Overview

  • Features: 4WD access to camping grounds and walking tracks
  • Opening Times:  24 hours
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring (September to November)
  • Duration: Full day
  • Transport Options: Car
  • Cost: Free
  • Address: Great Sandy National Park, Cooloola, Queensland, Australia
  • Type: National Park

Author Reviews[display_rating_item_results rating_form_id=”2″ rating_entry_ids=”1″ show_category_filter=”false” show_options=”true” result_type=”star_rating” preserve_max_rating=”true” show_title=”false” show_count=”false” ]

Total Rating: [display_rating_result rating_form_id=”2″ show_count=”false” show_rich_snippets=true] [accordions load=”1″] [accordion title=”User Reviews” last] [display_rating_item_results rating_form_id=”5″ show_options=”true” result_type=”star_rating” preserve_max_rating=”true” show_title=”false” show_count=”true” show_rich_snippets=true] [/accordion] [accordion title=”Add Review”][display_rating_form show_email_input=”true” show_comment_textarea=”true” show_name_input=”true” rating_form_id=”5″] [/accordion] [/accordions]

Summary

If you’re planning to visit Cooloola Great Sandy National Park, you must read this article which outlines the best ways to explore the park along with handy tips. Plus, there’s detailed information on the most popular things to do in the park and the best-equipped camping grounds in the area.

Best Ways to Explore Cooloola Great Sandy National Park

 

If you’re planning to visit Cooloola Great Sandy National Park, you must read this article which outlines the best ways to explore the park along with handy tips. Plus, there’s detailed information on the most popular things to do in the park and the best-equipped camping grounds in the area.

Stretching north of Noosa along the coast, the Cooloola Section of Great Sandy National Park covers 56,000 hectares (138,320 acres) and starts from just north of Noosa Heads and Tewantin, on the northern side of the Noosa River, and extends along the coast to Rainbow Beach. It’s a varied wilderness area with long sandy beaches, mangrove-lined waterways, forest, heath and lakes, all featuring plentiful bird life – including rarities such as the red goshawk and the grass owl – and lots of wildflowers in spring.

The Cooloola section of Great Sandy National Park is a popular holiday destination thanks to the natural beauty of the area as well as the plethora of outdoor activities available here. From 4WD and walking tracks to spectacular lookouts, to camping, fishing and viewing wildlife, it doesn’t get better than this. If you want a relaxing holiday in the bush and enjoy camping in the middle of nowhere, this is a holiday destination made for you.

 

[singlepic id=5609 w=720 h=560 float=center]

 

 

Tips for Visiting Cooloola Great Sandy National Park

  • Before you go, book your car and camping permits for Great Sandy National Park online; otherwise you can get them from the Information Centre
  • Pop into the QPWS Great Sandy Information Centre, which can provide information on park access, tide times and fire bans within the park
  • Recreational fishing is popular along Teewah Beach and the upper Noosa River
  • Look out for wildlife as Great Sandy National Park has more than 350 bird, 75 mammal, 21 frog and 80 reptile species
  • Stock up on water, food, and gas before visiting the national park

 

 

Best Ways to Explore Cooloola Great Sandy National Park

  • Along the many 4WD tracks to lookout points and picnic grounds
  • By boat of canoe along the numerous tributaries of the Noosa River
  • Walking trails through the Cooloola section of Great Sandy National Park

 

 

 Great Sandy National Park Map

[singlepic id=5612 w=720 h=560 float=center]

 

 

Four-Wheel-Drive (4WD) Access to Cooloola Great Sandy National Park

Roads through the Cooloola section of Great Sandy National Park allow visitors to explore its magnificent natural features. There are some fine sandy tracks which take visitors to various lookouts and camping grounds in the park. While conventional vehicles can only drive to Elanda Point, just north of Boreen Point, four-wheel-drive vehicles can access the park from Cooloola Way, which runs from Tewantin up to Rainbow Beach, and Harry’s Hut Road.

Care must be taken after heavy rains and at high tides; check with the rangers before setting out. All vehicles must be registered and have a valid Cooloola Recreation Area vehicle access permit (VAP) displayed on their windscreen when traversing designated tracks and beach areas.

