Guest blog by Stuart Whitehouse
Stuart Whitehouse is a writer for the BLADE Fishing Kayak Journal and has been testing our S/TMAXX tyres in Queensland’s Glasshouse Mountains and the Sunshine Coast. For anyone keen on venturing north of Noosa, Stuart’s written a quick local’s guide of what you can expect on the Cooloola Coast.
Just north of the well-known town of Noosa lies an area known as the Cooloola Coast, a big chunk of which is taken up by the Great Sandy National Park. There are many ways to enjoy this region, such as sailing, kayaking or canoeing on Lake Cooroibah, Lake Cootharaba or on the Upper Noosa River itself and even kayak camping or bushwalking and camping at the numerous sites along the upper reaches of the Noosa River.
Which way around you do this trip will depend on the tide times, as 2 hours either side of low tide is considered the safest time to drive the beaches. On our last visit we drove to Tewantin and caught the car ferry. It's only about 100 metres or so across the Noosa River and the cost is only $7 per vehicle. Vehicle access permits can be purchased online at ParksQ, at the ranger station just before the ferry at Tewantin or at the Manta Ray Barge Office on Rainbow Beach Road just as you hit town.
The drive up Teewah Beach to Double Island Point is very pleasant and there are a couple of spots where you should stop if you have never done the trip before. The first of these is Red Canyon. The next place to stop is not long before Double Island Point (DIP) and it is the former resting place of the shipwreck known as The Cherry Venture. All that remains now is a billboard with photos and a bit of history about the wreck. The last remains of the wreck were removed in 2007 for safety reasons.
If you're feeling fit when you get to DIP, you may wish to do the lighthouse walk. The views from the headland are well worth the walk, especially with the weather we had on one of our trips there. On one trip we had exceptionally good conditions and from the headland, we saw dolphins, rays and turtles swimming around in stunningly clear water.
There is one other place you may choose to stop if you’re doing a day trip to DIP. The Freshwater Camping Area has amenities and a day-use area. It's a great spot to have morning tea or lunch, especially if it's a little windy on the beach. Camping is also allowed on a certain stretch of Teewah Beach but if you crave amenities, Freshwater has $1 (5 min) hot showers and flushing loos.
You can leave the beach via the Freshwater Track and go out to the bitumen on Rainbow Beach Road if you like but bear in mind that the track, although mostly sandy, can sometimes become quite rutted and will be a problem for you if clearance is an issue. The Cooloola conditions report is updated fortnightly and is worth checking before a trip to the area.
Past the Freshwater Track and before the DIP headland is the Leisha Track. This track connects Teewah Beach on the south side of the headland with Rainbow Beach on the north side. The track itself is usually not too bad but the entry from each end can be soft and chopped up from traffic. At the Teewah end it tends to have more soft rutted sand and at the Rainbow end it's a little less so but it has a different problem. Coming out, you get the impression that you are driving straight into the lagoon that has been formed by shifting sands.
You will need to do a sharp left or right turn, depending on what you want to look at but caution is needed here as it is a blind corner whichever direction you choose. Bear in mind that anything sand-related can change and that between the time of writing this and you reading it, or doing a trip, conditions may have changed for the better or for the worse. Caution is always advisable no matter what trip you are doing.
Heading north along Rainbow Beach, it's soon apparent where the name came from. The drive north is shorter than Teewah Beach but no less enjoyable. Just before the Rainbow Beach township you'll find the infamous Mudlo Rocks. The last few trips I've had up there, the rocks were completely covered by sand and weren't a problem but if in doubt, go back to the Freshwater Track and get out that way.
It's not worth losing your car for the sake of saving some time. Once past or over Mudlo Rocks you'll leave the beach at the Rainbow Beach township, just before the flagged bathing area. After a couple of kilometres through town you can get back onto the beach and drive further north to Inskip Point with views of Fraser Island just across the channel.
Eventually you'll run out of beach and have to get back onto bitumen or turn around and go back. Inskip Point offers a large area for camping as well and is very popular. You may choose to stay overnight and reverse your trip the next day. Have a look at Pettigrews Road while you're in the area too. It's a great drive.
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