Rainbow Beach: The Perfect Destination for a Sunshine Coast Beach Holiday

Rainbow Beach: The Perfect Destination for a Sunshine Coast Beach Holiday


Rainbow Beach on the Sunshine Coast


Nestled along the southern coast of Queensland, Rainbow Beach is a hidden gem that offers visitors a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.

This coastal town is known for its stunning natural beauty, with miles of pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and towering sand dunes. It is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with a range of activities such as surfing, fishing, hiking, and more.

In this travel guide, we will explore all that Rainbow Beach has to offer, from its breathtaking scenery to its vibrant culture and rich history. Whether you’re looking for a quiet escape or an action-packed adventure, this terrific Sunshine Coast beach has something for everyone.



Rainbow Beach is located on the southern end of the Sunshine Coast, in Queensland, Australia. It is approximately 75 miles (120 kilometres) north of Brisbane, the state capital.

The town is situated on a peninsula that separates the Pacific Ocean from the Great Sandy Strait, and is surrounded by natural wonders such as the Cooloola National Park, the Carlo Sand Blow, and the Double Island Point Lighthouse.

With its prime location, Rainbow Beach is an ideal base for exploring the nearby attractions of the Sunshine Coast, including the world-renowned Fraser Island, the wonderful Noosa Main Beach, and the stunning Glass House Mountains.


How To Get To Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach is located on the Cooloola Coast, about two and a half hours north of Brisbane and an hour and a half north of the Sunshine Coast. The most common way to get to Rainbow Beach is by car, with the Bruce Highway providing easy access to the town.

From Brisbane, take the Bruce Highway north and turn off at the Gympie exit. Follow the signs to Tin Can Bay and then on to Rainbow Beach. From the Sunshine Coast, follow the signs to Noosa and then on to Tewantin, where you can catch a car ferry across the Noosa River and continue on to Rainbow Beach.

Another option is to fly into the Sunshine Coast Airport or Brisbane Airport and hire a car or take a shuttle bus to Rainbow Beach. Shuttle services run regularly from both airports to Rainbow Beach, with travel time taking around 2-3 hours.

There are also public transport options available, with buses running from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast to Rainbow Beach. However, it’s worth noting that public transport services can be infrequent and may not run at convenient times, so it’s best to check schedules in advance.


Best Time To Visit Rainbow Beach

The best time to visit Rainbow Beach is during the cooler months of the year, from March to November, when the temperatures are milder and the crowds are thinner. This time of year is perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and exploring the national parks and beaches.

Summer (December to February) is the busiest time of year in Rainbow Beach, with crowds flocking to the beach and holiday accommodation often booked out well in advance. The weather during summer is hot and humid, with occasional rain and thunderstorms.

Another great time to visit Rainbow Beach is during the whale watching season, which runs from June to November. During this time, visitors can spot humpback whales migrating along the coast, with some even breaching close to shore. The best way to see the whales is by joining a whale watching tour, which typically operate out of nearby Hervey Bay.

Overall, the best time to visit Rainbow Beach depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re after mild weather and fewer crowds, then the cooler months are your best bet. If you’re looking to soak up the sun and enjoy the beach, then the summer months are perfect. And if you want to see the whales, then plan your visit between June and November.


Beach Facilities

Rainbow Beach is renowned for its beautiful, uncrowded beaches that offer visitors a range of facilities and amenities. Here are some of the facilities that visitors can expect to find at Rainbow Beach:

Lifeguards: Rainbow Beach has lifeguards stationed at the main swimming areas during the peak season. The lifeguards patrol the beach and offer advice on swimming conditions and water safety.

Showers and Toilets: There are public showers and toilets available near the main beach access points. The facilities are clean and well-maintained.

Picnic Areas: There are several picnic areas located along the beachfront, equipped with tables, benches, and barbeque facilities. These areas are perfect for enjoying a picnic lunch or dinner while taking in the stunning ocean views.

Beach Equipment Hire: Visitors can hire a range of beach equipment, including surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, and kayaks, from various providers located near the beach.

Beach Access: Rainbow Beach has several beach access points that are wheelchair accessible, making it easy for visitors of all abilities to enjoy the beach.

Overall, Rainbow Beach has excellent beach facilities that cater to visitors’ needs, ensuring that they have a comfortable and enjoyable beach experience.


Things To Do

Rainbow Beach offers visitors a wide range of activities and attractions to enjoy. For those wanting a Sunshine Coast Beach Holiday, here are some of the top things to do at Rainbow Beach:

Visit Fraser Island: Rainbow Beach is the gateway to Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world. Visitors can take a day trip or an extended tour of Fraser Island, exploring its pristine beaches, crystal-clear lakes, and lush rainforests.

Hike the Carlo Sand Blow: The Carlo Sand Blow is a natural phenomenon located just a short distance from the Beach. It is a vast expanse of sand dunes that offers stunning panoramic views of the ocean and the surrounding countryside. The walk to the sand blow is short but steep, making it a popular hiking spot.

