Moderately hazardous: 4-6
Highly hazardous: 7-8
Extremely hazardous: 9-10
Rainbow Beach trends south-southwest for 2.5 km from the dolerite rocks at Middle Rock Point to the sedimentary rocks at Bonny Hills, site of a growing community of 2300. The beach is backed by a foredune, then 2 km long Duchess Gully Creek that drains across the southern end of beach, where it is called Little Vinegar Creek, linking with a second small creek. This area only began opening up in the 1950s with the Wauchope-Bonney Hills SLSC being established in 1959, drawing its membership from the timber town of Wauchope. Ocean Drive skirts round the beach with access only available at Middle Rock, where there are no facilities, while Bonny Hills has the surf club, a park and picnic area, and two caravan parks (Fig. 4.95). The beach is composed of fine sand and receives little protection from the headlands, with waves averaging 1.5 m, to maintain a wide double bar system with an attached inner bar usually cut by rips every 300-400 m, with more widely spaced rips on the outer bar (Fig. 4.96), and strong permanent rips against Middle Rocks and the southern headland.
Best in the south between the flags as rips dominate the beach.
The south side of Middle Rock is popular in summer when it offers a little protection from the northeasterlies. The southern Bonny Hills point holds east and southeast swell to 3 m on a combination of reef and outer bar, with beach breaks also up the beach.
The northern Middle Rocks offers the best gutters and a low rock platform to fish for tailor, whiting, bream and mulloway.
Open to Beach Driving permit holders between Middle Rock Rd and Duchess Creek. Permits available from Hastings Shire Council and at Port Macquarie, Wauchope and Laurieton. Bonny Hills Beach closed to all vehicles.
- Formal parking area