Below are the most popular 4WD tracks in the Cooloola section of Great Sandy National Park.

 

1. Teewah Beach (Vehicle Access Permits required)

With 40km of open beach suitable for 4WD vehicles only, this is a popular area for camping, swimming and fishing. There are two camping areas here – Teewah Beach camping area and Freshwater camping and day-use areas. The base of the headland called Double Island Point can also be accessed from here. Captain Cook named the headland Double Island Point because from out at sea it appeared to be two separate islands.

 

2. Freshwater Road (Vehicle Access Permits required between Bymien and Teewah Beach)

Freshwater Road is a rough, 19km sand track suitable for 4WD only from Bymien. The track passes through some of Cooloola’s diverse plant communities – coastal rainforest, tall blackbutt forest, scribbly gum woodland and coastal banksia communities. The track continues to the Freshwater camping area and day-use area and ends 500m further at Teewah Beach.

2WD vehicles can access the first 3km of the track – off Rainbow Beach Road – to a small rainforest patch surrounding the Bymien picnic area. This is a cool, shaded spot with information displays, toilets and tables (wheelchair-accessible) and a short walk among some of the area’s best representative rainforest species.

 

3. Kings Bore circuit track (Vehicle Access Permits required)

This is an 18km one way track that takes about an hour to traverse. The track is rough in sections and is suitable for high clearance 4WD vehicles only. Access is off Rainbow Beach Road north of Cooloola Way. The final section onto Teewah Beach – Kings Bore Road – is steep and one-way only. This 40km circuit drive, part of Cooloola’s fire management access trail network, is reached by taking the northern branch off Kings Bore Road.

Caution – Visitors should be self-sufficient and carry vehicle recovery gear on this remote, unsigned track. Read the map carefully and check conditions before heading off as these trails may be closed due to wildfires in the park.

 

4. Cooloola Way (No Vehicle Access Permits required)

This 32km of dirt and sand road connects Rainbow Beach Road and the Kin Kin-Wolvi Road. It passes through Cooloola’s western river catchment, a low area of wet heath plain, comprising of wallum (Banksia aemula) that flowers prolifically in spring, and taller forests with scenic views east over the Cooloola sandmass. The track has access points (good for long-distance walking pick-up and drop-off points) to parts of the 49.7km Cooloola Wilderness Trail – a wonderful walk in spring.

 

5. Harry’s Hut Road (No Vehicle Access Permit required)

This 10km road is a very rough sand track that can be flood damaged with potholes and washouts. It is suitable for high clearance 4WD vehicles only. The track winds through open scribbly gum woodlands, mixed eucalypt open forests, rainforest, and melaleuca woodlands on low riverine floodplains. It ends at Harry’s camping and day-use area on the bank of the upper Noosa River.

 

6. Poverty Point Road (No Vehicle Access Permit required)

This 6.3km rough, sandy track is suitable for 4WD vehicles with high clearance only. Expect some long stretches of deep loose sand with some sections becoming inundated after heavy rainfall. The turn-off to Poverty Point camping area is off the Rainbow Beach Road.

 

 

Canoeing and Boating along Noosa River

Although there are many 4WD tracks to lookout points and picnic grounds, the best way to see the Cooloola section of Great Sandy National Park is by boat or canoe along the numerous tributaries of the Noosa River. A popular activity is to cruise the Everglades formed by the Noosa River and tributary creeks.

Boats can be hired from Tewantin and Noosa (along Gympie Terrace), Boreen Point and Elanda Point on Lake Cootharaba, and from Gagaju.

 

Canoeing Details for Cooloola Great Sandy National Park

From-to Distance Time
Boreen Point-Kinaba 7km 1hr 30mins
Elanda-Kinaba 4.5km 1hr
Kinaba-Fig Tree Point 2km 20mins
Fig Tree Point-Harry’s Hut 5km 1hr
Harry’s Hut-Camp site 1 3.5km 35mins
Camp site 1-2 1.7km 15mins
Camp site 2-3 2.5km 30mins
Camp site 3-4 1km 10mins
Camp site 4-5 1km 10mins
Camp site 5-8 5km 1hr
Camp site 8-9 1km 10mins
Camp site 9-13 2km 20mins
Camp site 13-15 3km 30mins

