It's a long way to Australia, so when visiting this amazing country you should make the most of your time combining touring and seeing the sights with relaxing on some of the famous beaches. This 14 day self drive tour from Brisbane along the Sunshine Coast to the beautiful Whitsunday islands makes a great add on to any longer stay in the country or a brilliant holiday in its own right.
Your adventure Down Under begins when you pick up your rental car at the Brisbane City Depot or at the airport. Brisbane, capital of Queensland, is a large city on the Brisbane River. Clustered in its South Bank cultural precinct are the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre and the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, one of Australia's major contemporary art museums. Looming over the city is Mt. Coot-tha, site of Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Explore the city then begin your drive to Noosa.
A great day to enjoy exploring the beautiful Sunshine Coast area around Noosa. Activities you can try today include horse riding on the beach, a visit to the Noosa Everglades on a kayak, canoe or cruise boat or a trip out into the ocean with the chance of spotting whales and dolphins. Back on land the abudant wildlife of the region includes birds of prey, kangaroos and monitor lizards. Lots of great restaurants to choose from after you fun day here.
Noosa to Rainbow Beach
Today you have time to explore Noosa before travelling north via Tin Can Bay Road to Rainbow Beach. Noosa is one of Australia's most fashionable resort towns, a trendy hub backing on to crystal clear waters and pristing subtropical rainforest. There are lots of designer boutiques, polished restaurants and laid back beaches that are always popular with surfers. The town is also located in the Noosa Biosphere Reserve, a Unesco-recognised area famous for its highly diverse ecosystem.
A full day at leisure to explore Rainbow Beach. Popular activities here include paragliding, hand gliding, skydiving, surfing, fishing, horse riding, walking or taking a 4WD adventure. You can also go diving at Wolf Rock or for surfers there is Double Island Points which has a long right hand break. This vibrant coastal town offers an idyllic getaway for those wanting to step back and truly relax and is also the closest access point to World Heritage listed Fraser Island.
This morning drive to River Heads and check in at the Kingfisher Bay Resort Mainland Reception. This is your chance to explore incomparable Fraser Island – the largest sand island on earth. This World Heritage-listed icon has ancient rainforests, more than 100 fresh water lakes, huge sand blows, rock pools and an amazing 75 mile beach highway - complete with a shipwreck and cliffs of stunning coloured sands. You can leave your car at River Heads where there is secure parking.
A memorable day today at leisure to explore magnificent Fraser Island and its surrounds. You can travel around here on your own or join a Fraser Island tour, an adventure tag-a-long tour, or hire a 4WD to enable you to see more of the sights. You can also take a scenic flight over the island or cruise across the Great Sandy Straits seeing famous sites including shipwrecks and freshwater lakes where you can stop for a refreshing dip. You may also see the native Australian Dingo during your travels.
Fraser Island to River Heads
Today you say farewell to Fraser Island and catch a launch back from Kingfisher Bay Resort to River Heads. Here the safe sheltered waters make an aquatic paradise perfect for year round swimming. Activity options here are endless including diving, sailing, water sports and fishing. If you have time you can also visit the cosmopolitan and alfresco cafes, shops, parklands, picnic areas, playgrounds, piers and the town's vibrant marina area.
Another relaxing day, this time in Hervey Bay, where you can explore the area and it’s surrounds including Maryborough, birthplace of the famous novelist and creator of Mary Poppins. You can take a trip along the Magical Mary Trail and stop at the historical precincts and beautifully preserved colonial streets. And if you still have the energy you can take a trip out to Mary River where you can enjoy a whole range of water and outdoor pursuits.
Hervey Bay to Rockhampton
Leave Hervey Bay this morning and travel north on the Bruce Highway to Rockhampton, stopping along the way at Bundaberg, which is famous for its rum distillery. Visit the distillery museum with the option to join a guided tour of the distillery or the “Blend your own rum experience”. Alternatively, visit the Bundy Barrel, which is home of Bundabergs Ginger Beer. You can also stop by the Mystery Craters, 35 oddly shaped craters between Dundaberg and Gin Gin.
Rockhampton to Airlie Beach
Straddling the Fitzroy River, Rockhampton is known for beef production and has several bull statues around town. You'll find cottages, wool sheds and antique cars at Rockhampton Heritage Village and the Dreamtime Cultural Centre has Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural displays, plus replica sandstone caves. Later leave Rockhampton and head to Airlie beach where you drop off your hire car and prepare for four days of relaxing in this holiday paradise.
The first of your four days at Airlie Beach where you can do as much or as little as you please. Today you may want to discover the Capricorn Caves, where you can take an hour long tour around this stunning cave system. Airlie Beach is also home to a number of beautiful national parks including Cape Hillsborough and Eungella on the mainland. But after your drive down from Brisbane you may prefer to simply chill out on the beach today.
Today you can take a trip out to the fabulous Whitsundays. Sheltered by the Great Barrier Reef these indigo, aqua, yellow and bottle green cellular blobs mesmerise the senses. The waters around the islands are perfect for sailing and seen from the Coral Sea any of the 74 islands will hypnotise you. Five of the bigger islands have resorts while others offer back to back nature and great bush walking opportunities. And Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsundays
You may want to return to some of the Whitsunday islands today including famous Whitehaven Beach and the best way to do it is on a cruise from Airlie. Or you can take a tour and travel north for 45 minutes to Hydeaway Beach, which has a beautiful strand of sand that stretches for one and a half miles. There is so much to see and do while staying at Airlie Beach that the only problem will be packing it all in during your four day stay.
End of tour
Today your wonderful trip from Brisbane down to Airlie Beach along Australia's lovely Sunshine Coast comes to an end. Either head to the airport to catch an onward flight or to begin your journey back home. This relaxing trip along one of the country's most picturesque routes makes a great add on to any longer stay Down Under and can be combined with visits to any of the big cities like Sydney, Melbourne , Adelaide or Perth as well as a journey into the Red Centre to see Ayres Rock and Alice Springs.