a while!
That’s what we did in April last year as we were planning a trip to Kilimanjaro and looking for long hikes to test our endurance. The overnight walk from Rainbow Beach will take you to from Carlo Sandblow to Double Island Point and Freshwater campground, where you can spend the night. The next day you can go back via the inland track to Carlo Sandblow, passing by Poona Lake. Read the full article here.
It is a part of the longest hike you can do in the area: the Cooloola Great Walk. It goes for about 100km from Rainbow Beach to Noosa. I haven’t done this one and chose to explore most of Cooloola National Park by kayaking the Noosa River instead. If you’ve done the walk, I’d love to hear your feedback!
9. Explore Carlo Sandblow near Rainbow Beach
I love Carlo Sandblow. A short stroll (less than 10 minutes) will take you to the top of the dune. From there, you can go right to have a great view towards Tin Can Bay – perfect for sunset. Or you can go left for a fantastic view of the coloured sands of Rainbow Beach, all the way from Fraser Island to Double Island point – perfect for sunrise. If you play with the sand down on the left side of the dune, its colour changes, it’s unique.
When the weather is good, people paragliding will add some touches of colours in the sky. So beautiful.
10. Enjoy a Bird View of Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island with Paragliding
When I saw some people flying from the dune to get a bird’s view of the Rainbow Beach area, it immediately brought back awesome memories. I did paragliding in the French Alps when I was a young teenager, and I loved it – despite my fear of heights. On top of being a fantastic natural experience to get a new point of view of an area, I found it very relaxing and fun!
I discovered on the dune that my second half had never done paragliding. As I was sure he would love it, I booked him in for an intro lesson to learn how to fly. As advertised by the instructor, he was able to fly solo on this first day! Sensations are guaranteed!
I joined the fun for a tandem flight. The view from up there was fantastic. The water was very clear so we could see sharks and rays, we were flying with (and above) eagles and even spotted a kingfisher. It’s such a unique feeling. The landscape is stunning with Fraser Island in the background, the coloured sands just below us, Double Island Point a bit further, and Tin Can Bay on the side. The take-off and the landing are done on the soft sand of the dune which makes it effortless for beginners during a tandem!
Paragliding is highly weather dependent. If you are lucky enough to be there on a good day for it, or if you leave nearby and can plan a trip according to the weather, I highly recommend it!
Contact Jean-Luc to organise your flight: 0418 754 157 or www.paraglidingrainbow.com
11. Get an Adrenaline Rush with Skydiving
I haven’t done this one (yet). Skydiving is on my bucket-list, but since I’ve seen videos of a jump in a glacier in New Zealand, I’d like to do it there. However, I may one day succumb to the temptation of doing it in Rainbow Beach, just near Fraser Island -my favourite place in Australia – with a great landing on the beach.
Have you skydived before? In Rainbow Beach? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments!
12. Ride a Horse on the Beach or in the Countryside
Riding a horse on the beach at sunset may sound a bit cliché, but it also sounds awesome, doesn’t it?
It is still on my to-do list, and I haven’t picked up yet where to do it. Rainbow Beach? Noosa? Any other suggestions nearby?
Viator* offers a few options that you can book online, from a 90-minute experience to 6 hours or even at night, on the beach or in the countryside or the ocean… It’s hard to choose!
13. Dive an Australia’s Top10 Spot: Wolf Rock
Wolf Rock is a reputed dive spot to see Grey Nurse Sharks and many other biggies. We had to wait to get the advanced diver certification to go there as it is about 30m deep. It was a fantastic dive where we saw Grey Nurse Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Bull Rays, Giant Queensland Groupers, Turtles… One of these dives where you need two extra pairs of eyes to see all the life around you!
The diving shop in Rainbow Beach organises double dives. As the boat trip takes about 45mn and you need to stay out of the water for 1 hour between the two dives, don’t expect to be back before 2.30pm.
The boat trip will treat you with one of the best views of the coloured sands. If you’re lucky, you may spot dolphins and even dugongs in the bay from where the boat leaves.
And if you still have more time in the area and have already visited Fraser Island, you can check the town nearby Tin Can Bay.
Have you been to Rainbow Beach? What did you do there? Please leave a comment below!
Where is Rainbow Beach?
Rainbow Beach is about 3 hours north of Brisbane, just in front of Fraser Island. If you have a 4WD, you can go from Noosa to Rainbow Beach via the beach.
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