Visiting Inskip safely
Getting there and getting around
Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area lies opposite the southern tip of Fraser Island, at the entrance to Tin Can Bay. Bounded by the Pacific Ocean on its eastern side and the sheltered waters of Tin Can Bay and Great Sandy Strait to the west, most of the peninsula is managed for nature-based recreation.
- Head towards the township of Rainbow Beach.
- Once in Rainbow Beach, turn north into Clarkson Drive, and at the first roundabout turn right into Inskip Avenue.
- Drive approximately 10km before reaching the recreation area located along 9km of sealed road.
- At low tide four-wheel-drive vehicles may have access to Inskip via the beach by turning right into Pacific Boulevard off Inskip Avenue.
Barge services carry 4WD vehicles between Inskip Point and Fraser Island.
Two-wheel-drive (2WD) access
There are limited sites suitable for access with 2WD vehicles, small caravans and camper trailers.
- From Gympie, take the Tin Can Bay–Rainbow Beach Road.
- From Rainbow Beach, turn north into Clarkson Drive, at the roundabout turn right into Inskip Avenue.
- Drive approximately 10km before reaching the recreation area located along 9km of sealed road.
Don’t get stuck! Choose a suitable camping area at Inskip for your vehicle type and trailer set-up.
Four-wheel-drive (4WD) access
Travelling without a dog?
Take an alternative beach drive—4WD only!—from the south, by driving along Cooloola's beaches from Tewantin to Rainbow Beach. You will need a Cooloola Recreation Area vehicle access permit for this drive.
Always travel around low tide times and check beach conditions before going.
- Access from Tewantin is across the Noosa River ferry at the end of Moorindil Street, Tewantin.
- Travel to the beach access point called 3rd Cutting, Noosa North Shore.
- Travel north from 3rd Cutting along Teewah Beach to Freshwater, Double Island Point and Rainbow Beach.
Travelling with a dog?
Dogs and other domestic animals are not permitted in vehicles traversing the Cooloola Recreation Area . You must drive via another route to Rainbow Beach to avoid penalties for having a dog in a recreation area.
Other roads are:
- the sealed roads from Gympie, Maryborough or Tin Can Bay to and from Rainbow Beach
- an unsealed road through bushland—Counter Road.
Be aware that vehicle access permits are not required before traversing these roads.
The unsealed roads are not QPWS roads. These council-maintained roads vary in conditions—4WD recommended.
- Vehicle access permits (VAPs) are required before traversing Cooloola's beaches and some inland tracks.
- See Cooloola Recreation Area map .
Possible danger points
- Mudlo Rocks (in front of Rainbow Beach township)
- sand cliff slips between Rainbow Beach and Double Island Point (Cooloola Recreation Area)
- Beware! Sand depressions can develop anytime on any section of beach at Inskip Peninsula.
Due to the sandy environment, there are no wheelchair-accessible tracks on the Inskip Peninsula. Wheelchair access ramps are available at some toilets, but assistance may be needed to push chairs along the sandy paths that lead up to the ramps.
Wheelchair accessible toilets are located in:
- Inskip day-use area—toilet is alongside the bitumen road
- M.V. Beagle camping area—toilet near the exit
- M.V. Sarawak camping area—toilet on the beachfront
- M.V. Natone camping area—toilet at the entrance
- S.S. Dorrigo camping area—toilet parallel to the bitumen road.
In an emergency
- Phone Triple Zero (000) for all life threatening, critical or serious emergencies, or for reporting a bushfire or acts of arson.
- Stay with the injured person—keep them calm and protect them from the elements.
Be prepared for disaster
Inskip Peninsula is a narrow, low-lying peninsula with only one road back to Rainbow Beach. Some camping areas can become flooded with access and exit tracks becoming impassable.
- Most camp sites are very close to sea level.
- Strong winds, sea swells, tsunami, cyclones and extremely high tides can occur and quickly inundate the camping areas—you must get out quickly.
