Brisbane to Cairns at your leisure!
Spend a week winding your way up Australia’s stunning eastern coastline. From reef to rainforest, the Pacific Coast Touring route will take you on an epic driving adventure through some of Australia’s most beautiful and rugged landscapes. The full Pacific Coast Touring Route runs from Sydney, NSW to Cairns, QLD and takes two weeks at a holidaymaker’s pace; if you’re looking for a shorter 7-day break, you can break up the route into two parts. The Southern Route runs from Sydney to Brisbane, taking in beaches, breaks and wine country while the Northern Route runs from Brisbane to Cairns. We’ve put together a list of our favourite stops along the northern Pacific Touring Route.
Brisbane to Fraser Island
Explore the glitz and the glam of Brisbane before hitting the road to Noosa. Brimming with bustling boutiques, bistros and beaches, it’s the perfect destination for retail therapy. Make sure you leave time to take a quick walk through Noosa National Park; the views from the lookout are breathtaking and well worth a little bit of exercise. From Noosa, make your way through Gympie to Hervey Bay, the gateway to Fraser Island. Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, offers visitors an array of aquatic and nature based adventures just a twenty minute boat ride from the mainland. If you’ve got extra time on your itinerary, spend a few days soaking up the sun on Fraser Island. A range of accommodation options from luxury retreats to camping are available.
Bundaberg to Rockhampton
Head north to the historic city of Bundaberg, famous for its sugar cane industry and the rum and beverage distillery of the same name. Take a tour of the Bundaberg Distillery – tours run on the hour between 10am and 3pm on weekdays, 10am – 2pm on weekends. As the southern gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and regional hub for access to the Queensland hinterland, it’s a fantastic base from which to explore the region. Stop by the Mon Repos Turtle rookery, the largest rookery in the South Pacific, and take an evening beach tour (seasonal). Row, ski, sail or fish the Burnett River that runs through the centre of Bundaberg or enjoy a picnic on the river’s edge. Continuing your journey north, detour inland to trek the lush rainforest interior of the Cania Gorge National Park before cruising into Rockhampton, the reputed steak capital of Australia.
Mackay to Townsville
Visit the tropical village of Yeppoon; Yeppoon’s the gateway to the Capricorn Coast and Byfield National Park perfect to birdwatch, bushwalk or fish from a local beach. Continue north to Mackay; meet the local wildlife, including echidnas, possums and bush turkeys, at Cape Hillsborough National Park. Mackay sits at the southern end of the Whitsunday’s, so hop on a boat and cruise out to dive or snorkel the uninhabited Scawfell Island; camping is allowed on Scawfell and fish are plentiful so catch and cook your dinner on the beach and enjoy an evening under the Pacific stars. Move on from Mackay to Airlie Beach and explore a few of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays before continuing to Townsville; this subtropical paradise boasts 300 days of sunshine a year and is jam packed with activities for young and old alike. Soak up the sun and spend a day snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef or hiking nearby nature trails. There are ample scenic drives and walks in and around Townsville; check out the Paluma Range and Crystal Creek Rainforest, the vine covered castle at Paronella Park or the stunning Blencoe Falls in Girringun National Park.
The final leg of your Pacific Coast Route northern journey is perhaps the most spectacular 350 kilometres of the drive; known as the Great Green Way, the drive takes you through more than 20 tropical islands and 12 national parks, including Hinchinbrook Island, the largest national park in Australia. This route is world famous as the closest mainland access to the Outer Great Barrier Reef. Stop amidst the sugar cane fields at Murdering Point Winery and sample their range of unique tropical fruit wines. Enjoy lunch at a traditional Queenslander style pub like Mena Creek before heading to the charismatic, cosmopolitan city of Cairns. Road weary travellers can relax their aching driving muscles at a range of sumptuous day spas, like The White Lotus Spa at Kewarra Resort or The Mountain Day Spa at Eden House Retreat. If a paddle through the shimmering aquamarine sea will do the trick, unwind on a seakayaking tour. End your trip with a sumptuous beachside dinner at one of the dozens of restaurants along the Cairns Esplanade.
Ready to set off on your adventure along the Pacific Touring Route? Europcar have a range of great car hire deals to put the wheels of your relaxing Queensland getaway in motion. Enjoy the sun, sand, surf and exceptional scenery of Queensland Pacific Coast. Happy Driving!