Warrnambool to Cooktown
|Looking for a great road trip idea? Why not follow the path of Charlie & Boots!
In the film Charlie & Boots, the characters set off on a road trip to go fishing starting in Warrnambool, Vic, following an inland route all the way to Cape York.
Inspired by this great Australian film we have put together our own BIG4 road trip, starting as the film does in Warrnambool, Victoria and heading north to Toowoomba where unlike the film we head across to Maroochydore and resume the rest of the trip along the Queensland Coast.
Beginning your journey in Warrnambool, take time to explore this beautiful town before descending on your great adventure. The largest city on the Great Ocean Road, Warrnambool offers all the services expected of a vibrant, modern city whilst maintaining the atmosphere of a relaxed country town.
Part of the Shipwreck Coast, Warrnambool is home to the mysterious Mahogany Sailing Ship, thought to be a Portuguese caravel wrecked over 400 years ago. Visit one of the many clean and sheltered beaches that attract international attention as a prime whale watching location. Head to the Whale Nursery at Logan's Beach where there is a magnificent observation platform to view the whales from the shore.
Warrnambool to Grampians (Halls Gap) - 152 km
Departing Warrnambool, stunning natural attractions and breathtaking mountain views await you in the Grampians. The main tourist hub of Halls Gap sits at the foothills of the Grampians National Park and visitors are in the perfect position to explore all this magnificent region has to offer.
And don’t forget to visit the BIG Koala as Charlie & Boots did. You will find the BIG Koala at Dadswell Bridbge on the Western Highway between Horsham and Stawell.
Grampians to Echuca - 328 km
Heading north-east of the Grampians, look ahead for the paddlesteamer capital of Australia! With a magnificent climate, Echuca is perfect for holidays - whatever the season. Discover the early history of the region when Echuca-Moama was a bustling riverport, and be sure to experience the mighty Murray River and all the water activities it has to offer, including of course, hopping aboard a paddle steamer.
Echuca to Hay - 201 km
Leaving the Murray and heading north, is the peaceful town of Hay. A character-filled town, guests can take heritage walk, or visit one of the many local museums, where the locals will be sure to make you feel welcome. Feel like discovering the surrounds? Take a short drive out to the small village of Booligal, made famous in a poem by Banjo Paterson. Be sure to head back into Hay to witness the sunset behind the vast Hay plain, where on a clear night this is the perfect place to star-gaze.
Hay to Forbes - 359 km
Head towards the famous Newell Highway and onto Forbes, rich in gold-mining history and the site of the biggest gold robbery in Australia's history, Forbes is renowned for its connections with notorious bushrangers Ben Hall and Frank Gardiner.
The town's Heritage Trail allows visitors to explore many handsome historic buildings and the remains of the tunnel system that was created in a bid to foil bushrangers.
Forbes to Dubbo - 153 km
Upon arrival in Dubbo you’ll discover many fine historic buildings in Dubbo and be able to find out about Narromine's aviation heritage. An emerging wine industry in the Macquarie Valley provides delicious wine-tasting and spectacular Wellington Caves are nearby.
At Taronga Western Plains Zoo you can drive around in your car as if you’re on an African safari. The 300-hectare zoo houses 1,500 animals, including rare and endangered species – it's the only place in Australia where you can see African elephants.
Dubbo to Tamworth - 342 km
Australia’s country music capital awaits you in Tamworth. You will be fully immersed in the country music culture of this famous town. Home to the Tamworth Country Music Festival held each year in January, Tamworth also has many other activities on offer, such as bushwalking and boating on Lake Keepit and spotting koala’s at Gunnedah. Be sure to visit the town of Nundle for a meal, and to stock up on some designer knitwear from Nundle Woollen Mill. And make sure you don’t miss the Big Golden Guitar!
Tamworth to Toowoomba - 500 km
Leaving the heart of country music, head straight for the heart of South East Country Queensland, Toowoomba. Sitting on the edge of the Great Dividing Range, Toowoomba truly is Queensland’s “Garden City”, with more than 240 public parks and gardens on display. Be sure to visit the Cobb & Co Museum, home to Australia's largest collection of horse-drawn vehicles. Discover the surrounds and head south to the warm, hearty country cuisine and hospitality of Warwick, home to one of Australia's oldest and most famous rodeos. Tracing roots back to 1857, riders from around the nation compete every year, and guests can also visit the Australian Rodeo Heritage Centre.
Toowoomba to Sunshine Coast - 225km
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (Benaraby) - 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.
|Stay at BIG4 Holiday Parks
Gladstone to Rockhampton - 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.
Rockhampton to Yeppoon - 43km
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 Airlie Beach - 510km
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.
Airlie Beach to Bowen - 96km
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.
Ayr to Townsville - 90km
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.
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.
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.
|Stay at BIG4 Holiday Parks
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.
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.