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In search of the coloured cliffs of Rainbow Beach

Recently, or more precisely a whole month ago now (whoa, where does the time go?!?), we went away in our lovely rusting car to do some beach driving and camping along the Cooloola Coast, part of the Great Sandy National Park. As the Cooloola section is only an hour’s drive north of the Sunshine Coast, it’s an ideal camping weekend getaway for us!

Outdoor Things to Do at Rainbow Beach

To get to our campsite at the Freshwater campground, we took the car ferry across the Noosa River at Tewantin, lasting a whole 30 seconds, and then made our way onto Teewah Beach at the third cutting (= entrance).

Some 40 kms of beach driving later (for which you need a vehicle access permit) we got to our spot. The beach is so flat and wide that driving along it pretty much felt like driving on a highway – at least from the passenger’s point of view! 🙂

Driving along Teewah Beach to get to our camp site on the first day

Instead of camping directly on the beach, we decided to stay at the Freshwater camping area. The weekend we were there was relatively quiet except for the steady morning and evening traffic of cars rolling in to use the toilets and shower facilities. I can only imagine how insane the traffic would be during school holidays given that Teewah Beach caters for some 2,000 campers and has no amenities!

READ MORE: Camping at Freshwater camping area: A review

Beach camping along Teewah Beach

The next day we went off for a drive towards Inskip Point from where you can go to Fraser Island, and then back along Rainbow Beach and Double Island Point towards Teewah Beach (check out the Great Sandy National Park’s map for more details).

1. Be amazed – or not – by the coloured cliffs of Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach is most famous for its coloured sands but to be honest, I was a bit disappointed. We did see some nice cliffs and sand swirls but I’m not sure I’d exactly describe them as coloured.

Coloured sand cliffs along Rainbow Beach

Driving along Rainbow Beach

At Double Island Point, looking towards Rainbow Beach

2. Hike up to the lighthouse at Double Island Point

At Double Island Point, we went for a relatively uninteresting walk except for the lighthouse at the top of the point and the view towards Teewah Beach. Since I love lighthouses, this was a nice surprise!

I’ve heard stories though that you can see whales from Double Island Point – that would be fun!

Lighthouse at Double Island Point

Looking towards Teewah Beach from Double Island Point

That day was pretty b-u-s-y, especially at Double Island Point to which you can only get by 4WD and only for short periods of time given tidal patterns. But Queenslanders continue to amaze me with all the paraphernalia they bring to a beach outing… surfboards, gazebos, BBQs, camping chairs, jetskies, fishing gear … it’s like they want to move in.

At Double Island Point, apparently named by Captain Cook

3. Climb around Red Canyon

On our way home the next day we stopped at Red Canyon along Teewah Beach, which I probably appreciated a whole lot more than the coloured cliffs at Rainbow Beach. We had quite a bit of fun trying to climb up the massive sand dunes! 🙂

Coloured cliffs at Red Canyon, Teewah Beach

Close-up of the coloured sand

More sand cliffs at Red Canyon

View of the coloured sands on Teewah Beach

Summing Up…

A great weekend away, especially in the off-season. At Christmas and other school holiday times, it would probably be insanely busy and not my cup of tea at all.

If you’ve got a couple of days or a long weekend, 4WD-ing along Rainbow and Teewah Beach, exploring Double Island Point, and maybe even seeing some whales would make for a nice and relaxing off-season camping escape.

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