Rainbow Beach is one of my absolute favourite places to visit in Queensland. It’s also one of my favourite beach destinations in the world. There are many reasons for this, but the most prominent is the way I feel whenever I visit this low-key beach town. As soon as I arrive I feel relaxed but full of anticipation at all the beautiful things I’m going to see while I’m there. It’s one of those places that marks its spot on your soul and keeps you coming back over and over.
Recently, I was invited to stay at Rainbow Ocean Palms Resort in Rainbow Beach and, of course, jumped at the chance to visit one of my favourite places. Here’s my review of the property and why it’s the best place to stay when you visit the area.
It takes just shy of three hours to drive to Rainbow Beach from the heart of Brisbane, which sits around 100km or so north of Noosa. If you found yourself flying in, you’d be looking at flying into Hervey Bay or the Sunshine Coast, then driving from there in a hire car. The drive into the area is a pretty spectacular one, the last 45 minutes of the drive, after you turn off at Gympie, will take you through rows of big gum trees and winding stretches of road straight out of an Australian picture book.
So, why would you drive the three hours to Rainbow rather than visiting the Sunshine or Gold Coasts? Because it is far quieter than either of these spots. Rainbow is much smaller than our usual coastal hangout spots and it isn’t over-run with other holidaymakers. Truth is, it’s nice to escape the hoards and feel like you’ve found a piece of paradise for yourself. If you can visit Rainbow when it’s not school holidays I suggest you do it because the town is quiet and you feel like you’re discovering a hidden gem on Queensland’s coastline.
The three-hour drive is nothing, it goes by really quickly and you’re there before you know it. Rainbow Beach is a retreat for lovers of the great outdoors and tends to play host to many who love fishing, boating, camping, surfing, crabbing, jet-ski riding or just escaping to the beach. Inskip Point, a short drive north of Rainbow Beach, is a gateway to Fraser Island, with ferries departing to take holiday-makers across.
Rainbow Ocean Palms is located on Cooloola Drive, a stretch of road which winds away from the main town area and up toward the Carlo Sand Blow. I really like the location of the resort because it’s away from the centre of town, which makes you feel removed from the rest of the world. When I’m away on a beach holiday, this is exactly what I want to experience. I want to feel like where I’m staying is my corner of the world to enjoy and that’s what the resort offers.
It’s easy to jump in your car and buzz down to the main town area or take a trip out to Inskip Point. You can also take the short walk down to Rainbow Beach or just go for a stroll around the area, everything is easily accessed from the resort and you’ve got your apartment to retreat to at the end of each day.
Rainbow Ocean Palms Resort offers accommodation that is both luxurious and comfortable. We stayed in a one-bedroom fully self-contained apartment that offered more than we ever anticipated. From the second we stepped into the room, both Matt and I were speechless then were immediately filled with excitement.
Our penthouse apartment opened up to a balcony with uninterrupted views of Queensland’s coastline and it is, honestly, one of the most breath-taking views I’ve experienced at a hotel or resort. It’s the kind of view you just want to sit and enjoy for a few hours. It’s the kind of view that inspires you to travel and to see more beautiful things. It’s also a view that made me very appreciative of where I live.
The apartments itself was very spacious and I loved the design and layout, it gave the feel of space and comfort while being really functional and enjoyable too. Best of all, you could see that stunning view from just about everywhere… including in the bed and in the shower or spa bath-tub. On-site, you’ll find free unlimited wifi, a pool and undercover parking.
In the apartment, you’ll find absolutely everything you need to have a great stay, including a really comfy lounge area with big couches and throw pillows, a tv and DVD player. There’s a separate dining table to eat at and a kitchenette that’s fully equipped with all the essential supplies so you can prepare meals if you’d like to. There’s also a laundry for you to stay on top of keeping those wet beach clothes clean and dry.
The bathroom was a great size, with a really great shower and a nice big spa bath for soaking in. The bed was big and comfortable and you’re able to shut all the windows and blinds to give you a much-deserved sleep-in if you like. We left the bedroom door open so we could see the bright blue ocean as soon as we opened our eyes each day.
Really, the best way I can describe our stay here is that it was really easy and really, really enjoyable. I love self-contained accommodation because it means you can spread out and feel like you live there, even if it is just for a few days and nights. It gives you a taste of what it would be like to stay in the area forever and when the accommodation is as comfortable and gorgeous as Rainbow Ocean Palms, it’s easy to see yourself living there.
Dining & Entertainment
Right next to Rainbow Ocean Palms you’ll find Waterview Bistro, which offers the same great view you’ll experience at the resort. The service here is great, the desserts are divine and they offer an absolute bargain dinner special each Wednesday, just be sure to pre-book so you don’t miss out! In town, there are a few local pubs to choose from as well as a couple of bakeries and cafes.
My personal favourite spot for great coffee, yummy breakfasts and divine dinners is Arcobaleno on the Beach. This great little spot serves amazing pizza and pasta at dinner, really good home-made desserts and fantastic coffee and breakfasts.
If you love fishing, just ask one of the locals for the hot tip on the best places to fish. I suggest a trip out to Inskip Point when the tide is right to take in a spot of fishing either among the mangroves or on the beach.
Don’t even think about visiting the area without taking a trip up to the Carlo Sand Blow. From Rainbow Ocean Palms, you can easily walk to the Sand Blow and I strongly recommend you do it at sunrise and sunset. I can honestly say that this is one of my favourite places in the world to watch the sun set and rise and it’s one of the prettiest, most unique views you’ll ever find. If you haven’t been to the Carlo Sand Blow before, it’s one of those really special places you won’t forget in a hurry…. so make sure you check it out at least once.
On-site hosts, Mark and Tanya, are two of the loveliest people you could hope to meet. This is important because, when you arrive at a property and are met with the big, smiling faces of the people who work there, it makes your stay instantly more enjoyable. Mark and Tanya fell in love with Rainbow Beach just like a lot of other people have too, myself included, so they appreciate how special this part of the world is too and this sense of pride carries through into how they run the resort.
I loved staying at Rainbow Ocean Palms Resort because it felt so special. It felt like it was my piece of paradise and there was no rush to be anywhere or do anything. Everything about the apartment was well thought out, with luxury and comfort in mind. It manages to be both modern and stylish, while still being practical and comfortable. The apartment has a warm, welcoming vibe to it and, combined with those views, it’s very easy to enjoy spending your days in the apartment.
Rainbow Ocean Palms would be a great getaway for couples looking to escape for a few days of luxury in a beautiful part of the world. It would also be great for families travelling with kids, especially given the amount of space and that the apartments are fully self-contained. I’d also recommend the apartments are a great option for a small group of friends or couples travelling together.
Overall, I really enjoyed staying at Rainbow Ocean Palms Resort and keep finding my mind wandering back to the time I spent there, wondering when I can go back again. If you ask me, that’s a pretty good indicator as to how great it was. This is definitely a town and an accommodation I can see myself recommending my family and friends visit.
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Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.