Hiring a campervan and taking a road trip from Cairns to Brisbane is one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have. As an expansive route that moves through some of Queensland’s best scenery, it delivers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore truly spectacular sites. Before you start creating your itinerary, here are some of the stops we recommend making.

Quick stats

1892km trip distance

7 day roadtrip

Campervan recommended

road trip map

Cairns to Mission Beach

Stop 1
Australian beach aerial

Journey Time: Two hours

Distance covered: 160km

After picking up your campervan in Cairns, make sure your first stop is Mission Beach.

As a beach that’s aptly named for a first stop on any road trip, it’s one of Australia’s most popular filming locations. If you’re a fan of Baz Luhrman’s Australia, it’s a must-visit destination. It features four idyllic beaches that stretch across 14km, making it the perfect place to pitch up for the night while you take in breathtaking scenery.

Mission Beach to Airlie

Stop 2
Mission Beach to Airlie

Journey Time: 6 hours

Distance covered: 510km

If you want your Cairns to Brisbane road trip to feature a little island hopping, don’t drive through Airlie without stopping off to explore.

After parking your campervan for the night, you can join one of the overnight tours to the Whitsunday Islands. Pack your hiking boots, though, as you’ll probably find yourself trawling through dense rainforests in a bid to spot some of nature’s greatest creations.

If you’re happy to stay in the area for a couple of days, grab your snorkel and explore the Great Barrier Reef. The Whitsundays are home to spectacular marine life.

Airlie to Yeppoon

Stop 3
Airlie to Yeppoon

Journey Time: 5.5 hours

Distance covered:500km

After diving into colourful waters and spotting vibrant birds amidst the rainforest, it’s time to climb back into your campervan and head for Yeppoon. Venturing inland a little presents the opportunity to buy fresh figs from the local food market.

Thanks to Yeppoon’s tropical climate, it’s the perfect place to enjoy the fruit in its most decadent state. Take your exploration of Australia’s natural scenery even further and visit Capricorn Coast National Park. Layers of volcanic rock formations create a truly spectacular sight. Oh, and you can picnic there too.

Yeppoon to Hervey Bay

Stop 4
Boho backpacker van life

Journey Time: 5.5 hours

Distance covered: 450km

After another mammoth drive, you’ll breathe a sigh of satisfaction upon reaching Hervey Bay. Internationally, Hervey Bay is known as the jewel in Queensland’s crown.

When you’re hiring a campervan in Australia, it’s one of the few destinations that makes all of your efforts feel worthwhile. Once there, you can set sail for the day as part of a guided tour and spot some of the area’s humpback whales. The subtropical climate also means the temperatures rarely dip below 14 degrees Celsius. If you want to explore a World Heritage site, park up and book a tour to Fraser Island. With a serene environment that’s ideal for relaxing while walking barefoot in the sand, Fraser Island can induce a sense of relaxation like nowhere else on Earth.

Hervey Bay to Noosa

Stop 5
Beach surfing sunset

Journey Time: 2.5 hours

Distance covered: 190km

Although it will feel painful, you must take your campervan and steer it away from Hervey Bay at some point. While it may seem as though you’re leaving a nirvana-like paradise behind, Noosa has plenty to offer and to look forward to. Welcome to the world of beautiful cycling paths and coastal walks. With trails that reach from the beaches to the bush, this is a spectacular way to take in rainforests, mountains, and cute countryside cafes. There’s a trail to match just about any cyclist’s or hikers capabilities.

If you’re looking for a slightly more sedentary activity after spending hours in your campervan from Cairns, visit the Australia Zoo instead.

Noosa to Glass House Mountains

Stop 6
Noosa and the Glass House Mountains

Journey Time: One hour

Distance covered: 80km

As you near the end of your campervan hire in Australia, the drive becomes less challenging. With just an hour between them, Noosa and the Glass House Mountains vary wildly in terms of scenery.

To get there, you’ll need to dip inland slightly and veer away from the coast. If you’re worrying about sacrificing the beauty of the Sunshine Coast for something less spectacular, don’t.

As one of Queensland’s hidden treasures, it’s excellent for a day trip, brief stay, or even as a means of breaking up a longer journey directly from Noosa to Brisbane. As you escape the busy highways you’ll submerge yourself in a tranquil environment. While we believe a campervan makes for an excellent adventure, we also know you’ll need a little time to unwind.

The final journey: Glass House Mountains to Brisbane

Stop 7
Brisbane skyline sunset

Journey Time: 1.5 hours

Distance travelled: 71km

If you do choose to stop off at the Glass House Mountains, this leg of the journey will be your last. It’s now time to steer away from the mountains and back to the Sunshine Coast’s glorious scenery and travel to Brisbane to explore what the city has to offer.

From China Town to Parliament House, Kangaroo Point to Bartley’s Lookouts, local street markets and river cruises, this is a city for everyone.

Rentals & Sales

Australian coastal road aerial

When it comes to an Australian campervan adventure, few routes will present the same degree of breathtaking beauty as the journey from Cairns to Brisbane. If we’ve inspired you to try your own Sunshine Coast adventure, get in touch to make your booking today. Remember if you can start from Brisbane too! Check out our latest deals and specials on Campervan hire in Brisbane.

If you want to read more of our Cairns adventures, come and explore the dedicated Cairns Road Trips. Happy Exploring!

Share this page