If you have a 4wd vehicle and a sense of adventure, you don’t need a great deal of off-road experience to have a day out on Noosa North Shore. Drive along beautiful golden sands all the way to Double Island Point, glimpse pods of dolphins, peregrine falcons, oystercatchers and if you are lucky, at the right time of year, humpback whales.
Before heading off, make sure you book a permit for Cooloola recreation here; you can also book campsites using the same link. Camping is permitted all along Teerwah beach, and what better way to experience it. Another important task is to check the tides, the ideal time to go is just after high tide so that you have plenty of time before the next high tide. A few other important things to remember in case of emergencies are:
- A shovel
- Recovery boards
- A pressure gauge
- A tyre pump
- Snatch strap
- Plenty of food and snacks
- Some cash for the ferry
Start your journey to Double island point by boarding the North Shore Car Ferry from Moorindil Street, Tewantin. The cost varies according to the vehicle, but a car is $10. You don’t have to book ahead; two ferries go, to and fro, over the river all day long. They run between 5:30 am – 10:20 pm Sunday – Thursday, and 5:30 am – 12:20 am Friday & Saturday.
When you arrive at Noosa North Shore, you will drive on a tarmac road past Noosa North Shore Retreat and the General Store, where you can stop for basic supplies like water and snacks. Noosa North Shore Retreat is worth a visit as a trip in its own right, as there are many activities to keep the whole family entertained, for instance, an 18 hole putt golf course, laser tag, a climbing wall, an excellent beer garden with a playground for the younger kids and of course a great selection of food and drinks. If off-roading isn’t for you, stop here, there’s plenty to keep you busy.
Once you have stocked up on supplies, keep driving down Beach Road, past the car wash, Equathon Horse Riding Tours, Noosa North Shore Beach Campgrounds and just before the third cutting, you will reach a sign and a stopping zone on either side of the road. The sign states you must have a permit to enter Cooloola Recreation Area and turn around if you don’t have one. This is a good place to let the air out of your tyres, it is recommended to go down to 16 – 20 PSI for driving on sand, but this may differ depending on your vehicle and its tyres. If you have little experience, don’t worry; some rangers go up and down the beach regularly, and many other people would help you if you got bogged.
With your tyres down, you are ready to go; this is where the fun begins! We recommend you head for the hard sand for easier driving, paying attention to other vehicles coming and people that may have parked up to use the beach. It is prohibited to drive on the dunes as this will increase unwanted erosion. Also, the dunes are home to loads of wildlife, such as green turtles who make huge nests and lay their eggs in the sand. So lead by example and look after this stunningly special part of the world. The speed limit on the beach is 80km per hour and 50km when you go past the camping spots. There’s really nothing like driving alongside the twinkling ocean with the windows down on a sunny day. You really appreciate how wild, and free the land is away from the masses on Hastings Street.
You can stop anywhere along the beach and lay down a picnic blanket, miles away from anyone apart from the passing vehicles! Truly embrace this magical wilderness by stopping a few places on the way to Double Island Point in the Great Sandy National Park. Look out for signs for Red Canyon; stop here and explore what feels like Mars. You are transported to another world of rusty colours and rock formations which are quite like that of Uluru, the red centre of Australia. What a find!! This will get the imagination of any child going, and they will have lots of fun climbing the canyon. Another stopping place is Teerwah Coloured sands which are cliffs of dirty looking sand, but when you start looking closer, you will see so many beautiful colours, every colour you can imagine, if you look close enough.
When you finally reach Double Island Point, you will find yourself in awe of the sheer brilliance of the turquoise waters. Surfers come to catch waves in the alluring blue ocean below the steep climb to Double Island Point lighthouse. For an amazing vantage point and 360-degree views, climb to the top, only 2.2km return and starting with a quasi decked path leading up to Page’s hut, an old Fisherman’s hut which has been abandoned. This is an easy walk that toddlers can complete, as long as you keep hold of them, especially where there are unfenced cliff edges.
When arriving at the top, you will be met with amazing views stretching out across the Coral Sea, the endless Teerwah Beach (40-mile beach as it’s also called), Carlos Sandblow, Rainbow beach, and Fraser Island. You really feel like you are on top of the world; it’s absolutely breathtaking. The lighthouse built in 1884, previously manned but now powered by solar, still wards ships off the rocks at Double Island Point. You can walk all the way to Rainbow Beach if you are feeling energetic and have the water supplies. The scenery here is enough to blow your mind and will satisfy your need to explore.
You can head back the way you have come, along the beach. Before you get back to the ferry, make your vehicle sparkle again; use the facilities available to refill your tyres and wash the sand from your car.
This is an opportunity that will make your Noosa stay unforgettable; it is seriously worthwhile and doesn’t cost much to do if you already have a 4wd. We highly recommend it!