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Day 1 - Tewantin to Brahminy Camp

We were super keen to get back onto a trail and the Cooloola Great Walk seemed to be the perfect remedy.

We arranged to park our car at the Tewantin QPWS Great Sandy Information Centre, which seems to be pretty secure, and I was pretty confident that the car still would be there when we returned in 7 days' time.

The plan was to extend the usual 5-day hike to six by partially walking both options for the last section.  I.e. we would do section 5 to Poona Lake, then return to camp at Freshwater campsite before the last day on section 6 along the beach to Rainbow Beach.

Catching the ferry was as easy as handing over one dollar each and the friendly ferryman took us to the other side.  Yes, we actually paid before we got to the other side, but nothing went wrong.

Once off the ferry, we had about 2.5 km along the quiet road to the start of the Great Walk, where Kerrie decided to do some aerobics.

The welcoming committee was out i.e. two wallabies, which made for a nice start to the hike.

The trails to the beach were well formed with hard-packed sand and meandered through some nice paperbark forests.

With the recent rains, the paths were a bit moist, but nothing we couldn't handle, and we managed to keep our feet dry.  Thanks to some detours and my great waterproofing of the boots.

It was not long before we hit the beach (actually didn't hit it, but rather walked onto it).

The tides were perfectly receding, leaving us with very hard sand to walk on.  Having the right tides was not thanks to careful planning but rather pure luck.  Note to oneself, next time we do a beach walk, check the tide times, as we may not be so lucky next time.

Once back off the beach, the trail continued still well formed with just a few minor hurdles.  But what the heck, we need the exercise.

The Paperbark trees provided a stark background to the lush green surrounds.

As always we took it easy, enjoying nature and taking a lot of breaks.  I think we consumed a record amount of snake lollies on this hike.

The day was just perfect and we had great views from the top of the sand dunes.

Flowers had started to come out all along the track and the insects were busy doing their thing for the well-being of the nature.

This huge brown snake was sunning itself on the track and we came to a standoff.  The snake didn't want to move and we didn't want to particularly step over it.  Eventually the browny was the sensible one and slithered away peacefully into the bush.

Once we circumnavigated Teewah village, we took a 4 km return detour to Teewah landing at Lake Cootharabah.  We used to camp at Elanda Point and often wondered what the other side looked like, but never got around to kayaking over.

The landing (jetty) was a perfect spot for another break.

Back on the main track, we started winding up Mount Seawah.  It was a nice and gentle uphill walk.

A short 600 meters return detour off the track brought us to the top and rewarded us with magnificent views.

The banksia flowers are nearly finished blooming and we often refer to them as fury rats or

chatterboxes when they have their husks.

From here we headed along the ridge following the coast and there seemed to be more uphill than downhill walking.

We made it to camp, where we met the only other two people on the trail today.  All walkers' camps on the Cooloola Great Walk have communal platforms with tool boxes to store your stuff away from animals.  Toilets and water tanks are also available at each campsite.

The Brahminy Camp communal area provides great views back over the ocean.

We sat relaxing, cooking dinner, and enjoying an awesome sunset.

Day 2 - Brahminy Camp to Dutgee Camp

This day was our favourite, it provided spectacular, diverse scenery and views.  Setting out from camp we kept on climbing up the ridge and had 360-degree views of the ocean and Lake Cootharaba.

After nearly stumbling on the brown snake yesterday I made a point of letting Kerrie walk ahead.  It turned out that this option was not only good for me to avoid running into snakes, but Kerrie also cleared the path of spiderwebs.

Although we didn't see any dingos, along the route we came across a lot of dingo or wild dog footprints.

Spring certainly has come early here and we are totally amazed by the huge variety of plants and the spectacular formations and patterns that nature makes.

From the high ridges, we descend into a small pocket of rainforest, which surprised us both pleasantly, as we were not expecting rainforests here.

Each day we come across masses of fungi of different shapes and colours.

Each day we also saw fungi that had just come out overnight, as evident by the leaf matter that they are pushing away.

Once again the landscape changes as we come to the Cooloola Sandpatch, where we have a drink break before the crossing.

The Cooloola Sandpatch is totally off this planet.  It quite literally is like a moonscape that drops down to the ocean.

The sand is surprisingly firm and the crossing of just over one kilometer is pretty easy.

In some places, rocks make strange patterns just sticking out of the sand.

We take it really slow across here, just taking in the surroundings and taking a lot of photos.

At times it felt like crossing a desert if it wasn't for the green frame made by the lush forest on the sides.

Views from the sand patch are both out to sea and inland.

We decided to have lunch at Noosa River Campsite 3 as it offered tables and chairs.  Kerrie also seemed to think that it offered a bed for a short lunchtime nap.  Hard life.

At Dutgee Camp we had a nice (cool) swim in the Noosa River and managed to avoid the Bull sharks.  Maybe I should have sent in Kerrie first.

Once refreshed and clean we marveled at the reflections in the Noosa River.

Day 3 - Dutgee Camp to Litoria Camp

Leaving the Noosa river behind we traveled through some flat swampish land.

Although there was quite a bit of water laying around, it was not deep and the track underneath was pretty solid, so there was no problem getting through.

