There are so many amazing things to do in Rainbow Beach in Queensland? It is definitely somewhere you should consider for your next Queensland adventure! That’s for sure!
When it comes to tiny shore towns, Rainbow Beach QLD may just take the cake – and of course, the sprinkles as well.
Loved all over the world for it’s sparse local density, a consistently cool ocean breeze and the spectacular sand dunes that stretch up and down the coast, this whimsical Queensland community calls out to guests and travelers of all ages and persuasions.
Hikers and exercise enthusiasts will especially enjoy the enormous eastward cliffs that neighbor the iron oxide infused sand that stretches up and down the breath-taking shoreline.
Why is it called Rainbow Beach?
Once dubbed Back Beach, the Gubbi Gubbis, natives of the region, have long told tales of the town’s sandbanks acquiring its magical coloring courtesy of the Yiningie, a rainbow spirit warrior, who crashed into the cliffs while engaged in a tribal battle over love.
With so many resplendent vistas up and down the strand, the photo opportunities to push out to family and friends are endless.
Best Tours of Rainbow Beach
11 Awesome Things to do in Rainbow Beach Queensland
1. Embrace the Beautiful Beach (and Snag Some Hot Shots!)
The abundance of the sun and the radiant glimmer of the flush shore powder set the tone for the entire experience that Rainbow Beach yields its flock of annual fans.
Whether you are on a quest for adventure or are set on a steady diet of rest and relaxation, this scenic retreat has got your fix.
Perhaps the best place to begin any trip is at the beginning, so stopping by any stretch along the water will whet your appetite for what you are about to take in during your stay.
Tucked between the charming town of Noosa and world-famous Fraser Island along the southeast coast of Queensland, Rainbow Beach welcomes all comers by way of Rainbow Beach Road.
Let the cool breeze blow away any uneasy vibes, and as you diverge onto dazzling Inskip Ave be sure and knock off for a few photos as you proceed. With a beautiful backdrop everywhere you look, you won’t have to worry about finding the right angles, or the perfect light. It’s all around you.
Take a deep breath. Then exhale, audibly. You are in one of the most magnificent places in the world. From here on out, everything will be as sweet as ice cream.
2. Chill Out in Cooloola National Park
Pausing for a picnic is always a lovely endeavor, especially in Cooloola National Park where rainforest environments surround professionally kept modern amenities like barbeques, fire pits, outdoor dining tables and on-site restrooms — all free and available to the visiting public.
One of the iconic Rainbow Beach activities.
Filled with indigenous vegetation, the southern stretch of Great Sandy National Park gives way to an overwhelming plethora of open sprawl, wet woodlands, exquisite beaches and enough wildlife to fill up 64 gigabytes worth of camera-phone photos.
From sighting sea eagles to admiring colorful sand cliffs, there is little left to the imagination here, as the feeling of universal beauty is all around you.
Watch for distant whales from the shorelines or whack your way through the bushes where the wildflowers bloom, but don’t forget to keep an eye out for diving dolphins and meandering manta rays, particularly if you’re in town from August to October.
Freshwater lakes that spill into gorgeous groves, and wonderful wetlands are enough to admire for hours, and there’s no need to rush here, as camping on site is also available.
Stop by the Bymien Picnic Area for a delightful dinner in the divine forest, and don’t fret as there are free gas-grills, family sized tables, and of course clean bathroom facilities.
After you’ve filled up on whatever you packed for your day (or three) in the park, amble down the Dandathu Circuit. Surrounded by rainforest flora, the rising hike leads you through a hilly scrub-soaked trail that spills out to Poona Lake.
Anyone ambitious enough to eagerly endure onward will find the Freshwater camping area, a mere 7.3 kilometers (4.5 miles) off.
Should you make it to Freshwater Road, the only way to keep the outing going is to hop in a four-wheel drive vehicle and ride on.
3. Travel Teewah Beach in High Gear at Low Tide
If foot travel isn’t really your jam, perhaps a cruise along the coast in a four-wheel drive vehicle is more your speed. Grab your racing gloves and set the GPS for Teewah Beach on the Rainbow to Teewah Beach 4WD run.
One of the most fun things to do near Rainbow Beach.
