Motorama 4X4XMORE Best Beaches: Noosa North Shore

Posted by Motorama in 4x4xMore

If you’ve never been off-roading before, North Shore Noosa serves as the off-roading gateway to Fraser Island, Rainbow Beach and the Great Sandy National Park.

Powder white sand, pristine waters, long sandy beaches and warm water temperatures year round is just part of the attraction of the north shore.

Why take the long way via Gympie on sealed roads when you can kick up some sand and drive right along the beach?

Getting there

The easiest way to get to North Shore Noosa from Brisbane, Ipswich or the Gold Coast is to travel up the Bruce Highway, exiting at Eumundi and crossing the Noosa River via a short ferry ride from Tewantin.

If you’re coming from the north (e.g. from Fraser Island), you can drive down via Rainbow Beach, which is on the coast east of Gympie if you’re travelling the long way around.  Alternatively, you can take the freshwater track turn off on the way into Rainbow Beach & come out on the beach a few kilometres south of Double Island Point.

To drive on Noosa North Shore and Rainbow Beach, you need a permit from the Department of National Parks – which you can purchase online for different durations depending on your trip.   If you’re planning on travelling up to Fraser, you can get a vehicle permit for both the Cooloola Recreation Area and Fraser Island at a 20% discount.

What to bring

If you’re crossing from Tewantin, you can make a quick detour to the shops there or just over in Noosaville.   It’s a little trickier if you’re returning from Fraser Island, because there are no real shops other than some convenience stores in Rainbow Beach – although there is a Woolworths in Cooloola Cove (a turn off on the road from Gympie to Rainbow Beach)

Because you’ll be in full-time 4WD, it’s good to know that you’ve got a full fuel tank (as well as your auxiliary tank, if you’ve got the luxury), so much like your shopping; you can fill up in Tewantin or Noosa if you’re crossing directly to the North Shore, and there are petrol stations in Rainbow Beach if you’re coming back from a trip on Fraser Island.

Because the beaches are just for four-wheel drives, you’ll need a high-clearance SUV with the option of full-time four-wheel drive. It would be useful to pack tools for sand driving, such as a tyre pressure gauge and an air compressor, for deflating and re-inflating your tyres, as well as snatch straps for towing – and don’t forget a good old shovel in case you get seriously stuck in a rut and have to dig your way out.

Driving the beach

Entering from Tewantin, there is only a short road to get straight on the North Shore and onto Teewah Beach. Speed limits of 80km/h apply to most of the beach, and there are police patrols that set up speed cameras & RBT at random times, so don’t think you can speed up and down the beach.

Before you get onto the beach, remember to deflate your tyres to around 18-20psi, this will help you keep traction when starting up again in soft sand and keep your car from digging into the packed, firm sand on the shoreline.

The North Shore is packed with picturesque spots to set up camp, but driving further north only unlocks more amazing sights like Red Canyon alongside the huge sand dunes that face out towards the beach. You can see campers set up at the foot of the dunes, backed away from the beach, and some will be amongst it in the surf, casting their lines to try their luck catching tailor, dart and bream.

What to do


Pristine sandy beaches make the area a fishing paradise. Fishing is seasonal, with tailor, jew & bream a prime target, with whiting and dart a prime summer option. For the more serious rock fisho, Double Island Point makes a perfect platform in the right weather conditions.

Red Canyon & the Coloured Sands

This place is breathtaking - a photographers dream.
The coloured sands are a rusty, vivid red, not formed of rock but coloured sand and clay. The colour is so vibrant that it takes your mind back to shades of Uluru.
The canyon is really a gorge that is a paradise for kids to explore.
Top Tip – for awesome photo’s, try to time your arrival with the morning’s sun, ideally after some overnight rain, as the sun really will light up the sand’s colours.

Sightseeing around Double Island Point

Take some time to appreciate and admire the coloured sands, walk along the track to the Lighthouse at Double Island Point and keep an eye out for frolicking dolphins, whales and large turtles.

Taking the Leisha Track through to the southern end of Rainbow Beach is a must if its blowing from the south, with a large protected lagoon their year round making it a great spot for kids to have a swim in calmer water.

Top Tip – Aim for a day when the westerly wind is blowing – this flattens the sea and makes visibility of marine wildlife much easier.

Noosa River

Enjoy scenic views back over Noosa itself from the northern side of the river. A short 2 km drive south from the 1st cutting will take you to the northern side of the Noosa River – look for the large flat sandy area known as the frying pan – it makes a great place to pitch your umbrella and have a picnic lunch. There are numerous activities around this area also, like horse riding, trail bike hire and hang gliding lessons.

Rainbow Beach

Traditionally a backpacker mecca, Rainbow Beach has diversified itself into a relaxing family friendly destination. Rainbow Beach itself is a magic spot, fully sheltered from the southeast breezes. Upon low tide, enjoy the short drive up the beach and experience what this quaint township has to offer. You'll find many conveniences here including a service station, tourist info, and plenty of takeaway or dine in restaurants.

Top Tip – For a great lunch with a view, make sure you drop into the Rainbow Beach Surf Club – cold beer, good prices and great views up and down the coast.

To be the first to hear about Motorama 4x4xMore’s off-road tours, keep in touch with the team at your closest Motorama dealership to find out where they’re taking the adventure to next.