- Tides play a big role in Inskip with some low-lying camping areas flooding quickly.
- Beach conditions can change quickly, especially after rain, strong winds, high tides and choppy seas.
- Weather changes can affect your camping experience, so tune in to a local radio station and listen carefully to weather reports.
Play it safe—pack up and leave in bad conditions
- In case of a tsunami warning, leave immediately—you may have only minutes to respond!
- For comprehensive information on preparing for floods, cyclones, tsunami and severe storms, visit Queensland Disaster Management Services.
- Before leaving home, check Bureau of Meteorology weather forecasts and warnings.
- Tune into a local ABC radio station for updated warnings and advice.
- Check for up-to-date Tsunami warnings; telephone 1300 TSUNAMI (1300 878 6264) or visit www.bom.gov.au/tsunami.
- Be aware that an Emergency Alert may be received at any time.
Check for park alerts
Pack good communication gear
Although mobile phone coverage is intermittent throughout Inskip, some areas have good reception.
Prepare an emergency kit
This could include:
- portable transistor radio and spare batteries
- torch and spare batteries
- extra warm clothing
- first-aid kit (and be trained in first aid)
- list of emergency contact numbers.
Be alert for approaching four-wheel-drive vehicles when on the beach. The sound of the surf makes it difficult to hear approaching vehicles.
- Also see: Bushwalking for more comprehensive information.
No drinking water or shower facilities are provided in the camping areas. Drinking water is available at the council service facility just outside Rainbow Beach on Clarkson Drive. 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.
Swimming in the ocean is not recommended, but drivers of power boats and jet skis should always be wary of people in the water, fishers and marine animals. Please be careful over the seagrass beds as dugong feed there all year around. For the sake of all marine animals, please go slow for those below.
Sand slips are silent. Exposed sand dunes and sand cliffs along Inskip and Rainbow Beach are unstable and can collapse without warning. Climbing on, sliding down or digging into them is dangerous and can lead to serious injury or death. Do not park close to dunes. Never allow children to play near or on sand dunes and sand cliffs.
All Queensland road rules apply on all roads, vehicle tracks and beaches in the Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area. Police patrol all areas of the Inskip Peninsula. Speed checks and breath testing can happen at anytime anywhere.
View the short Driving on sand and Slow is safe safety videos for more detailed information on rules, preparation, hazards and other handy sand driving tips. Before leaving home, check the Cooloola Conditions Report (updated regularly) for beach and track conditions.
Driving around Inskip
- All Queensland road rules apply on roads and beaches.
- Drivers must be licensed.
- All vehicles must be road registered.
- Conditionally registered vehicles are not permitted (including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles or ATVs).
- Wear seatbelts at all times—it's the law!
- Never carry passengers outside the vehicle cabin.
- Keep to the left of oncoming vehicles at all times.
- Only use indicators when overtaking or turning.
Keep to speed limits
- The speed limit on beaches is 80km/h unless signposted otherwise.
- The speed limit on all beaches adjacent to camping and day-use areas is 40km/h.
- The speed limit in camping areas is 10km/h.
- Drivers must assess conditions and be responsible for the safety of themselves and their passengers.
Hazards can occur within the Inskip Recreation Area and change on a daily basis. Be aware that:
- Deep washouts can happen at any time, particularly after heavy rain and rough seas.
- Wave action can expose dangerous rocks overnight.
- Washouts and rocks can be difficult to see, especially at night.
- Night driving is not recommended.
- Drivers find it difficult to see people lying on the beach or kids playing.
- People on the beach may not hear approaching cars over the sound of surf and wind.
- Safest beach driving times are at, or very close to, low tide.
- Beach driving during the two hours either side of high tide or at night is dangerous.
Wildlife and plants are protected by law
Many shorebirds—migrants and residents—are of international conservation significance. Help to care for them and their roosting and nesting areas.
- Slow down around wildlife—drive around, not through, flocks of birds.
- Do not drive over vegetation.
