Rainbow Beach is a coastal rural town and locality in the Gympie Region, Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census, Rainbow Beach had a population of 1,249 people. It is a popular tourist destination, both in its own right and as a gateway to Fraser Island. When I go to Rainbow Beach I usually stay at Inskip Point and camp in the National Park right next to the beach and the water. Inskip is a peninsula that separates the Wide Bay and Tin Can Inlet from the Coral Sea. At its northernmost point (known as Inskip Point), Inskip is 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) from Fraser Island, making it a major gateway to the island via vehicular barges. There are camping grounds in Inskip and two boat ramps, horse trails and other outdoor recreational facilities
In 2011, a large sinkhole consumed much of the beach at Inskip Point, with the hole size estimated at 100 m+ long and 50 m+ deep. A large sinkhole opened up near Queensland’s Rainbow Beach, affecting campers along Inskip Point in September 2015. Fishermen were the first to notice the shoreline quickly receding into the ocean around 10:30 pm, the Brisbane Times reports. Casey Hughes told ABC news it sounded like thunder as the sinkhole was opening. The sinkhole was 150 metres long, 50 metres wide and three metres deep. The sinkhole swallowed up one car, a caravan, a camper trailer and several tents. 140 people were evacuated from the campground, but no injuries were reported. Most of the campers were able to move their vehicles out of harm’s way before their campsites were submerged in water.
The town’s name derives from the rainbow-coloured sand dunes surrounding the settlement. According to the legends of the Kabi people, the dunes were coloured when Yiningie, a spirit represented by a rainbow, plunged into the cliffs after doing battle with an evil tribesman. Much of the sand colours stem from the rich content of minerals in the sand, such as rutile, ilmenite, zircon, and monazite. A black dune of ilmenite sands, overgrown by dune vegetation, can be found north west of the main town. This is currently being removed for sale in China with complete removal expected to take two years.
The Cooloola Section of the Great Sandy National Park borders the town to the south. A number of walking tracks through the national park depart from the southern outskirts of Rainbow Beach
The town’s economy is now dominated by tourism, featuring quiet and idyllic holidays, fishing and retirement getaway. The town caters to beach-orientated holiday-makers with hotels, motels, and caravan parks. The town promotes itself as the “Gateway to Fraser Island” as vehicular ferries for Fraser Island depart from Inskip Point, north of town. Double Island Point, a popular destination amongst 4WD enthusiasts, is located east of town. It is also promoted as an eco-tourism destination.
Although it has a permanent population of about 1,000, about 70,000 visitors come to the town each year