Rainbow Beach Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, activities, food and drink scene, where to stay, local culture, safety tips, how to get there, and more in Rainbow Beach, Australia.

Introduction to Rainbow Beach

Located in Central Queensland, Australia, Rainbow Beach is a popular tourist destination with breathtaking natural scenaries, crystal-clear beaches, and unique landscapes. The town is home to the Coloured Sands, a spectacular formation of sand cliffs colored in 74 different hues, and several other natural wonders. With an array of outdoor activities, museums, historical places, and a vibrant local culture, Rainbow Beach has something to offer everyone.

List of Places to Visit in Rainbow Beach

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Rainbow Beach Historical Museum: Discover the history and culture of the town and its surrounding areas through its collection of artifacts, memorabilia, and photographs.

  • Tin Can Bay Historical Society Museum: Located just a short drive from Rainbow Beach, this museum showcases the history of the local fishing industry and the town’s early settlers.

Natural Attractions of Rainbow Beach: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Rainbow Beach Coloured Sands: The highlight of Rainbow Beach, these majestic sand cliffs are a unique and breathtaking natural wonder.

  • Poona Lake: A tranquil freshwater lake, perfect for swimming, kayaking, and enjoying peaceful water views.

  • Double Island Point: A scenic stretch of beach popular for surfing, swimming, fishing, and camping.

  • Great Cooloola Walk: Embark on an adventurous hike through the stunning Cooloola National Park.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Rainbow Beach

  • Cooloola Great Walk: This 102-kilometer trail is perfect for experienced hikers, and takes you through diverse landscapes including rainforests, sand dunes, and coastal heathlands.

  • Mount Carlo Lookout Walk: This short but steep hike offers panoramic views of Rainbow Beach and Tin Can Bay.

Best Things to Do in Rainbow Beach: Activities and Tours

  • Kayak with Dolphins: Join a guided kayak tour to get up close with the playful dolphins of Rainbow Beach.

  • Skydiving: Experience the thrill of a lifetime with a tandem skydive over the stunning Rainbow Beach coastline.

  • Whale Watching: From June to November, witness the majestic humpback whales as they migrate along the east coast of Australia.

Week-Long Itinerary for Rainbow Beach

Day Activity
1 Explore Rainbow Beach Coloured Sands and Carlo Sandblow
2 Hike through the Great Cooloola Walk
3 Kayak with dolphins and enjoy a beach picnic
4 Excursion to Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island
5 Visit Tin Can Bay for a morning dolphin feeding experience
6 Skydiving and scenic flight over Rainbow Beach coastline
7 Relax on the beach or go fishing at Double Island Point

Food and Drink Scene of Rainbow Beach

Must-Try Dishes

  • Fish and Chips: Indulge in delicious, fresh seafood from one of Rainbow Beach’s many local fish and chips shops.

  • Macadamia Nuts: Try locally sourced macadamia nuts, often used in desserts, baked goods, and as a healthy snack.

  • Burger with the Lot: A classic Australian burger, complete with beetroot, egg, cheese, and bacon.

Local Beverages

  • Bundaberg Rum: A unique Australian rum produced in a small town in Queensland.

  • XXX Gold Beer: A popular Queensland beer with a light and refreshing taste perfect for the beach.

Where to Stay in Rainbow Beach: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Rainbow Beach Resort: A luxurious beachfront property with stunning ocean views, a spa, and outdoor pool.

  • Pippies Beachhouse: A highly-rated hostel offering budget-friendly accommodation, only steps from the beach.

  • Plantation Resort at Rainbow: A tropical oasis surrounded by lush gardens, complete with an outdoor pool and barbecue facilities.

What to Buy in Rainbow Beach: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Handmade Soaps: Take home locally-made soaps from natural ingredients such as shea butter, lavender, and peppermint.

  • Aboriginal Art: Browse and purchase authentic indigenous art from local galleries and markets.

Local Culture and Customs of Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach is a friendly and welcoming community with a strong cultural heritage. The local indigenous people, the Gubbi Gubbi, have lived in the area for thousands of years and their culture and traditions are celebrated throughout the town. Visitors are encouraged to respect the land and its people, and to learn about and appreciate the local culture.

Best Time to Visit Rainbow Beach

The best time to visit Rainbow Beach is during the dry season, between May and October. During this time, the weather is pleasant with plenty of sunshine, and the ocean temperatures are warm, perfect for swimming and water activities. Avoid traveling during the wet season, from November to April, as this is cyclone season and rain can be heavy and persistent.

Do’s and Don’ts of Rainbow Beach


  • Take advantage of the town’s outdoor activities, such as hiking, kayaking, and surfing.

  • Respect the local wildlife and their habitats.

  • Learn about and respect the traditional owners of the land, the Gubbi Gubbi people.


  • Litter or damage the environment.

  • Approach or feed wild animals, including dolphins and whales.

  • Swim outside the designated areas, as the currents can be dangerous.

Safety and Health

Safety in Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach is a relatively safe town, but visitors should take precautions to ensure their safety. Swim only in designated areas, follow all safety instructions provided, and be aware of the current conditions.

Health in Rainbow Beach

There are no major health concerns in Rainbow Beach. The town has a medical center and pharmacy, and emergency services are available if needed. Visitors should always bring and use sunscreen as the sun can be strong.

Getting to Rainbow Beach: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Rainbow Beach

The nearest major airports are Brisbane Airport and Sunshine Coast Airport, both approximately a three-hour drive from Rainbow Beach. There is also a small airstrip in Rainbow Beach, suitable for charter and private flights.

Bus Stations Near Rainbow Beach

Greyhound Bus and Premier Motor Service both offer regular coach services to Rainbow Beach.

Other Options

Private car hire and airport transfers are also available.

How to Get Around in Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach is a small town, best explored either on foot or by car. Renting a car is the easiest way to get around the town and its surrounding areas. Visitors can also hire bicycles from one of the local rental companies.

Where to Go Next from Rainbow Beach: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Fraser Island: Continue your adventure to the world’s largest sand island, a must-see destination for its stunning natural beauty.

  • Noosa: Head south to the vibrant beach town of Noosa, famous for its stunning beaches, shopping, and dining.

  • Hervey Bay: Visit Hervey Bay to experience the whale watching capital of Australia, and enjoy a range of other outdoor activities and attractions.


Rainbow Beach is a hidden gem on the east coast of Australia, offering a unique blend of natural wonders, outdoor activities, and rich cultural heritage. With plenty to explore, this vibrant town is a must-visit destination for any traveler looking for an unforgettable Australian experience.