For the finale of our Great Ocean Road to Great Barrier Reef series, we’re heading out of New South Wales and into sunny Queensland on a journey from Byron Bay to Cairns.
It’s a stretch of coast that draws visitors from around the world so don’t miss it by catching a plane, drive instead and break the journey with stays at Ingenia Holiday Parks en route.
Chill out in Byron Bay
Byron Bay is a popular haunt for surfers—for good reason—making it a great starting point for our last itinerary. Just a five-minute drive from Main Beach and the centre of town Ingenia Holidays Byron Bay offers an affordable accommodation option close the action. Tick off a stop at the most easterly point of the Australian mainland with a trip to the Cape Byron Lighthouse and be sure to visit one of the many markets held in Byron and nearby regional towns.
Experience the delights of the Sunshine Coast
It’s a three-hour drive from Byron to Noosa, and you’re spoilt for choice as to where to break the journey. Stop on the Gold Coast and visit one of its theme parks or power northwards and visit the Glass House Mountains or Australia Zoo. Ingenia Holidays Noosa North makes a great base for exploring the best of the Sunshine Coast. From inflatable water parks to four-wheel driving on the beach there’s something for everyone here, and you can’t go wrong with a stroll through Noosa National Park or a kayak through the Noosa Everglades.
Have a whale of a time in Hervey Bay
Next stop is Hervey Bay, the world’s first Whale Heritage site. Settle in at Ingenia Holidays Hervey Bay and prepare for some awesome adventures. A whale watching cruise is a must in season (July–November) as getting up close to giant humpbacks is something you won’t soon forget. Another must-do is a day trip to Fraser Island. Take your car (4WD only), hire one or join a tour, you won’t be disappointed. It’s the largest sand island in the world and a truly stunning place with crystal clear creek and endless dunes.
Queensland is a ‘big’ old state
It’s a 12-hour drive from Hervey Bay to Townsville, so set off early and take turns at the wheel. A long drive is the perfect excuse for a checklist car game, and what better to tick off than some of Queensland’s ‘big’ things. Keep your eyes peeled for the Big Barrel in Bundaberg, the Big Dugong in Rockhampton, the Big Cane Toad in Sarina, the Big Banana in Mackay and the Big Mango in Bowen. How many others will you see? After the long drive take a few days to explore Townsville and enjoy a day trip to Magnetic Island before heading on to Cairns.
Dive into the underwater world in Cairns
After the last drive, the four-hour stretch to Cairns will feel like a breeze and Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut will be waiting to welcome you. This park is a destination in itself with heaps to entertain the kids and it’s just 10 minutes from the cruise terminal for that trip to the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel off the Reef Magic pontoon or view the underwater world from a glass bottom boat. Either is a fitting end to an epic journey.
Be sure to check out the other itineraries in this series or create your own. Start planning your East Coast road trip with Ingenia Holiday Parks now.