Discover the difference between an elkhorn and a staghorn in a hidden pocket of cool rainforest nestled in the Cooloola sandmass.
- Journey type
- 250m circuit The same start and finish point, but the traveller doesn’t return along the same path
- Time suggested
- Allow 30min walking time.
- Grade 2 walking track
- Conventional vehicle
Relish the cool, fresh air of the rainforest on this easy walk from the Bymien day-use area. Wander amongst towering kauri pines and blue quandongs with large buttress roots and peer up into the canopy to admire elkhorns and staghorn ferns growing on trunks of trees.
Look around your feet also—fallen trees are covered in lush carpets of moss and fungi, and, during summer, you’ll find the stunning white flowers of ground Christmas orchids. Listen to the many bird calls from the canopy above and keep your eyes open for the frequent flashes of colour in the sea of green vegetation.
Refer to the Cooloola and Inskip recreation areas discovery guide for a map and more details.
Getting there and getting around
Dundathu circuit is in Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park, on the Sunshine Coast between Noosa Heads and Rainbow Beach (155–240km north of Brisbane).
- The circuit is in the northern part of Cooloola and starts from Bymien day-use area, which is accessible by 2WDs from Rainbow Beach.
- Vehicle access permits are not required to access Bymien day-use area if travelling from Rainbow Beach Road however if you plan to travel past the day-use area along Freshwater Road to Cooloola's beach, you will need a vehicle access permit (and a 4WD). 24hr number plate surveillance cameras in use. Please ensure vehicle registration details are correct on your permit. For more information see:
- The circuit can also be accessed from the Cooloola Beach drive, by driving 12km inland along Freshwater Road. You need a 4WD and vehicle access permits for this route.
Getting to Bymien day-use area
- 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 25km towards Rainbow Beach township, then turn right into Freshwater Road and drive 3km to Bymien day-use area and the start of the circuit.
There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities.
Before you visit
Dundathu circuit is open 24 hours a day.
Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.
For more safety information see Visiting Cooloola Recreation Area safely and Walk with care.
- Cooloola Wilderness Trail - No pedestrian access across Kin Kin Creek 4 May 2022 to 4 May 2023
- Kings Bore Circuit temporary closure 16–30 March 2023
- Portable toilets mandatory for Teewah Beach camping area 15 March 2022 to 26 May 2023
- Beach driving - low tide only 9 January to 28 May 2023
- Permanent fire prohibition on Teewah Beach 1 April 2021 to 28 April 2023
- Marine turtles breeding season 1 November 2022 to 30 April 2023
Cooloola conditions report Updated 1 Mar 2023
Critical information for your safety is included in the conditions report—always check it before you visit.