Experience the road trip of a lifetime on a coastal adventure from Cairns to Brisbane through the heart of Queensland. 1700 km of sunny skies, epic scenery, and great times await those brave enough to tackle the colossal journey down the Bruce (Hwy). From lush tropical rainforests to golden sandy beaches, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and spectacular island archipelagos, you will experience it all with this blockbuster line-up.
Join us as we run you past some of the best places to stop on your Cairns to Brisbane road trip.
The first stop on an epic road adventure is the vibrant coastal city of Townsville – the ideal base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef. At just a tick over 4 hours south of Cairns, jump off of Bruce Hwy onto Woolcock Street and follow the road into town. The largest city in regional Queensland, Townsville is a breath of fresh air playing host to several tropical islands, golden sandy beaches, lush tropical rainforests, quaint cafes, and the only underwater museum of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Stretch the legs with a stroll along The Strand – Townsville’s popular beachfront promenade, lined with beautiful coconut palms and spectacular ocean scenery. Or hop on a ferry over to the enchanting Magnetic Island for a fun-filled day of hiking, fishing, jet skiing, and water sports or if you’re lucky, spotting a few resident koalas lounging in the treetops. The 290m tall pink granite monolith Castle Hill is the city’s most prominent tourist attraction, offering panoramic views of the dazzling city skyline and vast Queensland coastline, the perfect place to spy the evening sunset. Yet as one of the major hubs servicing the Great Barrier Reef, a day trip to the reef is a MUST with a plethora of tour options available to explore your ultimate experience.
Next on the agenda is a stop off at the mesmerising Airlie Beach – ‘The gateway to the Whitsunday Islands’. A popular tourist precinct, the laid-back coastal town of Airlie Beach has solidified itself as one of the premier holiday destinations on Australia’s East Coast. A tropical paradise in its own right, the town doubles as the ideal launching pad to the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, Whitsunday Islands, Coral Sea, and the sparkling waters of the iconic Whitehaven Beach. Soak up the sunshine with a cruise through the Great Barrier Reef, a scenic flight over the luxurious Heart Reef, a relaxing swim at Airlie Beach Lagoon, snorkelling along the Whitsunday islands and a whole raft of outdoor activities just waiting to be explored. The mainland itself is spectacular, with year-round tropical weather the perfect foundation for hitting the great outdoors. From the gorgeous sandy shores of Boathaven Beach to the cascading falls at Cedar Creek Falls, a relaxing stroll through the lush tropical rainforest at Conway National Park or bagging a few bargains at the Airlie Beach Markets.
Jump back in your car and head 2 hours south to Australia’s longest patch of sub-tropical rainforest at Eungella National Park. An incredible exponent of natural beauty, the park is teeming with life sheltered by the rich dense rainforest that envelops its rugged landscape. Nestled within the vast expanses of the Clark Ranges, Eungella sits approximately 700m above sea level, extending to 1280m at the summit of Mt Dalrymple. Home to the ever-elusive endemic platypus, the park is one of the most reliable spots on the planet to spot these cuddly creatures in their natural habitat. A place of peace and tranquillity much of the park is inaccessible, although there are several walking trails linking up most of the park’s premier attractions. Explore the spectacular arching waterfalls of Finch Hatton Gorge, enjoy a scenic drive through the lush rainforest from Pine Grove to Broken River, glide through the treetops on a zipline through the rainforest or stock up on some barramundi at the Eungella Dam.
After a fun-filled day at Eungella National Park, it’s time to pack up the car and hit the road for the long-haul drive to the beautiful seaside town of Yeppoon. A tantalising melange of breath-taking seascape, subtropical climates, and laid-back vibes are the cornerstone of this quaint beachside village, the perfect place for a day on the water or some much-needed RnR. A town with a massive heart and strong sense of community, most exploration centres around the ocean and the mouth-watering cuisine from the local culinary scene. Fuel up at Whisk Cafe with a delicious coffee and hearty breaky before a day of relaxation down at one of Yeppoon’s 13 beautiful beaches including Yeppoon Main Beach and the gorgeous Kemp Beach. If it’s an adventure you are chasing, two companies run daily ferries out to the enchanting Keppell Islands featuring 17 beaches, various walking trails and a fantastic snorkelling tour on the fringes of the Southern Barrier Reef. For a slight change of scenery, you can also meet the wildlife at the Cooberrie Park Wildlife Sanctuary, explore the rainforests at Byfield National Park or treat the kids to an arvo at the Kraken Water playground.
A seemingly endless drive back down the Bruce eventually winds back through god’s country and down to the pristine surrounds of Hervey Bay. A serene seaside town, Hervey Bay is praised for its golden sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and fantastic subtropical weather. Calming waters are a feature of the bay’s vibrant foreshore receiving significant coverage from the neighbouring Fraser Island. Its sheltered waters are a haven for migrating Humpback Whales, the bay is said to be the best place in the world to spy these beautiful creatures in the wild. As the gateway to Fraser Island (the world’s largest sand island), Hervey Bay is a highly sort after destination, with many visitors splitting their time between Hervey Bay and the famous sand island. Ferries can be boarded from the River Heads boat ramp and take around 50 minutes to approach the island. An island paradise brimming with mother nature, soak up the sun’s rays on the trip of a lifetime exploring the beautiful sandy beaches, rainforest trails, island shipwrecks, soaring sand dunes, freshwater lakes, and rich aboriginal history.
As the sun starts to set on a pulsating journey, we conclude the final leg of our road trip with a stopover at the world-famous Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. Often featuring in lists of Australia’s top beaches, the endless lure of the angelic Noosa Main Beach attracts people from all over the world to this little slice of heaven, 2 hours north of Brisbane. The first point of call for most visitors to Noosa is its sparkling turquoise waters and north-facing position that shelter the beach from harsh weather conditions creating a more favourable environment for beachgoers. Learn to surf, go for a swim, or dine on the lavish beachfront boardwalk with unparalleled ocean views. While Noosa’s appeal largely centres around its gorgeous coastal scenery, nestled on the doorstep of town is one of Queensland’s most beloved natural treasures – Noosa National Park. A highly accessible park and wildlife sanctuary wander along its many marked trails winding along the coast through verdant rainforests, paperbark swamps, open woodlands, rocky cliffs, and secluded beaches. Other grand adventures on your time in Noosa include – Kayaking along Australia’s only everglades at Noosa Everglades, a stroll along the scenic Noosa River or stopping past the iconic Hastings Street for a bite to eat and an epic shopping experience.