Skip links and keyboard navigation

Camping information

Camping in Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park

Permits are required before setting up camp. Inset: Make sure your camping permit is clearly visible. Photo: Robert Ashdown, Queensland Government

Permits are required before setting up camp. Inset: Make sure your camping permit is clearly visible. Photo: Robert Ashdown, Queensland Government

Long beaches backed by high sand dunes, tranquil waterways, wildflower heaths, freshwater lakes, woodlands and forests make Cooloola a popular holiday destination and a vital refuge for coastal wildlife.

Permits are required before setting up your camp, fees apply. Vehicle Access Permits (VAPs) are also required when traversing beaches and some inland sand tracks in the Cooloola Recreation Area (PDF, 2.3M)*. A camping tag with booking number recorded on it must be displayed at camp sites. Penalties apply for non-compliance.

Useful resources:

Back to top

Park-specific conditions

Some areas are very popular, especially in school holidays and over long weekends. Book early to avoid disappointment. Photo: René Burgess, Queensland Government

Some areas are very popular, especially in school holidays and over long weekends. Book early to avoid disappointment. Photo: René Burgess, Queensland Government

  • Check the Cooloola Conditions Report (PDF, 671K)* prior to arrival for any park closures, fire prohibitions, warnings, tide times and beach and track conditions.
  • Use established vehicle tracks to access beach camp sites.
  • Driving or parking on vegetated dunes is prohibited.

Campers are permitted to camp with dogs at the nearby Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area. Be aware that domestic animals are not permitted in the Cooloola Recreation Area, unless otherwise sign-posted.

Please note: 

  • Dogs are not permitted in vehicles while traversing Cooloola’s beaches and beach access tracks on the way to Inskip.
  • Detour via Cooloola Way or the Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach roads.

Also see: 

Making a booking

When booking and paying online, bring a record of the booking number to the park, pick up a permit pack from outside a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service information centre, and fill in the details on the vehicle or camping permit tag supplied in the pack.

Permits must be displayed clearly on vehicles and at camp sites. Follow the directions on the tags.

Also see: Camping permits for special groups

Campfires

  • Permitted only at Teewah Beach camping area and Poverty Point camping area (except when fire bans or prohibitions apply). Use a pre-existing site at Teewah Beach or the fire rings provided by QPWS at Poverty Point. Extinguish campfires with water, not sand.
  • Collection of firewood in the recreation area is not permitted, including leaves and twigs for kindling. For campfires, bring clean firewood, such as untreated mill off-cuts, not bush wood.
  • Fires are prohibited at all other camp sites, including Freshwater camping area and all upper Noosa River camp sites.
  • Bring a gas or fuel stove for cooking.

Camping

  • Maximum length of stay is 30 days except for the upper Noosa River camp sites, which is 21 days.
  • Camping structures belonging to all people registered under a tag must be no more than 3m apart.
  • Keep noise to a minimum after 9pm.
  • To reduce impact, use existing camp sites.
  • Reserving or roping off of areas is not permitted.
  • Keep groups small; large groups have more environmental impact and can adversely affect the experience of other visitors. Group activity permits may be required for large groups.
  • Where permitted, only use low decibel generators up to 2.0Kva. Turn generators off after 9pm.

On the upper Noosa River

  • A six-knot speed limit and no-wash rule applies upstream of Kinaba.
  • Please slow down, if the vessel still generates wash at 6 knots.
  • Motorised vessels are permitted only up to camp site 3.
  • Electric motors and non-motorised vessels are permitted past camp site 3.
  • Observe the no-landing zone between Fig Tree Point and Harry’s hut.
  • Group activity permits are required for weddings and large, organised group activities. Visit Parks permits and policies for more information. Maximum group sizes and other conditions apply depend on location and activity type.
  • As a minimum safety precaution, it is recommended that walkers carry a mobile phone and a spare battery if needed, a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and a first-aid kit when walking along the Cooloola Wilderness Trail or the Cooloola Great Walk. Leave a trip plan with a family member or friend.
  • Visit the Great Walks website for information on the Cooloola Great Walk.

