Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park Sunshine Coast

Marvel at this immense 'sandscape' offering awesome views on the walk to Carlo Sandblow—a must do for every visitor. Photo credit: Robert Ashdown © 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

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: Ellie Jamieson © Queensland Government

Carlo Sandblow walk

Emerge from rainforest onto Carlo Sandblow, an impressive ‘moonscape’ of windblown sand with amazing views over the coast and K’gari (Fraser Island).

Journey type
2.8km one way A path where the start point is different to the finish point
Time suggested
Allow 1hr walking time.
Grade 3 walking track

Accessible by

  • Conventional vehicle

Journey facilities

  • Lookout (natural)
  • Walking

Meander through eucalypt forest and rainforest to reach Carlo Sandblow, part of the huge accumulation of windblown sand known as the Cooloola sandmass. As you cross the sandblow, marvel at this dynamic landscape, where wind is transforming a forest and burying everything in its wake with sand.

From the top of the sandblow, enjoy stunning 180-degree views over Rainbow Beach, the Coloured Sands, Double Island Point, Fraser Island and Inskip Peninsula. Look overhead for birds of prey, such as brahminy and whistling kites. If you want a shorter walk, or if the day is hot, start your walk from the Carlo Sandblow car park instead of walking from the Rainbow Beach Information Centre.

Refer to the Cooloola and Inskip recreation areas discovery guide (PDF, 4.2MB) for a map and more details.

Getting there and getting around

Carlow Sandblow 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).

  • The walk is in the northern section of Cooloola, near Rainbow Beach township.
  • You can start the walk from the QPWS Information Centre or from the Carlo Sandblow car park, both in Rainbow Beach township.

From the information centre

  • The QPWS Rainbow Beach Information Centre is on the right-hand side of Rainbow Beach Road as you enter Rainbow Beach township. The walk starts from the far corner of the car park.
  • This one-way walk ends at the Carlo Sandblow car park at the top of Cooloola Drive in the Rainbow Beach township, alternatively you can retrace your steps.

From Carlo Sandblow car park

  • In the Rainbow Beach township, turn off Rainbow Beach Road onto Double Island Drive, travel 280m, turn left onto Cooloola Drive and travel 900m to the end of the road and the Carlo Sandblow car park.

Getting to 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 29km along Rainbow Beach Road into Rainbow Beach township.

Wheelchair access

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities.

Before you visit

Opening hours

Carlo Sandblow 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.