Somewhere over the Rainbow

Rainbow Beach, Australia

Four wheel driving on Rainbow Beach and world-famous ‘coloured sands’. Spectacular!

You can travel the world, but sometimes the very best destinations are right on your own doorstep.

So it is for us. We are fortunate enough to live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, about 100 kilometres north of the capital city of Brisbane. If the Gold Coast is famous for its high rises, night life, theme parks and entertainment, then the Sunshine Coast, or ‘Sunny Coast’ as locals refer to it, is famous for its natural beauty and the spectacular environs of Caloundra, Mooloolaba, Maroochydore, Coolum and Noosa Heads. Miles and miles of pure white sandy beaches broken by spectacular headlands with some of the best surf breaks in the world, And not a casino in sight!

However, while we could rave on about the Sunny Coast forever, this post is actually about Rainbow Beach and Double Island Point. About 160 kilometres north of the Sunshine Coast and via Gympie, Rainbow Beach is for the unspoilt beach lover, 4WD enthusiast and ardent fisher-person. Again miles and miles of sandy beaches and some of the best beach fishing in Australia. Not to mention the world famous ‘coloured sands’, spectacular dunes and cliffs comprising a variety of earth colours that tower 80 metres over the beach. Exposed over the years through natural erosion by the constant pounding of the surf, and comprising over 70 different colours, it is believed that the coloured sands have been forming since the Ice Age. The beach heads south from the village of Rainbow Beach to the spectacular Double Island Point and is a veritable highway for 4WD traffic which is most prolific in summer time. Care needs to be taken when driving along the beach to obey the road rules and ensure you don’t get bogged in the soft sand or trapped by the incoming tides. There’s more that a few 4WDs that have never made it back!

Natural beauty, as far as the eye can see.

You’ll need a 4WD to travel down the beach. You can use your own or you can hire one from a number of rental companies in Rainbow Beach. Accessing the beach at rainbow Beach you then head south for about 15 kms, leaving the beach just north of Double Island Point to transverse a bush track which takes you around the headland to the beach south of the Point.Then north along the beach to Double Island Point itself. Definitely worth the drive. Protected by the headland most days, the beach nestles against the Point to offer safe swimming and surfing. If you prefer, you can take a 4WD bus tour from Rainbow Beach to view the sands. 11 kilometres north of Rainbow Beach, Inskip Point is  a jump-off point for the World Heritage listed Frazer Island, the world’s largest sand island stretching over 120kms. You can take your 4WD across in the barge from Inskip Point or you can book a bus tour in Rainbow Beach village to visit and explore the island.

Dinah and I have been to Rainbow Beach numerous times, our last visit in July this year to join one of our three sons Chris, his wife Nikki and our grandsons Finlay and Felix who were holidaying there and enjoying a Queensland winter (averaging 23 degrees) from the central New South Wales city of Bathurst (averaging 3 degrees!). We have a 4WD and caravan and stay at Rainbow Beach Holiday Village which is perfectly positioned looking out over the ocean. Beyond being a spectacular location, a definite advantage of the park for those who might struggle to reverse their van into tight sites is the “Marriage Saver”, a small John Deere tractor which hooks up to your van and positions it perfectly right along side the slab!  However, it only suits standard ball couplings so, if you have a more specialised articulating coupling (like we do) you’ll be backing it in yourself – with a little help and advice from the dozen or so people standing around watching you with beers in their hands!

You can contact Rainbow Beach Holiday Village on (07) 5486 3222 or 1300 366 596. Their web address is: Email: [email protected] The park gets pretty busy in summer and during Australian school holiday periods so it is advisable to book ahead.

An eclectic destination.

Walking down the main street you’ll see an interesting cross-section of visitors as well as locals. Rainbow Beach is a mecca for those looking to enjoy summer at the beach or in winter, escape the cold of the southern states. Families with young children, young couples enjoying a weekend, overseas visitors in rented camper vans and motor homes, back-packers from Europe and, of course the grey nomads constantly travelling around Australia. Rainbow Beach is both beautiful and very affordable.

As well as the caravan park, the village of Rainbow Beach offers a range of accommodation options, from family cabins and holiday homes to luxury apartments, many with amazing sea views. Eating out is a pleasure, with a variety of restaurants and eateries along with a selection top-notch coffee shops – all family-friendly. Plus there is the beautiful Rainbow Beach Hotel in the main street with excellent food and ice cold beer (for those sunny days) and the Rainbow Beach Surf Life Saving Club, with great food and spectacular views of the beach and south to Double Island Point.

We think that it doesn’t get any better than Rainbow Beach – Summer, Autumn, Winter or Spring. Great location, fantastic vistas, fun 4 wheel driving, superb food and legendary Queenslander hospitality. And for us, so close to home for a weekend or a week.

Tips for the Trip

Plan your trip ahead. pre-book accommodation such as caravan parks to ensure you can get a site, particularly during peak times such as school holidays and to ensure that you get the site you want.

Plan also to obtain any permits you might need such as camping in national parks or 4 wheel drive beach access. Often you can get them at the location, but it is always wise to be prepared. Better than getting stooped and fined by a ranger for to having the correct permits.

If you are planning to 4 wheel drive on the beach, check tide times to make sure you can get there and back safely. Check out the wall of fame at the Rainbow Beach Hotel and you’ll see in pictures, the results of those caught who got caught out by the incoming tides. A $100,000+ Range Rover half submerged, a Land Cruiser being towed out of the water. Not a pretty sight!

Photo Gallery

Main picture: Sometimes I looks and sees, sometimes I just looks

  • The caravan park is right across from the beach at Rainbow
  • All set up for a week of relaxing, surfing and fishing
  • The main beach is patrolled, so great for families
  • Some of the best beach fishing anywhere
  • You can drive on the beach (with a permit) from Rainbow all the way south to Noosa
  • Watch the tides. This is no place for the inexperienced
  • The famous and awesome Coloured Sands cliffs along the beach heading south
  • Double Island Point from the lighthouse hill looking south
  • 4WDriving along the beach is the best way to experience the spectacular stretch of coastline
  • The family at Double Island Point
  • One of the most beautiful beaches in Australia