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Top Things to do in Rainbow Beach

Nestled between the Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay, this relaxed coastal town is renowned for its nature oriented experiences and the colourful sand cliffs upon which the town sits. Rainbow Beach is an adventure playground for fishing, camping, water sports and thrilling off road 4X4 adventures to Fraser Island. With endless stretches of beach at your disposal, Rainbow Beach is the perfect aquatic playground to learn how to surf, kayak with dolphins, throw yourself out of plane or 4WD over sand dunes that run parallel to the Pacific Ocean. Here you’ll discover all the best things you can see and do in Rainbow Beach.

The Top 10 Things to do in Rainbow Beach, QLD

by Chloe Smith
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One of Queensland’s most beautiful beachside locations, Rainbow Beach is a great place to get away from the crowds and bask in the gorgeous sun nestled between Noosa and the World Heritage listed Fraser Island.

Rainbow Beach is filled with so many great activities, you will be able to do more than just lounge on the beach during your visit.

Here are our top 10 picks for things to see and do when visiting Rainbow Beach near the beautiful Sunshine Coast.

1. Fraser Island

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Location: Fraser Island

Rainbow Beach is known as the gateway to Fraser Island and it would be impossible to leave it off this list. The world heritage listed island is on the bucket list of millions of visitors and for good reason.

This beautiful island is the largest sand island in the world with 40 perched lakes and a thriving rainforest, sand dunes, freshwater creeks, coloured sands and even a beached shipwreck.

Fraser Island has achieved world heritage listed status in recognition of its natural attractions and unique features which is why is a must visit location when come to Queensland.

Visitors are also surprised by the abundance of wildlife that live here including: 350 species of birds, wallabies, possums, dingoes and snakes.

The island is only accessible with 4WD vehicles. Day and overnight tours are available if you do not have your own vehicle.

Sit back and relax while you let the guide navigate the difficult beach tracks to visit the famous lakes and rainforest and freshwater creeks on the island.

2. Dolphin Kayaking

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Location: 6 Rainbow Beach Rd, Rainbow Beach

One of the best ways to explore Rainbow Beach is by getting out on the water on a sea kayak. Guided sea kayak tours will take you to Double Island Point where the kayaking begins.

From here you can appreciate the beauty of these coloured sands and Fraser Island from a different perspective.

The waters are home to over 400 dolphins and turtles so it is practically guaranteed that you will encounter one of these marine creatures out on the water. You will also paddle alongside large schools of fish, manta rays, sea birds and whales (in season).

The adventure begins with a scenic 4WD beach drive along the sandy straight past the famous coloured sands. The end destination is Double Island Point where the calm waters will beckon you to jump in the kayak and head out exploring.

Double Island Point is only accessible by 4WD vehicles and as such is a beautiful uncrowded beach perfect for water activities.

The waters are home to over 400 dolphins and turtles so it is practically guaranteed that you will encounter one of these marine creatures out on the water.

This gentle paddle is an ideal activity for people of all ages and fitness levels and is available all year round. As you paddle out to sea in small groups, take a moment to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Keep an eye out for the Double Island Point Lighthouse which is best seen from the sea with a stunning backdrop.

The guided paddle around the headland is a fantastic way to hit the open waters with family and friends and see the best of Rainbow Beach.

Tours are approximately three hours long and are a perfect half day activity. Equipment are supplied but it is recommended that you bring a towel, sunscreen, water, snacks and of course a camera!

3. Surf Lessons

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Location: Double Island Point, Cooloola National Park

Surfing is one of Australia’s favourite hobbies and it is no wonder why with stunning beaches all over the country. Some beaches are better than others to venture into the water if you are a beginner.

Rainbow Beach is a great place to learn how to surf as the water is fairly shallow and the beach is known for the longest waves to help beginners safely get up on their feet and ride their first wave.

The beaches are also uncrowded which means no spectators watching you fall or fighting others for a wave.

Take a surf lesson in a small group with personalised instruction. Surfing is a lot like riding a bike. Once you have learnt how to do it, you will never forget.

Surfing is not just a great activity for all ages, but it is a lifelong skill that you can take away with you. And what better place to learn than on a quiet, pristine beach.

Lessons are 2 hours long and you will have plenty of time to have a swim in the calm waters to enjoy this secluded beach.

This tour is also great for surfers who may be a bit rusty and want a bit more instruction or experienced surfers who want to surf at Double Island Point.

After the lesson enjoy the exciting 4WD tour along the beach with views of the coloured sands and Double Island Point from which the town aptly gets its name.

Some of the best holidays are ones that you learn something from rather than just looking at beautiful sights. With your newly acquired surfing skills you can hang loose and go surfing anywhere with the memory of learning in Australia at one of the most scenic beaches in the world.

