Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park Sunshine Coast

Enjoy the tranquil tannin-stained waters of Wandi Waterhole, just a short walk from the camping 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

Wandi Waterhole camping area

Relish the remoteness of this inland camp site fringed by wallum heath and scribbly gum woodlands, near a refreshing waterhole.

Accessible by

  • Conventional vehicle
  • Walk-in

Campground facilities

  • Tent camping
  • Long walk to tent
  • Walking
  • Swimming

Spend a restful night in the remote western catchment of the upper Noosa River at this camp site, one of several camping areas along the Cooloola Wilderness Trail.

Pitch your tent among tall scribbly gums and refresh in the tranquil, tannin-stained waters of Wandi Waterhole. In the evening, spend some time stargazing then listen as the nightlife begins—‘acid frogs’ call from the reeds fringing the waterhole and native mammals such as bush rats, melomys and antechinuses scurry around the undergrowth. At sunrise, wake to the birdsong of friarbirds and a variety of honeyeaters, stirring in the morning light.

Getting there and getting around

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

  • Wandi waterhole camping area is on the Cooloola wilderness trail, 9.5km north of Harry's camping area or 13.1km south of the Neebs waterhole camping area.
  • The Cooloola Wilderness Trail can be accessed from the southern entrance at the Elanda Point car park, and from the northern entrance at Rainbow Beach.
  • At Rainbow Beach (northern access) visit the Manta Ray barge office, Shell service station, Rainbow Beach caravan park (BP service station) or the Rainbow Beach Tourist Information Centre for camping permits and other information (business hours only).
  • At Tewantin (southern access), visit the Great Sandy Information Centre, located near the Noosa River ferry on Moorindil Street for camping permits and other information (business hours only).
  • Taxi services are available in Tewantin and Rainbow Beach.
  • Read walk with care for tips on walking safely and walking lightly.

Southern entrance (Elanda Point)

  • 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.

Northern entrance (Rainbow Beach)

  • From Brisbane, drive about 160km north on the Bruce Highway towards Gympie. At the southern edge of Gympie, turn onto Tin Can Bay Road and drive 42km, then turn right onto Rainbow Beach Road.
  • From Maryborough, drive 57km south on the Cooloola Coast Road, then turn left onto Tin Can Bay Road and drive 3.5km, then turn right onto Rainbow Beach Road.
  • Drive 7km along Rainbow Beach Road towards Rainbow Beach (or if coming from Rainbow Beach township drive 22km along Rainbow Beach Road).
  • Look out for the Cooloola Wilderness Trail road sign in the Mullens car park on the right side of the road. This is the entrance to the Wilderness trail.

Before you visit

Opening hours

Wandi waterhole 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.

Visiting safely

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