Four Wheel Drive From Noosa to Rainbow Beach
By []Cobus Van Staden

Between iconic Noosa Heads and Rainbow Beach lies the southern section of the Great Sandy National Park, known as Cooloola National Park. The northern section of the park is Fraser Island. The Cooloola National park is some 80km long and 30km wide. It contains beautiful beaches and sand dunes, untouched teetree forests, and the pristine upper reaches of the Noosa river including the Noosa everglades.

This region is popular with 4WD enthusiasts, campers, fisherman and nature lovers. It is ideal for one-day outings and extended camping trips. Taking a 4×4 between Noosa and Rainbow Beach through the Cooloola National Park is the only way you can truly appreciate this beautiful area.

There are 3 ways for you to access the park:
1) by beach
2) by unsealed road
3) by sealed road.
Each offers a different experience of the park.

The most popular way to explore the park is to drive along the beach from Noosa using a 4WD vehicle. Take the ferry across the Noosa river at Tewantin to Noosa north shore. You make your way onto the beach at one of 3 cuttings. The north shore is known for its great fishing and for the variety of species of migratory birds that visit each year. As you drive north along the beach you will first come to Teewah village. You can take a walk inland to Teewah point on Lake Cootharaba. As you move further north you will come to high sand dunes and the point where you can access the Cooloola sand blow by walking track. The beach camping zone begins just north of the sand blow. Continuing along the beach, Kings Bore Rd exits onto the beach (no entry) and Little Freshwater creek marks the end of the beach camping zone. The Freshwater track is the only way inland and around to Rainbow Beach. Before you take that track you can continue along the beach to Double Island Point. This is a very popular area for divers, fisherman and surfers. Head back and take Freshwater track inland, past inland camping grounds and Poona Lake. You will hit the Rainbow Beach Rd, at which you turn right and have a short drive into Rainbow Beach.

Driving conditions vary with weather and tides. It is important that you only drive on the beach a maximum of 2 and a half hours either side of low tide. On the beach normal Australian road rules apply. Keep to the left and the speed limit is 80kmh. It is highly recommended you reduce your tyre pressure for driving on the sand. Remember once you are off the sand to re-inflate your tyres and wash the sand from under your 4WD vehicle.

The second way from Noosa to Rainbow Beach is to take the Cooloola Way around the western edge of the park. This is accessible by 4WD and regular vehicles provided there has not been too much rain. From Noosa take the Noosa-Cooroy Rd to Cooroy. Turn right and go to Pomona and then on to Kin Kin. Continue on the Kin Kin-Gympie Rd for about 8km and then turn right onto the Cooloola Way. This is an unsealed road. A further 10km will bring you to the turn off to Harry’s Hut. This is the only road access to the upper reaches of the Noosa river and Noosa Everglades. The road to Harry’s Hut is a little rough and is recommended for 4WDs only. There are camping grounds and picnic facilities at Harry’s hut. This is also the gateway to many other secluded camping areas along the river which are only accessible only by walking track and canoe. Camping permits are required to camp along the Noosa river. Continuing along the Cooloola way will take you through different types of eucalypt, banksia and teetree forests, and you will eventually cross the very upper reaches of the river. Your drive continues north to Rainbow Beach Rd, at which you turn right, and you have a few minute drive into Rainbow Beach. The Cooloola Way is a bit rough for normal vehicles, but fine for 4WDs. It is recommended you stay below the 80km/h speed limit. Some sections of the Cooloola Way are quiet rough and you must drive at a speed that is appropriate to the road and weather conditions.

The third and fastest was to access Rainbow Beach from Noosa is by sealed road. This is the main access road and is often the return route for holiday makers. Take the Noosa-Cooroy Rd to Cooroy and then the Bruce Highway to Gympie. On the southern outskirts of Gympie take a right turn following the signs to Rainbow Beach. This takes you through the eastern part of Gympie to the Rainbow Beach Rd. Turn right onto Rainbow Beach Rd and you have a 35 minute drive on good sealed road to Rainbow Beach. You will drive along the northern border of the Cooloola National Park and see a mix of eucalypt and banksia forest and low heathlands. Before reaching Rainbow Beach you can turn off onto Freshwater track and take it as far as Poona Lake. This section of road is fine for regular vehicles, but no further. Poona lake is a seldom visited perched lake. Allow the best part of an hour to walk from the car park to the lake, which is good for a swim.

Rainbow Beach is a quiet holiday village, offering a range of accommodation and eating options. It is the southern gate way to Inskip Point and beautiful Fraser Island. The famous Coloured Sands can be viewed from Rainbow Beach. At present there is insufficient sand to drive along the beach from Rainbow Beach to the Coloured Sands. If you want a close up look then you need to go by boat. However, there is another small sand blow in the hills near Rainbow Beach that is easily accessible.

To explore the Cooloola National park between Noosa and Rainbow Beach you can take your own 4WD or you can hire a 4×4 from a 4WD hire business. You will need to find a company that rents 4WDs specifically for beach use, which regular car hire companies do not allow. You can obtain a map of the area and access camping permits from the Queensland Government.

Pelican 4×4 Hire is the best 4WD hire in Noosa. We give you the freedom to explore Fraser Island and Rainbow Beach on your own 4×4 adventure. People from all over the world hire our vehicles and take off on their own 4WD adventure holiday to Fraser Island and Rainbow Beach. We are proud to be a member of the Fraser Coast 4×4 Hire Association and support 4WD beach driving safety measures, including the introduction of tag along tours. We have a full range of fully serviced 4WD vehicles from 4 to 8 seats, including Jimny’s, Wranglers, Prado’s and Land Cruisers. See our website or call us on 1800 144 294 or 61 7 5474 8029 to make a booking.

Camping permits are available from the Queensland Government at

Article Source: [] Four Wheel Drive From Noosa to Rainbow Beach