- Never park vehicles or set up camp on vegetated foredunes. Penalties apply.
- Always use established or formed tracks when accessing designated beach camp sites behind the foredunes.
People are precious
Beach safety is everyone’s responsibility—drivers, parents and children.
- Drive slowly when passing people and oncoming vehicles.
- Take extra care and slow down around busy meeting spots, such as the beach adjacent to the camping areas and the barge landing area.
Ensure your vehicle is mechanically sound
- Carry a tyre gauge, air pump for tyres, water, snatch strap, tow rope, a first-aid kit and essential spares.
- Never overload the vehicle.
- Load your vehicle evenly, with heavier items packed low.
- Top-heavy vehicles topple easily—only carry lightweight items on roof racks.
- Campfires are permitted at Inskip except during fire prohibitions in which case fires are not permitted anywhere.
- Use a pre-existing campfire site.
- Never leave a campfire unattended and extinguish all fires with water before leaving camp.
- Be vigilant with fuel stoves, gas lights and lanterns.
- for starting a fire during a QPWS-imposed fire prohibition or a total fire ban.
- for disposing of non-combustible or toxic material (e.g. glass, rubber, cans, plastics) in a campfire.
- Campfires prohibitions and fuel stoves for a short safety video.
- Campfires, fuel stoves and barbecues web page
In extreme conditions, some camping areas may be closed at short notice for safety reasons.
- Bushfires can pose a threat to campers.
- They can occur without warning.
- Be aware of the dangers and prepare a safety plan.
Rangers also carry out planned fuel reduction burning. These are well broadcast beforehand.
Please observe all signs, barriers and directions from rangers.
- Also see: QPWS Fire management for more information.
Report suspected arson
Please report suspected arson immediately to Triple Zero (000). This can save lives, property and wildlife.
- Record the time, location and description of the suspected arsonist/s or the vehicle, including its registration number.
For more information, please read the QPWS Fire management.
Before you visit
Inskip's rules at a glance
- Chainsaws cannot be used.
- Dogs are permitted on a leash and under control at all times.
- Horses are permitted only in the Independent Recreational horse riding area.
- Camping permits are required before arrival—fees apply.
- Specific camp sites cannot be booked—first in, best placed.
- Campfires are permitted at Inskip.
- No campfires when a fire prohibition is in place.
Essentials to bring
- Leash for your dog—dogs are permitted, but must be kept on a leash and under control at all times.
- Bring a good supply of disposable bags for your dog's droppings, as you must clean up after your dog.
- First-aid kit—it's a good idea for at least one person in the group to have a current first-aid certificate.
- Personal prescription medicines—bring adequate supplies for your stay.
- Drinking water and water containers—replenish water supplies at the service facility on Clarkson Drive.
- Fuel stoves preferred—test them before leaving home and never use them in confined spaces, such as tents.
- Firewood—none is provided, so bring adequate supplies of clean untreated firewood, such as mill off-cuts.
Everything is protected in the Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area, so collecting bush wood, even twigs and leaves, from Inskip is an offence. Penalties apply.
Campfires are permitted at Inskip, but:
- No campfires are permitted at all when a fire prohibition is in place; check park alerts and the Cooloola Conditions Report before going.
- Never leave a fire unattended—penalties apply.
- Supervise children carefully around fires.
- Extinguish fires totally with water, not sand.
- Do not dispose of non-combustible or toxic materials in fire, including glass, cans, rubber and plastic.
- Also see: Safety video clips.
Dogs are permitted in the:
- Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area
- Dog-friendly zone—between First and Third cuttings—in the Cooloola Recreation Area.
Avoid a fine
- For safety, it is a requirement to keep dogs on leashes and under control at all times, both in the camping areas and on the beach.
- Do not allow dogs to chase birds or other wildlife.
- Wrap or bag dog droppings and place these in the bins.
- Ensure that your dog does not prevent rangers' access to view your camping permit tag.
Remember—keep your dog in line and avoid a fine.
