Rainbow Beach is a lovely little town named after the colourful sandy cliffs just to the south of the town. It is the most northerly town on the Sunshine Coast and is just a stones throw from the southern point of Fraser Island.
The town is perched above the long sandy beach. It is centred on one main street, Rainbow Beach Rd, which has a few cafes and shops on it. To get to the beach walk down the stairs or the ramp next to the Surf Club at the end of the main street.
There are two Visitors Information Centres. The one on the Main Street next to the shops has plenty of leaflets, a souvenir shop and a wonderful wall of shame with photos of 4WDs which have come to a sad end on the beach. The other is set back from the main street next to the Shell Petrol station. The lady there is very helpful and will give you information about what to do in the area and help you arrange tours.
Things to do in Rainbow Beach
There are lots of things to do in and around Rainbow Beach. The wonderful, sandy beach stretches for about 30km from Inskip Point in the north to Double Island Point in the south east. It is a great spot to do some fishing, go swimming or just relax on the beach.
An absolute MUST DO in Rainbow Beach is visit the Carlo Sandblow (sand dune). The Sandblow is spectacular and has views down to the town from one end and down to the sea at the other. If you climb up it a bit you can see all the way along the Inskip Peninsula Beach to Fraser Island beyond. It was named by Captain Cook for one of his crew members. It can be reached by using the walking track which starts at the water tower at the top of Cooloola Drive. It is 600 metres one way and takes about 10 minutes to walk with quite a few stairs along the way. It is not suitable for wheelchair access.
To see the Coloured Sands, which are colourful sandy cliffs after which the town is named, walk down to the beach and walk for about 2km south. This is best done at low tide as the Mudlo Rocks are difficult to cross if the tide is high. It is a lovely walk along the beach but you should be careful of the 4WD vehicles which drive along the beach at low tide. They are better seen from the sea, which we discovered while on a sailing trip, so if you get the opportunity to go out on a boat from Rainbow Beach do take it.
It is 13km from the town to Inskip Point where the barge to Fraser Island goes from. This is a nice cycle especially during the week when there isn’t too much traffic. It is worth stopping off along the way to go on the beach especially on the western side which has lovely views across to the other side of the Tin Can Inlet. When you get to the end of the bitumen road you should tie up your bike and walk along the sandy road to the beach where you will get great views of Fraser Island.
There are lots of walking tracks in the Cooloola Section of the Great Sandy National Park and you should be able to pickup a leaflet showing these walks from one of the visitors centres.
You can do an early morning Dolphin Ferry Cruises that departs from Carlo Point at 7.20am and takes you out to hand feed wild dolphins. You can book these by phone on 0428 838 836.
There are Surf and Sand Safaris which are half day 4WD tours driving south along the beach past the Coloured Sands to the Double Island Point lighthouse. You can book these by phone on (07) 5486 3131.
You can also do tandem paragliding, horse or camel rides along the beach, go dolphin view sea kayaking, hire canoes or go scuba-diving. For more information on any of these activities ask in either of the visitors centres.
Excursions from Rainbow Beach
Rainbow Beach is one of the two places that have barge access to Fraser Island. You can organise 1, 2 and 3 day tours from there through your accommodation or the visitors centres although there is not the same number of companies offering tours from here that there are in Hervey Bay. If you don’t want to go on a tour you can hire a 4WD and do it yourself using the barge at Inskip Point to get there. This barge runs back and to all day long and you can buy your tickets on board.
Tin Can Bay is only about 12km from Rainbow Beach and is a lovely little town in a beautiful location on a peninsula. There are lots of sailing boats moored there. From Tin Can Bay you can look back to Rainbow Beach and see the Carlo Sandblow and the wonderful scenery of the hinterland. You can visit here on the way to or from Rainbow Beach and stop for a coffee or perhaps lunch in the Sleepy Lagoon Hotel or the Yacht Club.
For information about accommodation, restaurants and bars see our Rainbow Beach Accommodation page.