Coloured Sands beach walk
Discover why this beach is named Rainbow Beach on this walk to the stunning naturally-sculpted cliffs of coloured sands.
- Journey type
- 8km return Start and finish points are the same and the traveller must return via the same path
- Time suggested
- Allow 3hrs walking time.
- Grade 3 walking track
- Conventional vehicle
Wander along Rainbow Beach and discover a natural ‘art gallery’, where wind and rain constantly re-sculpt cliffs of coloured sands. Over thousands of years, iron-rich minerals have stained the sand with a complex array of yellow, brown and red hues, while pure white sand has been leached of all nutrients.
Walk south from Rainbow Beach township and you’ll soon begin to see the spectacularly-eroded cliff lines of swirling coloured sands. Marvel at the magical ‘earthy’ rainbow created by the mixing of sands of different colours. The cliffs extend along the beach to Double Island Point so you can walk as far as you wish before retracing your steps.
Getting there and getting around
Coloured Sands beach 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 northern part of Coooloola and can be accessed from Rainbow Beach township.
- You can also stop along sections of this walk on the Cooloola Beach drive, between Double Island Point and Rainbow Beach.
From Rainbow Beach
- To start the walk, drive through the town to the end of Rainbow Beach Road, then turn left onto Kirchner Avenue, drive 300m, turn right onto Griffin Esplanade and continue down to the patrolled bathing reserve. Begin the walk from the beach access ramp at the end of the bitumen road.
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.
There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities.
Before you visit
Coloured Sands beach walk is open 24 hours a day.
Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.
- COVID-19 South East Queensland lockdown - Upper Noosa River sites 4–7 August 2021
- Smoke Alert - Cooloola Recreation Area 1 June to 31 August 2021
- Pest management control program - Cooloola Recreation Area 9–20 August 2021
- Planned burn – Noosa North Shore 3–7 August 2021
- Planned Burn Operations 2021 - Rainbow Beach 30 July to 6 August 2021
- Visitor Safety – wildlife 30 June to 30 September 2021
- Permanent fire prohibition on Teewah Beach 1 April 2021 to 13 May 2022
- Cooloola Wilderness Trail - No pedestrian access across Kin Kin Creek 13 May 2021 to 13 May 2022