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Hard to beat Rainbow Beach

FUN: Rainbow Beach offers fun for the whole family.
FUN: Rainbow Beach offers fun for the whole family. Renee Albrecht

RAINBOW Beach is rightfully known and loved for its world-class beaches and stunning views, but even away from the surf there's plenty to see and do these school holidays.

A three hour drive from Ripley, it's immediately easy to see why this location is touted as the next big Australian tourism destination and has one of the highest tourism growth rates in the nation.

Beautiful rolling surf, sandy unspoiled beaches and surrounding national parks make it the perfect place to get away form it all. A former sand mining town, Rainbow Beach is the gateway to Fraser Island.

While staying at Rainbow Beach, a visit to the Carlo Sand Blow is a must. The scenery from the top is just stunning with views of Double Island Point, Tin Can Bay and the coloured sands. To get there drive to the end of Cooloola Drive and take a short walk along a wooded track to the natural sand blow. You won't be disappointed. Extra special times to visit are sunrise or sunset - spectacular.

Pods of dolphins, turtles, dugongs, sharks and other marine life can often be seen from here. Down along the beach is Double Island Point with the longest wave break in Australia.

Walk south from the Surf Club along the beach at least 2km to the start of the towering cliffs of coloured sand, preferably at low tide. The colours will amaze.

Lake Poona is a beautiful tea-coloured freshwater lake surrounded by a white sandy beach. To get there just drive to the Bymien picnic area and take the 2.2km walking track for a cool refreshing swim.

The Cooloola National Park is a section of the Great Sandy National Park stretching from Rainbow Beach to the Noosa River. Enjoy bush walking, boating, fishing, picnics and swimming; the Cooloola National Park has many picnic areas and bushwalking tracks to explore. Areas of interest include Seary's Creek, Bymien picnic grounds, Lake Poona, Cooloola Great Walk and the Cooloola Wilderness Trail.

Camping on the Beach at Teewah or at the Freshwater Campgrounds is a unique experience.

The aboriginal name for Inskip Point is Carah. It was the site for a school for the children of the local lighthouse keeper and timber workers. Today it is the gateway to Fraser Island with barges on the go from sun up to sun down. Great fishing can also be had - both estuary and beach fishing.

Inskip's real claim to fame is its camping grounds which are run by National Parks. Beautiful natural camping grounds that are dog friendly. You will really get away from it all.

4WD access to the coloured sands is from Griffin Parade next to the surf lifesaving tower to the south and from Inskip Point Road to the north. Don't forget your permit. Drive only at low tide and watch out for the "coffee rock” - you don't want to end up on the "wall of shame”.

Beach fishing is one of Rainbow Beaches greatest attractions. Fishing charters are available or just hire a tinny for the day and fish the estuaries.

Permits are now required to drive on the beach between Noosa and Rainbow Beach. The Rainbow Beach Tourist Centre is an agent for National Parks and where you can get permits.

For more information about this tourist hotspot, log onto www.rainbowbeachinfo.com.au.

Ripley Today

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