 

Boating Details for Cooloola Great Sandy National Park

From-to Distance Time Speed limit
Boreen Point-Kinaba 7km 15mins 40 knots
Kinaba-Fig Tree Point 2km 15mins 6 knots
Fig Tree Point-Harry’s Hut 5km 30mins 6 knots
Harry’s Hut-Camp site 3 7.7km 45mins 6 knots

 

 

 

Walking Tracks through Cooloola Great Sandy National Park

Walking is a good way to experience the Cooloola section of Great Sandy National Park. There are some fantastic walking tracks that range from short circuits to overnight hikes and lead to some of the park’s best features. Below are the walking track details for the short walks in the area.

 

Walking Tracks Map for Cooloola Great Sandy National Park

[singlepic id=5614 w=720 h=560 float=center] [singlepic id=5613 w=720 h=560 float=center]

 

 

1. Teewah Landing to Teewah Beach

Distance: 4km return

Time: 1hr 30mins

Walk from Lake Cootharaba through coastal heath and woodland to Teewah Beach. A side track to Seawah Hill (4km return to Teewah landing track) offers spectacular views from the river to the ocean and to Noosa Heads.

 

2. Elanda Point to Kinaba Information Centre

Distance: 12.2km return

Time: 4hrs 30mins

Walk to Kinaba through paperbark and cabbage palm wetland.

 

3. Mangrove Self-guided Walk (Kinaba)

Distance: 500m circuit

Time: 20mins

Follow the self-guided boardwalk from Kinaba through the mangroves.

 

4. Elanda Circuit via Mill Point

Distance: 5.1km circuit

Time: 2hrs

Walk through allocasuarina and paperbark forests. Take a 400m side track to Mill Point and follow the self-guided historical walk to the site of a timber mill township that flourished from 1862 to 1892.

 

5. Elanda to Fig Tree Point Camping and Day-use Area

Distance: 10.6km one way

Time: 3hrs 30mins

Walk through the Elanda Plains and open woodland to the remnant rainforests of Kin Kin Creek (4.7km). Cross the footbridge and walk to Fig Tree Point, a further 5.9km.

 

6. Melaleuca Circuit (Fig Tree Point)

Distance: 500m circuit

Time: 20mins

Follow the boardwalk through paperbark and cabbage palm wetland.

 

7. Boronia Trail (Kin Kin Creek) to Harry’s Hut Road

Distance: 1.8km one way

Time: 1hr

Branching off the Cooloola Wilderness Trail (700m from Kin Kin Creek footbridge) on the northern bank of Kin Kin Creek, walk through remnant rainforest and woodland to Harrys Hut Road.

 

8. Fig Tree Point Camping and Day-use Area to Harry’s Camping and Day-use Area

Distance: 6.6km one way

Time: 2hrs 30 mins

This track follows part of the Cooloola Wilderness Trail through fairly low-lying areas of open and closed forests.

 

9. Harry’s Camping and Day-use Area to Camp Site 3

Distance: 12.8km return

Time: 4hrs 30mins

Paddle across the river from Harry’s Hut and follow the walking track along the river to camp site 3.

 

10. Camp Site 3 to Cooloola Sandpatch

Distance: 12km return

Time: 4hrs

Walk through coastal heath and wildflowers along a low sandy ridge from camp site 3. Walk up through blackbutt forest, with grasstree understorey, to the Cooloola Sandpatch for panoramic views over the ocean and national park.

 

11. Harry’s Camping and Day-use Area to Wandi Waterhole Camping Area

Distance: 9.5km one way

Time: 3hrs 30mins

Grade: 4

Walk alongside the upper Noosa River then change course into the remote western catchment area, ending at a camp site beside a naturally-dammed waterhole.

 

12. Wandi Waterhole Camping Area to Neebs Waterhole Camping Area

Distance: 13.1km one way

Time: 4hrs 30 mins

Grade: 4

Walk through pockets of scribbly gum, melaleuca and wallum banksia woodlands before relaxing at a camp site beside an even larger waterhole. Beware of traffic when crossing the Cooloola Way.

