Frequently asked questions
Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area - general
Where are the boundaries to the recreation area?
The Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area was declared in 1996, covering 459ha of the Inskip Peninsula and extends to the low water mark. It contains land which is Reserve and State land tenure, managed by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS).
Who manages the recreation area?
The Inskip Peninsula (also known as Inskip Point) Recreation Area is managed by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) under the Recreation Areas Management Act 2006 (RAM Act).
Are there any other recreation areas in Queensland?
Other recreation areas in Queensland include: K'gari (Fraser Island), Green Island, Mulgumpin (Moreton Island), Bribie Island, North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) and Cooloola.
Where does the revenue from the recreation area go?
Revenue raised from fees is reinvested in the management of recreation areas in Queensland.
What does the recreation area protect?
The Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area provides unique recreation opportunities where visitors can enjoy a natural coastal environment with limited development, facilities and organised activities. The area receives thousands of visitors each year and provides diverse camping opportunities ranging from developed camping with toilets to more natural areas with no facilities.
Although the Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area is only 459ha, its natural values are wide ranging. Its unique aesthetic qualities provide a surf beach to the east, the calm waters of the Great Sandy Strait to the west and largely uninterrupted views to K'gari (Fraser Island). The area supports a variety of vegetation including mangroves, beach she oak, paperbark and scribbly gum woodlands, mallee brush box forest and cypress forest. This vegetation provides habitat for a variety of animals including 112 bird species. Rare and threatened species inhabit the area, which is also a roosting site for migratory shorebirds protected under international conventions.
Studies have identified a number of migratory bird species which use the intertidal sandbanks for feeding and roosting during their stay in Australia from September to April each year. In March–April the birds migrate to Siberia to breed, returning to Australia in September–October. The time they spend in Australia is essential to build their energy reserves so they are healthy enough to continue their journey north each year. If disturbed during this time the risk of the birds not surviving their journey increases.
Inskip Point is a significant habitat for the endangered black-breasted button-quail and the vulnerable beach stone-curlew. The area is also a major feeding and roosting ground for many significant wader birds, making the recreation area subject to two international conventions, the China-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (CAMBA) and the Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (JAMBA). The wetlands of Inskip Peninsula and the Great Sandy Straits are of international significance, listed under the Convention of Wetlands agreement (Ramsar).
Domestic animals (including dogs, horses and birds)
Can I bring my pets to Inskip?
Only dogs and horses are permitted at Inskip. Dogs but must be on a leash and under control at all times. Horses can only be ridden in the Independent recreational horse riding area and conditions apply. All other domestic animals (including birds) are prohibited.
- Also see: Things to know before you go for further information on areas where dogs are permitted in the Cooloola Recreation Area.
Can I take my pets into the nearby Cooloola Recreation Area (Double Island Point and Freshwater)?
No. Dogs and other domestic animals may not be taken into the Cooloola Recreation Area, except under written authority. This includes animals travelling in vehicles, vessels and trailers through the recreation area, that is:
- the beach from Middle Rock to Double Island Point
- Teewah Beach from Double Island Point to north of Teewah Village
- Freshwater Road
- Freshwater camping area
- Freshwater day-use area
- Pettigrews Road (the Eastern and Western firebreaks and King’s Bore track)
- Poverty Point
- Searys Creek
- Bymien picnic area.
- Also see: Things to know before you go for further information on areas where dogs are permitted in the Cooloola Recreation Area.
- What sort of vehicle is suitable to drive in Inskip?
- Do I need to pay any fees to drive on the beach or any inland tracks in Inskip?
- If I want to drive through the nearby Cooloola Recreation Area to get to Inskip do I need a vehicle access permit (VAP)?
- If I want to drive through the nearby Cooloola Recreation Area to get to Inskip can I have my dog in the car?
- How do I find out about beach or track conditions?
- Do road rules apply in Inskip?
- When is the best time to travel on the beach?
- Is there anywhere I can't drive?
What sort of vehicle is suitable to drive in Inskip?
Areas accessible to 2WD vehicles are limited. 2WD vehicles, camper trailers, caravans and boat trailers cannot get into every camping area. Don’t get stuck! Choose a suitable camping area for your vehicle type and trailer set-up. Stay on the designated tracks.
M.V. Sarawak camping area is accessible by 2WD vehicle from the bitumen road.
There are limited sites near the entrance to S.S. Dorrigo camping area which are accessible for 2WD vehicles under normal conditions, but 4WD is recommended. For more detail refer to the maps on this web page or on signs at the main camping area entrances.
M.V. Natone camping area is accessible by 4WD only. The following are also not recommended here:
- all-wheel-drive vehicles
- vehicles with low clearance
- vehicles towing trailers, boats or caravans.
High clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles with low range functions are strongly recommended throughout Inskip. Most all-wheel-drive vehicles, even with low range, do not have the clearance needed for Inskip’s sandy access tracks into camping areas and beach areas.
All Queensland road rules apply, even on beaches. Only fully road-registered vehicles and motorcycles are permitted on the roads and tracks within the Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area. Drivers must be licensed and all road rules apply.
Conditionally-registered vehicles, such as trail bikes and four-wheeled motorbikes or all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), are not permitted.
All vehicles are required to stay on designated roads and vehicle tracks, and must not be driven on or over vegetation including on the foredunes. Obey all speed limits, signs and barriers.
- Please note: In prolonged wet or dry conditions, drivers of cars with low clearance or those towing trailers and caravans will experience great difficulties and can get stuck. Bogged vehicles can take hours to recover and can cause long traffic delays. Don't risk getting stuck or bogged—always check road and track conditions before driving into the area.
Do I need to pay any fees to drive on the beach or any inland tracks in Inskip?
Vehicle access permits are not required at Inskip.
However, if Inskip campers and visitors intend visiting the nearby Cooloola Recreation Area (including Double Island Point and Freshwater) they must obtain vehicle access permits.
If I want to drive through the nearby Cooloola Recreation Area to get to Inskip do I need a vehicle access permit (VAP)?
Yes. If you want to drive through the Cooloola Recreation Area to access Inskip Peninsula then a vehicle access permit is required. Daily, weekly, monthly or yearly VAPs are available.
If I want to drive through the nearby Cooloola Recreation Area to get to Inskip can I have my dog in the car?
No. Domestic animals including dogs are not permitted in the Cooloola Recreation Area including dogs travelling in vehicles traversing up the beach or vehicle tracks.
Campers and visitors travelling with a dog must detour via the Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach roads.
- Also see: Cooloola Recreation Area map for more information.
How do I find out about beach or track conditions?
Seek local advice and check out up-to-date information in the Cooloola Conditions Report to better plan trips and avoid delays. This is updated every fortnight or sooner depending on the urgency of the condition changes.
Do road rules apply in Inskip?
Yes. The beach and all vehicular access tracks are public thoroughfare roads and all Queensland road rules apply. Speed signs are in place. Please note that the blood alcohol limit for drivers in Australia is 0.05. Police patrol Inskip’s beaches and tracks. They set up speed cameras and hold random breath tests anytime anywhere. Observe all speed signs.
Generally, unless otherwise signed, speeds are:
- 80km/h on beaches (unless otherwise signposted)
- 40km/h along beach camping areas
- 10–20km/h within camping areas
When is the best time to travel on the beach?
It is best to drive around low tide. Avoid driving during the two hours either side of high tide, and often for longer, because some areas are more affected than others by tidal activity and onshore winds. Drivers are advised to be cautious and drive to track conditions. Slow is safe!
Mudlo Rocks are a major hazard.
Driving to Double Island Point along the beach? Take care when driving around Mudlo Rocks near Rainbow Beach. Attempting to cross over the Mudlo Rocks should only be done at low tide and only by experienced drivers. Be prepared; these rocks may be totally impassable, even at low tide. Understand the risks and turn back if needs be and travel via an alternative route. Be warned! Many vehicles have been damaged and lost to the tides here due to their drivers taking irresponsible risks.
If travelling between Rainbow Beach and Teewah Beach, check the Leisha Track’s northern entrance on the Cooloola Conditions Report before heading off. This entrance is constantly affected by tides and swells. It can be eroded to a condition where access is restricted to low tide only, or perhaps be totally impassable.
Is there anywhere I can't drive?
Vehicles are prohibited on the section of beach located on the Pelican Bay side of the Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area . This area has recently been declared a restricted access area to protect natural and cultural resources, as sensitive mangrove habitat is easily disturbed by vehicle traffic. This prevents successful recruitment of seedlings and substantial damage to pneumatophores (roots of mangroves).
This section of beach is a known habitat for the beach stone-curlew Esacus magnirostris listed as a vulnerable bird species. It nests just above high tide in shallow sand depressions. This bird is easily disturbed and nests are exposed to potential damage.
This section of beach is within the declared Ramsar site and is an important foraging area for migratory shorebirds which are badly affected by vehicular disturbance on the adjacent mudflats.
Pay attention to information in the Cooloola and Inskip recreation areas discovery guide and this website. Stay alert to and obey any notices, signs and/or barriers that restrict access.
Never drive on any beach foredunes, except on defined vehicle tracks within the Inskip camping area or other areas that are not defined public access tracks (including restricted management access tracks and bushland).
- Also see: Inskip Peninsula Recreation area map .
Where can I camp?
In designated camping areas only. Pay attention to information in the Cooloola and Inskip recreation areas discovery guide and this website. Stay alert to and obey any notices, signs and/or barriers that restrict access.