Whether the sun is coming up or about to come down, if the tide has pulled out and the sand is strong, the conditions will be intact for a four-wheel excursion along the shores of Teewah Beach.
Self register at a station on the north or south end of the spread and from there you’re set to cruise the coastline — just be sure to mind the speed limits and stick to the preferred tracks.
Should you feel a bit bushed after a long day of riding up and down the strand, a 15-kilometer (9.3 mile) stretch of beach camping space is available. Permits are required but can be purchased on-site if an overnight makes its way into your plans.
And while you may see a wild dingo or two running free, family dogs are only permitted on the beach in designated pup-friendly zones, so be sure and stick to the first beach on the Noosa North Shore and the beach on the northern end of Teewah township if your fur-baby is joining you on your journey.
4. Get High and Hang Out On a Glider
Adventurers will be thrilled by the ample opportunities for amazing hang-gliding journeys.
Often recognized for its windblown, moonscaped cliff sides, the Carlo Sandblow offers tourists and locals alike the amazing opportunity to adventure into the sky on a manmade contraption the likes of which date back to the earliest days of first flight.
At the top of a careening tower of forest hallowed out by the ever-present whip of sub-tropical wind is another ideal photo nabbing nook. With panoramic views of Double Point Island and the Inskip Peninsula, the odds of catching a spectacular shot or two of a brahminy bird of prey, the regal sky raptor known as the Red-backed Kite, are in your favor.
Save up some energy during your ascent though as you’ll need it for your cloud-cruise.
Perhaps it’s worth noting that this type of adventure isn’t for everyone and diving into the sky on wings of steel carries inherent risk, but if you’re down to deal life a hand of joker’s wild poker, prepare yourself for a tandem trip and get ready to experience the world from a whole new perspective.
Paragliding is an alternative adrenaline rush and is also available with tandem tactics employed to introduce novice atmosphere-trekkers to the soulful joys of hovering above the water and the trees with nothing but air between you and your feet.
Beware the contact high. There’s nothing like flying. Most will tell you that once you go up, you never want to come down.
If you only live once, live on the wild side when you can. It might take a bit of bravery, but the reward is worth its weight in gold.
5. Remain Radical Underwater at Wolf Rock
Just a stone’s throw from Double Point Island (presuming you have a hand cannon) is a voluminous volcanic formation that is rumored to have landed its name courtesy of Archibald Wolfe who sailed with the famed Captain James Cook, a British navigator who explored the region in the 1700s.
One of the best rainbow beach things to do.
Here you will find one of the best places in the world to dive 40 meters or so into the ocean and scuba through wild troves of vertical gutters, overhanging ledges and limitless open expanses.
With fishing both commercially and recreationally restricted in this glorious gulf the aquatic life swimming below the water’s surface is bountiful.
Schools of cod, perch, batfish, coral trout, mackerel, wobbegong, trevally, and even leopard sharks roam the depths of the region.
If you’re lucky — depending on your perspective — you may even come across the gravely endangered grey nurse shark, as the area is a highly compatible mating and nursing ground for the nearly extinct non-human threats.
Often 4.3 meters (14-feet) in length and possessing incredibly strong jaws with thousands of miniature razor-sharp teeth — a daunting thought — experienced divers will tell you that they are commonly docile but may react defensively to a perceived threat of attack. You won’t find any “don’t feed the fish” signs about, but its best to keep your hands tucked a bit tighter to your side should a sea creature the length of a giraffe and the weight of a kangaroo shimmy past.
Maybe its best to stick by the smaller fish while exploring the waters of Wolf Rock, but those massive marine animals are glorious creatures to behold up close — if only a little terrifying.
6. Say “Hey Dolphin! What are you doing here?”
From swimming with dolphins in Tin Can Bay to heading out on the ocean to watch Humpback whales blissfully backsplash, the endless summer in Rainbow Beach offers unforgettable thrills for anyone who enjoys love, life and the pursuit of happiness.
Speaking of fear factors, the true story of Flipper (real name Kathy the dolphin) is actually tragic and horrifying (do not Google it — repeat, DO NOT GOOGLE it), but thankfully, the terror of captivity is out the window when visiting Rainbow Beach.
Return to the land of the ever pleasant by heading on a 20-minute trek to Tin Can Bay where you’ll find the best place to hop in the water and feed the dolphins.