 

13. Neebs Waterhole Camping Area to Mullens Car Park

Distance: 8.1km one way

Time: 2hrs 30mins

Grade: 4

Continue walking through a mix of open woodland and heath communities towards Mullens car park.

 

14. Rainbow Beach QPWS Information Centre to Carlo Sandblow

Distance: 3.8km return

Time: 1hr 30mins

Grade: 3

Leave from the QPWS information centre car park in Rainbow Beach and follow this track through woodlands to a natural sandblow with extensive views east and west.

 

15. Rainbow Beach Township to Coloured Sands

Distance: 6km return

Time: 2hrs

Grade: 3

Walk south-east along the beach to where spectacular eroded cliff lines expose coloured sands.

 

16. Searys Creek Car Park (Rainbow Beach Road) to Searys Creek

Distance: 200m return

Time: 10mins

Grade: 2

Start at the car park (7.5km south of Rainbow Beach) and follow the boardwalk to reach a crystal clear stream flowing through heath and low woodland.

 

17. Dandathu Circuit (Bymien Picnic Area)

Distance: 250m return

Time: 10mins

Grade: 2

Enjoy an easy walk through a representative selection of Cooloola’s rainforest species.

 

18. Bymien Picnic Area to Poona Lake

Distance: 4.2km return

Time: 1hr 30mins

Grade: 2

From Dandathu track, climb a rainforested high dune before descending through carrol (grey myrtle) scrub to the white sandy beach and tea-coloured waters of this perched lake.

 

19. Freshwater Camping Area to Freshwater Lake

Distance: 2.4km return

Time: 50mins

Grade: 2

Walk through scribbly gum woodland and open forest to Freshwater Lake, flanked with reeds and twisted paperbarks.

 

20. Freshwater Lake Circuit (Freshwater Camping Area)

Distance: 4.7km return

Time: 2hrs

Grade: 2

Walk through rainforest and open forest woodland, along part of the Cooloola Great Walk and around the lake.

 

21. Freshwater Lake Car Park (Freshwater Road) to Bymien Picnic Area

Distance: 17km return

Time: 5hrs

Grade: 3

Pass through scribbly gum, blackbutt forests and rainforest, passing Poona Lake through carrol scrub (Backhousia myrtifolia) understorey.

 

22. Rainbow Beach to Bymien Picnic Area

Distance: 15km return

Time: 5hrs

Grade: 3

From Carlo Sandblow follow a section of the old telegraph line through undulating terrain of woodland and rainforest down to Bymien picnic area.

 

23. Teewah Beach (Double Island Point) to Double Island Point Lighthouse

Distance: 2.2km return

Time: 45mins

Grade: 3

Starting from the southern side of the headland, the track to the lighthouse is steep, but has fantastic view. See marine life from the headland or sit and ponder how life was for early lighthouse keepers and their families. Please do not enter the mowed grass area at the houses.

 

24. Rainbow Beach to Double Island Point

Distance: 30km return

Time: 1 full day

Grade: 4

An early start is recommended. From QPWS information centre in Rainbow Beach walk along a sandy bush track along the high dunes before crossing the Leisha Track to the Double Island Point toilet block. Continue along the northern beach to reach the historical Double Island Point lighthouse.

 

 

 

Great Sandy National Park Camping

The Cooloola section of Great Sandy National Park has about 17 camping grounds, many of them along the Noosa River. The most popular (and best-equipped) camping grounds are Fig Tree Point (at the northern end of Lake Cootharaba), Harry’s Hut (about 4km upstream) and Freshwater (about 6km south of Double Island Point) on the coast. You can also camp on the beach if you’re driving up to Rainbow Beach. Apart from Harry’s Hut, Freshwater, Teewah Beach and Poverty, all sites are accessible by hiking or river only.

Day-use areas with toilets and picnic tables are available at Bymien, Freshwater, Searys Creek, Harry’s and Fig Tree Point.

Untreated water is available at Freshwater, Harry’s and Fig Tree Point.

 

 

Tell us what you think. What activities are you planning to do in the Cooloola section of Great Sandy National Park? If you’ve been here before, what did you do and what was your most favourite experience?

We love to hear from you so please leave your comments below.