Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park Sunshine Coast

Escape the crowds of Noosa main beach along the Noosa River beach drive. Photo credit: Rob Cameron © 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

Noosa River beach drive

Soak up the sunshine as you explore the scenic beach on Noosa North Shore.

Journey type
Walk, cycle, 4WD, trail bike
6km return return Start and finish points are the same and the traveller must return via the same path
Time suggested
Allow 20min driving time.

Accessible by

  • High clearance 4WD
  • Trail bike

Journey facilities

  • Walking
  • Scenic drive
  • Cycling
  • Trail bike riding

From the first vehicle cutting on Noosa North Shore, drive south along the beach to the mouth of the Noosa River. Wind down the windows to enjoy cool coastal breezes and admire scenic views of Noosaville and Noosa Heads, including the volcanic headland of Noosa National Park.

Near the Noosa River, relax under your beach umbrella or pull out the vehicle shade sail and enjoy a picnic lunch. Or maybe try your luck fishing for a juicy bream or flathead. Grab your binoculars and enjoy spotting shorebirds roosting and nesting—43 species of migratory birds shelter at this estuary, including a variety of terns, sandpipers and plovers. Please note that an exclusion zone exists near the river mouth to protect migratory and shore birds. All vehicles, domestic animals and horses are excluded.

Refer to the Cooloola and Inskip recreation areas discovery guide (PDF, 4.3MB) for a map and more details.

Getting there and getting around

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

  • The Noosa River beach drive is along Cooloola's southern beach on Noosa North Shore.
  • The drive is accessed from Noosa North Shore and you need a high-clearance 4WD.
  • On Noosa North Shore, from the first beach cutting drive south along the beach towards the Noosa River. Do not drive into the vehicle exclusion area north of the first cutting or at the southern end of the beach near the Noosa River estuary.
  • Remember all vehicles must be registered, drivers must be licensed and all Queensland road rules apply, even on beaches.
  • A vehicle access permit must be purchased. Display the permit on your windscreen before driving in the recreation area. 24hr number plate surveillance cameras in use. Please ensure vehicle registration details are correct on your permit. For more information see:
  • Visit the Great Sandy Information Centre, located near the Noosa River ferry on Moorindil Street for vehicle access permits, also camping permits and other information (business hours only).
  • Read 4WD with care for important information on 4WD safety and minimal impact driving.

Getting to Noosa North Shore

  • 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.
  • In Tewantin, follow Moorindil Street to the Noosa River ferry, cross the river to Noosa North Shore, and drive 2.2km on Maximillian Road.
  • Turn right onto Beach Road and drive 2.1km on sealed road then take the first exit (straight ahead) onto the first beach cutting car park and the sand track to the beach.

Wheelchair access

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities.

Before you visit

Opening hours

Noosa River beach drive 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: