Traveling through the Sunshine state will be an epic experience where you will encounter wildlife, luxury islands, remote beaches and one of the seven wonders of the world. We have made it easy for you and taken some of the most popular stops and activities and crammed it into a 14-day Brisbane to Cairns road trip itinerary adventure that will take your breath away!
First up we are off to the Sunshine Coast, only a short drive from Brisbane. Touch you tyres on ancient volcanic peaks, lush rainforests and ocean-front National parks with the best views. We recommend heading over to Serenity Falls in Buderim Forest park where you can take a refreshing dip after a short walk. We recommend taking a picnic for a good lunch spot before heading onto our next stop.
Day 3-4Sunshine Coast to Noosa
Noosa is the Byron bay of Queensland. Famous for its surfing spots, expansive beaches and colourful bays, its all about catching the sunrise or sunset over the waters to truly experience the serenity. Boutiques and cafes line the beach front and the laid-back lifestyle creates an atmosphere you will not want to leave any time soon! If you’re up for an adventure, you can hire a sea kayak or a paddle board. If you want a more laid-back experience, the beach stretches for miles where you are bound to find a private spot to soak up the sun, don’t forget your sun block! The sun can be very harsh and unforgiving.
Day 5-7Noosa to Hervey Bay
Internationally, Hervey Bay is known as the jewel in Queensland’s crown. Well known and loved as a site for observing humpback whales and tours to nearby Fraser Island. Waterfront esplanade links the city’s marina with beaches offering clam water for swimming. Need we say more!? We recommend setting sail for the day as part of a guided tour for whale spotting, then onto Fraser island. Subtropical temperatures of this area mean the temperature will rarely dip below 14 degrees Celsius. Fraser Island has panoramic views and the only place in the world where tall rainforests grow in sand dunes. Make sure to stop in at Lake Mckenzie for an afternoon dip with waters crystal clear against white sand.
Day 8-9Hervey Bay to Cape Hillsborough
Prepare for a long journey on the next leg of your road trip. Cape Hillsborough is a full day’s journey north along the coastline, make sure to stop often and stretch the legs! The major draw for stopping here is an almost mythical daily phenomenon which happens at sunrise. Most mornings, dozens of wallabies venture out form the national park and come down to the shoreline at Casuarina Beach. Make sure to set your alarms for an early awakening as this is an attraction you won’t want to miss!
Day 10Cape Hillsborough to Airlie Beach
A short drive further north will take you to the infamous Airlie Beach. This coastal township is the gateway to island hopping and located in none other that the Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. We recommend parking your campervan overnight and joining one of the overnight tours to the Whitsunday Islands. Make sure to pack your hiking boots as you’ll most likely find yourself hiking through dense rainforest in a bid to spot some of natures greatest creations.
Day 11Airlie Beach to Townsville
Once you have Island hopped your way around the Whitsundays, its time to jump back in your campervan and head north to Townsville. This coastal city gets 320 days of sunshine each year and home to many natural landscapes and attractions. The Reef HQ Aquarium has marine life and coral from the Great Barrier reef itself, plus sea turtle hospital. Lying offshore is Magnetic Island, which is a tropical island paradise, boasting with a unique natural environment of palm-fringed beaches, large granite boulders, hoop pines and sandy beaches.
Day 12Townsville to Mission Beach
A three-hour drive along the coast will bring you to another coastal township. This is an ideal location which caters for romantic getaways or backpackers alike! A 14km stretch of sand interlinking 3 beaches and 4 villages. Mission Beach is one of Australia’s most popular filming locations. If you’re a fan of Baz Luhrman’s Australia, this is a must visit location. Take in the breathing taking scenery as you park for your overnights stay.
Day 13Mission Beach to Millaa Millaa Waterfall
Millaa Millaa Falls are magnificent waterfalls, surrounded by lush rainforest located on the Waterfalls circuit. The falls cascade perfectly to a pristine waterhole below where you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the cool water. Millaa Millaa Falls are one of the most photographed in all Australia. Make sure to pack a picnic lunch as there is plenty of space for a picnic and to relax in the sun. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a platypus!
Day 14Millaa Millaa Waterfall to Cairns
Your final drive to Cairns will only take a short 2-hour drive. Cairns is the unofficial capital of Queensland’s north and has an endless list of things to see and do. We recommend allowing at least 5 days to experience all Cairns has to offer, there’s just so much of it in all different directions! Travel north, passing by Palm cove to head up to Cape Tribulation and Daintree. Be warned, with so many things to do in Cape Tribulation and the Daintree, the longer you stay, the harder you’ll find it to tear yourself away. It’s a little wonder that David Attenborough called it ‘the most extraordinary place on earth.’
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