I loved Rainbow Beach. I mean, I absolutely ADORED Rainbow Beach! Picture crystal clear waters, soft white sand and a 4x4 beach! What more could you want? Well, as my partner James and I found, this natural beauty on the Sunshine Coast offers much, much more! We spent over three weeks here, adventuring, exploring and discovering a small little surf break we had never heard of before. (And it’s only accessible at low tide!) Here's what we got up to.
A sunset picnic at the Carlo Sand Blow
The Carlo Sand Blow can be seen from most of Rainbow Beach. It’s quite hard to miss it! It’s a large sand dune that is kind of in a moon shape. You can access the sand blow by following a short 600 metre track, leading you out to the dune. It’s so much bigger than you can really see from the roads or beach. Sunsets from up here are absolutely beautiful. As are the sunrises! One of our best afternoons was spent up here, with a glass of red wine and a little picnic blanket watching the sunset turn the sky an amazing bright pink colour before the day turned into night.
Driving on the beach
For us, driving on the beach is a rare occasion as our van isn’t a 4x4. It was such an awesome experience to have a 4x4 here and be able to venture down to the southern end of Rainbow Beach, Double Island Point. We had spent two weeks already dreaming about getting down there as we had heard it was a pretty awesome spot to spend time at. There is nothing better than cruising down the beach at sunrise, with the cool breeze coming through the window. Especially when there is no one else around.
Camping under the stars
One of the benefits of being able to drive on the beach is that you can also camp in remote spots on the beach! Our favourite camping spot was at Teewah Beach which is on the other side of Rainbow Beach. It’s a 15km long camping zone and you can literally just pick anywhere to stay. We were lucky enough to get to do this when it wasn’t peak season so there was hardly anyone around. We spent two nights beach camping and even got to set up our tent for a change. Camping under the stars with the loud waves crashing onto the beach is an experience we won’t forget.
Capturing the rainbow coloured sands
As we had a 4x4 here, we were able to drive right down to the rainbow coloured sands. There were rich reds, deep purples and even some bright yellow parts. We discovered there is actually at least 72 different colours! All of these amazing colours have been exposed by the erosion and reach about 80 metres high.
Surfing at Double Island Point
While we had heard of Double Island Point, we had no idea that there was a little surf break at the point here. What made this spot so special is that it is only accessible at low tide and the water is completely crystal clear. It was only us and about six others enjoying this little slice of paradise. We stayed here for high tide too, meaning we had to wait for the tide to drop to get back across to Teewah Beach for the night.
(Before thinking we’ve spoiled this spot by mentioning it, it actually is really well known and is apparently PACKED like a car park on days like Australia Day - so beware! Try and visit during the week if you are thinking of coming here).
Wandering through the Toolara Forest
On the drive into Rainbow Beach you’ll notice the long stretches of pine forests that seem to go on forever. They’re quite beautiful. We decided to stop off at the Toolara Forest one day and it was definitely worth the stop. The grounds are actually covered in pine cones too. (Something I wish I had known closer to Christmas time so I could have collected some for my DIY van decorations).
Swimming in crystal clear waters
Just swimming in the crystal clear waters of Rainbow Beach is enough to make anyone happy. The water temperate is also nice enough here to be able to stay in for ages. The surf here is normally always really small so it’s nice not having to worry about giant, rogue waves rolling through and washing you to shore! It’s very relaxing.
Spotting humpback dolphins
One afternoon we were at the Carlo Point Marina, just behind the Rainbow Beach Holiday Park. We were just watching the sun go down when we thought we saw what looked to be a baby humpback whale in the bay with a white fin. We thought we must have been dreaming until we spotted it a few more times. It wasn’t until we got a little closer and had a better look that we realised it was actually a dolphin. After a little bit of research, we realised they were humpback dolphins!
Locals tip: If you want to catch a glimpse of one of them, they are usually fed at Barnacles Dolphin Centre in Tin Can Bay at 8am before they swim over to Carlo Point Marina around 9am. All of these dolphins have also been named by the centre. We discovered “White Fin” must have been the one we saw.
Returning to Rainbow Beach is something we definitely plan to do. As our trip continues around Australia, we know we’ll be stopping off here again on our third visit to Queensland. The relaxed coastal vibes and endless activities are the draw cards for us!
Where to stay
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