East Coast

A Backpacker's Guide: things To do in Rainbow Beach

Posted on 16 October 2018


Rainbow Beach is a tiny surf town nestled between Fraser Island, the Great Sandy National Park and the Pacific Ocean. It’s mainly known as the gateway to the famous Fraser Island -  or the place where you cure your post-Fraser hangover and withdrawals. However, Rainbow Beach has much more to offer! With stunning colourful beaches, the incredible Carlo Sand Blow, beautiful weather and lovely locals, Rainbow Beach should be on everyone’s bucket list. 


Top Things to do in Rainbow Beach


Watch the Sunset at Carlo Sandblow


Things To Do In Rainbow Beach

Image thanks to Fraser on Rainbow.

Our mates at Freedom Rainbow Beach run a free guided bushwalk to the famous moonscape of Carlo Sand Blow every afternoon (weather permitting). Only a 15 minute walk from town, you will watch one of the prettiest sunsets you have ever seen. The views onto the coastline are simply jaw-dropping. Carlo is a 15-hectare dune system, which gives you a pretty good taste of what Fraser Island has to offer. You might even get lucky and spot some whales or dolphins in the distance! Besides the stunning views, the walk is also a great way to get to know your Fraser Island crew.

Simply ask at the reception of for Freedom Rainbow Beach more info!


Tin Can Bay Markets


Tin Can Bay Markets

Image thanks to Rainbow Beach Australia.

The popular Tin Can Bay Markets are happening every third Saturday of each month in the park alongside the RSL Hall on the Tin Can Bay Road from 8.00 am until 12 noon. So, stock up on some fresh fruit and veggies, browse through local crafts, chat with artists about their designs and exchange recipes with local farmers.


Rainbow Stairs

Rainbow Stairs

Image thanks to @BackpackersWorld

How good is living? This sentence can be found on the famous rainbow steps of Rainbow Beach, leading to the patrol tower and beach from Lawrie Hanson Park. The steps have been painted by local artists and are now one of Rainbow Beach’s most iconic Instagram spots. So, put on your cleanest clothes and ‘do it for the Gram’!


Kayak with Dolphins


Kayak with Dolphins

Image thanks to Epic Ocean Adventures.

Is there a better way to spend the day than kayaking among dolphins? Epic Ocean Adventures takes you out on a thrilling 4x4 drive to the spectacular Double Island Point, passing the famous Rainbow Beach coloured sand cliffs (Yes, that’s where the name Rainbow Beach is coming from). The spectacular headpoint is buzzing with marine wildlife, including local Bottlenose dolphins, Humpback whales, turtles, rays or many wild birds of the area. If you’re an adventure and nature lover, this is a must-do activity in Rainbow Beach.

If you’re looking for a different adventure, they are also offering lessons for the world’s fastest and most popular new sports, Stand Up Paddle! The 2-hour lesson takes you out of town to the flat waters of Pelican Bay. Here you cruise along this untouched paradise, checking out the local water habitat from a very unique point of view.


Relax on the beach

Relax on the beachvvvvvv

Image thanks to Kausamer.

Who would have guessed that Rainbow Beach has a beautiful beach?! Head down to the picture-perfect Rainbow Beach in the afternoon when the sun is golden and little pools form on the sand. Rainbow Beach has far less of the crazy waves and mad currents that you may be used to on East Coast Australia (sorry, not sorry surfers!).

If you feel like a little bit of an exercise after laying in the sun for hours, you can stroll down the beach until you reach the coloured sands. These huge dunes extend all the way along the beach from the cliffs down to the ocean below. They are formed by layers of sediment in the sand, which were exposed to the rough Pacific winds. Nature is truly mind-blowing!


Where to Stay in Rainbow Beach


Freedom Rainbow Beach


Freedom Rainbow Beach

Image thanks to Freedom Rainbow Beach

Freedom Rainbow Beach is the top destination for travelers going to and from Fraser Island. All bus companies; Greyhound, Premier and Oz Experience, stop right outside the door of Rainbow Beach hostel, making them the best base for Fraser Island tours with only a 6-minute walk to the beach. You couldn’t get a better location! The bar hosts nightly entertainment along with free pool table and free ping pong to name a few. So if you are looking for a central and social place to stay, Freedom Rainbow Beach is your best option!


What to Eat in Rainbow Beach


Rainbow Fruit


Rainbow Fruit

Image thanks to TripAdvisor.

Looking for a healthy brekky? Then Rainbow Fruit is the place to go! This local cafe offers a wide range of wholesome breakfast and lunch options. We’re talking Juices, Smoothies, Wraps, Rolls, Burgers, and the best Acai Bowls in town. They prepare everything fresh, only using locally sourced high-quality ingredients. Even Chris Hemsworth drops by for lunch from time to time. So prepare yourself for a treat!

You can find some photos of the best takeaway shop in Rainbow Beach, according to TripAdvisor, here.


Beach Surf Club


Beach Surf Club

Image thanks to TripAdvisor.

As the sun begins to set, you will find backpackers and locals alike at the local Surf Club at the end of Rainbow’s main road. Simply picture sitting on a terrace under overhung fairy lights, looking out at the ocean while enjoying a burger and beer - couldn’t get any more Australian than that! Their menu offers a wide variety of different pub food, including classic cheeseburgers, locally sourced seafood platters and freshly made stone-oven pizzas.

Check them out here.


Frying Fish Cafe


Frying Fish Cafe

Image thanks to TripAdvisor.

The name of this place is pretty self-explanatory. At the Frying Fish Cafe, you will find one of the best fish and chips in town. We all know how hard it is to find a proper fish n chip place. However, just like your local chipper back home, this place combines informal take out atmosphere with fantastic seafood, massive portions, reasonable prices, and unlimited vinegar!

A hot tip, get your take out fish n chips and walk 2 minutes to the beach to enjoy your dinner while watching the sun setting over the Pacific.   


At the end of the Rainbow


From Rainbow Beach, the crystal clear lakes and creeks and dreamy rainforests of Fraser Island are only a 40-minute ferry ride away. But don’t worry, after three adventure-packed days, Rainbow Beach will welcome you once more to unwind and grab some final drinks with your new best travel buddies.


Building bucket lists and bringing dreams to reality since 1998

Just like you, we too are avid adventurers, always looking for the next best destination. In fact, our staff have done most of the tours and activities we sell, making them experts at what they do - finding you the best experiences in Australia, New Zealand and the Oceanic region. 

We’ve scoured the region to find the best of the best. So whether you’re looking to explore Australia’s outback, relax in the Whitsundays, take a leap of faith with a Bungy in Queenstown, or maybe a leap with no strings attached skydiving in Taupo, we’ve got you covered.

Looking to get from A to B on a budget? Or just need to find somewhere to relax after a long day of adventuring? We’ve got the inside info on how to get where you're going, and where to stay when you get there.

With more than 30 stores and decades of experience helping create amazing adventures, we’re the right team for planning your perfect trip, and we can’t wait to get started!


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