February 20th, 2024
6 minute read
Rainbow Beach is a gorgeous coastal destination in southern Queensland that is packed with fun things to do! Many travellers stop over in Rainbow Beach on their way up or down the East Coast of Australia. Though the charming town is most known for being one of the gateways to K'gari (Fraser Island), the town of Rainbow Beach itself has much to offer!
Due to its opportunities for outdoor adventure and its relaxing, laid-back vibe, Rainbow Beach is absolutely worth visiting during your travels along Australia's East Coast. The town is often used as a stopover on the way to the world's largest sand island, K'gari (Fraser Island), but it's worth spending a few days here. Rainbow Beach is a small town, but the natural wonders that surround it are plentiful. You only need a couple of days in Rainbow Beach, but each day can be action-packed with surfing, scuba diving, swimming, 4WDing, and sightseeing!
The #1 thing to do in Rainbow Beach is take a trip over to K'gari (Fraser Island). As the world's largest sand island, K'gari is an enchanting place that draws in Aussie locals and international travellers alike. You can book day trips or overnight trips to K'gari from Rainbow Beach, or you can take your own 4WD there if you have one! The Inskip Point Ferry is just a short drive away from downtown Rainbow Beach.
If you have time to spend more than 1 day on K'gari (Fraser Island), do it! Full of majestic rainforests, stunning lakes, ancient sand dunes, and more, there is so much to see and do on this Heritage-listed island. A 3-day tour is ideal, but even if you only have time for a day trip you're sure to be blown away by the landscapes of K'gari.
With calm, clear water and a captivating coastline that curves into protected lagoons and bays, Rainbow Beach is great for water sports. Kayaking and paddleboarding in particular are amazing ways to sightsee and get up close with the abundant marine life around Rainbow Beach.
Double Island Point is one of the best places in the area for water sports. The peaceful waves are home to dolphins, turtles, and other marine creatures, so there is a chance you may spot some wildlife while paddling around. But there are plenty of other places to try kayaking or paddleboarding as well, and these leisurely activities are suitable for travellers of all ages and fitness levels.
Undoubtedly one of the coolest things to do in Rainbow Beach is visit the impressive Carlo Sand Blow. A highlight of Great Sandy National Park, Carlo Sand Blow is a 15-hectare expanse of golden sand that rises up above the coastline. Stroll across the soft sands and admire panoramic views that are especially gorgeous at sunrise or sunset. Carlo Sand Blow is only 1.5 km from Rainbow Beach so you can walk straight there from town!
Surfing is another fun way to embrace the natural beauty around Rainbow Beach. Grab a board, slap on some sunscreen, and have a blast riding the waves. Double Island Point is often considered the best surf spot in the area. The prominent headland creates a point break that has consistent waves for surfers of all levels. If you've never surfed before, this is an amazing place to learn and you can book surf lessons in downtown Rainbow Beach!
If you're not into water sports, make the most of your time in Rainbow Beach by just having a peaceful beach day. Lounge on the velvety sand, soak in the warm Queensland sunshine, and swim in the refreshing ocean. You don't have to be constantly moving around to enjoy Rainbow Beach! Park up on the shoreline with a good book and a coffee and just sink into a state of serenity and relaxation.
There are plenty of beautiful places to enjoy a beach day in the area. Rainbow Beach itself is a 23km strip of golden sand that has ample space for sunbathing and swimming. The southern end of the beach is better for swimming because the water is calmer and more protected. Remember to always swim between the red and yellow flags in order to avoid rips and dangerous surf. Inskip Point is another popular location for a beach day, but you need a 4WD. Hook Point Beach and North Spit Beach are also beautiful, though the ocean here is only safe for swimming when there is little swell.
Rainbow Beach is known for its fascinating coloured sands that tower along the coastline. Thanks to many years of erosion and exposure to the elements, layers of unique colours and textures have cemented their place on these massive sea cliffs. It's like a magnificent work of art created entirely by nature! The best way to admire the coloured sands at Rainbow Beach is to just walk along the cliffs at low tide, snapping photos and observing the incredible natural phenomenon.
An alternative to swimming in the ocean around Rainbow Beach is taking a dip in Poona Lake! Located a bit further inland from Rainbow Beach in Great Sandy National Park, this freshwater lake is similar to the famous Lake McKenzie on K'gari (Fraser Island). With crystal clear water surrounded by silky white sand and lush rainforest, Poona Lake is a stunning place to swim, hike, relax, and escape the crowds!
Driving a 4WD along the sand is one of the most popular things to do in Rainbow Beach. This corner of southern Queensland is practically synonymous with 4WDing on the beach! Before you bring your vehicle out to the sand, make sure you get a vehicle access permit from the Queensland National Parks website. And make sure you only drive at low tide so the salt water doesn't damage your 4WD. Teewah Beach, Inskip Point, and Rainbow Beach are the most popular places for cruising along the sand in a 4WD, as is K'gari (Fraser Island), of course.
Rainbow Beach has some great fishing! Whether you're an experienced angler or a fishing newbie, there are lots of lovely places to cast a line in the area. Dart, Whiting, Jewfish, Flathead, and Bream are common species in the waters around Rainbow Beach, and you can fish year-round. Many people like to fish right on Rainbow Beach itself, though Inskip Point, Double Island Point, Tin Can Bay, and Ida Island are other popular fishing spots.
Last but not least on our list of the best things to do in Rainbow Beach is scuba diving. Rainbow Beach is most well known for its sand dunes and beach driving, so many travellers actually don't know that there is incredible scuba diving here! Wolf Rock is a world-class dive site located just 2km off Double Island Point.
This underwater haven and marine sanctuary is filled with unique volcanic rock formations and gulleys that are frequented by sharks and rays. The presence of large marine creatures like Eagle Rays, Manta Rays, Leopard Sharks, Grey Nurse Sharks, and Sea Turtles is so reliable that Wolf Rock is an essential spot for research as well as recreational diving. Visit Wolf Rock Dive Centre in Rainbow Beach to organise your scuba dive!