Cooloola Way

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesTewantin
FinishDouble Island Point
DifficultyDifficulty 3/5
Suitable For4WD 
Distance170.59 km
Minimum Days1
Average Speed62.99 km/hr
Travel Time2 hrs 42 mins
Page Updated: 1 Oct 2016


Cooloola Way passes through Cooloola's western catchment, a low area of wallum banksia, which flowers prolifically in spring, and taller forests with scenic views east over the Cooloola sandmass. Cooloola Way is signed as 4WD - and although potholed, the road is mainly sand on a solid road base, making the journey a relatively easy run. Some sections may be impassable after wet weather so check conditions before travelling.

Besides the beautiful scenery offered during the drive, one of the major attractions in this part of Cooloola is Harry's Hut camping and day-use area. There is actually an old hut situated right by the river, with respective signage revealing its colourful history. This camping area lies amongst the backdrop of the forest with each camp site nicely set in, making it almost hidden from the next. Harry’s Hut is the only camping area on the upper Noosa River with vehicle access and can be reached by 4WD - and even by boat!! There are a number of small access jetties that service the camp sites, which makes it convenient for those who wish to use the river for activities like canoeing, boating (with electric motors), or fishing for bass.

After returning to Cooloola Way from Harry’s Hut and heading further north, you will eventually meet Rainbow Beach Road. Just before this road however, our trek note heads towards the coast, taking in the western and eastern firebreak tracks (4WD only), before meeting Teewah Beach for the northerly coastal run towards Double Island Point.

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The Cooloola region is the birthplace of the Noosa River, which rises in the Como escarpment and is distributed by tributaries that work its way slowly across the wetlands. The river flows south, where there are many kilometres of scenic waterways to explore using portable watercraft such canoes.

The western catchment of the Great Sandy National Park provides a diverse array of flora. These include tall deep-rooted eucalypt and banksia forests, which give way to low wallum in the shallow soils. Remnant rainforests thrive on the rich soils along Kin Kin Creek, whilst paperbark and cabbage palms are abundant on the adjacent waterlogged plains. Some of the fauna that you may come across include kangaroos, and plenty of chattering birds like honeyeaters and black cockatoos.

The environmental conditions can be harsh and often vary greatly - ranging from hot, dry summers to cool, wet winters. The low-lying areas are typically wet all year round. Cooloola offers fantastic bushwalking opportunities which are best enjoyed when the wildflowers bloom in the spring. There are many different walk tracks, where there are signs at the start, indicating the distance. Information and walking leaflets are available from the Noosa Information Centre.


For thousands of years, Cooloola has been a special place for Aboriginal people. The Kabi Aborigines were the first known inhabitants of the Cooloola region. This tribe occupied an area from the Mooloolah River to the Burrum River. Evidence from the amount of broken shells found on the beaches suggested the group ate fish and various molluscs.

In 1770, Captain Cook sailed past and named Double Island Point at the northern end of Cooloola. It was not until 1842, that Governor Gipps sent Andrew Petrie to explore this area and this paved the way for resource use of a magnificent area known as the Kin Kin Scrubs - where today, only a small remnant of this vast rainforest is left.

TrekID: 171


MUST READ: You are strongly encouraged to read the following articles prepared by the knowledge experts at ExplorOz for your safety and preparation before undertaking any published ExplorOz Trek - Outback Safety, Outback Driving Tips, Outback Communications, and Vehicle Setup for the Outback.


Please refer to Road Reports published by the local shire and/or main roads for the area you intend to visit. Road/Track conditions can change significantly after weather events. Travellers must be responsible for their own research on current conditions and track suitability.
One of the best ways to experience the Noosa River and its surrounding wilderness is by small boats that are able to be carried to the water. These recreational items include: Folda Boats, light tinnies, canoes, scanoes and kayaks.

Essential items to take with you include an air compressor and a pressure gauge for deflating and re-inflating tyres for beach driving. Recovery gear such as snatch straps and shovels are also a must. Carry enough fuel and water with you as none are available along the way (nearest outlet to the north would be Rainbow Beach).


All camping areas within the national park require a camping permit and fees apply. Permits must be obtained prior to arrival. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your campsite. On-the-spot fines apply for camping without a permit and for not displaying a valid permit.

