Article Comment: Cooloola Way

Submitted: Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 11:18
ThreadID: 133536 Views:4219 Replies:4 FollowUps:22
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It's been around 5 years since I last took the Cooloola Way to Rainbow Beach. Managed it in a Subaru Forester a few times.
Does any one have any idea how bad or good it is now? I know it was shut for quite some time.
I have a grown up 4wd now but won't be travelling with another vehicle. Have recovery gear but no winch.
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Reply By: gbc - Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 15:45

Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 15:45
It is permanently closed and gated. There are tracks around the gates but the red mud section is badly torn up. Not recommended.
The Cooloola way trek notes should be updated to reflect that it is pointless going much past the Harry's hut turnoff.
AnswerID: 604801

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 20:59

Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 20:59
GBC, do you mean the main Cooloola Way between Gympie - Kin Kin Rd and Rainbow Beach Rd ?
Harry Hut Tk is a side trip off Cooloola Way, no through track.
Was up there a couple of months ago, and was going to go up through there to Inskip / Rainbow, and back along Cooloola - Teewah to Noosa.
But we went to Hervey Bay and down to Rainbow instead, then Freshwater to the beach access.
It is certainly shown as open on mapping like Google maps, albeit with the ridiculous time to drive shown.
Just checked Nat Pks site and found Cooloola access
See part about Inland Tracks . . . "Cooloola Way, another access road into Cooloola, links Rainbow Beach Road with Kin Kin-Wolvi Road. Some sections may be impassable after wet weather. Check local conditions before traversing this council-maintained road. Check track conditions before going."
It's also shown on Nat Pks map
It could be gated when wet by the looks ?
Nothing in the current Road / Track conditions pdf report about Cooloola Way.
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FollowupID: 874596

Follow Up By: gbc - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 06:48

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 06:48
Yes, same road. It was closed
'permanently'around 2011 for a number of years by the Gympie council due to 4wders using it in the wet. If they have reopened it and graded it that is good news. Thank you. The closed section was approx 5 km at the top of the Noosa river.
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FollowupID: 874600

Follow Up By: rumpig - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:06

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:06
We drove the track from Harry's Hut to Rainbow at Xmas time last year if that is where you refer to, we did it as a day drive whilst staying at Noosa Northshore, and lunched at Kin Kin pub. That road is open and an easy drive. I've driven it a couple of times over the last 4 years, I doubt it was ever closed "permanently" myself, maybe just for a period for repairs or rejuvenation. Last visit there I recalled a lot of road base type gravel in many Northern sections of the drive, I'd say the council have spent some dollars "upgrading" the track of recent years.
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FollowupID: 874602

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:09

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:09
Can't blame council on that, hey.

I was kind of shocked to see the signs on Teewah outside the official long stretch of camping zone, stating $5000 fine for camping !!
I guess they get the bad elements of behaviour (no consideration for others, bad rubbish and toiletry problems, etc) being so close to high population and close / easy access.

We experienced lack of consideration by neighbors camping each one night at both Inskip and Teewah.
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FollowupID: 874603

Follow Up By: Smokebelch - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:34

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:34
Thanks for the info guys. I'm heading up there in about an hour. Will head up to Kin Kin and if I feel lucky will take the Cooloola Way, otherwise Counter Road up to Tin Can Bay Road. Bit more scenic then the Bruce.
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FollowupID: 874606

Follow Up By: Smokebelch - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:37

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:37
Rumpig, do you remember how long it took you from the Harry's Hut turning to Rainbow Beach Road?
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FollowupID: 874607

Follow Up By: Smokebelch - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:42

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:42
Les, I was parked up at Teewah last Friday near the 3rd cutting. A group in an XTrail turned up and set up camp in the dunes about 100m up from one of the big $5000 fine signs. I should have said something, but none of my business ;)
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FollowupID: 874608

Follow Up By: gbc - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:59

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:59
http://www.4wdaustralia.com.au/Forum/Topic/105734/Review_Cooloola_Way.aspx

If you do a quick search around 2013/14 it was closed, gated and had signs to that effect. I have photos here somewhere but you have to pay membership here to help others and that isn't going to happen.
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FollowupID: 874609

Follow Up By: rumpig - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:04

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:04
@ Smokebelch....no mate sorry I don't recall the exact time frame it took, I'll hazard a guess and say a half hours drive, no longer then an hour at a guess because it's an easy 2wd track to negotiate.
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FollowupID: 874610

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:13

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:13
Rumpig, not saying you didn't do a drive through Harrys to Rainbow in some way, but trying to work out the route ?

After driving to Harrys Hut on a marked 4WD track, everything after that is shown as walking tracks . . .
http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/cooloola/pdf/cooloola-great-sandy-map.pdf

Does the track follow the Noosa R some 3km or so and pick up another track that goes west then back to Cooloola Way ?
That is shown on the map as a walking track.
Or can you somehow get over Noosa R and to the beach or other 4wd track(s) ?
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FollowupID: 874614

Follow Up By: Smokebelch - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:14

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:14
Thanks Rumpig, you definitely went up the Cooloola Way, not Counter Road along the long straight forestry track?
It's just I never remember it being in any way a 2wd track, unless as gbc said its been very well graded.
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FollowupID: 874615

Follow Up By: rumpig - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:19

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:19
This map shows the Cooloolah Way as a council managed road and the track I am referring to http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/cooloola/pdf/cooloola-conditions-report.pdf scroll down the page to see it
The Kings Bore track got closed or partially closed years ago, are you thinking of this track maybe?
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FollowupID: 874616

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:26

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:26
Sorry rumpig, must have been a misunderstanding, I was referring to your post id 874602 above "We drove the track from Harry's Hut to Rainbow at Xmas time last year" whereas I couldn't see anyway through past the one way Harrys Hut Tk.

