It’s a long drive (18-20 hours straight, a few days including stops) that hugs the coast from Brisbane all the way up to Townsville. Most importantly, there are loads of great stops to make along the way. The direct route on the Bruce Highway is more than 1300km, so it would be well worth allowing a couple of weeks at least if you have the time as there are at least five stops that simply shouldn’t be missed. Pop these down for consideration when planning your itinerary:
STOP 1: Maroochydoore. God’s own country with one of the most magnificent little beaches you’ll find Down Under. It should take you no more than 2 hours to reach from Brisbane. Maroochydore boasts some super family attractions including Top Shots mini golf park, Underwater World to meet some of the ocean’s mighty creatures and the Sunshine Plaza shopping strip. Stay at the Maroochy River Cabin Village and Caravan Park.
STOP 2: Bundaberg. A lengthy six hour drive or more, so pack a picnic and probably best to get an early morning drive planned for this one. Awesome little spot with plenty to do, including a visit to the famous Bundaberg Rum Distillery and the Mon Repos Turtle Rookery. Of course, as everywhere else along this route, there’s the beautiful Great Barrier Reef. Stay at Big4 Cane Village Holiday Park, a beauty!
STOP 3: Gladstone. Almost a 200km journey and shouldn’t take much more than two and a half hours if cruising at a slow but steady pace. The drive’s easy and the destination a treat. Simply cannot miss Kroombit Tops National Park for some outstanding waterfalls, creeks, and if you can spare the time and cash, head to Gladstone Marina (a whopper) and grab a charter for a spot of fishing or just for a quick cruise in the sunshine.
STOP 4: Mackay. Another big drive for this point of the trip, almost six hours and there is plenty to see and do during this road trip so maybe allow a full day on the road and hit points like Rockhampton. There are more than 30 beaches to explore here, believe it or not! There are also excellent golf courses and the Botanical Gardens is a beautiful hot spot for visitors. Stay at the Premier Caravan Park, which is a gem and has superb facilities.
STOP 5: Townsville. The last part of the journey and possibly the best, as you pass the waters that house Hayman and Hamilton islands – the trip is another lengthy one that will likely take you 5 hours if heading straight there. Townsville is an interesting part of Australia, full of history, contrasts of wealth and poverty, and has a beautiful Strand area. There’s a great little casino called Junipers in town and it’s well worth catching a ferry to Magnetic “Maggie” Island to spend a day. Stay at the Walkabout Palms Holiday Park.