Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park Sunshine Coast

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

Be inspired: 5 tech challenges for getting teens outdoors in Sunshine Coast parks

We get it. Dragging your teens and tweens away from their technology and into the great outdoors can be difficult, if not downright impossible. Photo credit: © Lise Pedersen

Be inspired: Cooloola offers a family-sized camping adventure with ‘the lot’!

Chances are, if you’ve heard of Cooloola, you might know it as the sandy beach highway between Rainbow Beach and Noosa, the mecca of four-wheel drivers and fishers. Photo credit: © Lachlan Gardiner

Be inspired: Explore the Sunshine and Fraser coasts—your go-to weekend escapes!

They’re renowned for surf and sun-drenched beaches, and deservedly-so, but take a closer look and you’ll find the Sunshine and Fraser coasts have so much more in store! Photo credit: Adam Creed © Queensland Government

Be inspired: Queensland National Parks’ best-loved camping areas

We are truly a nation of coast dwellers, so when it comes to camping holidays, where do we head? To the water, of course! Photo credit: © Tourism and Events Queensland

Be inspired: Short walks for the family around south east Queensland

Walking in Queensland National Parks is a fun way to be healthier and happier, and to share special times with family and friends. Photo credit: Greg Cartwright | © Queensland Government

Park specific conditions

  • Check the Cooloola conditions report (PDF, 644.2KB) prior to arrival for any park closures, fire prohibitions, warnings, tide times and beach and track conditions.
  • Use established vehicle tracks to access beach camp sites.
  • Driving or parking on vegetated dunes is prohibited.

Campers are permitted to camp with dogs at the nearby Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area. Be aware that domestic animals are not permitted in the Cooloola Recreation Area, unless otherwise sign-posted.

Please note:

  • Dogs are not permitted in vehicles while traversing Cooloola’s beaches and beach access tracks on the way to Inskip.
  • Detour via Cooloola Way or the Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach roads.

24hr number plate surveillance cameras in use

All vehicles entering and exiting the recreation area may have their vehicle number plates recorded. Vehicle registration details are checked against the Queensland National Parks Booking Service and a Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN) will be issued to the registered owner of any vehicle that does not have a valid vehicle access permit.

A penalty of $206 applies for entering a recreation area without a valid vehicle access permit. This amount will increase each financial year from 1 July. To avoid receiving a PIN, ensure you purchase a vehicle access permit before entering the recreation area. For more information see:

Campfires

  • Permitted only at Poverty Point camping area, except when fire bans or prohibitions apply. Use the QPWS provided fire rings at Poverty Point. Extinguish campfires with water, not sand, when unattended or retiring for the night. Embers under sand stay extremely hot for hours and can cause serious burns.
  • Collection of firewood in the recreation area is not permitted, including leaves and twigs for kindling. For campfires at Poverty Point, bring clean firewood, such as untreated mill off-cuts, not bush wood.
  • Fires are prohibited at all other camp sites, including Freshwater camping area, Teewah Beach camping zones 1-7 and all upper Noosa River camp sites.
  • For camping areas that don’t permit campfires, bring a gas or fuel appliance for cooking and heating only that meet the below requirements
  • The appliance must use gas or manufactured fuel (heat beads, briquettes). Manufactured fuel does not include timber or wood.
  • It must be used only for cooking and/or heating.
  • It must be a minimum of 20cm off the ground and more than 2m from flammable materials, which includes vegetation.
  • It must not have the potential to generate airborne embers, or possibly ignite nearby ground fuels.
  • It must be fully self-contained (heat source enclosed and no exposed flame) and never left unattended when in use.
  • Appliances that are not fully self-contained, such as braziers, are not permitted.
  • All appliances, materials and burnt fuel must be removed from the recreation area on your departure.

Approved cooking and heating appliances may vary from above list during Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) total fire bans. Check Park Alerts and QFES fire bans and restrictions for more details.

Camping

  • Maximum length of stay is 30 days except for the upper Noosa River camp sites, which is 21 days.
  • Camping structures belonging to all people registered under a tag must be no more than 3m apart.
  • Keep noise to a minimum after 9pm.
  • To reduce impact, use existing camp sites.
  • Reserving or roping off of areas is not permitted.
  • Keep groups small; large groups have more environmental impact and can adversely affect the experience of other visitors. Organised event permits may be required for large groups.
  • Where permitted, only use low decibel generators up to 2.0Kva. Turn generators off after 9pm.

On the upper Noosa River

  • A six-knot speed limit and no-wash rule applies upstream of Kinaba.
  • Please slow down, if the vessel still generates wash at 6 knots.
  • Motorised vessels are permitted only up to Camp site 3.
  • Electric motors and non-motorised vessels are permitted past Camp site 3.
  • Observe the no-landing zone between Fig Tree Point and Harrys hut.
  • Organised event permits may be required for weddings and large, organised events. Visit Parks permits and policies for more information. Maximum group sizes and other conditions apply depend on location and activity type.
  • As a minimum safety precaution, it is recommended that walkers carry a mobile phone and a spare battery if needed, a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and a first-aid kit when walking along the Cooloola Wilderness Trail or the Cooloola Great Walk. Leave a trip plan with a family member or friend.
  • Visit the Great Walks website for information on the Cooloola Great Walk.