Back to top

Teewah Beach camping area

Use existing camp sites and access tracks to reduce visitor impact. Bring sand pegs and do not tie ropes to trees. Photo: René Burgess, Queensland Government

Use existing camp sites and access tracks to reduce visitor impact. Bring sand pegs and do not tie ropes to trees. Photo: René Burgess, Queensland Government

Features: Teewah Beach camping area offers beach camping without formally defined sites.

Location: Along Teewah Beach in a 15km zone between the Sunshine Coast Regional Council boundary and Little Freshwater Creek; 20km north of 3rd cutting on the Noosa North Shore.

Maps:

No. sites: Open area without separately defined sites. Only use existing access tracks and camp behind vegetated foredunes.

Access: The beach camping area can be reached by 4WD only. Vehicle access permits are required to access this camping area. Access campsites via formed tracks only. Vehicles, tents and camping equipment are not permitted on the foredunes for area protection.

Suitable for: Tent camping beside a vehicle; walk-in camping; off-road caravans and camper trailers with high clearance.

Surface: Sand and/or grass.

Facilities: Bulk rubbish bins. Campers should bring a portable toilet for hygiene reasons. The nearest toilets are located at Freshwater day-use area (just north of Teewah Beach camping zone). Located opposite Freshwater day-use area is a QPWS beach camper service facility that offers a portable toilet waste disposal facility, untreated tap water and cold outdoor showers.

Open fires: Permitted (except when fire bans or prohibitions apply). Refer to the Cooloola Conditions Report (PDF, 671K)* and park alerts for updates. Fuel stoves are recommended.

Generators: Only low decibel generators up to 2.0Kva are permitted between 7am and 9pm. Consider neighbours especially at night. Please turn generators off at 9pm.

Essentials: Drinking water*, fuel or gas stove, rubbish bags, first-aid kit, insect repellent, sunscreen, sand pegs and clean firewood** such as untreated mill off-cuts, not bush wood. Portable toilets are preferred.

* Fresh water obtained from pools, creeks or from sub-surface supplies on Teewah Beach is not suitable for drinking, cooking, showering or swimming. The use of portable sand spears to collect sub-surface water from the foredune areas is not permitted. Fresh water (untreated) is available at Freshwater day-use area. Treat water before drinking.

** Collecting and burning wood (including leaves and twigs for kindling) from the recreation area is illegal.

Mobile phone coverage: Not available. There is a pay phone at Freshwater camping area, just north of Teewah Beach camping area.

Bookings: Advance bookings required for holiday periods including long weekends and public holidays.

Back to top

Freshwater camping area

Tent sites are suitable for walk-in camping. Four-wheel-drive vehicles can park beside bollarded tent sites. Photo: René Burgess, Queensland Government

Tent sites are suitable for walk-in camping. Four-wheel-drive vehicles can park beside bollarded tent sites. Photo: René Burgess, Queensland Government

Trailer sites provide room to reverse off-road camper trailers or 4WD camper vans into sites. Photo: René Burgess, Queensland Government

Trailer sites provide room to reverse off-road camper trailers or 4WD camper vans into sites. Photo: René Burgess, Queensland Government

Features: Freshwater camping area provides shady, sheltered sites set amongst scribbly gum woodland about 500m inland from the beach. It offers formalised camping with defined sites.

Location: 8km south of Double Island Point along Teewah Beach or approximately 40km north of 3rd cutting on the Noosa North Shore.

Maps:

No. sites: 59 sites (separate but not numbered), including designated group camping areas. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Access: The camping area can be accessed by 4WDs only via Freshwater Road from Rainbow Beach Road or Teewah Beach. Vehicle access permits are required to access this camping area.

Suitable for: Tent camping beside a car; walk-in camping; and, camper trailers (with good clearance). Group camping site is available. Four-wheel-drive vehicles can park beside bollarded tent sites. Trailer sites provide room to reverse camper trailers or camper vans into sites.

Surface: Sand

Facilities: Water (treat before use), flushing toilets, hot and cold showers ($1 for 4mins, to help conserve water), rubbish bins and a pay phone. Free gas barbecues are provided at the nearby day-use area. There is a portable toilet waste disposal facility adjacent to the Freshwater day-use area.

Open fires: Prohibited

Generators: Prohibited

Essentials: Fuel or gas stove, rubbish bags, $1 coins for camping area showers, first-aid kit, insect repellent and sunscreen.

Mobile phone coverage: Not available. There is a pay phone opposite the amenities facility at the camping area.

