Our first stop outside of Brisbane was Rainbow Beach. Not that far from the more tourist-y Hervey Bay, the drive to this small seaside town is unlike anything else. With rows and rows of pine trees lining the roadside as you drive through the Toolara State Forest, it was purely magically, and even slightly eerie when it was just our little van alone on the road. I was entranced by how the light seemed to change the further you looked into the dense mass of trees – I wanted to stop and wander, but at the same time I was wary. I kept wondering how easily lost I would get.
It was on these roads that we saw our first wild Kangaroo, just stood as if it was waiting to cross, with it’s baby Joey in her pouch! It was an unexpected sight, something I honestly thought we would ever see. I little like those deer signs we have back home in the UK – you see the signs, but do you ever really see the animal? It’s a sight that will forever be etched into my memories.
Once you get to Rainbow Beach, it seems all your problems just melt away. The views from the small cliff were stunning. There were families making good use of the outside facilities, picnic tables, grills and play areas. We wished we’d known so we could have come prepared with a BBQ lunch.
Instead we opted for a mid-afternoon pit stop at Jilary Cafe. With a selection of coffees (with soya milk for lactose free and vegans), cakes and pizzas, we chose a, to our surprise, warm muffin and two amazingly creamy coffees – even with soya milk. Jilary also has its own little gallery attached, which we had a little peek in but didn’t have much time to fully wander this little space. This is a spot we will definitely go back to, and maybe even try their popular pizzas next time.
Full of souvenir shops and tour companies, the little high street of Rainbow Beach is small, but fun to explore. I loved looking at all the different trinkets they had on offer, and it was a good chance to pick up the odd bit and bob that we’d forgotten to bring, such as sunglasses for Alex, and another pair of flip flops for me. Wandering to the beachfront, we spotted a wedding taking place, over looking the sea view – if that just don’t tell you how beautiful this place is, then I don’t know what will.
The beach was full of swimmers, sun bathers and 4WD alike, and with trips over to Fraser Island, this makes a perfect day trip or even a weekend stay in one of the nearby hotels. With a lifeguard patrolled beach, this is the perfect spot for a dip. There were even some young children braving the cold in what looked like training for a tiny triathlon. They were a lot braver than I’d ever be, only managing to paddle ankle deep before the crashing waves and beached jellyfish scared me enough to come a bit further in land.
Camp for the night was further North of Rainbow Beach in a little town called Childers. This free camp (thanks to WikiCamps) is unsuitable for tents but great if you have a van or car in which you can sleep in for the night. The other vehicles here were mainly RVs or fancy caravans and campers, which made our Jeremy (our van) look a little bit shabby. However, our Western Australia rego brought a little attention from the other campers in the morning, which resulted in a little bit of local knowledge shared, such as the devastating fire that took the lives of a number of backpackers in a hostel in Childers. Nevertheless, this little town was really sweet, and had a number of local cafes and shops which we popped into before we went on our way.
Visiting Rainbow Beach was one of the more memorable days of our Brisbane – Cairns road trip, and if you’d like to see some of the footage we got on the way, be sure to check out my Youtube video down below!