Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park Sunshine Coast

Relax riverside and enjoy star filled sky's and moonlit reflections off the upper Noosa River at Harry's camping area. Photo credit: © Lachlan Gardiner

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

Harrys (River Access) camping area

Unwind in this large yet peaceful retreat amongst paperbark and eucalypt woodlands on the banks of the Upper Noosa River.

Accessible by

  • Boat
  • Canoe or kayak

Campground facilities

  • Mooring points
  • Picnic tables (some sheltered)
  • Toilets (non-flush)
  • Walking
  • Cultural and historic sites
  • Canoeing and kayaking
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Tent camping
  • Short walk to tent

Escape the beach crowds in a quiet river retreat in paperbark woodland fringed by river she-oaks and tall eucalypts. Whether you are a paddler, boatie, 4WD adventurer or hiker, you’ll find a camp site to suits your needs.

If exploring the Upper Noosa River waterway, paddle to the canoe landing and store your craft in the canoe racks, or tie your boat up the jetty, then relax in a river access camp site.  After a 4WD adventure on Harrys Hut Road, lounge in your camping chairs in one of the vehicle access camp sites. If hiking the Cooloola Wilderness trail, set up camp for a restful night's sleep before tackling another day.

Getting there and getting around

Harrys camping 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 Harrys 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 camping 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 camping 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 camping 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.
  • Harrys Hut is 17.2km along the trail.
  • Read walk with care for tips on walking safely and walking lightly.

Before you visit

Opening hours

Harrys camping area is open 24 hours a day. Check-in to your camp after 2pm and check-out by 11am on the day of departure.

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

Harrys camping area, showing vehicle access camp sites, is suitable for camper trailers and camping beside your vehicle. Photo: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Harrys camping area, showing vehicle access camp sites, is suitable for camper trailers and camping beside your vehicle. Photo: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Harrys camping area showing river access camp sites, which offer jetty and canoe landing facilities. Photo: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Harrys camping area showing river access camp sites, which offer jetty and canoe landing facilities. Photo: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Features: Harrys camping area is set among fringes of open forest and woodland (melaleuca, allocasuarina, bloodwood and eucalypt species). Some camp sites provide shade. Harrys camping area is only available to permit holders who have booked for Harrys. Permit holders for other areas cannot transfer to Harrys camping area. They must rebook.

Location: On the western bank of the upper Noosa River. Approximately 11.5km from Elanda Point via the upper Noosa River, or approximately 34km from Boreen Point on mostly unsealed roads.

Maps:

No. sites: Maximum of 6 people per site. A group site is set aside for authorised school and organised groups.

  • 10 defined vehicle access sites
  • 7 river access sites

Access: The camping area can be reached by walking, 4WD vehicle, boat or canoe. Camp sites 1-15 permit holders and day-users can park in the canoe launch area.

Vehicle permits are not required to access this camping area. High-clearance 4WDs are recommended along Harrys Hut Road, as it is an unsealed sand track prone to flood damage.

Suitable for: Camper trailers (vehicle access sites only), tent camping beside a car (vehicle access sites only), walk-in camping (river access and group site); canoe/boat access camping (river access and group sites)

Surface: Sand and grass. Some vehicle access sites may have a woodchip base.

Facilities: Untreated water (treat before drinking), toilets, picnic tables and picnic shelter in day-use area, jetty and canoe landing access points, park information.

Open fires: Prohibited

Generators: Prohibited

Essentials: See: things to know before you go

Mobile phone coverage: Generally not available.

Bookings: Advance bookings required for holiday periods including long weekends and public holidays.

Please note: schools and other organised groups are required to make advanced bookings online.

Visiting safely

For more safety information see Visiting Cooloola Recreation Area safely and camp with care.