Bookings: Advance bookings required for holiday periods including long weekends and public holidays.

Back to top

Freshwater camping area: group areas

Features: Freshwater group camping offers large developed areas to accommodate school and other organised, non-school groups, within the Freshwater camping area area.

Location: 8km south of Double Island Point along Teewah Beach or approximately 40km north of 3rd cutting on the Noosa North Shore.

Maps:

No. sites:

  • Freshwater education group site: One large site for a maximum of 40 people. This site is for school or education based groups only and is not available during peak periods. Four car park spaces available.
  • Freshwater (old group site): One large site for a maximum of 20 people. This site is for non-school and educational groups and is not available during peak periods. Five car park spaces available. Not suitable for camper trailers.

Access: The camping area can be accessed by 4WDs only via Freshwater Road from Rainbow Beach Road or Teewah Beach. Vehicle permits are required to access this camping area.

Suitable for: Tent camping

Surface: Sand

Facilities: Water (treat before use), flushing toilets, hot and cold showers ($1 for 4mins to help conserve water), rubbish bins and a pay phone. There is a 9pm noise curfew at this campground.

Open fires: Prohibited

Generators: Prohibited

Essentials: Fuel or gas stove, rubbish bags, $1 coins for camping area showers, first-aid kit, insect repellent and sunscreen.

Mobile phone coverage: Not available. There is a pay phone opposite the amenities facility at the camping area.

Bookings:

Please note: school and group bookings will not be made until all required paperwork is received by QPWS.

Back to top

Poverty Point camping area

Poverty Point camping area overlooks the tranquil, tidal waters of the Tin Can Inlet. Photo: René Burgess, Queensland Government

Poverty Point camping area overlooks the tranquil, tidal waters of the Tin Can Inlet. Photo: René Burgess, Queensland Government

Features: Poverty Point camping area offers small, undeveloped coastal camping overlooking the tranquil, tidal waters of the Tin Can Inlet.

Location: Turn-off to Poverty Point is 13km south of Rainbow Beach off Rainbow Beach Road. The camping area is a further 6.3km from the turn-off on a 4WD-only track.

Maps:

No. sites: Open area without separately defined sites. Maximum capacity of 24 people.

Access: The camping area can be accessed by 4WDs only via Poverty Point Road off Rainbow Beach Road. Vehicle permits are not required to access this camping area.

Suitable for: Tent camping beside a car, and off-road camper trailers with high clearance.

Surface: Sand and/or grass

Facilities: QPWS-provided fire ring. No other facilities.

Open fires: Permitted (except when fire bans or prohibitions apply) in QPWS-provided fire rings only. Refer to the Cooloola Conditions Report (PDF, 671K)* and park alerts for updates on fire prohibitions and fire bans. Fuel stoves are preferred.

Generators: Prohibited

Essentials: Drinking water, fuel or gas stove, rubbish bags, first-aid kit, insect repellent, sunscreen and clean firewood, such as untreated mill off-cuts, not bush wood. Collecting and burning wood (including leaves and twigs for kindling) from the recreation area is illegal. Portable toilets are preferred.

Mobile phone coverage: Not available.

Bookings: Advance bookings required for holiday periods including long weekends and public holidays.

Back to top

Fig Tree Point camping and day-use area (upper Noosa River)

Fig Tree Point camping area has a grassed day-use area nearby and offers a short (500m) walking track—the Melaleuca circuit track. Photo: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Fig Tree Point camping area has a grassed day-use area nearby and offers a short (500m) walking track—the Melaleuca circuit track. Photo: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Features: Fig Tree Point camping area is set among open forests with some wet, closed forest types (melaleuca species and cabbage tree palms). Camp sites provide limited shade. There is a grassed day-use area nearby and a short 500m walking track.

Location: Approximately 6.5km from Elanda Point or approximately 10km from Boreen Point via the upper Noosa River.

Maps:

No. sites: There is a defined camping area with numerous tent pads. The area caters for up to 3 groups to a maximum of 25 people.

Access: The camping area can be reached by boat, canoe or walking track. Vehicle access permits are NOT required to access this camping area.

Suitable for: Walk-in camping, river access camping for canoes, kayaks and boats, and large groups.

