Cooloola Coast

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesTewantin
FinishDouble Island Point
DifficultyDifficulty 3/5
Suitable for4WD 
Distance57.27 km
Minimum Days1
Average Speed81.59 km/hr
Driving Time42 mins
Page Updated: 24 Feb 2016

Description

The Cooloola Coast lies between the coastal towns of Noosa Heads and Rainbow Beach. The landscape of the Cooloola Coast is a diverse ecological treasure - sculptured by wind and water, and sand washed from river systems for over several million years. Cooloola Coast lies within the Great Sandy National Park, which is one of the largest ‘vegetated sand dune systems’ in the world. Along with its unique wilderness of indigenous flora and fauna - and its historical significance, the region has recently been nominated for ‘World Heritage’ listing.

The coastal strip of Cooloola features high sand dunes, coloured sand cliffs, sand-blows, perched lakes, high dune rainforests, and over 70kms of pristine beaches. Whales can be seen offshore between August and October, while dolphins and manta rays are more regular visitors.

There are plenty of camping spots within the 15km Teewah Beach camping zone, as well as plenty of sites to see such as the spectacular Coloured Sands. Visitors can enjoy bushwalking, camping, picnicking, boating, fishing, lake and surf swimming (although the beaches are unpatrolled) sharks are common and bluebottles are present during northerly winds. Wildflowers bloom on the heathlands in spring, which is the ideal time to visit.

The Cooloola Coast is a popular beach run and is one of the 4WD routes from Noosa to Fraser Island. The Cooloola Way, another 4WD access road into Cooloola, passes through the western catchment and links the Kin Kin-Wolvi Road with Rainbow Beach Road.

How to Use this Trek Note

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Environment

Cooloola Coast is part of the Great Sandy National Park and is managed by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. The region is a superb part of the Great Sandy National Park and is a refuge for a diverse species of flora and fauna. These include heathland, banksia woodlands, dry sclerophyll forest of scribbly gum and blackbutt. Fauna include Cooloola acid frogs and ground parrots - a rare and threatened species. The region also has one of the few remaining emu populations in coastal Queensland.

The coastal route is made up of two parts, one for beach driving, the other an inland track for high tides. This rough, single lane, but 2 way track, passes rainforests, tall blackbutt forests, sand dunes and coloured sand cliffs towering to 200m high.

At the northern end, the beach exit must only be attempted on very low tide otherwise the exit is blocked by some nasty tyre-ripping rocks. Also, the sand in the high section is very boggy, and there has been a number of vehicles that have encountered tyre damage here or become bogged and washed away by rising tide. There are plenty of disaster photos to serve as a reminder in the local service stations, caravan parks and information centres.

History

For thousands of years, Cooloola has been a special place for Aboriginal people. The Kabi Aborigines were the first known inhabitants of the Cooloola region. This tribe occupied an area from the Mooloolah River to the Burrum River. Evidence from the amount of broken shells found on the beaches suggested the group ate fish and various molluscs.

In 1770, Captain Cook sailed past and named Double Island Point at the northern end of Cooloola. It was not until 1842, that Governor Gipps sent Andrew Petrie to explore this area and this paved the way for resource use of a magnificent area known as the Kin Kin Scrubs - where today, only a small remnant of this vast rainforest is left.

Preparation

Essential items to take with you include an air compressor and a pressure gauge for deflating and re-inflating tyres for beach driving. Recovery gear such as snatch straps and shovels are also a must. Carry enough fuel and water with you as none are available along the way (nearest outlet to the north would be Rainbow Beach). Sand driving can be dangerous or cause serious damage to the environment unless great care is taken. The beach has hazards including washouts, particularly after heavy rain and rough seas. Wave action may expose dangerous rocks. Check beach conditions before setting out and know your tide times.

Remember, all road rules apply on the beach - it is a registered road! Indicate early to other cars and to people on the beach your intention. You may pass on-coming traffic on either side - cautiously! People have right of way on the beach. Check the local tide charts and weather conditions before leaving for beach driving. It is also wise to check on the status of any road or track closures.

Camping

All camping areas within the national park require a camping permit and fees apply. Permits must be obtained prior to arrival. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your campsite. On-the-spot fines apply for camping without a permit and for not displaying a valid permit.

Wood must be collected before you enter the Cooloola National Park if you plan to have a fire. Collecting bush wood (even twigs) from the national park is illegal. Only bring milled, untreated timber off-cuts, not bush timber. It helps to reduce risk of introducing pests and plant diseases.

Take adequate first aid equipment. Fresh water is available from the Freshwater campground and day-use area. Treat all water before drinking — use water treatment tablets or boil for at least 5-10 minutes. Bring fuel stoves for cooking. Test them before leaving on your trip and never use them in confined spaces such as tents.

Permits

A vehicle access permit must be obtained before driving on the Cooloola Coast. The permit must be attached to the left side of the vehicle's windscreen. Costs & options are listed on the Qld Government National Parks website. Please note that dogs are not allowed.

If you intend to camp, you will also need a permit and fees apply. See the Qld National Parks website for details.

Some campgrounds are heavily booked, especially on public holidays and school holidays. Book early and you can book a site up to 12 months before your planned visit. At least six weeks' advance booking is recommended.

Beach Camping

Beach camping is limited to a 15-km area along Teewah Beach between the boundary of the Noosa Shire in the south and Freshwater Creek. Self-registration stations exist at both ends of this zone. Campfires are allowed at these beach camping locations

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel Symbol There is also fuel available at Rainbow Beach (not shown on this trek note), which is to the west of Double Island Point.
DieselULPLPG
4cyl 8 litres4cyl 9 litres4cyl 11 litres
6cyl 9 litres6cyl 10 litres6cyl 10 litres
8cyl 9 litres8cyl 9 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Generally, the Cooloola Coast is fine to visit all year round - although it can get rather wet between February and May.

Closest Climatic Station

Tewantin Rsl Park
Distance from Trek Mid Point 26.44km S
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C28.428.427.425.723.521.521.122.124.225.526.428.0
Mean Min. °C21.821.920.618.014.712.511.111.514.416.918.720.7
Mean Rain mm154.2240.1204.9169.7159.7127.077.790.161.495.8103.9155.7
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

There are also supplies and facilities available at Rainbow Beach (not shown on this trek note), which is to the west of Double Island Point.

Map

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What to See

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Where to Stay

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After entering the Cooloola Shire, beach camping without facilities is available for 15km until Freshwater Creek. Ensure you have a camping permit.

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Directions

LocationsDistanceDirection Time
Tewantin to Tewantin Vehicular Ferry1.91 kmN11° 1 min
Tewantin Vehicular Ferry to Teewah Village14.77 kmN14° 13 min
Teewah Village to Mount Seawah2.27 kmN1 min
Mount Seawah to Noosa Cooloola Shire Boundary8.72 kmN15° 5 min
Noosa Cooloola Shire Boundary to Firebreaks & Cooloola Beach Camping Zone9.06 kmN16° 6 min
Firebreaks & Cooloola Beach Camping Zone to Freshwater Campground11.7 kmN19° 7 min
Freshwater Campground to Double Island Point8.84 kmNE25° 6 min
Tewantin to Double Island Point57.27 km  42 min
Distance is GPS recorded driving distance (not straight line), Direction is straight line from start to end, Time is calculated from actual GPS driving data.

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