Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park Sunshine Coast

Get adventurous on the Cooloola Way 4WD track—a rough track through pine plantations. Photo credit: © Chris Whitelaw

Have your say on the Cooloola Great Walk Ecotourism Project

Public comments are now open for the Cooloola Great Walk Ecotourism Project. Details on the project and how to make a submission can be found on the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment EPBC Act Public Notices website. Submissions close 16 June 2021. 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

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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

Cooloola Way 4WD track

Tackle a challenging 4WD track through the western catchment of the Upper Noosa River.

Journey type
4WD, trail bike
Distance
30km one way A path where the start point is different to the finish point
Time suggested
Allow 1hr driving time.
Grade
Unrated

Accessible by

  • High clearance 4WD
  • Trail bike

Journey facilities

  • Scenic drive
  • Trail bike riding

Explore this rough high-clearance 4WD track along Cooloola’s western boundary, linking the area’s southern access with Rainbow Beach road in the north. Discover tall pine plantations, scribbly gum woodlands and low heathlands dotted in spring wildflowers. Along the way enjoy glimpses of the scenic Cooloola sandmass to the east.

If you’re travelling to Inskip with a dog, you can use this track as a thoroughfare through Cooloola (just make sure pooch stays inside your vehicle). This track is frequently wet and boggy, and sometimes flooded—when conditions are poor, you’re best to take the safer route along inland roads farther west.

Getting there and getting around

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

  • Cooloola Way connects connects the Kin Kin-Wolvi Road in the south of Cooloola with Rainbow Beach Road in the north.
  • You need a high clearance 4WD to access Cooloola Way.
  • Vehicle access permits are not required for Cooloola Way but may be required if you plan to travers beaches and other inland tracks within the Cooloola Recreation Area.
  • Read 4WD with care for important information on 4WD safety and minimal impact driving.

From the south

  • 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.

From the north

  • 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 another 13km to the Cooloola Way turnoff on your right.

Wheelchair access

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities.

Before you visit

Opening hours

Cooloola Way 4WD track 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: