Things to do
Relaxation is high on the list for most visitors to Inskip. The surrounding waters are rich in sea life and the area is a popular fishing spot. Please take only enough for your immediate needs—bag and size limits apply. Dolphins, dugong and turtles may be sighted.
Long walks along the beaches at Inskip are popular, especially at sunrise and sunset.
- Be alert to traffic, as the sound of surf and wind make it difficult to hear approaching vehicles.
- Also see: Walk safely section.
A short walk (425m one way, 900m circuit) leads to Pelican Bay from the roundabout near the day-use car park. The varied plant life provides habitat for a surprising assortment of birds such as the black-breasted button-quail Turnix melanogaster—considered a vulnerable species. These little birds rotate on one foot leaving distinct circular depressions as they scratch in leaf litter for seeds and insects.
- Keep dogs on a leash and under control, so these little birds can survive around Inskip Peninsula.
View the journeys information for more details.
- Only use established or formed tracks, when driving into beach camping areas at Inskip.
- It is illegal to drive on vegetated dunes.
Vehicle access permits (VAPs) are not required at Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area, but are needed if you want to drive into the nearby Cooloola Recreation Area—that is Double Island Point, Freshwater Road and Pettigrews Road to Kings Bore track.
- if you don't have a current VAP before entering areas where VAPs are required
- if you take dogs into the Cooloola Recreation Area, including dogs travelling in your vehicle. See map for details
Also see: Safe sand driving for more information and view the short Driving on sand and Slow is safe safety videos.
People have suffered serious injuries in water-related accidents at Inskip.
- Swimming in the ocean is not recommended.
- There are no regularly patrolled swimming areas at Inskip, except at certain times on a section of beachfront (clearly signed) in front of the Rainbow Beach township.
- Check local signs for patrol times in this small area.
- Always stay with children when near water.
- Sharks are common in the ocean.
- Be aware of warning signs stating crocodiles may be present in the vicinity, even though the risk of encountering one is low.
- Rips occur frequently in the ocean.
- Marine stingers, including bluebottles, are prevalent during spells of northerly and easterly winds.
- Do not jump or dive into water. Serious injuries have occurred as submerged obstacles can be anywhere.
- Power boats and jet skis use the waters off Inskip and swimmers may be difficult to see.
- Coastal waters from Double Island Point, including the headland, and the Tin Can Inlet are protected within the Great Sandy Marine Park and regulations apply.
- There are no boat launching facilities within Inskip.
- Nearby council-managed boat ramps are located at Bullock Point, Carlo Point and at Norman Point, Tin Can Bay.
Recreational fishing is popular at Inskip Point. Bag limits, size and seasonal restrictions apply to some fish species. For more information see Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) for rules and guidelines.
On Inskip and Cooloola’s coastal beaches
- All waters surrounding Inskip are protected within the Great Sandy Marine Park as are the coastal waters from Double Island Point to Inskip Peninsula, including the Tin Can Inlet. Restrictions apply.
- All rubbish from fish cleaning, including offal, scales and unused bait, should be buried at least 50cm deep just below the high tide line.
- When fishing at night, wear high-visibility vests and use glow sticks to alert approaching drivers of your location.
Also see: Short information video clips:
Independent recreational horse riding is only permitted below mean high water mark on the eastern beach between the Pacific Boulevard beach access track and ‘The Oaks’. Conditions apply.
View the journeys information for more details.
The Inskip Peninsula offers excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife, especially birds. Flocks of resident and migratory shorebirds are often seen resting and roosting along the coastal beaches. Please slow down and go around flocks of shorebirds; most are resting and restoring energy after their long flights from the northern hemisphere.
To report wildlife emergencies or marine strandings contact the Wildlife Hotline on 1300 130 372.
Also see: Slow is safe—a short safety video—and wildlife online for more information.
All wildlife is protected
Birds are particularly wary of dogs and horses. When disturbed birds will rise up and fly away, sometimes into the path of oncoming vehicles.
- Penalties apply when dogs are allowed to chase wildlife, whether deliberate or not.
- Keep your dog/s on a leash and under control at all times.
- Keep your distance from nesting and roosting shorebirds, so everyone can enjoy the magnificent array of birds that visit Inskip.
- Where horses are permitted, ride at walking pace only.
Sometime dolphins come in close to shore. Let them find their own food so they can stay wild.
Please note: Penalties apply for harassing or unauthorised feeding of dolphins.
Consider the locals
Brush turkeys in camp?
The Australian brush-turkey Alectura lathami uses long claws to scratch through leaf litter in search of insects and seeds. In spring, males rake up a large mound of leaf litter in which they incubate the eggs laid by many females.
