Rainbow Beach is a coastal town in south-eastern Queensland, Australia, in Cooloola Shire. At the 2001 census, Rainbow Beach had a population of 998. 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.
Originally a sand-mining community, gazetted in 1969, the town’s economy is now heavily influenced by tourism. Double Island Point, a popular destination amongst 4WD enthusiasts, is located south 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.
There are a number of walking trails around the area, as well as a 4WD trail south to Noosa through the Great Sandy National Park. There are also a number of tours and things to do around Rainbow Beach, including hang gliding, para gliding, scenic joy flights and fishing.