Keep groups small; large groups have more environmental impact and can adversely affect the experience of other visitors. Organised event permits may be required for large groups.
- Also see: Camping information
Do I need to book for camping?
Yes. Permits are required before setting up camp. Advance bookings are required at all camping areas in Inskip however, reserving or roping off areas is not permitted.
- Book your Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area camping permit online.
- If you don’t have a credit card and can't book online, see other booking options. Be aware that vehicle access permits are required for access roads or beach areas in the nearby Cooloola Recreation Area.
Can I change my camping booking?
Yes, in some instances.
Bookings may be altered, subject to availability, if sufficient notice is given.
Bookings can be cancelled, but you may not be entitled to a refund. See further information on Camping bookings.
Am I entitled to a refund?
As many areas have limited capacity and limited means of access, campers who change or cancel proposed camping at short notice may constrain or prevent others from using the sites. A cancellation limit of two (2) calendar days prior to the permit start date applies. All requests for a refund must be submitted to QPWS within 28 days of the end of the permit or booking period. Written evidence of extenuating circumstances is usually required. Please refer to the QPWS Camping Refund Policy for details.
Instead of getting a refund, can I choose an alternative camping area or dates?
Yes, provided the application to change the details is made before the start of the refund notification period.
Will I receive a refund if the park is closed or access is unsafe?
Yes, in these instances visitors would be eligible for a full refund on the unused balance of a camping permit, or an alternative location or dates may be selected.
Where can I collect a park information and camping tag?
An online permit tag will be issued at the same time as your booking receipt. Print this tag and display it according to the instructions on the tag. You can also print off the print-friendly version of the Cooloola and Inskip recreation areas discovery guide to take along with you.
If you are unable to obtain an permit tag online you can collect one from a nominated over-the-counter camping and vehicle access permit booking offices.
Park information brochures and camping tags can also be collected from:
- Manta-Ray Barge office, 60 Rainbow Beach Road, Rainbow Beach
- Shell Service Station, Rainbow Beach Road, Rainbow Beach
- QPWS Rainbow Beach office, Rainbow Beach Road, Rainbow Beach
- QPWS Great Sandy Information Centre, 240 Moorindil Street, Tewantin.
How long can I stay?
Maximum length of stay is 29 nights (30 days). Departure time is 11am on last day of permit.
If I exceed the maximum length of stay will I be directed to move?
What if I don’t know how long I want to stay?
During busy periods, it is difficult to extend a camping permit or add others coming in later. Always book ahead and ensure the permits cover all people camping in your group for the entire duration of your stay.
Camping bookings can be closed when the camping area is full. So during busy periods it may not be possible to extend a permit if you decide to stay longer, or are wanting extra people to join you. Be aware, it is essential to have a valid permit at all times. To be fair to others who have booked, visitors without a valid permit will be asked to leave. Don’t wait until after the permit has expired—penalties and/or evictions apply.
Can I set up camp and wait for the ranger to come around and buy a permit then?
No. Rangers do not issue permits in the field. Permits are required before setting up camp. Penalties apply.
Can I reserve a camping area for a friend?
No. Campers may not reserve, fence off or rope off any areas, under any circumstances.
Where can I camp with a school or organised group?
Organised event permits may be required for large groups, depending on the type of event and the intended activities.
A maximum of one group at any one time can camp at the designated group area in S.S. Dorrigo camping area.
For general enquiries, before setting out with a large group, contact email@example.com or call in at the QPWS information centre in Rainbow Beach.
Be aware! Large groups of people have more environmental impact and can adversely affect the experience of other visitors. Large groups should:
- not monopolise facilities
- stay within their camping site boundaries
- observe quiet time between 9pm and 7am.
Are there any powered sites?
No. Power is not available. This means there are no power points in the amenities blocks for hairdryers, shavers or asthma pumps.
Where are suitable camp sites for 2WD vehicles, camper trailers, caravans and buses?
Soft sand conditions means that many sites are NOT suitable for 2WD vehicles or vehicles towing boats, camper trailers, caravans, and buses. All sites are occupied on a ‘first in, best placed’ basis.
- Also see: Inskip camping information.
Are campfires permitted at Inskip?
Yes, except when fire bans or prohibitions apply, in which case all fires are banned.
Bonfires are not permitted on the beach.
Gas or fuel stoves are preferred for cooking, but if a campfire is used, please:
- keep fires small
- always use a pre-existing campfire site
- never leave a campfire unattended
- extinguish with water, not sand, when leaving the camp site.
Please bring clean, untreated firewood, such as milled off-cuts. Bush wood can contain pests and soil pathogens, which when brought into this area can spread quickly and harm native plants and animals.
It is illegal to collect wood from the recreation area (including leaves and twigs for kindling). Penalties apply.
