Brisbane - Far North Queensland
|We're 'headin' north to Australia's Tropics. This itinerary takes you through Brisbane, Queenslands vibrant capital city, some of the best beaches and most incredible rainforests in the world.
Experience BRISBANE - It's Happening!
Famous for its great weather, exciting events and cultural scene, Brisbane has a sophisticated, warm and friendly charm, which will more than surprise. As Queensland's vibrant capital city, Brisbane offers the very best in food, wine, arts, entertainment and major sporting events with relaxed sub-tropical flair. Brisbane is the centre of a region rich in world-class beach, river, rainforest and mountain experiences. The city is officially 'Australia's most livable city' - and in a nation of many wonderful places to live, that's really something.
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Brisbane to THE SUNSHINE COAST - Caloundra 80km, Noosa Heads 134km
Today we take an easy drive to Australia’s Sunshine Coast. Some of the best beaches in the world stretch out before you on the Sunshine Coast and the country pubs and art and craft villages tucked away in the hinterland are just a short drive away. Coastal townships like Caloundra, Mooloolaba, Maroochydore, Coolum and Noosa are synonymous with the traditional Australian beach vacation.
Noosa and Noosa National Park are legendary in Australia. The protected cove beach virtually guarantees perfect surf year round and the stroll around the headland through the National Park rewards you with spectacular seascapes. Hastings Street, the hub of Noosa, is a mecca for designer label shoppers and discerning diners.
The Sunshine Coast to HERVEY BAY - 184km
The superb climate, relaxed lifestyle, beautiful calm beaches, and a host of interesting land and water based activities, lure thousands of Australian and overseas visitors to Hervey Bay each year.
Between July and November Hervey Bay is the premier whale watching venue in the country, when Humpback Whales visit to frolic in the warm shallow waters of the Bay.
Just offshore lies Fraser Island. Hailed as the world’s largest sand island, it hosts a surprising array of flora and fauna including unique tropical rain forest and the purest strain of the Australian native dog the Dingo
You can’t come to this magic part of the world without experiencing one of ‘life’s real experiences’. Just off the coast from Queensland's Hervey Bay, is World Heritage Listed Fraser Island - the largest sand island in the world and the only place on the planet where rainforest grows on sand! Over 120 kilometres long and over 30 kilometres across at its widest point, the Island has developed over 800,000 years and is a unique natural environment
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Hervey Bay to BUNDABERG - 127km
Moving up the North Australian Coast we’re heading for Sugar Cane Country. The Bundaberg Coral Coast and Country Region marks the gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Day tours, wilderness camping and multi-day live aboard dive cruises are all on offer.
With its pristine environment its home to many marine creatures. Humpback whales pass close to the shoreline en route to Hervey Bay, and Australia’s largest mainland turtle rookery is situated at Mon Repos Beach.
At the centre of the sugar cane country is Bundaberg, or “Bundy” as it is more fondly known. Bundaberg a progressive city of around 50,000, is 14 kilometres from the Coral Coast, where the townships of Elliott Heads, Innes Park, Bargara and Burnett Heads boast some of the most pristine beaches in Australia.
Bundaberg to GLADSTONE (BENARBY) - 195km
Centre of the Southern Reef - The Gladstone Region is a unique area of Queensland - a region where opportunity awaits.
Famous for its seafood and the annual Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race, Gladstone is a harbour city that enjoys a relaxed pace. Gladstone harbours the largest alumina plant in the world, Australia's largest aluminium smelter, the largest cement operation and the largest multi-cargo port with Queensland's largest power station.
Turn back the clock at the Calliope River Historical Village, which also hosts Queensland's largest country markets on selected weekends. The city botanic gardens offer a cool reprieve.
Benarby is just 20km south of Gladstone on the Boyne River. It’s just minutes to Lake Awoonga or the beach. Nearby attractions include Coral Island tours. Barramundi fishing charters, Golf/bowls/tennis.
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Gladstone to ROCKHAMPTION - 130km
“Welcome to the Tropics”
Rockhampton, the Beef Capital of Australia is located on the Tropic of Capricorn and is the gateway to the Coast and the Outback.
Founded in 1853, the majesty of Rockhampton's historical architecture has captured the hearts of visitors for decades. Many fine public and private buildings, including the Customs House, old Post Office, Cathedrals, banks, business houses and homes, are constant reminders of the city with an exciting background. The listing of Quay Street facing the river as an historic streetscape that is unique in Australia.
Rising out of Rockhampton's north-eastern suburbs, Mt Archer National Park provides magnificent views of the city, and showcases a spectacular range of native Australian flora and fauna.
Rockhampton Heritage Village is an active township museum where visitors can experience Rockhampton's rich and colourful history. You could also visit the Dreamtime Cultural Centre, set in some 30 acres of natural bushland on Ancient Tribal Sites. Just 23 kilometres north of Rockhampton on Highway One is Capricorn Caverns, magnificent limestone caves.
