The Great Beach Drive is a stunning stretch of sandy highway bookended by Noosa at the southern end, and Rainbow Beach to the north.
Craig Madden from Great Beach Drive 4WD Tours knows the stretch well, usually taking passengers in his vehicle with running commentary along the way.
For those who have something like the more than capable Isuzu MU-X though, he can also custom design a tour so you can tag along with the commentary running on two-way radio.
“You’ve got 2200 square kilometres of national park from Noosa to Rainbow beach and it includes Fraser Island,” Craig said. “It’s a really beautiful national park and we’re really privileged to be able to come here every day.”
But while it is beyond stunning, if you get your tide times wrong, it can be downright dangerous.
“Most people get it wrong here because they don’t understand the tides and it’s really critical,” Craig said. “The most critical thing to know here on the beach isn’t what the tides are, it’s which way they’re going. You shouldn’t be on the beach if you don’t know what the tides are.”
As a general rule, it’s recommended to drive on this stretch of beach for two hours on either side of low tide. But that highlights another benefit of joining an expert like Craig. He does all the prep work for you.
Double Island Point Lighthouse
As you approach Double Island Point, the protruding cliffs hold a treasure, the Double Island Point Lighthouse which was built in 1884.
“Originally powered by oil, it went to kerosene in the 1920s and then electricity in the 1930s,” Craig said. “In 1991 it was solar-powered and when it was solar-powered, the lighthouse keeper became a caretaker and a year later it was completely de-manned.”
Whether you drive up with Craig, or you walk up on a self-guided tour, the views once you reach the top are second to none.
To the south, you can see back down to Noosa on a clear day, and to the north, across Wide Bay to Fraser Island.
Once you take a short inlet road behind Double Island Point and through to Rainbow Beach, you hit Honeymoon Bay.
“It’s a spectacular little Bay that’s open to the ocean to wide bay and it fills and empties every day,” Craig said.
Perfect for families, this sheltered bay is calm, protected and most of all picturesque.
As you head further north along Rainbow beach, you start to see the exploded walls of coloured sands.
“It’s been formed over the last 2 million years,” said Craig. “Vegetable dyes and hundreds of minerals create all the layerings of colour.”
It’s important to note the coloured sands are protected as part of the National Park and should not be handled, damaged or vandalised.
At the end of the drive, you arrive into the township of Rainbow Beach. There are plenty of options if you want to stay awhile here with lots of accommodation options including Rainbow Beach Holiday Park which has just undergone a refurbishment and is looking a million bucks.
To take your very own beach drive with an Isuzu MU-X, head to your local showroom, or simply jump onto the Isuzu Ute website for more information.
If you want to tag along with Craig on one of his Great Beach Drive 4WD Tours, or hop into his vehicle for his traditional tour, click here.