Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park Sunshine Coast

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

Walking tracks summary

    Walk safely

    • Prior to arrival, check park alerts and the Cooloola conditions report (PDF, 1.2MB) (updated regularly) for park closures or warnings about issues, such as floods, fires, road and walking track conditions and scheduled maintenance.
    • As a result of track or camp site closures, trips may need to be cancelled at short notice; be prepared to make alternative arrangements.
    • Walk in groups and supervise children at all times.
    • Do not walk in remote areas without being prepared. Learn or revise map and compass navigation skills, be trained in remote area first aid and be prepared for emergencies.
    • Carry sufficient water when walking, and treat all water collected from taps, lakes or watercourses before drinking.
    • Carry a first-aid kit and have someone in the group who is a current first aider.
    • Allow plenty of time to reach destinations well before dark.
    • Do not walk after heavy rain as low-lying areas and creek crossings will be flooded.
    • Mosquitoes are more abundant at Kinaba and Fig Tree Point at certain times of the year.
    • Avoid bites as some mosquitoes carry Ross River and Barmah Forest virus.
    • Wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing and use insect repellent for protection.
    • When walking along roads or beaches, ensure visibility to drivers.
    • Consider wearing high visibility vests or reflective material on backpacks and clothing.
    • Read walk with care guidelines for further information.

    Long distance walking

    A reasonable level of fitness is required for any of the long distance walks in Cooloola. Take a map, compass, personal locator beacon (PLB), food, drinking water, appropriate clothing, tent and first-aid kit. Plan for safety and advise a reliable friend or family member of the itinerary. This person is responsible for alerting police if the walkers do not return on time. Work out a contingency plan. Always check track conditions just before starting, and observe any closures or track signage. Long walks can be strenuous in high summer temperatures. Choose to walk in the cooler months—late March to September.

    Walking track classification

    Most of Cooloola’s walking tracks are class 4 walking tracks, except for some boardwalk tracks (Searys Creek and Kinaba) and the shorter tracks, which are class 2 and 3.

    Take time to read the classification details before walking out into the park. Study the map (PDF, 4.7MB) in detail.

    Class 2 walking track

    • Formed track
    • May have gentle hills and some steps.
    • Clearly signposted.
    • No experience required.

    Class 3 walking track

    • Formed track with some obstacles
    • 20km or less
    • May have short steep hills and many steps
    • Some experience recommended.

    Class 4 walking track

    • Rough track for experienced bushwalkers
    • May be long and very steep with few directional signs
    • Distinct tracks with junctions signposted, rough track surfaces with exposed roots and rocks
    • Variable in width, muddy sections and steep grades likely to be encountered
    • May be extensively overgrown; hazards, such as fallen trees and vines, likely to be present.
    • Caution needed at creek crossings and naturally occurring lookouts.
    • Moderate fitness level required
    • Ankle-supporting footwear required
    • Moderate level of navigation skills recommended, involving self-reliance in first aid and coping with weather hazard situations.

    Cooloola walking tracks

    Cooloola Wilderness Trail (Class 4)

    • Distance: 47.9km one way
    • Time: allow 3–5 days
    • Details: A long-distance overnight walking experience, with wilderness camping areas (no facilities).

    Cooloola Great Walk (Class 4)

    • Distance: 102km one way
    • Time: allow 5 days
    • Details: A wonderful 5-day hike. Four small walkers’ camps, each with toilet and picnic table. Carry drinking water. Tank water not guaranteed.
    • Do not attempt this 5-day hike without a topographic map.

    Walking track details

    Walking track numbers correspond to their location on the map of the Cooloola and Inskip Discovery Guide (PDF, 4.7MB) .

    Map ref.TrackClassDistance/timeDescription
    1Teewah Beach walk3

    4km return

    Allow 1.5hrs

    Boat or canoe to the landing jetty. Walk through heath and woodland to the beach. Optional 4km return track up Mt Seawah—spectacular views.
    2Kinaba Information Centre walk3

    12.2km return

    Allow 4.5hrs

    This walk from Elanda Point goes through paperbark forest and cabbage tree palms to Lake Cootharaba.
    3Mill Point circuit3

    5.1km circuit

    Allow 2hrs

    Relatively flat track with short self-guided section about the history of Mill Point.
    4Melaleuca circuit3

    400m circuit

    Allow 30mins

    A short stroll through wetland and eucalypt forest
    5Boronia walk3

    3.6km return

    Allow 2hrs

    This walk goes to Kin Kin Creek, through open woodland with wildflowers in spring.
    6Campsite 3 walk4

    14km return

    Allow 6hrs

    Boat across the river then walk along the riverbank through woodland and wallum to Campsite 3.
    7Cooloola Sandpatch walk4

    12km return

    Allow 5hrs

    First 600m is easy walking, then a steep, but shaded climb for 2.8km to the edge of the sandpatch.
    8Searys Creek boardwalk2

    200m return

    Allow 30mins

    Short stroll on a boardwalk through creekside vegetation ending at two viewpoints.
    9Dundathu circuit2

    250m circuit

    Allow 30 mins

    A short stroll through one of Cooloola's hidden rainforest pockets.
    10Poona Lake walk2

    42.km return

    Allow 1.5hrs

    Easy walking through tall forest with kauri and hoop pines, piccabeen palms and strangler figs.

    11

    12

    Carlo Sandblow walk3

    2.8km one way
    Allow 3hrs

    1.2km return
    Allow 30mins

    This walk weaves through eucalypt forest and rainforest up and over the sandblow ending at the Carlo car park.

    Shorter option: From Carlo car park, walk through scribbly gums, up steps to the sandblow.

    13Double Island Point walk4

    30km return

    Allow 9–11hrs

    A day-long, forest and beach walk with steep sections, but superb views from the area around the Double Island Point lighthouse.
    14Double Island Point lighthouse walk3

    2.2km return

    Allow 1hr

    A steep track with some fantastic views along the way.
    15Freshwater Lake walk2

    2.8km return

    Allow 1hr

    Adjacent to the day-use area, walk through scribbly gum woodland and open forest to the lake.
    16Freshwater circuit2

    5km circuit

    Allow 2hrs

    From the camping area, take an easy walk around the lake. Open forest, paperbarks and rainforest are a delight on this journey.