Explore the Cooloola National Park: The Cooloola National Park is a wilderness area that encompasses both beach and forest environments. Visitors can explore the park’s walking tracks, take a dip in the freshwater swimming holes, or go on a 4WD adventure along the Great Beach Drive.

Go Fishing: Rainbow Beach is a popular fishing spot, with a variety of fish species available to catch, including bream, flathead, and whiting. Visitors can fish from the beach, the rocks, or take a fishing charter out to sea.

Surfing and Stand-Up Paddleboarding: The waves at Rainbow Beach are perfect for surfing and stand-up paddleboarding. Visitors can hire equipment and take lessons from local surf schools.

Horse Riding: Horse riding is a popular activity on the beach, with several local operators offering beach and bush rides for all experience levels.

Overall, this Sunshine Coast beach holiday destination has something for everyone, from adrenaline-packed adventures to peaceful walks in nature, making it a fantastic destination for a Sunshine Coast holiday.



Rainbow Beach has a small but vibrant shopping scene, with several boutique stores and specialty shops offering a range of unique products. Visitors can browse locally-made art, jewellery, and clothing, or pick up a souvenir to remember their trip.

Here are some of the top shops to check out at Rainbow Beach:

Rainbow Beach Surf: This surf shop offers a range of surf gear, beachwear, and accessories. Visitors can also hire surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, and kayaks.

Plantation Resort Store: The Plantation Resort Store stocks a range of essential items for visitors, including groceries, snacks, and souvenirs. It is located on-site at the Plantation Resort.

Tin Can Bay Seafood: This local seafood market offers a range of fresh seafood caught by local fishermen, including prawns, crabs, and fish.

Rainbow Beach Pharmacy: The Rainbow Beach Pharmacy stocks a range of health and beauty products, as well as prescription medication and over-the-counter remedies.

Rainbow Beach General Store: The Rainbow Beach General Store offers a range of groceries, snacks, and other essentials for visitors. It also has a small selection of souvenirs and gifts.

Generally speaking, while the area may not be known as a hotspot for its shopping, there are still plenty of options for visitors to explore and pick up some unique items.


Hotels at Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels and holiday apartments, to suit all budgets and preferences.

One of the top-rated hotels in Rainbow Beach is the Rainbow Ocean Palms, which features spacious rooms and apartments with modern amenities, a large outdoor pool, and a restaurant and bar on-site. Another popular choice is the Plantation Resort at Rainbow, which offers comfortable apartments with kitchenettes or full kitchens, a swimming pool, and a spa.

If you’re looking for a self-contained holiday apartment, Rainbow Getaway Holiday Apartments is a great option. The apartments feature a fully equipped kitchen, spacious living area, and private balcony, and the property also boasts a swimming pool and barbecue area. Another option is the Rainbow Ocean Palms Resort, which offers spacious and luxurious apartments with balconies overlooking the ocean, as well as a pool, spa, and barbecue facilities.

No matter where you choose to stay, the overall standard of accommodation is very good.


Dining Options

Rainbow Beach is a vibrant coastal town with a range of dining options to suit all tastes and budgets. Here are some of the best places to eat in Rainbow Beach:

The Deck Cafe and Bar: This beachfront cafe offers delicious breakfast and lunch options, as well as coffee and cocktails. The menu features locally sourced ingredients and vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Rainbow Beach Sports Club: This family-friendly club offers affordable meals with daily specials, as well as live entertainment, a gaming lounge, and a sports bar.

Arcobaleno On The Beach: This Italian restaurant serves authentic homemade pasta, pizza, and seafood dishes, as well as a selection of Italian wines.

The Fat Fish: This casual fish and chips shop offers fresh and locally sourced seafood, as well as burgers, salads, and vegetarian options. Enjoy your meal on the outdoor terrace overlooking the beach.

Café Jilarty at Rainbow: This laid-back cafe serves all-day breakfast, burgers, salads, and smoothies. It also has a small retail section with local products and gifts.

Carlo Sand Blow Cafe: Located at the base of the famous Carlo Sand Blow, this cafe offers breakfast, lunch, and coffee, as well as homemade cakes and slices. It also has a beautiful outdoor seating area with stunning views of the sand blow.

These are just a few of the many dining options available in the area. No matter where you choose to eat, you’ll be able to enjoy the relaxed coastal atmosphere and friendly hospitality of this charming town.



Rainbow Beach has several great places to grab a cup of coffee.

For a cosy café experience, head to the Rainbow Beach Surf Club, where you can sip your coffee while enjoying ocean views. Another great option is the Cooloola Berries Café, which not only serves delicious coffee but also offers homemade pies, jams, and other treats made from local produce.

If you’re looking for a more laid-back vibe, head to the Rainbow Beach Kiosk, located right on the beachfront, where you can enjoy your coffee while taking in the stunning ocean views.

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Welcome to Beach Scenes

Hi! My name is Spencer and I have created Beach Scenes to help you find the perfect travel destination for your beach holiday in Queensland.

I hope the reviews and recommendations on my site inspire you to book an Australia Queensland vacation!

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