Rainbow Beach has a pretty iconic name for such a small town. I have probably spent more time than most there and I would say it’s not needed. Two nights is plenty of time. Unless you really wanted a remote, low-key, affordable beach getaway, this wouldn’t be the place you should go. For many people it’s just the stopping area for Fraser Island. I extended my trip here because it was either that or going back to Sydney sooner.
There’s one little road of shops/restaurants. Be careful though, if you aren’t there during the high season these restaurants may be closed on Weekdays. I did really enjoy tapas and a drink at The Deck at Sea Salt and then went back for a cappuccino the next day as well. This multilevel bar had a really great atmosphere.
The main attraction is the beach and it really is beautiful. There is a great Aboriginal legend about the sands that gave this beach its name. Walking to the beach you will also go down the once controversial rainbow stairs. Even Thor has once made an appearance and taken a picture.
I also did a Rainbow Beach Horse Rides excursion. I love horses and I was with a friend so I had a good time, but I wouldn’t do it again. If you have ridden horses in the past I think this is something you can skip or upgrade to fully go on the swimming ride. Otherwise just save your money and pass on this one.
Walk through upper neighborhoods and a bit of a nature walk to get to the sand blows for sunset. I didn’t know what to expect and I was struck by a few of things: 1. the neighborhoods uphill were so beautiful so people really must live here or at least vacation; 2. a sand blow is a lot of sand…like a lot and looks like what I imagine a desert looks like; 3. getting up the hill to ride down is hard and not that amusing; 4. always at least try the thing that’s holding you back so at least you know for yourself.
There are two hostels here and pretty much people are just rotating the day before and after Fraser Island so it’s very transient. Fraser Island is a must go and as a result you’ll go through Rainbow Beach, check it out, enjoy the beach, and then get back on the bus.