Surface: Sand

Facilities: Untreated water (treat before drinking), toilets, picnic tables, jetty or canoe landing area.

Open fires: Prohibited

Generators: Prohibited

Essentials: See: things to know before you go

Mobile phone coverage: Generally available.

Bookings: Advance bookings required for holiday periods including long weekends and public holidays.

Please note: schools and other organised groups are required to make an advanced booking at the QPWS Tewantin office.

Back to top

Harrys camping and day-use area (upper Noosa River)

Harrys camping area, showing vehicle access camp sites, is suitable for camper trailers and camping beside your vehicle. Photo: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Harrys camping area, showing vehicle access camp sites, is suitable for camper trailers and camping beside your vehicle. Photo: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Harrys camping area showing river access camp sites, which offer jetty and canoe landing facilities. Photo: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Harrys camping area showing river access camp sites, which offer jetty and canoe landing facilities. Photo: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Features: Harrys camping area is set among fringes of open forest and woodland (melaleuca, allocasuarina, bloodwood and eucalypt species). Some camp sites provide shade. Harrys camping area is only available to permit holders who have booked for Harrys. Permit holders for other areas cannot transfer to Harrys camping area. They must rebook.

Location: On the western bank of the upper Noosa River. Approximately 11.5km from Elanda Point via the upper Noosa River, or approximately 34km from Boreen Point on mostly unsealed roads.

Maps:

No. sites: Maximum of 6 people per site. A group site is set aside for authorised school and organised groups.

  • 10 defined vehicle access sites
  • 7 river access sites

Access: The camping area can be reached by walking, 4WD vehicle, boat or canoe. Camp sites 1-15 permit holders and day-users can park in the canoe launch area.

Vehicle permits are NOT required to access this camping area. High-clearance 4WDs are recommended along Harry’s Hut Road, as it is an unsealed sand track prone to flood damage.

Suitable for: Camper trailers (vehicle access sites only), tent camping beside a car (vehicle access sites only), walk-in camping (river access and group site); canoe/boat access camping (river access and group sites), and camper trailers (vehicle access sites only).

Surface: Sand and grass. Some vehicle access sites may have a woodchip base.

Facilities: Untreated water (treat before drinking), toilets, picnic tables and picnic shelter in day-use area, jetty and canoe landing access points, park information.

Open fires: Prohibited

Generators: Prohibited

Essentials: See: things to know before you go

Mobile phone coverage: Generally not available.

Bookings: Advance bookings required for holiday periods including long weekends and public holidays.

Please note: schools and other organised groups are required to make an advanced booking at the QPWS Tewantin office.

Back to top

Camp sites 1–3 (upper Noosa River)

Camp sites 1, 2 and 3 have toilets and walking track access to the Cooloola Sandpatch. Photo: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Camp sites 1, 2 and 3 have toilets and walking track access to the Cooloola Sandpatch. Photo: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Camp site 3 caters for 1 group up to 25 people, and offers picnic tables and jetty access. Photos: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Camp site 3 caters for 1 group up to 25 people, and offers picnic tables and jetty access. Photos: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Features: These three camp sites are set among fringes of open forest or woodland (melaleuca, allocasuarina, bloodwood and eucalypt species) bordering open heathland plains to the east. All camp sites provide shade. A walking track links each camp site and continues to the Cooloola Sandpatch from camp site 3.

Location: On the eastern banks of the upper Noosa River, north of Harrys camping and day-use area. Camp sites 1, 2 and 3 range between 15km and 19km from Elanda Point via the upper Noosa River.

Maps:

No. sites:

  • Camp sites 1 and 2 cater for 1 group (up to a maximum of 8 people) per site.
  • Camp site 3 caters for 1 group to a maximum of 25 people.

Access: The camp sites can be reached by boat, canoe or walking track (after paddling across the river from Harry’s hut). Vehicle access permits are NOT required to access these camp sites.

  • Distances and times: canoeing, boating and walking
  • No motorised vessels beyond camp site 3. Penalties apply.

Suitable for: Walk-in camping, canoe/boat access camping.

Surface: Sand

Facilities: Toilets are available at all camp sites. Camp site 3 has picnic tables. Jetties are located at camp sites 1 and 3, and a canoe landing site is available at camp site 2.

Open fires: Prohibited

Generators: Prohibited

Essentials: See: things to know before you go

Mobile phone coverage: Generally not available.

