AT Reader Ashleigh Caba from Brisbane has found the perfect hideaway for a spot of on-sand camping. No frills, no slick facilities, just the simple pleasures of idyllic Cooloola Beach.
My ultimate camping destination in Australia is Cooloola Beach, part of the Great Sandy National Park just north of Noosa Heads. Everyone loves to camp near a beach, but camping on one is even better.
You can stop in the lagoon bay on the other side of the lighthouse point. Warm shallow water and golden sands are there for the taking, in this hidden place the tourists don’t generally know about.
You can get to this 65k-long beach via the vehicle barge from Tewantin, so make sure you have money with you. Accessible by 4WD, there’s a 15km camping section half way along the beach, just before Freshwater Creek. The beach is backed by high mountains, sheltering campers from inland winds. Campsites can be set up anywhere in this camping section (there are no set sites), so if you’re going there on a long weekend, you’ll need to get in early. There’s not much grass area; campsites will be more than likely set up on beach sand, so be aware of this and take beach pegs.
As this is true beach camping, there’s no freshwater, no toilet and no shower facilities. You’ll need to bring your own water and firewood. There is Freshwater Creek about 10min drive north along the beach, where you can have a hot shower. There are, however, vehicles driving up and down the beach all day selling ice, firewood and food supplies if you need anything.
Because of the serenity and peacefulness of the beach, this is a very popular camping area. Waking early and being just 30m from the beach is magical, especially if you get up early enough to see the sun rise. The waves break gently on the shore, and you’ll be mesmerised by the beauty around you. But it’s not all about relaxing and enjoying the views. At the northernmost point of the beach, you can take the 3km hike to the lighthouse for views over the national park and beaches.
There’s also 4WD access to Rainbow Beach, and you can stop in the lagoon bay on the other side of the lighthouse point. Warm shallow water and golden sands are there for the taking, in this hidden place the tourists don’t generally know about. Red Canyon is also worth a look, but you may get dirty!
Cooloola Beach is a magical experience you definitely need to see. Even if you don’t want to camp here, at least take a day trip and check out this amazing beach. I have, and will continue to return again and again.