Cooloola Wilderness Trail

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This is located just south of Fraser Island and like that island, much of the landscape is formed of sand. Running through the area is the Noosa River which has formed many shallow freshwater lakes. There are also tall rainforests

Major activities of this park are canoeing as well as walking. Much of the area has been reserved in the Great Sandy National Park but locally it is known as Cooloola.

The best known walk is the Cooloola Wilderness Trail. This 46 km trail is an easy 3 day walk. It has 5 campsites along the route and the itinerary can be altered from an easy 5 day wander to a tough 2 day slog. The best seasons to come are any time outside the wet season - so don't come from December to March. During the wet season long sections of the track are flooded and it is very humid. The track was created in 1986 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the rescue of Eliza Fraser. It is an approximation of the route followed by Eliza.

For experienced walkers, other walks are possible. Rainbow Beach around the coast to Freshwater Creek and return by inland tracks is a three day circuit. Other walks range from short 2 day circuits to a grand tour of the entire park of about a weeks walk.


On the Queensland coast about 250 km north of Brisbane.


Located close to the Bruce Highway which is the major road along the coast. Buses travel this highway several times every day. From the highway into the park there are no regular services. As the main walk is a one way route, most walkers will arrive by private transport and arrange a car shuffle before starting the walk.

Maps and Track Notes

For such a popular walk, the lack of decent maps is a surprise. For following the main tracks, the SUNMAP 'Cooloola' sheet is adequate. Also available locally is a black and white 'Cooloola Coast' map which has more detail for off-track walking. Most maps leave off the old roads and walking tracks which is a real problem.

Track notes are also rare. Fraser Island and Cooloola Visitors Guide by Ross and Heather Buchanan provides brief notes of the Wilderness Trail plus several other walking suggestions.


As with all parks in Queensland, permits are needed for bush camping. There is a limit applied to each campsite and booking well ahead is advised for holiday periods.

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John Chapman, PO Box 5042, Laburnum, 3130, Australia
Photographs and text are copyright 1999-2006 John Chapman.
Last updated : January 15th 2006