Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park Sunshine Coast

Discover fields of spiky grass trees along this river-side walk. Photo credit: © Queensland Government

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

Camp site 3 walk

Immerse yourself in this beautiful landscape as you spend a day exploring along the eastern bank of the upper Noosa River.

Journey type
Walk
Distance
7km one way A path where the start point is different to the finish point
Time suggested
Allow 3hrs walking time.
Grade
Grade 4 walking track
Where
View map

Accessible by

  • High clearance 4WD
  • Boat
  • Canoe or kayak

Journey facilities

  • Toilets (non-flush)
  • Walking

Paddle across the river from Harrys day-use area then spend an enjoyable day meandering along the eastern river bank to camp site 3. Discover woodlands and open forests of scribbly gums, pink bloodwoods, paperbark trees and wallum banksias fringing the river bank along the way.

Your walk will take you past camp site 1 (3.1km) and camp site 2 (a further 1.9km), before arriving at camp site 3 after another 2km. If the camping areas are empty, relax with a meal break on the jetties and landings overlooking the river. Retrace your steps to Harrys day-use area, or stay at camp site 3 to start the Cooloola Sandpatch walk the next day.

Getting there and getting around

Camp site 3 walk is in Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park, on the Sunshine Coast between Noosa Heads and Rainbow Beach (155km–240km north of Brisbane).

  • This walk is in the southern part of Cooloola in the Upper Noosa River waterway.
  • The walk starts on the eastern bank of the Noosa River, opposite Harrys day-use area, which is accessible by high-clearance 4WDs only.
  • The walk can also be accessed via canoe from Elanda Point or boat from Boreen Point boat ramp.

Via Harrys Hut

  • 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 on Cooloola Way then turn right onto Harrys Hut road and travel 10km on this very rough sand track to Harrys day-use and camping areas
  • Read 4WD with care for important information on 4WD safety and minimal impact driving.

Via Elanda Point and Boreen 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.

By canoe

  • Launch your canoe at Elanda Point and paddle 11.5km (2hr 20mins) to Harrys day-use area
  • 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.

By boat

  • Launch your boat from the Boreen Point boat ramp and travel 14km (1hr) to Harrys day-use area
  • From the boat ramp, 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.
  • From Kinaba, continue past Fig Tree Point day-use area, through the Narrows and onto Harrys day-use area

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

Wheelchair access

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities.

Before you visit

Opening hours

Camp site 3 walk 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 and Walk with care.