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Monday 7 Jul 2003
Sunshine Coast, Australia

Rainbow Beach

Once again my plans to stay in one place for more than 2 days were scuppered by my desire to press north and so I abandoned the sunny bliss of Noosa for more cruising on the Bruce Highway. Im fairly anxious to see the Great Barrier Reef so I will not rest until Im diving beneath the waves amongst the largest collection of coral in the world... Its still a fair distance away though and could take another 4 towns before I start to see it...

Fraser Island "Queenslands best kept secret" is my next port of call and this island is entirely 4x4 drive so Ill have to abandon my van for a while. I was given two options for the access point to Fraser island: Rainbow Beach or Hervey Bay (a further drive north). Id read in Lonely Planet that Hervey Bay was noisy and expensive, whereas Rainbow Beach is laid-back and placid so Ive decided on the latter. They neglected to mention that Rainbow Beach is also one of the most gorgeous places on the east coast!!

I arrived here in this sleepy one-street town yesterday around 12pm on a beautiful fresh sunny day. Compared to Noosa, this place is a ghost town. Id safely assume the population here is about 1000 people - its a fair drive from Gympie and you have to drive 60 km through the Great Sandy National Park in order to get here, whereas Hervey Bay is directly on the Bruce Highway. I dont think many people know about this little pearl where the Sunshine Coast ends and Fraser Coast begins...

Ive managed to negotiate a deal with the local backpacker hostel to stay in their carpark for only 8 dollars a night: I think this is going to be my chosen accomodation option from now on since I pay less but still have all the same facilities available to me.

Rainbow Beach, as mentioned before, is a small town at the far end of a national park and most visitors here are backpackers who use this as a gateway to their main destination: Fraser Island. But yesterday I hit the uncrowded beach and have to say that Rainbow Island by itself is an untouched beautiful location with warm waters and some great surf with stretches of white sand as far as the eye can see... Out to sea there were a few rainclouds that, ironically enough, started to make a rainbow a few kilometres out... thats not where the town gets its name from though, its named after the multicoloured sand thats on the cliffs about 4 km down along the beach... in fact thats where Im off to today...

Ive investigated my options for visiting Fraser Island and I have three main options:

1. Go with a backpacker group for 3 days and 2 nights where they cram 11 people into one 8 seater 4x4 vehicle and its a self drive so youd have to argue amongst yourselves where to go next... plus there are one too many noisy poms in the hostel for my liking

2. Hire a 4x4 by myself for about 200 dollars for only ONE day! (about the same price as the 3 day trip with the backpackers)

3. Go on a one-day trip for 71 dollars that takes in the major sights and has a tour guide

Ive obviously decided on option 3, not cuz I dont fancy partying with a bunch of bacpackers, but mainly because its a LOT cheaper and I dunno if I really want to stay on the island for 3 days!

Theres one other thing I want to do while at Rainbow Beach: scuba dive off Wolf Rock where you can see Manta Rays, Coral and Sharks. The added attraction of having the entire location almost to myself is really wonderful.

I like Rainbow Beach. A LOT.

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