Rockhamption to YEPPOON - 43 km
Yeppoon is the gateway to the Capricorn Coast. The township has retained its village style appeal yet offers a variety of wonderful restaurants, accommodation, shops and galleries. A charming esplanade with grassy knoll, palms and a covered picnic and play areas form a backdrop to a vista of sea, sky and islands.
The whole coastline is protected by the Great Barrier Reef and the Keppel Bay Islands. The Capricorn Coast has some of the most picturesque and safe swimming beaches in Australia.
Yeppoon to MACKAY - 355km
Enjoy the year-round, near perfect climate where a laidback lifestyle comes together with a cosmopolitan culture. Our vibrant urban landscape with its dining and arts, is perfectly complimented by a diverse range of real Aussie experiences on land and sea waiting for you to experience.
The Mackay region is an inviting blend of secluded beaches, elusive wildlife and rural communities. At the heart of the region is Mackay city, a vibrant city with lovely Art Deco buildings and streets lined with palm trees.
Mackay to AIRLIE BEACH - 150km
Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsundays - a colourful, cosmopolitan and inviting holiday town lying on the shores of a palm fringed beach and overlooking the calm waters of Pioneer Bay dotted with yachts. Airlie is part of a picturesque peninsula that reaches out to the Whitsunday Passage and provides the ideal mainland base for holiday fun and adventure in the Whitsundays.
Airlie provides many of the essential services for travellers in the region and the town's shopping areas are open seven days a week. Every Saturday the foreshore parkland turns into a bustling market with stalls selling fresh fruit and veggies, local arts and crafts and all manner of goods under the shade of coconut palms.
Arlie Beach to BOWEN - 89km
Visit the spectacular award winning beaches and scenic walking tracks. Like birdwatching? Check out Muller's lagoon and its 170 different bird species. Appreciate art? Take a tour of our 24 historic murals scattered throughout the town. Want more? Come and see what Bowen has to offer.
Bowen to AYR - 115km
Welcome to Ayr, with more than 300 glorious sunny days each year, the district truly is the winterless north. The natural beauty of the rivers, creeks, estuaries lined with unspoiled mangrove and miles of sandy beaches make the area a mecca for fishing, crabbing, windsurfing and water skiing.
Said to be 'built on liquid gold' because it is situated on a vast natural underground aquifer which is artificially replenished with water from the Burdekin Falls Dam the district is Australia's richest sugar producing area and also the mango and melon capital. It is a bird watcher's paradise with 280 species of birds recorded.
The spectacular Burdekin Bridge is known as the silver link and was the longest bridge in Australia for many years. It is the district's best known landmark. Be sure to visit the Ayr Nature Display, the Burdekin Theatre and see the mighty Burdekin River Irrigation Area.
Ayr to TOWNSVILLE - 90km
“Life in the Tropics”
Old gold mining towns, plunging rainforest waterfalls and a relaxed Queensland ambiance add up to Townsville, Life in the Tropics. This is the place to forget the crowds and relax with a drink overlooking the Coral Sea. It's a place of warm weather and towering palm trees, where people still have time to stop and say hello.
If gazing out to the Coral Sea, dazzling sunsets and a pleasant beach promenade sounds like your idea of the tropics, Townsville has plenty to recommend it. First up get your bearings atop Castle Hill, the best vantage point for views of the City and idyllic Magnetic Island, floating just off the coast. Townsville's is where you'll find Australia's largest collection of palm species, and Reef HQ, the world's largest coral reef aquarium. History buffs will love The Museum of Tropical Queensland with its interactive display of the 1791 HMS Pandora Shipwreck.
CHARTERS TOWERS Diversion
A couple of hours inland from Townsville is Charters Towers. It has an altitude of 336 metres which ensures an excellent climate with comfortably cool nights. Known mostly for its heritage and gold mining history, this city once had a population of 27,000 and had the only Stock Exchange in the Australia to take three calls a day.
Today the main industries are mining (mine tours are available) beef (homestay accommodation is available), education (five excellent, world recognised boarding schools) and tourism (a visit will explain why).
Charters Towers is a perfect example of the real Australia, with brilliantly coloured sunsets, and cattle stations. The friendly atmosphere and heritage streetscape only add to its unique appeal. Numerous tranquil water spots and secluded lava caves ensures fascinating walks and great camping.
Townsville to ROLLINGSTONE - 55km
Just up the road from Townsville is Rollingstone is a wonderful beachfront park - a 2004 North Queensland Tourism Award Winner. Overlooking Palm Island, Orpheus and Hinchinbrook Islands, activities include, bird watching, beach and creek fishing or just plain relaxing. Nearby attractions include Paluma Dam, Ingham, and Balgal Beach.:
Rollingstone to MISSION BEACH - 190km
Situated midway between Cairns and Townsville, right opposite Dunk Island, Mission Beach is a place where Cassowaries have right of way and the living is easy.
Visitors can find private, secluded coves with their own pristine beaches for the day. Beach and rainforest walks in World Heritage Wet Tropics, white water rafting, tandem skydiving, fishing and sailing are some popular Mission Beach activities.
