Secret Queensland – Beaches and Gorges

Secret Queensland – Beaches and Gorges

Nothing is really secret anymore, you have probably heard about some or most of these places but let us bring them back to the front of your mind.

Queensland is a very popular Australian state for tourists, but 2020’s COVID and border closures have hit a state that depends so heavily on domestic and international travellers hard.  This blog gives some ideas to travellers who have been to Queensland before.  You’ve done the Gold Coast theme parks, Cairns, Kuranda, Atherton Tablelands, Great Barrier Reef, Whitsundays……..You’re after something different.

These are not stand-alone destinations, but they give you a focus to start your research for a driving holiday.

Consider the adventure of a campervan or motorhome rental and head out to explore this giant state,  nearly 3 times the size of Texas,  seven times the size of the UK and nearly the same again for New Zealand.   If you want to do northern Queensland consider flying into Cairns and picking up your home on wheels there.  If you live in the north and want to do the south-east fly into Brisbane and start there.

Remember to pay your respects to the traditional custodians, elders past and present.


Springs Beach

Just 6.5km outside Agnes Water/1770 an easy 5 min boardwalk stroll down to the beach from the Red Rock Trail car park. Spring Beach is a stunning destination on its own but it’s also the start of the Red Rock Trail.

Photo credit: TEQ

The Red Rock Trail is a moderately hard 3km round trip walk but our advice is to allow the whole day.  Take your day pack with food, water, swimming items (snorkelling gear especially), sunscreen and a hat and enjoy the spectacular natural beauty.  Wander from scenic spot to scenic spot and watch out for laying turtles, whales and dolphins.  You will agree it deserves its spot at the top of this list. DON’T  forget your camera.

While you are here make sure you do the Paperbark Forest Walk it’s very close to the Red Rock Trail car park.  It’s a boardwalk through a very unique forest and only 800m long.

Stay - Pre Book in busy periods essential.

Agnes Water Beach Holidays Caravan Park 

1770 Camp Ground 

Traditional custodians – Gooreng Gooreng people.



Elim Beach – Cape York

Just over an hour from Cooktown (the last supermarket – stock up).  You will need to hire a 4WD Camper, the DriveNow site will show you which suppliers offer this option.

Elim Beach’s pure white sand will take your breath away and the paperbark trees that line the beach make it truly unique.  The beach is known for its starfish colony and very low tides.  Croc’s are real so stay back from the water at night and high tide.

A short drive down the beach are the clifts of coloured sands, a compulsory activity.

Elim Beach is worth the effort, the decision is how long will you stay?  We recommend 3 nights minimum but this is a good place to relax so staying a week would not be excessive….but – no power!

Stay – Eddie’s Elim Beach Campground – Very special beachfront camping – no power, but a full amenities block,  minus hot water (which you don’t need).

Traditional custodians – Thiithaarr-warra people.

Photo credit: TEQ


The Savannah Way

Take the Savannah Way from Cairns and you can incorporate both of the gorges featured and Elim Beach,  It’s a spectacular drive, this could easily be a 7 to 14-day road trip.

Cobbold Gorge – Gulf Savannah region

Six and a half hours from Cairns

Eighty square kilometres of Hamstead Sandstone waterways with rugged cliffs rising 20 metres from the gorge waterway.  In parts Cobbold is only 2 metres wide, giving a unique perspective you won’t find anywhere else, the glass bridge across the gorge is also only feasible because of the narrowness of the gorge.  This uniqueness is due to the fact the gorge is considered ‘young’ with formations estimated to have started ‘only’ 10,000 years ago. The gorge is highly protected and access is only permitted by guided tour or on a Helicopter trip.

From the clifts above watch the Johnstone River Freshwater Crocodiles at play.

There is enough to do here to stay for at least 2 nights.

Stay – Cobbold Gorge Camping Ground

Traditional custodians – Ewamian people

Photo credit: J Hirschfeld



Lawn Hill Gorge – Boodjamulla National Park. 

Over a 1000km’s from Cairns,  Boodjamulla National Park sits in the remote west of northern Queensland.

At least 60km of the journey will be on a dirt road so make sure you hire a 4WD Camper or Car.

There are many walks in Boodjamulla National Park,  the longest (The Upper Gorge track) is only 7 km return, the shortest to the Duwadarri Lookout is only 600m’s.   Probably the most spectacular is the Indarri Falls track, just short of 4km return, takes you along the rim of the gorge culminating at the refreshing waters of the falls.

The Lawn Hill Gorge canoe trip is a must to enjoy the perspective of the gorge from the water. It’s either a 3km return – easy paddle up to Indarri falls and back or a 6km return trip to the upper gorge.   A reasonable amount to fitness is required for the upper gorge trip it takes about 3 hours – hire your canoe and start the trip from the Middle Gorge day-use area.

Photo credit: J Hirschfeld

Stay – Lawn Hill Camping ground (only 14 spots for campervans)

Only 10 km away is the Adel Grove Campground – there is also basic Dinner Bed and Breakfast accommodation here if you are in a car.

Traditional Custodians – Waanyi people

This is Queensland – Beautiful one day, perfect the next……….

Shelley Richardson

Shelley Richardson

Shelley has been working in the travel industry for over 30 years, in aviation, for tour operators and since 2016 for DriveNow. Having travelled extensively worldwide, alone, as a couple and with her family, Shelley has experience to share about how to make the most of your holiday, especially road-trips to amazing destinations.

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