- Please don’t feed them; they become a real nuisance and may even become aggressive.
- Also see: Keep wildlife wild—a short information video.
Curlew calls keeping you awake?
The beach stone-curlew Esacus magnirostris was once common, but is now considered a vulnerable species in Queensland. Their eerie wailing calls at night often frighten people who have not heard them before. These curlews nest just above high tide in shallow sand depressions. The chicks are difficult to see.
- Please don’t destroy bird nests!
- Avoid beach driving around high tide.
- Avoid driving in the soft sand above the high tide mark.
A vulnerable little bird
The black-breasted button-quail Turnix melanogaster—considered a vulnerable species—rotates on one foot leaving distinct circular depressions as it scratches in leaf litter for seeds and insects. Keeping dogs on leashes and under control at all times, helps this little bird to survive around the Inskip Peninsula.
Great Sandy Strait merges with the open ocean, creating rich and varied habitats for abundant sea life. Isolated sand spits adjacent to Inskip Peninsula are within the Great Sandy Marine Park. These fall within the designated shorebird roosting and feeding area. The Great Sandy Strait was listed under the Ramsar Convention 1999, primarily for the protection and conservation of waterfowl and wader habitat.
Help shorebirds survive!
- Dogs must be kept under control and restrained at all times.
- On-the-spot fines apply.
- Also see: Weeds, animals and pathogens—a short information video.
Camping and accommodation
All camping areas within Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area require a camping permit and fees apply.
- Reserving or roping off areas is not permitted.
- Book your camp site online.
- If you cannot book online, see camping bookings for other options.
- Always check conditions just before heading off.
- Read things to know before you go.
- Find out more about camping in Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area.
- Permits must be obtained prior to arrival.
- Camping permits must be purchased for the number of people in a group—NOT per camp.
- Capacity for the area is based on maximum number of people—NOT camps.
- You must display a camping tag with your booking number and details at your campsite.
- Pre-pay for permits online or by phone.
- Permit packs for people who have pre-paid bookings—that is, people who have already purchased their permits online or by phone—are available 24hrs from outside the QPWS information centre in Rainbow Beach and Tewantin.
- Campers are responsible for renewing expired permits.
- On-the-spot fines apply for camping without a valid permit.
- Rangers may visit camps during the day to check permits and answer questions.
Setting up camp
- All sites are occupied on a ‘first in, best placed’ basis.
- Reserving or roping off areas is not permitted at any time.
- Sites suitable for camper trailers or large tents are limited.
- Small tents are recommended.
- Sites suitable for 2WD vehicle access are limited.
- Campers may have to carry their camping equipment to an available site.
- Caravans are not recommended.
Camping during peak periods
Camping areas at Inskip are popular all year, but are often full at peak periods—school holidays, long weekends, Christmas, New Year and Easter.
Remember, only campers with pre-purchased permits are allowed to set up camp.
Be aware! Vehicle Access Permits (VAPs) are required and dogs are not permitted in vehicles while traversing beaches and beach access tracks in the nearby Cooloola Recreation Area (i.e. Double Island Point and Freshwater Road)
Penalties and evictions apply for camping without a valid permit. Avoid the disappointment of being turned away:
- Permits must reflect number of people and duration of stay.
- Buy permits well in advance.
Plan ahead especially in peak times!
- Visitors cannot book specific camp sites.
- All camp sites are available on a ‘first in, best placed’ basis.
- Most camping areas are for 4WD only.
- 2WD vehicle access is very limited.
- Very few sites cater for large tents or camper trailers.
- Caravans are not recommended.
- Bring small tents, particularly during peak periods, as they are more easily accommodated.
During peak periods, strict conditions of camping apply
- Camping structures belonging to all people registered under a single camping tag must be in one place and no more than 3 metres apart.
- Rangers will ask campers to reset their camping structures to allow for all visitors with valid permits to fit into the camping areas.
- Camp sites must be vacated by 11am on the day of departure.
Camping permits for special groups
Certain groups may be able to request a special account—group account, school account or commercial operator account—for booking camping.
Also see: Permits for special group accounts Schools and other organised groups
If you are planning an organised use of a QPWS-managed area contact your local QPWS office to discuss your proposal.
- Organised event permits may be required for weddings and large, organised group activities, such as school excursions or adventure training.
- Maximum group sizes and other conditions may apply depending on the location you wish to use and the type of activity you are planning.
- It is recommended that group leaders view the Teachers’ and group leaders’ package for planning hints and safety information.
There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around Rainbow Beach. For more information see the tourism information links.
- 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.