A road trip from Brisbane to Airlie beach is one of the most beautiful and adventurous journies in Australia!

This route has been frequently asked about by many of our customers, so we have decided to create a Go-List which may assist travellers who are thinking of exploring this region or route in Australia.

To get the best out of this route, one needs time to explore the many pristine islands which are located just off the coast. Keep in mind these need to be accessed by ferry, so it’s best if you can find somewhere to safely park your campervan while on the islands.


Quick stats

1700km trip distance

16 day roadtrip

Campervan recommended

road trip map


Stop 1
Brisbane skyline sunset

Brisbane is located on the Brisbane River and is a great city to explore for a couple of days. It’s also known as the “friendly city” as it certainly has a laid back casual atmosphere and is truly blessed with perfect weather.What to do :
Take a river cruise and see Brisbane from another perspective or stroll along the promenade at South bank and watch the locals swimming at the man made beach. For dinner dine at one of the numerous waterfront restaurants at Eagle Street Wharf.

Moreton Island

Stop 2
Moreton island

Moreton Island is situated just 35 kilometres from Brisbane in the Moreton Bay Marine Park. The island is mostly National Park with fabulous pristine isolated beaches, huge tall sand dunes, crystal freshwater lakes, wetland, mangroves, and an abundance of marine life. It’s also famous for the resident dolphins which you can hand feed.Passenger ferry:
Departure times are 8am, 10am and 5pm daily. The journey takes approx 75 minutes and the return catamaran from Tangalooma departs at 9am and 4pm daily. There are extra services on the weekend.

Sunshine Coast

Stop 3
Beach surf girl

The Sunshine Coast has over 100 kilometres of beautiful beaches stretching through numerous coastal towns like Caloundra, Mooloolaba, Maroochydore, Coolum Beach and Noosa. It’s a favourite holiday destination for many Australian’s and Noosa is one of Australia’s icon beaches. The drive takes approximately 1.5hrs north from
Brisbane.The Sunshine coast also houses the Glass House Mountains, Blackall Range and Noosa Hinterlands. Being a holiday destination the Sunshine Coast houses hundred’s of hotels and apartments which cater for all budgets. The most popular spots on the coast are Mooloolaba and Noosa.

Hervey Bay

Stop 4
Hervey Bay humpback whales

The drive from Brisbane along the Bruce Highway to Hervey Bay takes approximately 3.5 to 4 hours drive north of Brisbane. Hervey Bay is famous for Whale watching as humpback whales visit Hervey Bay on their migration south to the Antarctic in the months of August -October. Hervey Bay is also the gateway to Fraser Island where the catarman’s and barges leave from to Urangan Boat Harbour to Fraser Island.

Fraser Island

Stop 5
Fraser island

Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island and has now become a World Heritage Listed area due to it’s numerous stunning beaches, sand dunes, 100 freshwater lakes, tea tree forests and rainforests.Between July and November each year the Humpback Whales migrating call into Hervey Bay and usually stay for a few days.The Dingo is also common on Fraser Island with numerous array of mammals including 74 different species of reptiles.

Agnes Water

Stop 6
Agnes water

This little gem is saturated in Australian history and dates back to Captain Cook who on Wednesday 24 May 1770 went ashore his second landing in Australia to study the region in the Endeavour. Sir Joseph Banks also collected plant species from this area, which was noted in his journals.The Town of 1770 is located approximately 1.5 hour’s north drive from Bundaberg and six hours from Brisbane. It is known for its advantage of being within close proximity to Lady Musgrave Island, Fitzroy Lagoon, Heron Island, Lady Elliot Island (The Bunker Group) and the Southern Great Barrier Reef.The whole region is gorgeous with plenty of attractions and activities to suit any traveller.

Lady Elliot Island

Stop 7
Lady Elliot Island

Lady Elliot Island is another natural true coral clay situated on the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef. The island is teeming with an abundance of live colourful coral and endless array of marine life. Its also known for the resident 40 or so Mantra Rays.What makes this island perfect is you can literally just step off the beach and snorkel, swim or dive in a wonderland of colours and marine life. If you are there for the right season you will see birds nesting, turtle hatchlings, dolphins or humpback whales. There are very few spots in Australia where one can just walk off the beach and experience the Great Barrier Reef.

Lady Musgrave Island

Stop 8
Lady Musgrave Island

Lady Musgrave Island is apart of the Bunker Group of Island which lies 50 miles north of Bundaberg. This tiny island is a natural wonder a lagoon that stretches for miles within the Great Barrier Reef. The island is set on 3000 acres of living reef with a deepwater coral lagoon which is unique to the entire Great Barrier Reef Region. The beautiful clear turquoise aqua blue waters with dazzling coral beds dominate the lagoon. This island is truly magical; one could literally stay here for days. We stayed for two days on our yacht and just had a wonderful experience.To get here without your own boat you have to stay in the Town of 1770 and catch the Spirit of 1770 tour to Lady Musgrave Island. The tour includes snorkeling from the pontoon on the lagoon and a walk around the island to observe the birds and the turtles hatching their eggs. The bird life on Lady Musgrave is fascinating as the majority of the birds are called Noddies and live in the Pisonias trees which actually can kill the birds by their sticky resin which traps the Noddies in their nests.

Mackay, Queensland

Stop 9
Mackay, Queensland

Mackay is known as the sugar capital of Australia because the area farms more than a third of Australia’s sugar cane. So driving through Mackay one automatically is engulfed with fields of sugar cane, which to me is the essence of Queensland backbone in farming.Mackay also has a fabulous marina where one can stroll along the foreshore promenade to the patrolled beach. There are plenty of restaurants and cafés located at the marina which is approximately a 5mins drive out of town.The other major attractions around Mackay is the Eungella National Park which also houses the Broken River Mountain Retreat where you can be guaranteed of spotting numerous shy platypus. Finch Hatton is close by and is blessed with gorgeous lush tropical rainforest’s and waterfalls. One can take a ride over the rainforest’s on a flying fox, which is heaps of fun or stroll to the Wheel of Fires waterfall.

Airlie Beach

Stop 10
Airlie beach

Airlie Beach is a great little town located on a peninsula overlooking the Whitsunday Islands. It’s a fabulous place to base yourself for exploring the many wonderful islands and the Great Barrier Reef. There are array of tours on offer including sailing, diving , snorkeling , skydiving, and numerous others. Helicopter and Seaplane flights fly daily over the Whitsunday Islands and also to the world famous Whitehaven Beach.There are numerous styles of accommodation available from backpacker’s hostels to luxury apartments. There is something for everyone in Airlie, and with plenty of cafés and restaurants its a terrific place to stop, relax and explore.


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If you want to read more of our Brisbane adventures, come and explore the dedicated Brisbane Road Trips. Happy Exploring! Don’t forget to check out our latest deals & specials on campervan hire in Brisbane.

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