Sub-tropical, heavenly, coastal, and quiet. After spending a few days there, that is exactly how I would describe it.
Rainbow Beach has been described in a few ways over the years. Aquatic lovers’ playground. Gateway to Fraser. Gateway to 41000 hectares of Cooloola National Park. Those names are certainly enough to grab your attention.
Where is Rainbow Beach
Rainbow Beach nestles north of Noosa. From where I live in Buderim, the maps tell you it is 153km away and a little under 2 hours. As we took our time driving in, we spent a couple of extra hours driving. We made sure that we left early enough that we could stop/start wherever took our fancy. We were in no rush not able to check into our accommodation until 2pm.
Of course, there is another way to get to Rainbow. From Noosa to Rainbow Beach, you can drive the beach to get there! Quite literally! Tides permitting of course! If that is your desire, pack a picnic and go for it. There’s a lot to explore along the way so do your research. That doesn’t float my boat, nor Dads if I am honest. I`ve done beach driving years ago, but that’s it! No more.
Distance from Brisbane
Brisbane CBD to Rainbow Beach, according to our friend Google Maps, is 3 hours and 250km.
Where to stay
When Dad and I are going somewhere, accommodation is always the first port-of-call. We are not able to just turn up and say, “have you got….” We must be sure that the accommodation can sleep the both of us and in a configuration that befits father/daughter. A one bed and sofa bed is no good. Of course, with Dad not as young as he was and me, 50 this year, I want comfort. I`ll take a single bed but sofa beds are out!
When you are booking somewhere, we came across an issue. Whether this is just something for Australian accommodation or whether it is overseas too, but some accommodations are “BYO Linen.” This basically means bring your own sheets and pillowcases. I don’t know about you, but I’m on holiday. The last thing I want to do, is take bed linen with me for a three day stay, make the beds and then wash bed linen when I get home. If that makes me sound picky, I can live with that dear reader.
I recommend being thorough when checking out the accommodation. Ensure that linen is provided and that your beds are made for you. You`re on holiday! Make life as easy as you can. Think about the time you are going too. Our accommodation had no air conditioning which was fine while we were there, but in the summer, would have been a disaster.
My other recommendation for you: Check out the basics when booking. The place that we stayed in Rainbow Beach had a stunning view, there was no denying that. But it did not have the basics. Not even a roll of toilet paper. Am I old fashioned or is that not just a basic amenity? Before we could settle or unpack, we had to go shopping for basics that really should have been there.
Get online. Check out all the usual websites…. wotif, stayz etc. Usually, I have found the best information and deals by going to the accommodation website. Cut out the middleman and go straight to the source!
Where to eat
It is not a culinary paradise at Rainbow Beach so do not go expecting 5-star restaurants and celebrity chef endorsed eateries. You won’t find them. Being a coastal, sleepy, little town, you will have the basics. There are several cafes, all of which serve great food at reasonable prices. There is the Surf Club on the beachfront. Although Dad and I never ate there, the seafood has been reported to be fantastic. There is of course, Rainbow Beach Tavern. Basic food, basic prices with no frills. We ate there a couple of nights. Grab your drinks and a table. Order food at the bar and when your beeper goes, off you go to collect your tray.
We never got a chance to eat at Arcobaleno but have read some reviews to say that it is highly recommended. It is tucked off the high street, one of those “you have to know it’s there” kind of places. Fairy lights, pizza, fish, desserts and just a perfect relaxed spot for dinner.
Where to drink
Cafes along the main street all serve great coffee, some serve alcohol too. The tavern and the surf club also serve drinks. Not a bad one in the place!
Where to play
For a sleepy, coastal town there is much to see and do.
Double Island Point is visible from Rainbow Beach but to get there, it is 4WD only.
Carlo Sand Blow: Whose Carlo and what’s a sand blow? That’s what I wanted to know! As our accommodation was just metres from the entrance, Dad took me to find out. A short hike and you reach a lookout. The information board gives you all you need to know. Carlo was a deckhand with Captain Cook. (Not an important man as all of the other sailors got beaches or islands as namesakes) However, the sand blow is a pretty awesome sight. Its literally a big heap of sand blown in!
At first glance you think, yes…ok…lots of sand. Then when you see someone down on the sand walking to the viewpoint, only then, do you appreciate the sheer magnitude of the thing! Its HUGE! It’s like a slow-moving avalanche. In years (thousands) of years to come, it will be visiting the town of Rainbow Beach!
Inskip Point: Inskip point is a stunning area where the barge to Fraser departs and returns throughout the day. We went there each evening at Sunset and on our last night were gifted the most stunning cloudscapes and colours.
While there we also visited Cooloola Cove. We took a few hours out one day and drove the coast from Boonooroo to Tuan, to Poona to Tinnibar. We discovered little villages of less than 100 people on our journey.
There are a lot more things to do around the area. You can beach drive, 4WD, day trips to Fraser, hikes and much more. It all depends on what you want out of your break. Dad and I have had a crazy few years. What with the loss of Mark and following that, the loss of Mum, we simply wanted a break. Nothing more, nothing less. As we try and settle into what is (and I hate this phrase) a new normal, we are finding our feet and having some mini breaks. Life can deal some tough hands; we know that for definite. But now, we are picking up our own pieces and moving forward together.
Would I come back? Yes, most definitely.