Escape to Cooloola, a blend of beaches, waterways, rural hinterland and heritage positioned between Noosa on the Sunshine Coast and World Heritage listed Fraser Island. Cooloola’s main towns are Rainbow Beach, Tin Can Bay, and Gympie (The Town that saved Queensland). Sailing the protected waters of Tin Can Bay, or the Sandy Straits. Soak up the sun and the sea breezes. Be delighted by the coloured sands cliffs of Cooloola National Park.
Cooloola Region is ideally situated between Noosa and Fraser Island, less than two hours north of Brisbane’s International Airport. Incredibly diverse, the Shire is a wonderful blend of beaches, waterways, rural hinterland and heritage. Discover the diversity as you explore the City of Gympie rich in gold mining history, the rural hinterland townships of the Mary Valley, with country warmth radiating through the rolling hills and the coastal townships of Rainbow Beach and Tin Can Bay where nature has created awesome beauty steeped in Aboriginal Legend.
Cooloola Region offers diverse accommodation selections to suit each individual. Camp under the stars in total serenity on beaches, in National Parks and State Forests, or enjoy the luxury and personal attention available in numerous bed & breakfasts, motels, resorts or apartments. Wake up to misty valleys or rolling surf, the accommodation options let you decide.
Cooloola offers scenic beauty and wide open spaces, country hospitality and natural heritage. Rainbow Beach boasts miles and miles of wide, secluded beaches, coloured sand cliffs, Carlo Sandblow and is ideal for sea kayaking, diving, paragliding, wilderness safaris, and more as the perfect beach holiday. Rainbow Beach offers ideal access to World Heritage listed Fraser Island, as the southern and closest ferry crossing. Gympie is the heritage and cultural centre of the Cooloola Region, with a central population of 16,500. Known as the “Town that saved Queensland”, the city has proudly grown around the original site gold was first found in 1867. The architecture typical in Gympie lends to the atmosphere and image of a “living museum”. Ride the Steam Train through the scenic Mary Valley Hinterland, home to bellbirds, platypus and the perfect destination to enjoy scenic lookouts and country atmosphere. Or you may enjoy the tranquil waters and fresh seafood available daily in the sleepy fishing village of Tin Can Bay.
Rainbow Beach -
Cooloola Regional Development Bureau Cooloola beckons to families, couples and senior groups as a destination with something for everyone. Meticulously kept parks and gardens fringe shopping and recreational areas and art galleries and vineyards abound. 4wd through Cooloola National Park, enjoy the tranquil waters of Great Sandy Straits by houseboat. Tempt your tastebuds with farm fresh produce available in boutique restaurants and cafes.
Cooloola is rich in festivals and events with something always happening in the area. Visit the National Country Music Muster (Aug), Gold Rush Festival (Oct), Jazz Fest (March), Race the Rattler (June), Seafood Festival (Sept) and join in with us as we celebrate our heritage & cultural diversity.
Rainbow Beach Aerial Rolling surf. Kilometres of unspoilt, white sandy beaches. An escape where you can feel like the only one on the face of the earth. A perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of modern life. You may not think a place like this exists anymore, but it does. And it's called Rainbow Beach.
This former sandmining town is perfectly situated as the "Gateway to Fraser Island", but Rainbow Beach has so many attractions that it's an eco-tourism destination in its own right.
The town takes its name from the towering coloured sand cliffs nearby which are part of an aboriginal legend. The legend states than an ancient aboriginal god threw himself into the sand cliffs in a fight over a woman, colouring them forever. You can visit the Coloured Sands and other outstanding natural attractions such as the Carlo Sand Blow, Double Island Point and Inskip Point, the launching point for Fraser Island.
Tin Can Bay -
Secluded in the midst of picturesque Tin Can Inlet, experience a tranquil getaway to this area known for its eco-tourism surroundings. Tin Can Bay is home to close to 2,000 people and is the place to unwind and relax. Sailing along the Inlet is a popular pastime, with the protected waters also providing an ideal location for houseboat enthusiasts. The estuaries throughout the water system also make for brilliant canoe trips, while the popular facilities and ample parking at the Norman Point boat ramp allows access to the Inlet for pleasurecraft and the wonderful sense of freedom on the waterways. Or if you enjoy birdwatching, you can view over 130 species of birds along the Environmental Walkway.
One of the very special features of Tin Can Bay is the regular visits of wild dolphins to the water edge. The unique phenomenon attracts locals and visitors from far and wide.
Known as the “Town that saved Queensland”, the city has proudly grown around the original site where gold was first found in 1867.As the heritage and cultural centre of the Cooloola Region, Gympie boasts a tradition that few areas in Queensland can offer. A city of 16,000 people, Gympie offers the warm hospitality of a country town with all the modern conveniences.
Gympie’s location, right on the Bruce Highway under 2 hours drive north of Brisbane, makes it easily accessible for travellers looking for a special slice of Queensland. And it’s centrally located to the breathtaking coastline of Rainbow Beach, the dolphins of Tin Can Bay, and the rural hinterland of the Mary Valley.
Top things to do:
Ride the Historic Steam Train -
Departing every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday the “Mary Valley Rattler” leaves the historic railway station in Gympie and steams through the scenic Mary Valley townships of Kandanga, Amamoor, Dagun and Imbil. Country hospitality awaits at every station as the 1927, C17 engine winds its way through rolling green hills and valleys. The “Rattler” gives you a full day experience or half day on Saturday to relive a time when the steam locomotives were pride of the railway.
Phone: (07) 5482 2750
Dive Wolf Rock
From Rainbow Beach dive the underwater wonderland of Wolf Rock, one of Australia’s top ten dive sites. Dive the rock and enjoy the company of Eagle Rays, Manta Rays, and the Giant Queensland Grouper. Wolf Rock is the only place on the east coast of Queensland where the critically endangered grey nurse shark can be found all year round. Dive courses from entry level to dive master are available all year round. Pristine beaches and the coloured sand cliffs of the Cooloola National Park will be the back drop to one of the most exciting diving adventures in Australia.
Phone: (07) 5486 8004
National Country Music Muster
Imagine this: 50 hectares of magestic white gums in Amamoor State Forest, more than 40,000 people, 11 venues of music including country, jazz & blues, and 6 days of dedicated FUN. This is the event of the year with high profile country talent singing to the heavens (and fans) from early morning to early morning. Capture the spirit of country with the Bush Poets Breakfast, try your hand at line dancing or clogging and sit back as the night explodes with hi-octane music, electric atmosphere and the chance to boogie to your hearts content. Held annually in August.
Phone: (07) 5482 2099
Just Paddlin Canoe Tours
Grab a camera and take to the tranquil waters of Tin Can Bay for an eco-adventure that memories are made from. Capture the natural beauty of estuaries and wildlife on film or enjoy this self-paced, canoe tour with expert local guides sharing their knowledge as they take you through areas untouched by city stresses. Half day, full day and sunset tours available.
Just Paddlin Canoe Tours
Phone: (07) 5486 4417
WoodworksThe WoodWorks Museum at Gympie provides an insight into the timber industry of yesteryear. Features include a steam sawmill, 1925 Republic truck, bullock wagons, blacksmith shop, timber-getters hut and a 619 year old Kauri Pine section. Visitors can enjoy static and working displays as well as live demonstrations. On special days when the old Colonial boiler is fired up the 1860s bush sawmill once again resumes operation. Woodcraft items, souvenirs and free literature on forestry are available from the museum shop. The Woodworks Museum Gympie can be found on the corner of Fraser Road and the Bruce Highway heading north from Gympie. www.qm.qld.gov.au/campuses/woodworks.asp