4. Fraser Island Skydiving

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Location: 48 Rainbow Beach Rd, Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach is known as the gateway to Fraser Island and has so many natural attractions within the Great Sandy National Park such as the coloured sands, freshwater lakes, rainforest, Carlo Sand Blow and beautiful beaches that a skydive is one of the best ways to appreciate its beauty.

Skydivers at Rainbow Beach are treated to impressive aerial views of the coastline from Double Island Point to Fraser Island and beyond from 14,000ft. Instructors will take you through a 60 second free fall before navigating your way back down to earth at speeds up to 200km/hr.

Be treated to impressive views that only a handful of lucky people will ever get to see as you take the plunger over Fraser Island with mesmerising views of the pristine beaches and colourful sands of Rainbow Beach.

If you have ever wanted to tick this item off your bucket list and experience the thrill of skydiving then consider taking the plunge at Rainbow Beach.

Skydivers will receive a certificate to commemorate their bravery. Photos and videos of the experience are also available for purchase so you can relive your experience and show off to your friends and family.

All skydives over Rainbow Beach have a guaranteed beach landing under the guidance of your tandem skydive instructor. Simply check in at the office in the heart of Rainbow Beach and get ready for a thrilling adventure. Once you have skydived you will feel invincible.

5. Dolphin Feeding

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Location: Norman Point, Tin Can Bay

Dolphin feeding is available in many locations around Australia but these animals are not wild dolphins and the experience can be costly. If you are looking to have a close encounter with a wild dolphin than dolphin feeding at Tin Can Bay is an experience that you must add to your bucket list.

It is not everywhere in the world that you have an opportunity to hand feed these intelligent creatures, however, you can in Tin Can Bay.

This rare opportunity to hand feed wild dolphins is available once a day in the mornings at the Barnacles Dolphin Centre at 8am.

Anywhere else in the world, you would have to pay a lot of money for this experience, however, here in Tin Can Bay you can enter the water with the friendly volunteers and get to know all about these fascinating animals in small groups.

The viewing area is open to the public from 7am where visitors are encouraged to get in the shallow water to witness the dolphins before the feeding session commences at 8am. For a small entry and feeding fee, participants are given one fish each to feed to the dolphins.

Numbers are restricted to ensure that the dolphins are not fed more than their maximum quota of fish each day. This makes this experience exclusive to participants but also ensures that dolphins do not become dependent on humans for their food and retain their hunting skills and consistent diet of squid, fish and crustaceans.

As you participate in the feeding program volunteers will tell you all about the behaviours and habits of these creatures. This is also your opportunity to ask any questions that you may have about these dolphins. Anything these volunteers don’t know about dolphins is probably not worth knowing.

The Dolphin Feeding Tour will provide 4WD transfers from Rainbow Beach so that you can sit back, relax and let someone else take care of the navigation for you. This is a great family friendly activity and one that should not be missed.

6. Stand Up Paddle Boarding

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Location: 6 Rainbow Beach Rd, Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach has become known as having the longest surf break in Australia at Double Island Point. The waters are crystal clear, shallow and the beaches are uncrowded making it perfect for beginners who are trying to find their feet.

Stand up paddle boarding is now one of the most popular water sports activities in the world and everyone can get involved. Not only is it a lot of fun but it is great way to get some exercise without feeling like you are.

The protected waters surrounding Double Island Point are a perfect location to give it a go and the flat water makes it easier to maintain your balance on the board.

The area is known for its abundance of dolphins and turtles. Take a lesson and get a chance to paddle with the dolphins. Lessons run for three hours and allow you to explore your surrounds. During the lesson you will also have a chance to spot rays, seabirds, turtles and whales (in season).

A healthy ecosystem is one that is buzzing with activity and marine life and you will definitely find that here. Hundreds of dolphins and turtles are known to frequent this area. Enjoy paddling alongside these friendly and inquisitive marine creatures as you slowly cruise past the coastline.

The lessons depart from Rainbow Beach via a 4WD beach drive. This is a stand up paddle board lesson like no other as you get to experience the famous coloured sand cliffs along the way during the Great Beach Drive. Once you arrive, friendly instructors will have you up on your feet in no time.

A healthy ecosystem is one that is buzzing with activity and marine life and you will definitely find that here. Hundreds of dolphins and turtles are known to frequent this area. Enjoy paddling alongside these friendly and inquisitive marine creatures as you slowly cruise past the coastline.

All equipment including transport, boards and wet shirts are supplied. The only thing you will need to bring is a towel, sunscreen, snacks, camera and a sense of adventure.

