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The Great Beach Drive: Australia’s next showstopper after the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games

Take on the Great Beach Drive on Rainbow Beach in Australia’s Sunshine Coast.
Take on the Great Beach Drive on Rainbow Beach in Australia’s Sunshine Coast.PHOTO: TOURISM AND EVENTS QUEENSLAND
Drive along 75 mile beach on Fraser Island, Fraser Coast.
Drive along 75 mile beach on Fraser Island, Fraser Coast.PHOTO: TOURISM AND EVENTS QUEENSLAND
Experience Mother Nature’s showstopper in full glory on this epic roadtrip.
Experience Mother Nature’s showstopper in full glory on this epic roadtrip.PHOTO: TOURISM AND EVENTS QUEENSLAND
A bird’s eye view of Double Island Point makes for a great photo opportunity.
A bird’s eye view of Double Island Point makes for a great photo opportunity.PHOTO: TOURISM AND EVENTS QUEENSLAND
When night falls, gaze at the clear starry sky at Carlo Sandblow.
When night falls, gaze at the clear starry sky at Carlo Sandblow.PHOTO: TOURISM AND EVENTS QUEENSLAND
Lake Birrabeen on Fraser Island is another self-contained lake with crystal clear waters.
Lake Birrabeen on Fraser Island is another self-contained lake with crystal clear waters.PHOTO: TOURISM AND EVENTS QUEENSLAND

Swap the bitumen road for the endless sands of the Great Beach Drive from the Sunshine Coast to Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island.

Adventure is in the DNA of Queensland, Australia’s sunshine state. This makes it the perfect venue for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, which will be held from April 4 to 15.

As the Gold Coast prepares for an influx of visitors to its shores in the coming months, visitors can look forward to a buzzing arts scene, trendy dining precincts and upgraded tourism infrastructure.

So if you are thinking of visiting the Gold Coast, make an additional stop at the Sunshine Coast as well, to experience The Great Beach Drive.

Go on a 4WD tour with a local operator, and relax as you leave the navigation to the professionals, who also know the tide timings, for a safe journey.

  • Catch the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games live

    Stand a chance to win a four days, three nights trip for two worth $4,500 to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games to catch the diving finals and the Closing Ceremony. Flights and accommodation are included.

    In 50 words or less, tell us why you deserve to win this trip.

    The contest is open from now till March 4. Winners will be selected by a panel of judges chosen by Tourism and Events Queensland on March 6

    Click here to submit your entry.

    Terms and conditions apply.

Breathtaking sights along Australia’s Nature Coast

Why take the busy highway when you can coast in comfort on nature’s sandy shores?

Instead of taking the M1 (Bruce Highway) from the Sunshine Coast to get to Rainbow Beach via Gympie, opt for the prettier and quicker Beach Highway where there are no traffic lights and only the soothing sound of crashing waves as your soundtrack.

Begin your journey from Noosa Heads in the north of the Sunshine Coast, then head up to Rainbow Beach.

About 70km north of Noosa Heads, you will reach Tewantin. Dine at the suburb’s riverfront restaurants and bars that line the Noosa Marina. Or head inland and stretch your legs at Tewantin National Park, climbing to the lookout point of the 265m-tall Mount Tinbeerwah.

From Tewantin, take the vehicle ferry to Noosa North Shore. Once you drive off the ferry, follow the road all the way to the coastline and take the third sand exit onto the beach. You have just entered paradise.

This long stretch of beach is also known as Teewah Beach which marks the start of your Great Beach Drive where normal traffic rules apply, including a speed limit of 60km to 80km per hour.


Teewah Beach is the gateway to paradise where undulating miles of sand, sunshine and scenery beckon. PHOTO: TOURISM AND EVENTS QUEENSLAND

From here, continue onwards to Great Sandy National Park and Rainbow Beach where wild, natural beauty awaits.

The naturally formed dunes and sand cliffs fringing Rainbow Beach are rare sights to behold — and where you can spot birdlife, schools of dolphins, turtles, sharks and manta rays. If you are travelling from June to October, you may even get the chance to see humpback whales.


The hues of red and orange sand cliffs of Red Canyon on Rainbow Beach are a novel sight to behold. PHOTO: TOURISM AND EVENTS QUEENSLAND

Look out for Red Canyon, which is marked by a signpost sticking out from the sand. Be transported to a desert-like landscape, and climb or explore sand cliffs in vibrant hues of red and orange.

Drive to the lighthouse at Double Island Point to enjoy 360-degree views of the ocean and scenic surrounds of Great Sandy Beach.

If one day is not enough for you to soak in the untouched beauty of the area, stay overnight at Rainbow Beach.


Catch the golden light of the setting sun at Carlo Sandblow. PHOTO: TOURISM AND EVENTS QUEENSLAND

Before nightfall, be sure to make a pit stop at Carlo Sandblow, which comprises an expansive mass of sand spanning more than 15ha.

The top of the magnificent sand desert is the perfect spot to admire the splendour of the setting sun.

Natural treasure on Fraser Island

Rainbow Beach — also known as the gateway to Fraser Island — is the final leg of your epic road trip.

Continue north along Rainbow Beach to Inskip Point, where you can board the barge to Fraser Island, known as the world’s largest sand island.

On Fraser Island, the 75 Mile Beach is your de facto highway where you can continue cruising on the beach.

In fact, the Unesco World Heritage site offers over 250km of clear sandy beaches with over 40km of coloured sand cliffs.

Inland, the remains of a rainforest growing on tall sand dunes make it a unique phenomenon to the area.

Take in the splendour of the rainforest from the rainforest boardwalk at Central Station, a former forestry camp.


Lake McKenzie is a self-contained lake formed by rainwater, one of the most popular natural sites on the island. PHOTO: TOURISM AND EVENTS QUEENSLAND

There are also more than a hundred freshwater lakes on the island. Have a dip in the beautiful Lake McKenzie or if you are up for it, Lake Wabby, the deepest of the lakes.

Drive to Lake Birrabeen as well, which is surrounded by pure white sandy shoreline. What makes it a unique natural phenomenon is that it is self-contained and not fed by rivers nor does it flow to the sea, making it one of the cleanest lakes around. 

Check out Champagne Pools, a collection of rock pools where ocean waves wash in for a saltwater experience too.


Be it swimming or just chilling under the glorious sunshine, the inviting lakes and creeks — such as Eli Creek here — on Fraser Island guarantee a splashing good time. PHOTO: TOURISM AND EVENTS QUEENSLAND

There is also Eli Creek, the largest creek on the eastern side of the island, which pours up to four million litres of clear, fresh water into the ocean every hour. 

Not only is it a popular picnic and swimming spot, you can also take a stroll on the boardwalk along the creek inland through wildflowers and trees. 

To fully experience the amazing diversity of nature on Fraser Island, stay at some of its eco-friendly hotels and explore to your heart’s content.

Visit Tourism and Events Queensland for more information.