Rainbow Beach is a coastal town with a population of 999 (2006). 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 colors 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 and offers a secret place of beauty for the nature enthusiast. This is currently being removed for sale in China with complete removal expected to take two years.
Originally a sand-mining community, gazetted in 1969, the town’s economy is now heavily influenced by tourism. Double Island Point, a popular destination for camping, is located east of town. Vehicular ferries for Fraser Island depart from Inskip Point, north of town.
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.
By road, Rainbow Beach is located 75 km from the Bruce Highway town of Gympie, and 239 km from Brisbane.
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