The previous day we met some rangers who told us that due to the 2019 fires a lot of trees are still falling and will continue to fall for some years to come.

We were looking forward to Ramsay's Hut but were a bit disappointed with what was left.  This could be a great project to rebuild for historic purposes and make a point of interest on the trail.

The rest of the day was through bushland and we finished a relatively short day.

Once again we only came across a handful of people on the trail, and I was amazed at how few hikers there were. I was not complaining as I prefer solitude, and it was a nice change from overcrowded hikes.

Day 4 - Litoria Camp to Kauri Camp

At Litoria camp, Ferdinand made a new friend "Ratatouille".  For some reason, Kerrie wouldn't let me take him along to join our growing family of odd creatures.

The forest provides many levels for plants to grow on, from the ground right up to the tree canopies.

We often wonder whether these fungi are edible, but are never quite brave enough to try them out.

Sometimes it is easier to dig out the track underneath a tree fall rather than chopping up the tree.

No matter where we go, we always find ways to amuse ourselves.

Along this part of the trail, there are a lot of logging day remnants, and the great giants that have been felled now provide nutrition for the forest to regenerate.

Have I mentioned that there was an abundance of stunning fungi?

Even Ferdinand needs a rest every now and then.

At Kauri Camp we spent the night with another couple of hikers going the other way.  It was great to swap hiking stories and ideas for future adventures.

Day 5 - Kauri Camp to Freshwater Camp (via Poona Lake and return)

Normally the last day of the hike can be done either via section 5 past Poona Lake or via section 6 along the beach.  As we didn't want to miss out, Kerrie came up with the grand idea of hiking out to Poona Lake and back and then staying at Freshwater camp before finishing off the trail via section 6.  This way we nearly did both options.

Today was the only rainy day on the hike, but it wasn't unpleasant hiking as it was warm enough.  Once at the section 5/6 intersection, we headed uphill for about 4 km to Poona lake.

Poona lake is very tranquil and once again the reflections are awesome.

From Poona lake, we backtrack the 4 km downhill and then head along section 6 towards Freshwater Lake.

Freshwater Lake, like every other lake, is full to the rim and it would be a great swimming opportunity if it wasn't that cold.

Freshwater campsite is not a walkers camp, but it provides tent camping spots amongst the trailer campsites as well as hot showers.  That is 5 minutes of hot water for a two-dollar coin.  As we only had one two-dollar coin, I did the gentlemanly thing and let Kerrie have a hot shower, while I refreshed in the cold water version.  It was still nice.

Day 6 - Freshwater Camp to Rainbow Beach

The last day was judged as our second favourite day following closely the second day.  This time we were smart enough and checked the tide times.  This forced us to an early start making sure that we were off the beach by high tide and therefore did not need to hike the 8 km Teewah Beach and 2 km Northern Beach in soft sand above the high tide mark.

Getting out early was the best thing we did, not just because of the tide, but also because walking along the beach at sunrise was super special.

As we timed this walk to start and finish mid-week, we didn't come across many cars on any beaches.  This is definitely something to think about if you are planning for this hike.

Before heading up Double Island Point we relaxed at the beach for a snack break.

The hike up Double Island Point was quite steep, but only for a short time.  Unlike yesterday we had blue skies, once again this was pure luck and not due to any of our planning.

At the lighthouse, we enjoyed more views before heading down toward Northern Beach

Northern Beach provides both options for surfing and a quiet cove for boats to shelter in.  As we didn't bring a surfboard or a boat, we instead walked along Northern Beach and marveled at the coloured cliffs of Rainbow Beach.  If you should get here at low tide, it could be an option to follow the beach to the end, although you would miss Carlo Sandblow.

Off the beach, we traversed the hilliest part of the track.

And came across what must have been an old telegraph post or something similar.

After several ups and downs, we finally made it to Carlo Sandblow, which is only a few hundred meters from the end of the trail.

The Sandblow is a very stunning and smaller version of Cooloola Sandpatch.

But it is unique as it goes all the way to the cliffs that drop down to the ocean.  Carlo Sandpatch is an awesome way to finish this truly memorable hike.

The Cooloola Great Walk must go down as one of our favourite overnight hikes due to its versatility and spectacular landscape.

At Rainbow Beach, we spent the night at the caravan park (on a tent site) and enjoyed some roast chicken and pasta salad washed down with some nice wine.

The next day we caught the bus back to Tewantin, which left us only a short walk to our car.

Length of Hike

Approx 120 km


6 days (normally 5 days, but we extended to 6 days by going to Poona Lake on day 5 and then camped at Freshwater Creek Campsite before finishing day 6 along the beach)

Best Time to do

Anytime apart from summer. The end of July - early August was perfect for us.


Easy to Moderate, the tracks are well defined, and although it is a somewhat hilly trail at times, there is nothing too steep for too long.

Info that may be useful

Car parking
QPWS Great Sandy Information Centre, Moorindil Street, Tewantin QLD
Confirm on: 0754497792
Open: 08:00 to 15:00
FerryWalking Passengers - Either Way - Valid for return on same day - $1.00Open: 05:30 to 22:20
Last NightRainbow Beach Holiday Village (no need to book for tent sites)13 Rainbow Beach Road
Phone: (07) 5486 3222

Premier Transport
Phone13 34 10

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