Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park Sunshine Coast

Discover the hidden melaleuca-lined Poona Lake. Sit back, relax and take in the beauty of this secluded oasis. Photo credit: © Ben Blanche

Four-wheel drive past towering coastal sand cliffs and coloured sands in the paradise of Cooloola Recreation Area. Photo credit: © Tomek Z Genek

Poona Lake walk

Explore cool rainforest on a high dune and discover the tea-coloured waters and white sandy beaches of one of Cooloola’s hidden lakes.

Journey type
Walk
Distance
4.2km return Start and finish points are the same and the traveller must return via the same path
Time suggested
Allow 1.5hrs walking time.
Grade
Grade 2 walking track
Where
View map

Accessible by

  • Conventional vehicle

Journey facilities

  • Walking

From the Bymien day-use areaenjoy this magical walk up a rainforested sand dune and then down to the secluded paperbark-fringed lake. Turn off the Dundathu circuit, and meander through tall rainforest with towering kauri and hoop pines, strangler figs engulfing their host trees, and thin, tall piccabeen palms reaching for sunlight. Large, broad-leaved lilly pillies flower in spring then blanket the rainforest floor with white berries, attracting fruit-eating birds.

Listen for catbirds and wompoo pigeons and glimpse noisy pittas. Walk down through carrol scrub to the shores of the scenic perched lake and marvel at the variety of plants that grow in the Cooloola sandmass.

Getting there and getting around

Poona Lake walk 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 walk is in the northern part of Cooloola and branches off the Dundathu circuit, which starts from Bymien day-use area. Bymien is accessible by 2WDs.
  • 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).
  • The walk 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.

Wheelchair access

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities.

Before you visit

Opening hours

Poona Lake 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.