Harrys Hut

Around Harry’s Hut, there are campsites, toilets, sheltered picnic areas, and rainwater - which MUST be treated before drinking. To the north of Harry's, there are 15 designated bush camping sites along the Upper Noosa River. Fires are not permitted at these sites and there are no facilities, other than pit toilets at camps one, two and three which are also located along walking tracks. Please note that this area is flooded and closed after heavy rains, so check conditions with local rangers before proceeding. To make bookings for Harry's Hut - please call the National Park Office at Elanda Point on: (07) 5449 7364.

Sand Driving

Sand driving can be dangerous or cause serious damage to the environment unless great care is taken. The beach has hazards including washouts, particularly after heavy rain and rough seas. Wave action may expose dangerous rocks. Check beach conditions before setting out and know your tide times.

Remember, all road rules apply on the beach - it is a registered road! Indicate early to other cars and to people on the beach your intention. You may pass on-coming traffic on either side - cautiously! People have right of way on the beach. Check the local tide charts and weather conditions before leaving for beach driving. It is also wise to check on the status of any road or track closures. Click here for: Cooloola Conditions Report (Also includes the status for Harry's Hut Road, and the western and eastern firebreak tracks).


There are no permits required to enter Great Sandy National Park, however a permit is required for camping. Before camping in a park, forest or similar reserve within the State of Queensland, you must obtain a camping permit and pay your camping fees. Some campgrounds are heavily booked, especially on public holidays and school holidays. Book early and you can book a site up to 12 months before your planned visit. At least six weeks' advance booking is recommended.

Office Locations

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has offices in the area for local enquiries and permits.
Rainbow Beach: (07) 5486 3160
Tewantin: (07) 5449 7364
Gympie: (07) 5482 5444
Noosa: (07) 5447 4988

For more information on camp fees and campsite bookings, please click: Camping Fees or Camp Bookings.

Fuel Usage

There is also fuel available at Rainbow Beach (not shown on this trek note), which is to the west of Double Island Point.
4cyl 24 litres4cyl 28 litres4cyl 34 litres
6cyl 26 litres6cyl 31 litres6cyl 30 litres
8cyl 26 litres8cyl 28 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Generally, Cooloola Way is fine to travel on nearly all year round - although it can get rather wet between February and May, resulting in road and track closures.

Closest Climatic Station

Tewantin Rsl Park
Distance from Trek Mid Point 26.44km S
Mean Max. °C28.428.427.425.723.521.521.
Mean Min. °C21.821.920.618.014.712.511.111.514.416.918.720.7
Mean Rain mm154.2240.1204.9169.7159.7127.077.790.161.495.8103.9155.7
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended


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Tewantin to Cooroy
Driving: 13.37 km
Heading: 257°
Avg Speed: 82.4 km/hr
EST Time: 09:44
Cooroy to Pomona
Driving: 9.76 km
Heading: 314°
Avg Speed: 81.46 km/hr
EST Time: 07:11
Pomona to Kin Kin
Driving: 25.78 km
Heading: 11°
Avg Speed: 49.31 km/hr
EST Time: 31:22
Kin Kin to Kin Kin Rd & Cooloola Wy
Driving: 11.06 km
Heading: 31°
Avg Speed: 65.85 km/hr
EST Time: 10:04
Kin Kin Rd & Cooloola Wy to Cooloola Way & Harry's Hut Rd
Driving: 4.22 km
Heading: 77°
Avg Speed: 48.02 km/hr
EST Time: 05:16
Cooloola Way & Harry's Hut Rd to Harry's Hut
Driving: 11.23 km
Heading: 92°
Avg Speed: 50.61 km/hr
EST Time: 13:18
Harry's Hut to Noosa River, Cooloola Way
Driving: 30.75 km
Heading: 351°
Avg Speed: 60.56 km/hr
EST Time: 30:27
Noosa River, Cooloola Way to Cooloola Way & Firebreaks Access
Driving: 3.04 km
Heading: 47°
Avg Speed: 46.36 km/hr
EST Time: 03:56
Cooloola Way & Firebreaks Access to Firebreaks & Cooloola Beach Camping Zone
Driving: 40.84 km
Heading: 129°
Avg Speed: 29.16 km/hr
EST Time: 01:24:01
Firebreaks & Cooloola Beach Camping Zone to Freshwater Campground
Driving: 11.7 km
Heading: 19°
Avg Speed: 92.33 km/hr
EST Time: 07:36
Freshwater Campground to Double Island Point
Driving: 8.84 km
Heading: 25°
Avg Speed: 86.82 km/hr
EST Time: 06:06
Distance is based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.

What to See


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