Bookings: Advance bookings required for holiday periods including long weekends and public holidays.

Please note: schools and other organised groups are required to make an advanced booking at the QPWS Tewantin office.

Back to top

Camp sites 4–15 (along the upper Noosa River)

Camp sites 4–15 do not have formal landing facilities, but have clearly defined paths to the camping areas, to help protect the riverbanks. Photo: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Camp sites 4–15 do not have formal landing facilities, but have clearly defined paths to the camping areas, to help protect the riverbanks. Photo: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Camp site 5. Small cleared pads with few formal barriers, offer close-to-nature camping experience. Photos: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Camp site 5. Small cleared pads with few formal barriers, offer close-to-nature camping experience. Photos: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Features: These remote camp sites cater for small groups wanting a more remote camping experience. Camp sites are set among fringes of open forest or woodland (melaleuca, allocasuarina, bloodwood and eucalypt species) bordering open heathland plains to the east. Most camp sites provide shade. No camping on the riverbank itself.

Location: Scattered along the eastern and western banks of the upper Noosa River, north of camp site 3. Camp sites 4–15 are set approximately between 20km and 32km from Elanda Point via the upper Noosa River.

Maps:

No. sites: There are currently 6 camp sites open between camp sites 4 and 15. These are camp sites 4, 5, 8, 9, 13, and 15. Each camp site caters for 1 group (up to a maximum of 8 people) per site.

Camping is permitted on small cleared pads set back from the riverbank. Each site has few formal barriers, offering a close-to-nature camping experience.

No camping on the riverbank itself.

Access: The camp sites can be reached by canoe, or boats with electric motors only; motorised vessels are not permitted. Penalties apply. Vehicle access permits are NOT required to access these camp sites.

There are no formal landing facilities (see photo), but each camp site has clearly defined paths to the camping areas to help protect the riverbanks. Please keep to these established paths and do not shortcut.

Suitable for: Canoe access camping, boat access camping (electric motors only).

Surface: Sand

Facilities: No facilities. These are remote camping sites.

Open fires: Prohibited

Generators: Prohibited

Essentials: These are remote camping sites and visitors must be self-sufficient. Please take rubbish and toilet waste with you when leaving.

Mobile phone coverage: Generally not available.

Bookings: Advance bookings required for holiday periods including long weekends and public holidays.

Please note: schools and other organised groups are required to make an advanced booking at the QPWS Tewantin office.

Back to top

Neebs and Wandi waterhole camping areas (Cooloola Wilderness Trail)

Neebs Waterhole camping area offers walkers a picturesque camping experience. Photo: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Neebs Waterhole camping area offers walkers a picturesque camping experience. Photo: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Neebs Waterhole camping area is small, flat camp site set in open woodland. Photos: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Neebs Waterhole camping area is small, flat camp site set in open woodland. Photos: Robert Cameron, Queensland Government

Features: Neebs and Wandi camping areas are set among fringes of wallum heath (melaleuca and banksia species) and woodland (bloodwood and eucalypt species including scribbly gum). All camp sites provide some shade and are close to natural waterholes, providing a picturesque camping experience.

Location: Set along the western catchment area of the upper Noosa River, along the Cooloola Wilderness Trail. From Elanda Point on the Cooloola Wilderness Trail: Wandi is approximately 26.7km and Neebs is approximately 39.8km.

Maps:

No. sites: Large, open camp areas with no individual camping sections. Each camp site caters for up to 3 groups to a maximum of 25 people.

Access: The camp sites can be reached by walking track only. Motorised vehicles and bicycles are not permitted on the walking track. Vehicle access permits are NOT required to access these camping sites.

Suitable for: Walk-in camping only

Surface: Dirt or grass, reasonably flat

Facilities: No facilities. These are remote camping sites.

Open fires: Prohibited

Generators: Prohibited

Essentials: These are remote camping sites and visitors must be self-sufficient. Please take rubbish and toilet waste with you when leaving.

Mobile phone coverage: Not available.

Bookings: Advance bookings required for holiday periods including long weekends and public holidays.

Please note: schools and other organised groups are required to make an advanced booking at the QPWS Tewantin office.

Back to top

* Requires Adobe Reader

Last updated
21 August 2014