Cape York: 5 Things to Do at the Coloured Sands

coloured sands qld
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The Coloured Sands is a picturesque stretch of coastline in bordered by sandy cliffs and beach. It is located in Cape York about an hour north of Cooktown and can only be reached when the tide is out.

About half an hour north of the aboriginal community Hope Vale, the Coloured Sands is one of those beautiful beaches that leaves a lasting impression and a definite must-do if you’re camping at Elim Beach.

Once the tide goes out, you can drive onto the beach and keep going until you reach aboriginal land which is clearly marked as Private Property and not open to tourists. And past this point the beach gets quite boggy as part of it is covered in shallow water.

But there is plenty to do on the beach while the tide is out, although be warned that swimming isn’t one of them, thanks to the presence of a four metre crocodile.

Here are some of our favourite things to do at the Coloured Sands:

1. check out the different coloured sands

We counted six different colours or shades of sand along the cliff face on our recent trip here, including black, white, various shades of ochre and browns.

It is amazing to think all these different colours naturally blend together as part of these beautiful, natural sand cliffs along the beach.

2. sand duning

sand-duningMake sure you bring along a boogie board or some large pieces of cardboard with you for sand duning down some of the larger sand dunes on the beach.

The higher sand dunes you walk up, the longer the ride down and the views across the beach are amazing.

3. 4WDriving down the beach

4WDing elim beachThis is 4WD-only territory so don’t even think about driving along this beach without a 4WD or a set of Maxtrax in case you get bogged.

It is an incredibly beautiful beach but make sure you abide by the signs and don’t go further along the beach than allowed because some parts of the beach get very boggy.

And don’t attempt it when the tide is coming in or you can kiss your car goodbye.

4. try kite surfing

kite surfing elim beachAnthony and Paully run Australian Kite Surfari on the beach at the Coloured Sands and actually live in refurbished water tanks on the beach there.

You will be amazed when you see the water tanks and Ant and Paully’s little piece of paradise.

You will be just as surprised when Miss Piggy, their once miniature and now giant pig, runs out to greet you with the family dogs.

5. read the names etched into the cliffs

coloured sands cape yorkIn order to protect the Coloured Sands, visitors are asked not to etch their names into the cliffs, even though many others have obviously done so in the past.

But you can certainly take a look at the small area of carved graffiti and see who else has visited this beautiful part of North Queensland.

travel nq fast facts:

  • There is a fee to visit the Coloured Sands which can be paid at the Hopevale Service Station or at Elim Beach Campground. Campers staying at Elim Beach Campground have the cost of visiting the Coloured Sands included in their camping fee.

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