Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park Sunshine Coast

Go for a paddle, throw in a fishing line or just sit back and take in the views of the upper Noosa River at this popular day-use area. Photo credit: © Chris Whitelaw

Four-wheel drive past towering coastal sand cliffs and coloured sands in the paradise of Cooloola Recreation Area. Photo credit: © Tomek Z Genek

Harrys day-use area

Savour the peace and quiet of this sheltered picnic area with a fascinating history on the banks of the Upper Noosa River.

Accessible by

  • High clearance 4WD
  • Boat

Attraction facilities

  • Picnic tables (some sheltered)
  • Toilets (non-flush)
  • Wheelchair access (may require assistance)

Relax on the riverbank among fringing forests and woodlands of paperbark and eucalypts, after a long day’s walk on the Cooloola Wilderness Trail, a hard day’s 4WD adventuring on Harrys Hut Road or even a tiring day’s paddling on the Upper Noosa River waterway.

Take time to explore the nearby historic Harry's Hut, a timber-getter's hut from the mid-1900s, which was part of the winch-and-crane operation that once transported logs across the Noosa River. Enjoy a spot of river fishing or a shady picnic before you continue your journey, or stay the night in the nearby Harrys camping area.

Getting there and getting around

Harrys day-use area is in Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park, on the Sunshine Coast between Noosa Heads and Rainbow Beach (155–240km north of Brisbane).

Via Harry's Hut Road

  • From Brisbane, drive 135km north on the Bruce Highway or the Sunshine Motorway to Tewantin. Follow McKinnon Drive, Louis Bazzo Drive and Junction Road for about 18km north-west to Cootharaba Road. Turn right and travel about 10km along Cootharaba, Kimmond Creek and Dr Pages roads to the Gympie Kin Kin Road. Turn right and drive 6km, then turn right onto Cooloola Way.
  • From Gympie, drive 10km east on Tin Can Bay Road, turn right onto to the Gympie Kin Kin Road and drive about 31km, then turn left onto Cooloola Way.
  • Drive 4km then turn right onto Harrys Hut Road and drive 10km on this very rough sand track to the day-use area.
  • Vehicle access permits are not required for Harrys Hut Road or Cooloola Way but may be required if traversing beaches and other inland tracks within the Cooloola Recreation Area.
  • Read 4WD with care for important information on 4WD safety and minimal impact driving.

Via Kinaba

By canoe

  • Launch your canoe at Elanda Point and paddle 4.5km (1hr) to the Kinaba Visitor Information Centre.
  • Stay close to the shore line while paddling northwards. Plan to cross Lake Cootharaba early in the morning when conditions are likely to be calm and easy to travel.
  • From Kinaba, paddle a further 1hr 20mins to Harry's day-use area.

By boat

  • Launch your boat from the Boreen Point boat ramp and follow the lake navigation markers out into deeper water and then head on a north-east trajectory towards the visible Cooloola Sandpatch in the distant landscape.
  • When you approach a red navigational marker in the middle of the lake (opposite Elanda Point), turn on a near northerly trajectory to the channel markers through very shallow shoals to the Kinaba Visitor Information Centre.The trip is 7km and 15mins travel time.
  • From Kinaba allow another 45mins at 6 knots (and no wash) to travel to Harry's day-use area.

Read water safety for important information about staying safe in and near water and caring for parks.

Via the Cooloola Wilderness trail

  • From Brisbane drive 135km north on the Bruce Highway or the Sunshine Motorway to Tewantin; or from Gympie drive 58km south and east on the Bruce Highway to Tewantin.
  • From Tewantin drive 19km west and north via McKinnon Drive and Louis Bazzo Drive to Boreen Point. Turn left onto Lake Flat Road and drive 2km to the Elanda Point access road.
  • Travel a short distance along the access road to the Elanda Point car park. The entrance to the Cooloola Wilderness Trail is on the opposite side of the car park.
  • Harry's day-use area is 17.2km along the trail.
  • Read walk with care for tips on walking safely and walking lightly.

Wheelchair access

Wheelchair-accessible toilet facilities are provided. Assistance may be required.

Before you visit

Opening hours

Harrys day-use area is open 24 hours a day

Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.

Visiting safely

For more safety information see Visiting Cooloola Recreation Area safely.