Camping at Cooloola

A group of us decided to celebrate the new year by camping at Cooloola in the Great Sandy National Park, at Teewah Beach. There were days of preparation for which only two were available, poor buggers! However, on the 29th of December, we took off towards Tewantin, from where we had to catch the ferry:

The ferry at Tewantin
The ferry at Tewantin

Unlike NSW where the ferry is free, we had to pay $7 per vehicle and per trailer.

After letting some of the air out, we drove onto the beach. It was quite busy – for Australia:

Driving on Teewah Beach, Great Sandy National Park
Driving on Teewah Beach, Great Sandy National Park
Driving on Teewah Beach, Great Sandy National Park
Driving on Teewah Beach, Great Sandy National Park

The campgrounds were booked out and it was hard to find a place to set up camp. The place Eileen usually camps was full, of course, so we went to the end (15km of camping grounds are available) and then back, getting out of the car and walking up where we couldn’t see from the beach, to see if there was anywhere available. We found a place that might have done and the people already there very kindly made some room for us by pulling down and re-setting up their tent closer to their friends’ tents and we had a site! That was a big relief! Then it was a matter of setting up the camper trailer, its annex, the ensuite tent and Donald and my tent. That took about 2 hours even with 5 of us! But we got it set up in daylight. Just!

At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach

Eileen had made some stew in her eco-pot, so we just had that for dinner. It was nice we didn’t have to bother with cooking our first night! We all had an early night.

We got up early the next morning, since it was already really hot at 6.30am! Too hot to stay in the tents or sleep. We started our shade-chasing after putting up a tarpaulin. After breakfast, Ela, Lisa and I went for a swim and got sunburnt, even though we’d put on sunscreen. It must have just rubbed off, especially on our feet (which is why I’ve got a towel on my legs and feet – not because I’m cold 🙂 ). Since we were on holiday, the champagne made a mid-morning appearance:

At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach

From then on I mainly stayed inside the annex where it was shady and read a book while everyone else was outside chasing shade and drinking and talking. Very relaxing. I only went outside in the evening and around dawn to go for a walk on the beach and take photos with my phone. I didn’t bring my camera because I knew it would get full of sand and salt, like our tent and beds did. These ones are from our second evening:

At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite

Donald did all the cooking – breakfast and dinner every day. He enjoyed it though. We plied him with coffee, tea and scotch, so he was happy:

At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach

On the third day we had a problem with our toilet being full so when I got up at 4:30am to go, I had to squat in the bushes. The unpleasantness of that woke me right up so I took the opportunity to go for a walk on the beach before the sun was up to burn me. It was very peaceful:

Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite

There were quite a few dead jellyfish washed up on the beach. They were very pretty to look at:

Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite

Meet Harry, the first of many spiders living with us. Harry lived in the ensuite:

At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach

Donald and Eileen went fishing at low tide:

At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach

Unfortunately, they didn’t catch anything. It was probably too rough and late in the day for the fish to bite.

While they were preparing to go out, there was a drama a bit further down the beach, with helicopters coming in to airlift someone in and then out. We found out later that some fool had broken his neck walking on a tightrope between two cars. It was hearsay, though, so don’t know for sure.

Near our campsite, Teewah Beach
Near our campsite, Teewah Beach
Helicopters near our campsite, Teewah Beach
Helicopters near our campsite, Teewah Beach

It was New Year’s Eve, so after dinner we all settled in for drinks and conversation. I piked out early though, followed by Donald. I couldn’t really sleep because of the noise all around but managed to doze a bit. The fireworks going off at midnight woke me up again and I went to take some photos, but most of them were done. Here’s a couple I managed to capture:

Tail end of the New Year's Celebrations on Teewah Beach
Tail end of the New Year’s Celebrations on Teewah Beach
Tail end of the New Year's Celebrations on Teewah Beach
Tail end of the New Year’s Celebrations on Teewah Beach

Nobody at our camp was hung over, so it was up early to have another go at fishing. This time successfully! Donald and Eileen caught enough for a small lunch for 4 of us. Ela and I sat and watched, as did the crab:

At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Self caught fish lunch at our campsite, Teewah Beach
Self caught fish lunch at our campsite, Teewah Beach
Self caught fish lunch at our campsite, Teewah Beach
Self caught fish lunch at our campsite, Teewah Beach

I hid from the sun in the annex as much as I could, but Donald and I went for a long walk on the beach that night. There was all sorts of fish and sea creatures in the gutters. It was interesting to look at with the torch. This was a weird looking one that Donald managed to catch:

Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach

This was our second spider, hiding behind the coffee and tea. He stayed there all day and night! He was huge, or so we though until we met our last one when we packed up…

At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach

On our last full day, Ela joined Donald and Eileen in fishing. This time, only one fish big enough to be kept was caught (by Donald), unfortunately.

Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Teewah Beach near our campsite
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach
Fishing near our campsite on Teewah Beach

After breakfast, Donald and I went four-wheel-driving. It was scary! The tide wasn’t really out far enough, so we were ploughing through soft sand. It was quite strenuous for us, as well as the car! First we headed to the Leisha track and took it to the end where there’s a big a lagoon and the beach stretch to Rainbow Beach township and beach. But the tide was too high to go there at this stage. It’s very pretty here. Lots of other people evidently thought so, too:

Coloured Sands and Lagoon at end of Leisha Track, Cooloola Recreation Area
Coloured Sands and Lagoon at end of Leisha Track, Cooloola Recreation Area
At end of Leisha Track, Cooloola Recreation Area
At end of Leisha Track, Cooloola Recreation Area
At end of Leisha Track, Cooloola Recreation Area
At end of Leisha Track, Cooloola Recreation Area
Coloured Sands and Lagoon at end of Leisha Track, Cooloola Recreation Area
Coloured Sands and Lagoon at end of Leisha Track, Cooloola Recreation Area
Coloured Sands and Lagoon at end of Leisha Track, Cooloola Recreation Area
Coloured Sands and Lagoon at end of Leisha Track, Cooloola Recreation Area
Coloured Sands and Lagoon at end of Leisha Track, Cooloola Recreation Area
Coloured Sands and Lagoon at end of Leisha Track, Cooloola Recreation Area
Coloured Sands and Lagoon at end of Leisha Track, Cooloola Recreation Area
Coloured Sands and Lagoon at end of Leisha Track, Cooloola Recreation Area

We headed back and then to Freshwater. There’s day use facilities, a camp site (with toilets and showers!) etc. We left the car near the day use area and did the 1.3km walk to Freshwater Lake, thinking you couldn’t drive there. Should have looked at the map! Anyway, the walk wasn’t too bad, but it was quite hot. Once we got there, we went into the lake. It’s quite warm. There’s lots of submerged branches and trees, so you have to be careful. There was a group of teenagers making a lot of noise, and a family with young kids and a canoe. It was nice (except for the noise!):

Freshwater Lake at Freshwater in Great Sandy National Park
Freshwater Lake at Freshwater in Great Sandy National Park
Freshwater Lake at Freshwater in Great Sandy National Park
Freshwater Lake at Freshwater in Great Sandy National Park

I took some photos of the vegetation on the walk back to the car:

Freshwater Lake at Freshwater in Great Sandy National Park
Freshwater Lake at Freshwater in Great Sandy National Park
Freshwater Lake at Freshwater in Great Sandy National Park
Freshwater Lake at Freshwater in Great Sandy National Park
Freshwater Lake at Freshwater in Great Sandy National Park
Freshwater Lake at Freshwater in Great Sandy National Park

Then we drove to Rainbow Beach Township, along the Freshwater Road – this is a single lane soft sand track of about 16km….no fun whatsoever! Especially when there’s somebody coming the other way and you have to pull off the ‘road’…

Freshwater Road between Freshwater and Rainbow Beach Township - bit scary!
Freshwater Road between Freshwater and Rainbow Beach Township – bit scary!
Freshwater Road between Freshwater and Rainbow Beach Township - bit scary!
Freshwater Road between Freshwater and Rainbow Beach Township – bit scary!

En route, we encountered somebody who’d got bogged in the soft sand so we stopped and Donald provided some maxi tracks to get them out.

After that stressful drive, we had some lunch at Rainbow Beach. The place we found had cheaper meals than a lot of the others around, but because of this, they were sold out of them! I ended up having a plate of chips, while Donald had a pulled pork burger. That looked really good, actually!

After lunch we headed to the beach to see what it was like. We asked at the information centre in one of the shops if it was passable back to the lagoon we’d been at this morning, and the guy seemed to know what he was talking about and the tide was well on its way out, so all good. We went to the end of the street where there’s a park and lookout onto the beach, as well as the old propeller from the Cherry Venture:

The beach at Rainbow Beach
The beach at Rainbow Beach
The beach at Rainbow Beach
The beach at Rainbow Beach
The beach at Rainbow Beach
The beach at Rainbow Beach

After fueling up the car and letting the tyres back down again, we headed on the beach. There’s branches and rocks and of course the coloured sands that give Rainbow Beach its name:

Driving along Rainbow Beach, Great Sandy National Park
Driving along Rainbow Beach, Great Sandy National Park
Driving along Rainbow Beach, Great Sandy National Park
Driving along Rainbow Beach, Great Sandy National Park
Driving along Rainbow Beach, Great Sandy National Park
Driving along Rainbow Beach, Great Sandy National Park
Driving along Rainbow Beach, Great Sandy National Park
Driving along Rainbow Beach, Great Sandy National Park
Driving along Rainbow Beach, Great Sandy National Park
Driving along Rainbow Beach, Great Sandy National Park

The drive along the beach was infinitely better than driving along the track! It was much shorter, too! After reaching the lagoon and driving back to Teewah Beach via the Leisha Track, we headed up to Double Island Point to look at the lighthouse. There were a few tour buses and vehicles here, as well as other people. We left the car at the end of the beach and walked up the track towards the lighthouse. We were both antsy to get back to the campsite since we’d been gone so long, so we didn’t go all the way to the lighthouse:

Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park
Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park
Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park
Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park
Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park
Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park
Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park
Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park
Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park
Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park
Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park
Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park
Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park
Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park
Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park
Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park

Surf school:

Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park
Double Island Point Lighthouse track, Great Sandy National Park

We got back to our camp site and it was straight into the showering and cooking dinner routine and then an early night after all that.

The next morning came over cloudy, which was good. We were worried about rain, but were extremely lucky. We only had a few drops of spitting rain for a little while but that dried up by the time we were ready to pack everything up around lunch time. This is when we found our third spider. This one was even bigger than our coffee spider. It was sitting on the wheel while we packed up the trailer:

At our campsite on Teewah Beach
At our campsite on Teewah Beach

It started pouring rain while we were driving along the beach back to the ferry. It poured down! Gave the cars and trailer a bit of a wash, so that was good, really! The sky and sea looked quite dramatic, too:

Rain on the beach, heading home - Teewah Beach, Great Sandy National Park
Rain on the beach, heading home – Teewah Beach, Great Sandy National Park

And that was that!

Reworked and larger sized pictures from this day are here. Click on the first picture and then move through them at full screen size.

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