Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Rainbow Beach

Named for cliffs of colourful, mineral-rich sand, Rainbow Beach is an idyllic Australian beach town on Butchulla land at the base of the Inskip Peninsula. Beloved of European backpackers and the chief contender to Hervey Bay as a base for excursions to Fraser Island, it's a generally low-key place that nonetheless offers a few hostels hot-housing all the frenetic action a young, fun-seeking clientele could want. Ideally reached via the Cooloola Section of the Great Sandy National Park, a dramatic approach possible only for 4WDs, it's more easily and conventionally accessed by excellent roads from Gympie, 73km southwest. It's a great place to try your hand at different outdoor activities, tap into the backpacker party scene, or just chill out with family and friends.

Explore Rainbow Beach

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Rainbow Beach.


Learn more about Rainbow Beach

Uncover the heart of travel and be inspired to see new sights with one of Lonely Planet’s in-depth, award-winning guidebooks.