- Also see: Campfire prohibitions and fuel stoves—a short video.
Generators and water
Can I take a generator?
Yes. Only generators no louder than 65 decibels (2.0Kva) can be used between 7am and 9pm.
Is drinking water available?
No. Drinking water or shower facilities are not provided in the camping areas. Treated water is available at the council service facility located on Clarkson Drive just north of Rainbow Beach. See Rainbow Beach inset in the Cooloola Recreation Area map for directions. This facility is about 15 minutes drive from the camping areas. Bring clean water containers. Take water containers.
Can I use a water or sand spear to get water from underground?
No. This interferes with a natural resource, which is an offence, and QPWS cannot guarantee the quality of the water.
The use of portable sand spears to collect sub-surface water from the foredune areas is not permitted. The quality of fresh water obtained from pools, creeks or sub-surface supplies cannot be assured and is not suitable for drinking, cooking, showering or swimming. Inskip campers should collect water from the council service facility located on Clarkson Drive just north of Rainbow Beach.
Toilets and rubbish
Are there public toilets in Inskip?
Yes. At least two public toilet facilities are located in each of the following four designated camping areas:
- S.S. Dorrigo (with wheelchair access)
- M.V. Natone (with wheelchair access)
- M.V. Beagle (with wheelchair access)
- M.V. Sarawak (with wheelchair access)
- Sarawak West (with wheelchair access).
Although ramps are installed, people in wheelchairs may need assistance when moving along the sandy tracks.
No public toilets located in Dorrigo South or Pelican Bay camping areas.
It is best to bring a portable toilet for all beach areas, rather than bush toileting. A toilet waste disposal facility is located at the council service facility located on Clarkson Drive just north of Rainbow Beach. Bag tampons, sanitary pads, disposable nappies and cigarette butts and remove from the area.
- Also see: Bush toileting practices—a short video.
Where can I dispose of my rubbish?
Preferably take rubbish home. Keep rubbish in sealable containers until it can be placed in a bin. Do not burn rubbish or hang rubbish bags from trees or tents.
- Also see: Reduce and recycle rubbish—a short video.
Bulk rubbish bins are located near the exits of these six camping areas:
- Dorrigo South
- S.S. Dorrigo
- M.V. Natone
- M.V. Beagle
- M.V. Sarawak
- Sarawak West.
Where can I launch my boat?
Boats on trailers can be launched at boat launching ramps located at:
- Bullock Point, Inskip
- Carlo Point, north of Rainbow Beach
- Norman Point, Tin Can Bay.
Where can I travel in my boat?
All Maritime Safety Queensland rules apply on Inskip’s adjacent coastal waters.
Coastal waters north of Double Island Point (including the headland) and Tin Can Bay Inlet are protected within the Great Sandy Marine Park and regulations apply.
Swimming in the ocean is not recommended. People have suffered serious injuries and death in water-related accidents at Inskip. A patrolled swimming beach is located in front of the Rainbow Beach township. Check signs for patrol times.
Am I allowed to fish from the beach?
Yes. Fishing is popular along Inskip Beach, Teewah Beach, Rainbow Beach and at Double Island Point. On the beach, all rubbish from fish cleaning, including offal, scales and unused bait, should be buried at least 50cm deep below the high tide line.
Bag limits and size restrictions apply to some fish species. Contact Fisheries Queensland for rules and guidelines.
Some waters surrounding northern Cooloola are protected within the Great Sandy Marine Park.
If fishing at night, wear high-visibility vests and use glow sticks to alert drivers on the beach. Stay out of traffic lanes and keep children close by.
- Also see: Fish bright at night—a short safety video.
In an emergency
Will my mobile phone have reception?
Mobile phone reception is limited and unreliable. A Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) can be helpful in an emergency and is highly recommended.
Who should I contact in the event of an emergency?
In Australia all emergency numbers are linked to Triple Zero (000)—ambulance, fire and police.
Phone Triple Zero (000) for:
- all life threatening, critical or serious emergencies.
- for reporting a bushfire or acts of arson.
Phone 112 if having difficulty connecting to 000 from a mobile phone.
What about planning for a natural disaster?
Always be prepared for disaster and check weather warnings before heading off. Tsunami, cyclones and extremely high tides may occur in coastal areas. Visit the Bureau of Meteorology website for weather forecasts or tsunami updates. Also, tune into the local ABC radio station and listen for updates.
For comprehensive information on preparing for floods, cyclones, tsunami and severe storms visit Queensland Disaster Management Services.
- Also see: Staying safe
- M.V. Natone Camping Area - severe erosion 24 March to 30 June 2023
- Camper Hygiene 1 February 2022 to 30 November 2023
- Beware marine stingers (jellyfish)
Cooloola conditions report Updated 4 May 2023
Critical information for your safety is included in the conditions report—always check it before you visit.