That’s right, you can physically swim alongside and interact with the smartest mammals on the planet — yes, dolphin brains are actually bigger than those of humans, and experts contend that these adorable sea puppies have dense learning capacity, immense memory retention, experience human-like emotions, and have actualized self awareness. That, you can Google; or better yet, just jump right in with the sweetest creatures in wild waters and make up your own mind.
Chances are favorable that you’ll come away wishing you did not have to return to dry land. Except for the constant swimming part, because that does get tiring without fins and a tail.
Tour: Kayaking with Dolphins
7. Tour the Pacific Shore in a Kayak (Bonus: MORE DOLPHINS!)
Let’s get honest — can you ever really have too many dolphin experiences in one day?
If so, stretch it out to a day-two (or three) scenario and set aside some quality time to cruise the coast in a kayak via Double Island Point.
These guided nature sojourns give adventurers the buzz of being up close and personal with bottlenose dolphins and even feeling the ripple of wide wakes from the back-cracking body slams of humongous humpback whale families frolicking nearby.
Witness wild turtles and storming sea rays feeling fully engaged, and playing in the paradise that they happily call home, Honeymoon Bay.
Beginner friendly and open to individuals, mates and groups of all ages, this treasured trip around the crystal clear cove is truly as unique an aquatic experience as you’ll ever experience.
Tour: Kayaking with Dolphins
8. Holy Moly! These Humpback Whales Are Right Next To Us!
If you haven’t yet had your “fish fix” than set out on a 2-3 hour cruise around Sunreef Mooloolaba and get closer to one of the largest sea mammals in the world.
Yes, whales are mammals; the fish reference was wordplay.
If swimming alongside 18.3-meter (60-feet) long, 40-ton gentle giants is your idea of good time you have that option as well.
However for those of us who prefer to enjoy overwhelming animals from a less intimidating distance, these boat rides bring you basically face to face with beautiful Humpback whales without having to get wet; unless you count the potential flume effect from their spirited Pacific splash parties.
Be prepared to indulge their sonic sounds too, as Humpies are often heard singing from epic distances.
If the thought of being on a boat, no matter how big, that close to a whale is a little unnerving, land-based whale-watching can be a much more comfortable option.
All across the eastern beaches spread from Coolum to Sunshine are excellent viewing venues.
Be it at Castaways, Peregian, Marcus or Sunrise Beach, strolling the decks and boardwalks over the bay present tremendous sightlines to the frequently air-born whales.
With so many ways to see such unparalleled animals, it’s well worth the time whether you are on the land or out on the water.
9. Kid Around in the Earth’s Biggest Sandbox
Wondering what to do in Rainbow Beach? How about touring the Earth’s biggest sandbox?!
For those preferring to bump extensive hikes or fast moving four-wheel drives along the shore further down their list, while waves roll in and out and the sun sparkles on lake front sand dunes, perhaps a daring jaunt around dodgy Fraser Island is just what the doctor ordered.
Officially, Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world.
It’s also believed to be the most dangerous beach on our planet.
Stretching over 120 kilometers (74.5 miles), the completely ocean surrounded land mass is made entirely of sand and boasts distinct plant life and matchless desert-like landscapes.
Not only is the 360-degree view from any vantage point on the island grand, but with over 100 freshwater lakes, it’s a great place to truly break away from it all, swim, tan in utopian comfort, and simply relax.
Impromptu Beach yoga is always a good idea on Fraser Island.And if there ever was a justification for a #blessed social media tag, any photo taken here is warranted to meet that measure.
So why is this seventh heaven so dangerous? Well, don’t blame the dingos. Actually, yes, you kind of have to blame the packs of wild dingos.
And the Jellyfish.
The Irukandji (a venomous box jelly varietal) is an aspic-like marine stinger that can take down a human in the most horrific ways and in some extreme circumstances, reduce their fate to fatal outcomes. So do revel in the majestic playground of Fraser Island while on your Rainbow Beach Australia holiday, but just beware the box jellyfish.
Maybe rethink that beach yoga thing as a matter of fact.
There are plenty of much safer dunes and picturesque cliffs for downward-facing dog poses. And chances are much improved that you won’t even have to deal with the dingos at elevation either. Now that’s closer to nirvana.
