Poona Lake is a hidden wonder in Rainbow Beach, Queensland

We love Poona Lake. Like K’gari Fraser Island lakes, you’ll see rainforest tower above ancient sand dunes – it’s a rare heritage marvel! It is a short, shaded walk into a gorgeous hidden wonder, beloved by locals and visitors. 

Poona Lake is the largest of its kind in Cooloola, 12 hectares of water! 

Perched lakes are the most common here and form from a ‘saucer’ of organic matter makes a depression in the dunes. Then, water collects and a lake is born.

As you enter the water, it is crystal clear. Then at a couple of metres – pitch black! And deep and it can be refreshingly icy cold. 

History wise, you are in the Kabi people land, and “poona” means bloodwood tree. However, it wasn’t added to a map until 1862. William Pettigrew one of the first timber getters is thought to be the first white man to see it. 

Drive to Bymien Picnic Area – on the Freshwater Track, off Rainbow Beach Road. You’ll see the sign for the Dundathu circuit, continue on – it is 2.1 km to the lake. 

Bring: joggers, hat, swim shirt, towel, camera, water and snacks – or even a picnic!

I love the geography of the place. You start right in the rainforest. The cicadas were SO loud there this week! 

Walk through kauri and hoop pines – remnants of the logging era with three kilogram seed cones. There’s strangler figs, piccabeen palms, lilly pilly, Elkhorn and staghorn ferns, moss and fungi, macrozamias or cycads. Stop, look up and check out the canopy.  

You might see or hear lace monitors, whip bird, blue wren, wompoo pigeons and noisy pittas. The catbirds made a weird sound! Our visitors thought it was a koala! The scenery changes remarkably as you move into carrol scrub or grey myrtle. 

The scribbly gums are fun to spot. In this part of the forest – look out for zig zags on tree trunks. These burrowing patterns are from the larvae of the scribbly gum moths. and would you believe that of each of the six species have their own distinctive signature!

Finally, you reach the sandy beach, edged with reeds and sedges. It is the tannins leaching from paperbark teatrees, or melaleucas, that give the tea colour to the lake. Multi talented, tannins are toxic chemicals that deter insects from trees, with health giving oils and the leaves are used in cooking!

Look out for minnows, tortoises, ducks and dab chicks.

Poona Lake is linked to the Cooloola Great Walk – with a controversial plan to open the walk up to cabins on the other side of the lake and guided tours. You can opt for a 9 km walk back to Rainbow Beach (via the Carlo Sandblow) or walk all the way to Noosa from here! It’s 5 days and 102 km long! 

This 4 km return is enough for me, it really is a ‘must do’ when you are in Rainbow Beach. You’ll find the Bymien Picnic Area in the CAMPS AUSTRALIA WIDE App

Camp at Poverty Point, Inskip Point, Freshwater Campground or Teewah Beach National Park sites or choose from 2 caravan parks in Carlo Point BIG4 Breeze Holiday Parks or Rainbow Beach Holiday Village right in town. Find them in the new CAMPS Pendium, CAMPS 11 book and Caravan Parks Guides. And and CAMPS AUSTRALIA WIDE App.

Download the Camps App for iPhone/iPad or Android





Plan the trip of a lifetime with our Travel Guides

Get the App & put all our guides in your pocket!

Stay informed with our free Newsletter

Join our Facebook Community

Share and connect with travellers across Australia

Subscribe to our Email Newsletter

Stay up to date with our free weekly email newsletter and get the latest travel tips, reviews and news straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our FREE weekly Newsletter and receive

15% Off

your next order in our Online Shop!