DRIVES AND ROAD TRIPS

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Brisbane to Bundaberg road trip

Treasured holiday destinations feature along a route that encompasses dazzling coastline, star-studded national parks, popular islands, and so much more.

Expect plenty of colour along this path. Location: Rainbow Beach. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.


   
 
 

What: Brisbane to Bundaberg via the Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay

Distance (approx.): 430km

Driving time (approx.): 5hr 50min

Suggested time: 4-7 days

Summary: The northbound drive links with the Bruce Highway before gravitating beachside to reveal popular Sunshine Coast locations stretching from Caloundra to Noosa Heads. Various roads lead inland, zig-zagging back to the coast to reach Hervey Bay. From here, it’s another stint along the Bruce Highway and then Goodwood Road as the path reaches Bundaberg.

Blissful: Noosa River is one of several snaking waterways to feature along this route.

Highlights

  • Glass House Mountains National Park
  • Australia Zoo
  • Caloundra Coastal Walk
  • Mt Coolum National Park
  • Noosa National Park
  • Portside Heritage Precinct, Maryborough
  • Whale watching, Hervey Bay
  • Bundaberg Botanic Gardens

The journey

For easy navigation, we’ve divided this route into three sections:

  • Brisbane to Caloundra
  • Caloundra to Hervey Bay
  • Hervey Bay to Bundaberg

Brisbane to Caloundra

Cutting through Brisbane’s northern suburbs, the route offers enticing pitstops after only 50-60km. Just off the Bruce Highway is Caboolture, a town home to various historical attractions that include a popular pioneer village.

At a similar longitude but on the coast, the locality of Sandstone Point overlooks Pumicestone Passage and is the gateway to beautiful Bribie Island.

Bribie Island. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Pressing on, consider a slight diversion along Steve Irwin Way to admire up close the imposing craggy peaks of Glass House Mountains National Park. Acclaimed Australia Zoo is along this road, too.

Mt Beerwah, Glass House Mountains National Park. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Deviation or not, the route soon reaches the southern Sunshine Coast city of Caloundra, which gifts a relaxing vibe upon entry.

The popular holiday spot abounds with sparkling beaches and is renowned for its scenic coastal walking path that extends for 25km from Golden Beach to Mooloolaba.

Other excellent attractions include the Queensland Air Museum and Caloundra Regional Gallery.


BIG4 accommodation along this leg

Pumicestone Passage and Caloundra.

Caloundra to Hervey Bay

The first part of this leg either passes through or edges a string of alluring Sunshine Coast locations, so brilliant beaches and vibrant vistas are abundant.

Point Cartwright is a prime spot to soak up the prettiness. It’s reached via a slight diversion from the main road, just before Mooloolaba, and a contemporary lighthouse sits atop the striking headland.

At Mooloolaba, SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast Aquarium is among the region’s most popular attractions.

Point Cartwright. 

Continuing north, the drive crosses Maroochy River, and just before Sunshine Coast Airport there are two options: continue along the Sunshine Motorway or veer slightly right and follow David Low Way to embrace the coastline.

Along the latter, Mt Coolum National Park offers a challenging climb of its main feature where more spectacular panoramas are the reward.

Further along is Noosa Heads. Its glorious main beach is a crowd magnet, Noosa National Park is ideal for a stroll, or wander along bustling Hastings Street. For extended stays, a Noosa River sunset cruise is a magical experience

River cruise, Noosa. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

From here, the path heads inland, fringing forest and national park. A detour to delightful Rainbow Beach is recommended. The small town with its eye-catching beach is an excellent base for exploring Great Sandy National Park. Among its treasure is an amazing moonscape-like area known as Carlo Sandblow.

Carlo Sandblow. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Back on the main path, the drive reaches the historical and aesthetically appealing city of Maryborough. Its past is best recaptured at the vibrant Portside Heritage Precinct. 

Maryborough. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

From here, it’s just a short drive to Hervey Bay. The coastal city is regarded as Australia’s whale-watching capital, and breathtaking up-close encounters with humpbacks are reliably experienced from mid-July until late November.

Its extensive esplanade is dotted with eateries and reveals glittering outlooks, while Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens and Reefworld Aquarium are among must-visit attractions.

Hervey Bay is also the main access point to World Heritage-listed Fraser Island.

BIG4 accommodation along this leg

Whale watching, Hervey Bay. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Hervey Bay to Bundaberg

The final leg of this path heads away from the water, rejoining the Bruce Highway.

Just before reaching Childers, Hill Of Promise Winery presents a tempting pitstop. Only minutes away is the excellent Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo.

From here, the road points northwards and soon reaches Bundaberg. Set on the Burnett River, this sizeable city is armed with entertainment.

Bundaberg.

Bundaberg Botanic Gardens are filled with splendour. They’re also home to absorbing attractions such as the underrated Hinkler Hall of Aviation and Fairymead House Sugar Museum.

Elsewhere, tour iconic Bundaberg Rum Distillery, visit Alexandra Park Zoo (free entry), or explore nearby Bargara Beach.

From November-March, be wowed while witnessing marine turtles nest and hatch on the beaches of nearby Mon Repos Conservation Park.

BIG4 accommodation along this leg

Hinkler Hall of Aviation. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

If you have more time…

Bribie Island: Beaches, aquatic leisure, golf, and a museum are among Bribie’s bounty. Connected to the mainland by a bridge.

Fraser Island: The world’s largest sand island is home to freshwater lakes, beautiful beaches, a shipwreck, colourful cliffs, and much more. Ferry access from Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach.

Lady Musgrave Island: Part of the Great Barrier Reef and a diving and snorkelling hotspot. Day cruises depart from Bundaberg.

Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Hit the road for a Queensland getaway. Start by booking a stay at a featured BIG4 park below.

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