Walking is a good way to experience Cooloola. Tracks range from short circuits to long hikes and lead to some of Cooloola’s best features. Please read the advice on walking safety and long distance walking below before walking in Cooloola.
- Prior to arrival, check Park alerts and the Cooloola conditions report (updated regularly) for park closures or warnings about issues, such as floods, fires, road and walking track conditions and scheduled maintenance.
- As a result of track or camp site closures, trips may need to be cancelled at short notice; be prepared to make alternative arrangements.
- Walk in groups and supervise children at all times.
- Do not walk in remote areas without being prepared. Learn or revise map and compass navigation skills, be trained in remote area first aid and be prepared for emergencies.
- Carry sufficient water when walking, and treat all water collected from taps, lakes or watercourses before drinking.
- Carry a first-aid kit and have someone in the group who is a current first aider.
- Allow plenty of time to reach destinations well before dark.
- Do not walk after heavy rain as low-lying areas and creek crossings will be flooded.
- Mosquitoes are more abundant at Kinaba and Fig Tree Point at certain times of the year.
- Avoid bites as some mosquitoes carry Ross River and Barmah Forest virus.
- Wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing and use insect repellent for protection.
- When walking along roads or beaches, ensure visibility to drivers.
- Consider wearing high visibility vests or reflective material on backpacks and clothing.
- Read walk safely and walk softly guidelines for further information.
Long distance walking
A reasonable level of fitness is required for any of the long distance walks in Cooloola. Take a map, compass, personal locator beacon (PLB), food, drinking water, appropriate clothing, tent and first-aid kit. Plan for safety and advise a reliable friend or family member of the itinerary. This person is responsible for alerting police if the walkers do not return on time. Work out a contingency plan. Always check track conditions just before starting, and observe any closures or track signage. Long walks can be strenuous in high summer temperatures. Choose to walk in the cooler months—late March to September.
Most of Cooloola’s walking tracks are class 4 walking tracks, except for some boardwalk tracks (Searys Creek and Kinaba) and the shorter tracks.
Take time to read the classification details before walking out into the park. Study the map in detail.
- Distinct tracks with junctions signposted, rough track surfaces with exposed roots and rocks.
- Variable in width, muddy sections and steep grades likely to be encountered.
- May be extensively overgrown; hazards, such as fallen trees and vines, likely to be present.
- Caution needed at creek crossings and naturally occurring lookouts.
- Moderate fitness level with bushwalking experience and ankle-supporting footwear required.
- Moderate level of navigation skills recommended, involving self-reliance in first aid and coping with weather hazard situations.
Cooloola Wilderness Trail (Class 4)
- Distance: 47.9km one way
- Time: allow 3–5 days
- Details: The Cooloola Wilderness Trail is made up of walking track numbers 5, 8, 11, 12 and 13. Details of each walk are listed in the table below. Camp sites are provided at Wandi and Neebs waterholes, and at Harrys and Fig Tree Point camping and day-use areas. Find out more about these camping areas.
Cooloola Great Walk (Class 4)
- Distance: 102km one way
- Time: allow 5 days
- Details: Do not attempt this 5-day walk without a topographic map.
Walking track details
Walking track numbers correspond to their location on the Cooloola Recreation Area map.
