16 Mar Explore Rainbow Beach
Len Costantini explores day trip options from Noosa to Rainbow Beach and Dolphin feeding at Tin Can Bay.
An Australian friend once said after visiting Turkey that she would never again say that Australia has the best beaches in the world, after being mesmerised by the deep azure waters of the Aegean Sea.
But there is something equally mesmerising about Australia’s best beaches that reflect our culture’s love for space. It is that sense of space that makes our beaches so special often generously spanning over 100 m from water’s edge to dunes, depending on the tides.
It is this space that allows so many possibilities. Here you can four-wheel drive, play cricket, meditate in solitude, ride horses or land a paraglider…. you get the picture.
There are a number of exceptionally spacious beaches around Noosa and a day trip up the Cooloola Coast to Rainbow Beach will showcase surely one of our country’s best.
If you don’t have a vehicle there are a couple of day-tour options you can book at our reception desks that will take you to Fraser Island via Rainbow Beach and the Coloured Sands, depending on the tide times.
If you are self-drive then your Rainbow Beach adventure will need a full day from Noosa. A call into Tin Can Bay on the way through is worth the time especially to view up-close and hand feed rare Indo Pacific dolphins.
There are two inland routes to get there from Noosa, via the M1 through Gympie or through Kin Kin. The Gympie route is most popular for two-wheel drive vehicles as the Kin Kin route is best suited to 4WD vehicles.
Alternatively with a 4WD you can head up along Tewar Beach around Double Island Point to rainbow Beach and beyond. But make sure you check the local tide times, as this trip requires proper planning.
Heading-off from Noosa at around 6.00am either via Gympie or via Kin Kin should get you to Tin Can Bay by the 8.00am feeding time at the Barnicles Dolphin Centre at Tin Can Bay.
Human history with Dolphins around this great Sandy Strait region date back thousands of years when local Aboriginal Butchulla people collaboratively hunted fish with local dolphins pods sharing the spoils accordingly.
After a small entry fee we had the pleasure of meeting ‘Patch’ the number one female in a pod lead by the dominant male called ‘Mystique’. These Indo Pacific dolphins that come in for feeding are estuary dolphins that do not venture out into the open waters.
Further east Rainbow Beach marks a well-worn path for four-wheel drivers heading either north to Fraser Island via the barge at Inskip Point, or south for the Coloured Sands, Double Island Point, the Great Sandy National Park and Tewar Beach.
Rainbow Beach has an air of frontier town about it and I was quietly happy that my Vodafone service didn’t reach me up at ‘Rainbow’. (Incidentally apparently most other carriers have no problem).
The Coloured sands start within a comfortable walk along the beach south from the Surf Club at the end of Rainbow Beach Road.
Aboriginal Dreamtime history tells of the Rainbow spirit Yiningie who was killed in a battle at Rainbow Beach, and his colourful spirit was left across the cliffs when he died. The coloured sands stem from the rich mineral content in the sands, and not surprisingly white history of the area had its roots in sand mining.
The 600 metre bushland walk to the Carlo Sand Blow from the water tower at the end Cooloola Drive is a massive geological wonder. Sand is continually blown from the beach up over the cliffs to form a sort of inland desert with stunning water views.
Inskip point to the north is the closest access to Fraser Island with barges leaving regularly. All 4WD access permits for Fraser Island can be organised in Rainbow Beach before departure. Inskip Point also has a child-friendly calm beach on the eastern side protected from ocean waves of the beaches on the eastern side.
Lake Poona is another option to include on a day trip that will take 2-3 hours. Lake Poona is a beautiful fresh-water lake accessible via a 2km walk through the rainforest. It is a refreshing swimming spot with a couple of white sandy beaches. Do not be concerned about the tea-tree coloured water stained by the surrounding vegetation. To get there take the Freshwater dirt road (ok for 2WD) about km before Rainbow Beach township to the Bymien picnic area and walk in from there.
For Noosa visitors with a full day to spare a trip up to Rainbow Beach is well worth the experience with many options to discover.