7. Horse Riding

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Location: Clarkson Drive, Rainbow Beach

For a once in a lifetime experience take a Rainbow Beach Horse Ride. Rainbow Beach has received many awards over the years and is regarded as the third most colourful beach in the world.

It is no surprise that the beach ride is the most popular tour as you take in the scenic surrounds of the blue ocean, white sands and views of the coastline and Fraser Island.

These horses are very friendly, calm and used to making new friends so don’t be afraid if you have never been horse riding before as it is suitable for beginners.No experience is necessary and all riders will be given instructions prior to your scenic ride.

These horses are very friendly, calm and used to making new friends so don’t be afraid if you have never been horse riding before as it is suitable for beginners.

The rides take place on an exclusive section of the beach where no other vehicles are permitted so there is no need to worry about 4WD traffic- just relax and enjoy the scenery.

If you are an experienced rider than a swimming ride will be the highlight of your trip to Rainbow Beach. Experienced riders are permitted to take the horse into the ocean for a playful swim.

If you prefer to experience the Australian bushland instead then country rides are available taking you on a journey through lush green hills, waterholes and amazing viewpoints.

The horse rides normally last for 90 minutes a session and are suitable for people aged 10 and above.

8. Carlo Sand Blow

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Location: Cooloola Drive, Cooloola

The Carlo Sand Blow is a must see when in Rainbow Beach. This natural sand mass covers 15 hectares and provides hours of entertainment, overlooking the coloured sands with stunning views and best of all it is FREE.

Visitors can find the Carlo Sand Blow at the end of Cooloola Drive and take a short 600m walk to the sand dune along a wooden track. The sand blow is busiest at sunrise or sunset where the views are spectacular.

The sand dunes are popular for sand boarding and it is common to see paragliders in the area too. Birdseye views from atop of the sand blow are amazing with 360 degree views of Rainbow Beach, the Coloured Sands, Double Island Point, Tin Can Bay and Fraser Island.

From the Carlo Sandblow, you will have 360 degree views of the ocean and the Cooloola Coast and endless hours of fun playing on the sand dunes.

Turtles and dolphins can often be spotted playing in the waters below. In the winter months, it is a great place for land-based whale watching as the playful mammals travel north during the annual migration period.

Early morning or late afternoon is the best times of day to visit and avoid the direct sunlight. Bring water, hats and lots of sunscreen.

9. Inskip Peninsula Recreational Area

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Location: Inskip Point Avenue, Rainbow Beach

The Inskip Peninsula is located 9km north of Rainbow Beach and is a very popular national park for those who want to get away from the city and enjoy camping and fishing in beachside surroundings.

The long sandy strait forms a natural ocean wall at the entrance of the Tin Can Bay Inlet and is a gateway to the world heritage listed Fraser Island. If you love camping then you will enjoy staying at the five camp sites that are available here.

Camping permits are required and can be purchased through Queensland National Parks and Wildlife.

If you are visiting during the school holiday period then make sure you book well in advance as campsites inevitably book out. Campers are advised to bring all the essentials and supplies as facilities within the national park are very basic.

Once you have settled into your temporary home, take some time to enjoy walks on the beach, fishing or 4WD around the national park. From here you can see views of Fraser Island as far as the eye can see.

This is one of Queensland's most beautiful recreational areas, perfect for the day or longer if you decide to camp. If you love the outdoors then you will feel at home here with great places for swimming, surfing and fishing.

The peninsula is a great spot for day trippers to head out swimming, fishing or 4WD beach driving. Be sure to take care and keep an eye out for vehicles when you head out swimming or fishing.

The wetlands surrounding the peninsula are important to the thousands of resident and migratory birds. Bring your binoculars and take part in some bird watching best viewed in the morning or late afternoon. Dolphins, turtles and dugongs have also been spotted playing in the waters surrounding the area.

10. The Coloured Sands

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Location: Cooloola National Park

A visit to Rainbow Beach would not be complete without a visit to the coloured sands of which the town gets its name.

This coastal town is an idyllic location for a beach holiday with many natural attractions that makes this town stand out from other locations.

The coloured sands stand tall at 80 metres high and every visit is unique with colours constantly changing with the weather conditions. The striking sands are must see when you visit Rainbow Beach.

The coloured sands are best seen at low tide or after rainy or windy days when the sand has eroded to reveal its striking colours. At any time the beach can reveal up to 70 coloured sands. The sands have tones of yellow, orange and sometimes black and red coloured sands.

The coloured sands are not just a beautiful location but hold cultural significance to Indigenous Australians and this is one of the reasons why it is a unique location attraction. To access the coloured sands without a 4WD take an easy 2km stroll along the beach south of the Rainbow Beach Surf Club. Be careful to stick to one side of the beach as it is a highway for 4WD vehicles.