I think a lot of the old 4WD tracks have been closed to vehicles, and converted to walking tracks in there.
Besides the Great Walk, there are other nice walking tracks up Noosa R, Wandi / Neebs Waterholes, etc.

Yes, I am pretty sure Cooloola Way is no problem, and the fact it isn't even mentioned in the Cooloola Conditions Report sort of indicates it is a fairly well maintained road.
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FollowupID: 874617

Follow Up By: Smokebelch - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:40

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:40
It does mention the Cooloola Way on the map page of the condition report

"Cooloola Way
Council managed 4WD road. Generally very rough. Seek local advice."

I got some good local knowledge from this thread!

Just realised something though. The reason I don't go to Rainbow via Teewah Beach and the Leisha Track is that I have dogs in the car. I see the Cooloola Way is in the National Park and they are quite clear...

"Domestic animals (including dogs in vehicles) are prohibited in the Cooloola Recreation Area"
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FollowupID: 874618

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:45

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:45
Yeah shame about that, not sure if you can even drive through with a dog in the vehicle, down here in SA if you even have them in the car when stopped you are liable to a fine depending on Rangers discretion (how his / her day has been so far).
Driving through without stopping I think is ok in certain through road situations.
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FollowupID: 874620

Follow Up By: rumpig - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:47

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:47
Technically yes the Cooloolah Way would be called a 4wd track Smokebelch, but most 2wd vehicles with decent ground clearance would be able to negotiate it in dry conditions....I never thought once about locking my hubs in, it's a pretty well maintained track really.
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FollowupID: 874621

Follow Up By: Smokebelch - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 11:18

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 11:18
Les, yes they mean in cars even if using the road as a through road. I also note that the Rainbow Beach road is within the National Park so technically you shouldn't be able to take dogs to Rainbow by any route. I'll use as my defence :)
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FollowupID: 874623

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 19:44

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 19:44
Smokebelcg, just call Nat parks I guess is best to confirm.
We had a BBQ lunch down at Deep Ck Cons Pk with a 4wd group a few years ago, it's a one way in - out track we went in on to a camp / picnic area.
Unbeknown to organisers one person had a dog in the car, never came out, ranger came along, happened to notice the animal in the back seat, and fine was issued.
Driving through Flinders Ranges Nat Pk is ok on the through road, for anything uncertain a call made is the best idea.
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FollowupID: 874637

Reply By: Michael H9 - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 06:04

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 06:04
I drove Cooloola way in April this year. A Forester would still be ok on it then.
AnswerID: 604810

Reply By: happytravelers - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:54

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:54
I live in this area. Was on the Cooloola way weekend before last. It's open, I've never known it to be shut. The track varies between rough and stony, sandy, muddy clay and corrugated sections. It's a varied interesting drive, enjoy it but beware of the washed out sections.
AnswerID: 604817

Follow Up By: Smokebelch - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:10

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:10
Now I think about it, it was closed when I was going up 5+ years ago. They had a sign up at the start that had been knocked over and driven over many times and this at the Rainbow Beach end. It didn't stop anyone then so they must have done something more permanent.

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FollowupID: 874613

Reply By: Smokebelch - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 14:45

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 14:45
All good. It's definitely been graded since I was last there. No water crossings anymore. Still slow going though. Rough and not great for passengers!

Took about 40 mins from the Kin Kin road turn off to RaInbow Beach Road so longer than taking the Bruce or Counter Road.

As much as I hate it, the Bruce is definitely the way to go as a thoroughfare to Rainbow unless you're after a 4WD day out. It looks like there are a few side tracks to explore if you have time.
AnswerID: 604831

Follow Up By: gbc - Monday, Oct 03, 2016 at 15:04

Monday, Oct 03, 2016 at 15:04
Nice, last time I was in there I needed the winch to get through the red mud section it was that badly cut up. Not bogged, just high and dry on the pan of the ranger the ruts were so deep.
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FollowupID: 874660

Follow Up By: Smokebelch - Monday, Oct 03, 2016 at 18:25

Monday, Oct 03, 2016 at 18:25
Is that the section just past a right hand bend and with the "chicken run" on the left of it? Its hard to tell now but I think I spotted the area yesterday. It's been graded and the side track is now overgrown.


Funny we had to pull a ute out of there the first time we went that way. He flew around the corner and drove straight through the middle. Got half way through, bottomed out and was stuck fast. Took us a good 30 mins to get him out, he was so badly stuck.


Almost made it in my Forester a year later on a miserable wet day. Looking back at the videos its amazing how many plastic underbody parts there were strewn around the ruts. It finished my plastic engine splash guard and I ended up getting a metal bash plate
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FollowupID: 874662

Follow Up By: gbc - Monday, Oct 03, 2016 at 19:16

Monday, Oct 03, 2016 at 19:16

If this photo attaches I'll be happy. I think I know your section, it was higher up in the range. My bit was further north as the scrub opens up a bit. I'd been paddling from Harry's up to camp 15 and was heading to rainbow. Lucky I had the winch or I'd still be there haha.
I'll fess up and admit I joined a snatch strap onto the winch to reach the nearest tree - a great reason to have a wireless remote on the winch. The ute looked like it was doing breathstroke as the strap would load up enough to make the ute slide forward a few feet at a time. I have a knack of not getting bogged on serious 4wd trips, and getting hopelessly stuck on little jaunts where 4wding is an afterthought and half my gear is neatly stowed under the house.
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FollowupID: 874664

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