Dogs are not welcome everywhere
Be warned that dogs are not permitted anywhere else in the Cooloola Recreation Area, including inside vehicles traversing beaches and access tracks—for example Teewah Beach, Double Island Point and Freshwater Road.
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’.
Horse riding is controlled by regulatory notice. Conditions apply:
- Horses must not exceed walking pace.
- Grazing or feeding of horses in the recreation area is prohibited.
Remember—camping with horses is prohibited.
- Always pick up and read a current visitor guide , and a current Cooloola Conditions Report .
- Pack sealable garbage bags and take all rubbish out.
- Reduce packaging at home and limit the amount of rubbish brought into the park.
- Bring small sealable canisters for cigarette butts. Don't discard cigarette butts in the park.
- Also see: Reduce and recycle rubbish—a short video clip.
Seriously consider bringing:
- portable toilets for beach camping
- mobile phone and spare battery—even though phone reception is intermittent.
- sunscreen and insect repellent
- torch and spare batteries
- wet weather gear
- sand pegs, tarpaulins, extra poles and ropes (but never tie ropes to trees).
Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area is open 24 hours a day, except for periods of scheduled maintenance or during severe weather events.
Purchasing vehicle access permits (VAPs)
No VAPs required for Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area.
Yes! Vehicle access permits (VAPs) are required:
- in nearby Cooloola Recreation Area—on beaches and some access tracks
- before entering Fraser Island.
Purchasing camping permits
Camping permits—fees apply—are required before arrival at all camping areas within Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area. On-the-spot fines apply for camping without a valid permit.
A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site. Pre-paid permit packs—for campers who have booked and paid online or by phone—are available 24 hrs from outside the QPWS information centre in Rainbow Beach and Tewantin.
It is your responsibility to renew your expired permit if you intend to stay longer.
If you are part of an organised group, an organised event permit may be required.
- Organised event permits
- Permits for special groups
- See the camping page for more information and booking details.
For information on permit refunds, please read Camping and vehicle access permit fee and gift card refunds operational policy. To apply for a refund please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other than dogs and horses under strict conditions, no other domestic animals, including birds, are permitted at Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area. Walking dogs at Inskip—on a leash and under control—is best for you, other visitors' safety and best for wildlife.
Also see: Keep wildlife wild—a short information video clip
Climate and weather
Inskip Peninsula enjoys a mild, subtropical climate. The average daily temperature range is 22°C to 30°C in summer and 12°C to 22°C in winter. Inskip camping areas are close to the ocean and visitors will often enjoy soft sea breezes at the end of the day.
Summer months can be humid with long periods of rain. Thunderstorms, often with strong winds, can occur from spring through to early winter and can dump large amounts of rain in a short period of time.
Winters are generally dry. September is one of the driest months of the year. Dry conditions increase the risk of wildfires.
- Expect fire prohibitions or fire bans to be in place during dry times.
- This means you cannot start a campfire at all.
- Check park alerts and the Cooloola conditions report prior to arrival.
- Obey the signs and avoid a heavy fine.
After long periods of rain, the sand in intertidal zones can become waterlogged, increasing the possibility of sand depressions forming—soaked sand patches that subside and collapse. Although rare occurrences, these unstable areas are dangerous.
Park closures and warnings
Prior to arrival, check park alerts and the Cooloola conditions report (updated regularly) for park closures or warnings about issues, such as floods, fires, road and walking track conditions and scheduled maintenance.
Fuel and supplies
Fuel and supplies are available at Rainbow Beach.
- S.S. Dorrigo beachfront camping area closed 17 September 2022 to 31 January 2023
- Booking restrictions in place in the Sarawak camping area 9–22 December 2022
- Christmas holiday period - very large high tides 9–29 December 2022
- Marine turtles breeding season 1 November 2022 to 30 April 2023
- Camper Hygiene 1 February 2022 to 30 March 2023
- Information Centre opening hours 20 September 2022 to 20 March 2023