10. Give it your Best Bodhi Impression
Point Break still holds up as an amazing cinematic adventure. One of the best Rainbow Beach attractions.
The original Point Break that is. The remake, was, well a remake. Enough said.
Either way, the theme of Point Break, aside from the bank robberies and the stylish 90s cool, was surfing.
And perhaps there is no better place to learn to surf (don’t get too offended, Hawai’i and SoCal) than Rainbow Beach.
For the uninitiated, or those that believe they are balance-challenged, surfing can seem like the last “fun” thing to attempt on holiday, but its more than just an adventure in the water or a secular sport to those that indulge it regularly. It’s a spiritual experience.
The instructors at Rainbow Beach Surf School are keen to instill in all new surfers, from children to families, small groups and large traveling parties, surf instruction (and surfing itself) is about energy, positive vibes and soulful exploration.
As Bodhi (from Point Break) so eloquently explains, “Surfing is where you lose yourself and you find yourself.”
So get lost, and go surfing.
Or at least enjoy a beverage on the beach while your kids or mates enjoy getting lessons. That works too.
11. Feed your Soul by Feasting On Local Fare
Quelling your appetite and quenching your thirst can feel like a necessity at times. But that doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. And if you are indeed getting your grub on, why not enjoy the experience as much as possible, especially if you’re on holiday.
Whether it’s a long trip you’re indulging in, or a weekend retreat, Rainbow Beach Sunshine Coast offers a vast variety of groovy locations, fabulous food, and sweet treats to be savored by your taste buds and immediately liked by your Instagram followers.
As Dave Matthews sings, “Eat, drink and be merry.” And there are plenty of fabulous spots to do just that here.
If you’re bringing out the family, or just looking to kick it like a local, the best place to start your sustenance voyage is Arcobaleno on the Beach.
A laidback, alfresco style favorite amongst frequent guests, this charming Italian establishment offers wood fired pizza, traditional pasta dishes, and surprisingly no alcohol on the menu, though they are welcoming of diners who wish to bring their own wine (or preferred paring brews).
If quick bites or budget friendly stops are more in line with your meal plan, Brent’s Burgers has tremendous creations in addition to classic beef fare. And for those seeking non-meat alternatives, hand-made veg-burgers are made on site and are very popular. The fish and chips are worth the wait as well.
For those looking for gluten-free options and strong value, stop over at Café Jilarty for a taste of something fast and familiar.
The best place to “shoot your food” (Instagramers know this lingo) is definitely The Deck @ Sea Salt. The food and beverages are absolutely worth booking a “rezy” for, but the views from the refined wood deck are perhaps even better. Don’t tell the chefs!
For healthy food lovers, the Rainbow Beach Fruit & Takeaway also serve up Insta-worthy fare, and you have the benefit of glorious organic and fruit forward dishes.
And what “vacay” would be complete without a dependable brekky bar? That’s right, whether you want your bacon and eggs in the early AM or the waning PM, Rainbow Beach has got you covered like an umbrella in the sun. Ed’s Beach Bakery opens at 4AM.
You don’t have to get there that early, but be sure and get there before they run out of the freshest baked delicacies in town as they do close up shop by 5PM. And their popularity is wild!
The Banana Bean Café is thee place to be for picture-perfect brunch, lunch, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free grabs. And the desserts are to-die-for too.
Speaking of after-dinner dishes, no food quest is complete without a little (or a lot) of something soft and sweet.
With that in mind, after a trip to Somewhere Over Coffee for a full-on Rainbow Beach classic brekky replete with savory coffee and blissful tea, the place to hit that final spot just right is unquestionably Crème de la Crème.
If Ice Cream indeed meets your treat demands, challenge yourself to try the more than sixteen rotating flavors available, from handmade traditions like vanilla and chocolate to branded blends like Snickers-style or Mars Bar-like. Indulge in them all.
All of the ice cream is crafted in-house, every day, with low-fat milk, and real fruit to bring out the richness of the strawberry, cherry and banana flavor profiles, just to name a few.
Have it your way, go for one scoop (or three), in a cone or in a cup, and if you opt for toppings, don’t forget the sprinkles 🙂
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