Moderately hazardous: 4-6
Highly hazardous: 7-8
Extremely hazardous: 9-10
Rainbow Beach is a 23 km long, curving beach located in Wide Bay between sandy Inskip Point, opposite Fraser Island, and rocky Double Island Point. The open bay faces north-east and the beaches in the bay face variously north, east and north-east as they swing around between the two points. The growing town of Rainbow Beach is located in the centre of the beaches, with the northern end of the large Cooloola National Park extending south of the southern half of the bay.
Rainbow Beach is named after the colourful sand dunes that dominate the southern half of the 24 km long beach. The road from Gympie arrives at the middle of the beach where the town of Rainbow Beach is located. The town offers accommodation, a small shopping area and the Rainbow Beach Surf Life Saving Club, which was founded in 1965. The club house is located on a wide, bluff-top foreshore reserve overlooking the beach. There is a ramp from the club to the beach, with additional vehicle access, parking and amenities below the bluffs immediately north of the surf club. Just south of the surf club are Eight Mile Rocks; brown 'coffeerock' outcropping on the beach. The rocks are part of the Pleistocene sand dunes that provide the coloured sands.
The main beach (1529) extends from Inskip Point in the north, running due south for 12 km to Eight Mile Rocks. Wave height, which averages nearly 1.5 m in the north, decreases to about 1 m by the town. As the waves decrease, so too the bars change from a rip-dominated double bar in the north, to a single, though still rip dominated, (Fig. 3.2d) bar by the surf club.
The central and northern beach is dominated by rips and is potentially hazardous. Be very careful if swimming here, particularly when waves are breaking. Watch out for the deep rip channels, as well as currents in the longshore troughs. Stay close inshore and on the attached parts of the bar. Definitely swim between the flags at Rainbow Beach. Beware of the strong tidal currents at Inskip Point and, while the southern beach is usually the safest with the lowest waves and few rips, be careful of the vehicle traffic on the beach.
There are beach breaks the length of this beach, with conditions depending on winds and swell size, as well as bar shape. The southern Double Island Point has the long spits of northward moving sand which produce long right-handers during large swell.
A very popular spot for beach fishing, with deep holes and gutters common along the beach, particularly north of the surf lifesaving club, and off Inskip Point into the deep tidal channel.
A long, attractive, natural beach framed by brilliant sand dunes along the southern half. Vehicles are permitted either side of the patrolled section and many people use this as a jumping off point to visit Fraser Island to the north and Cooloola National Park to the south.
- Formal parking area