|1||Teewah landing to Teewah Beach||4km return / 1hr 30min||Walk from Lake Cootharaba through coastal heath and woodland to Teewah Beach. A side track to Seawah Hill (4km return to Teewah landing track) offers spectacular views from the river to the ocean and to Noosa Heads.|
|2||Elanda Point to Kinaba Information Centre||12.2km return / 4hr 30min||Walk to Kinaba through paperbark and cabbage palm wetland.|
|3||Mangrove self-guided walk (Kinaba)||500m circuit / 20min||Follow the self-guided boardwalk from Kinaba through the mangroves.|
|4||Elanda circuit via Mill Point||5.1km circuit / 2hr||Walk through allocasuarina and paperbark forests. Take a 400m side track to Mill Point and follow the self-guided historical walk to the site of a timber mill township that flourished from 1862 to 1892.|
|5||Elanda to Fig Tree Point camping and day-use area||10.6km one way / 3hr 30min||Walk through the Elanda Plains and open woodland to the remnant rainforests of Kin Kin Creek (4.7km). Cross the footbridge and walk to Fig Tree Point, a further 5.9km.|
|6||Melaleuca circuit (Fig Tree Point)||500m circuit / 20min||Follow the boardwalk through paperbark and cabbage palm wetland.|
|7||Boronia trail (Kin Kin Creek) to Harrys Hut Road||1.8km one way / 1hr||Branching off the Cooloola Wilderness Trail (700m from Kin Kin Creek footbridge) on the northern bank of Kin Kin Creek, walk through remnant rainforest and woodland to Harrys Hut Road.|
|8||Fig Tree Point camping and day-use area to Harrys camping and day-use area||6.6km one way / 2hr 30 mins||This track follows part of the Cooloola Wilderness Trail through fairly low-lying areas of open and closed forests.|
|9||Harrys camping and day-use area to Camp site 3||12.8km return / 4hr 30min||Paddle across the river from Harry’s Hut and follow the walking track along the river to camp site 3.|
|10||Camp site 3 to Cooloola sandpatch||12km return / 4hr||Walk through coastal heath and wildflowers along a low sandy ridge from camp site 3. Walk up through blackbutt forest, with grasstree understorey, to the Cooloola Sandpatch for panoramic views over the ocean and national park.|
|11||Harrys camping and day-use area to Wandi waterhole camping area||9.5km one way / 3hr 30min||Walk alongside the upper Noosa River then change course into the remote western catchment area, ending at a camp site beside a naturally-dammed waterhole.|
|12||Wandi waterhole camping area to Neebs waterhole camping area||13.1km one way / 4hr 30 mins||Walk through pockets of scribbly gum, melaleuca and wallum banksia woodlands before relaxing at a camp site beside an even larger waterhole. Beware of traffic when crossing the Cooloola Way.|
|13||Neebs waterhole camping area to Mullens car park||8.1km one way / 2hr 30min||Continue walking through a mix of open woodland and heath communities towards Mullens car park.|
|14||Rainbow Beach QPWS information centre to Carlo Sandblow||3.8km return / 1hr 30min||Leave from the QPWS information centre car park in Rainbow Beach and follow this track through woodlands to a natural sandblow with extensive views east and west.|
|15||Rainbow Beach township to Coloured sands||6km return / 2hr||Walk south-east along the beach to where spectacular eroded cliff lines expose coloured sands.|
|16||Searys Creek car park (Rainbow Beach Road) to Searys Creek||200m return / 10min||Start at the car park (7.5km south of Rainbow Beach) and follow the boardwalk to reach a crystal clear stream flowing through heath and low woodland.|
|17||Dandathu circuit (Bymien picnic area)||250m return / 10min||Enjoy an easy walk through a representative selection of Cooloola’s rainforest species.|
|18||Bymien picnic area to Poona Lake||4.2km return / 1hr 30min||From Dandathu track, climb a rainforested high dune before descending through carrol (grey myrtle) scrub to the white sandy beach and tea-coloured waters of this perched lake.|
|19||Freshwater camping area to Freshwater Lake||2.4km return / 50min||Walk through scribbly gum woodland and open forest to Freshwater Lake, flanked with reeds and twisted paperbarks.|
|20||Freshwater Lake circuit (Freshwater camping area)||4.7km return / 2hr||Walk through rainforest and open forest woodland, along part of the Cooloola Great Walk and around the lake.|
|21||Freshwater Lake car park (Freshwater Road) to Bymien picnic area||17km return / 5hr||Pass through scribbly gum, blackbutt forests and rainforest, passing Poona Lake through carrol scrub (Backhousia myrtifolia) understorey.|
|22||Rainbow Beach to Bymien picnic area||15km return / 5hr||From Carlo Sandblow follow a section of the old telegraph line through undulating terrain of woodland and rainforest down to Bymien picnic area.|
|23||Teewah Beach (Double Island Point) to Double Island Point lighthouse||2.2km return / 45min||Starting from the southern side of the headland, the track to the lighthouse is steep, but has fantastic view. See marine life from the headland or sit and ponder how life was for early lighthouse keepers and their families. Please do not enter the mowed grass area at the houses.|
|24||Rainbow Beach to Double Island Point||30km return / 1 full day||An early start is recommended. From QPWS information centre in Rainbow Beach walk along a sandy bush track along the high dunes before crossing the Leisha Track to the Double Island Point toilet block. Continue along the northern beach to reach the historical Double Island Point lighthouse.|