Spectacular walks to Bicton Hill and Cuttens Lookout offer superb views over the 'Island Coast'. From here, banana farming and other agricultural pursuits can be appreciated. Pineapples, paw paws, avocados and mangoes are grown in abundance. Clump Point at the northern end of Mission Beach is the departure point for cruises to the Great Barrier Reef, Dunk Island and daily island hopping tours.
Mission Beach to KURRIMINE BEACH - 75km
Kurrimine Beach is the unspoilt tropical holiday destination with the Great Barrier Reef on its doorstep. The spirit and hospitality of old North Queensland is still alive in this picturesque fishing hamlet.
Tranquil Kurrimine Beach, midway between the bustling, highly developed cities of Townsville and Cairns, and close to Mission Beach, has become one of North Queensland's most jealously-guarded secrets.
Kurrimine Beach is famous for having the best fishing in North Queensland and with King Reef just offshore, you can fish for the renowned King Reef Crayfish. With lovely views of Dunk Island on your doorstep, you can also explore the many local sights such as Paronella Park, beautiful waterfalls, experience whitewater rafting and venture to hinterland destinations.
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Kurrimine Beach to INNISFAIL - 35km
Innisfail is a prosperous, colourful town, situated on the North and South Johnstone Rivers, and is surrounded by rich green landscape. Lush sugar plantations flow from the dense rainforest coastline to the thick jungles of the Palmerston National Park to the west. Sugar has been grown here since the early 1880's. Tea, bananas, pawpaws and other exotic tropical fruits are also grown within the area. Aquaculture also plays an important part in the area's economy ranging from prawn, barramundi and fresh crayfish to crocodile farming.
Local attractions include Paronella Park, Wooroonooran National Park, Mt Bartle Frere, Misty mountain trails, walking tracks, Sugar Museum, The Bolders, Josephine falls, fishing and golf.
Innisfail to CAIRNS - 90km
Welcome to the Far North Queensland City of Cairns.
Cairns is the heart of Tropical North Queensland and is the primary gateway to Northern Australia. Cairns looks a picture, framed by the spectacular twin backdrops of rainforest mountain ranges and the sparkling Coral Sea. It’s a modern, sophisticated city, and is an ideal base to explore the wider Tropical North Queensland region with front door access to World Heritage listed Reef, Rainforest and Outback.
All the attributes of a world class modern city are to be found in Cairns: International air access, rail systems, an art gallery, botanic gardens, university, and a casino.
Almost a century of architecture is reflected in the city streets - a comfortable blend of traditional Queenslander style and modern designs. A focal point for the city is the Cairns Esplanade. Almost two kilometres of landscaped parkland fringes a busy thoroughfare and restaurant strip on one side, and a natural harbour inlet on the other. Each year, thousands of visitors flock to the Esplanade to relax on the grass, eat at sidewalk cafes, meet new people, to walk under the trees, and to watch the many bird species which come to feed on the tidal zone.
Don't Forget ATHERTON - 100kms from Cairns
Just 100kms inland from Cairns is the 'capital' of the lovely Tropical Tablelands, Atherton. Here is a land of beautiful lakes, waterfalls, rich red soil and tropical rainforest. Here the temperature is also cooler, the pace is slower and there is a feeling of relaxation in the air.
The rich Tableland area is famous for producing peanuts, maize and potatoes. The area also has a number of natural attractions such as the Curtain Fig Tree, Millaa Millaa Falls, crater lakes and amazing rock formations.
Cairns to PORT DOUGLAS - 66km
From glamorous Four Mile Beach to the wilderness of Dickson Inlet, picturesque Port Douglas has become an international holiday mecca - just 70 kilometres north of Cairns. With nothing taller than a palm tree, development is low-rise, low-key and relaxing. It is regarded as the most popular base from which to explore the northern areas of the reef and rainforest coast of Daintree and Cape Tribulation.
Despite its popularity and sophisticated five star accommodation, it retains a close community atmosphere. Sharing the same tropical latitude as Tahiti, Port Douglas still attracts visitors for its old fashioned charm, wide streets shaded by trees and superb holiday attractions. There are more than 100 day tour options which depart Port Douglas daily.
Port Douglas to COOKTOWN 325km
A further 300 kms ‘up the track’ from Port Douglas will see you in Cooktown- the gateway to the wilderness. It was founded in 1873 as the port for the Palmer River Goldfields. This was more than a century after Captain James Cook spent 48 days in 1770 on the banks of the Endeavour River repairing his ship. A highlight of a visit to Cooktown is an extended tour of the James Cook Museum - built in 1888 as a convent school run by Irish nuns. The Museum documents Cook's voyages, Aboriginal and natural history, the gold rush days and their Chinese legacy. Walking tracks in the area allow for visitors to explore areas of beach, bush and mountains. Closer to town is Grassy Hill where one can share the same view as Captain Cook.