This two-week adventure is a wonderful way to get to know Australia’s stunning East Coast. Setting off from the vibrant city of Sydney, you’ll take in the Blue Mountains, the Hunter Valley wine region, the world-renowned beaches of the Gold Coast and the rich wildlife of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, before arriving at your final destination of Cairns. Throughout, you’ll travel at a relaxed pace, with plenty of time of time to explore and plenty of opportunities to stop off at interesting points along the way for a stroll, a bite to eat or an unmissable photo opportunity.
Sydney to Blue Mountains (100 km)
Your road trip begins as you leave Sydney, passing over the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and through the city’s suburbs before you join the highway and head for the Blue Mountains. You may like to stop en route at the Featherdale Wildlife Park, where you can get up close to koalas, kangaroos and emus.
Today you’re at leisure to relax and explore. You may like to visit the Scenic World tourist attraction, where you can ride on the Scenic Railway, the steepest incline railway in the world, stroll along an elevated boardwalk through the rainforest and enjoy the breathtaking views from the cable cars.
Blue Mountains to Hunter Valley (247 km)
Today you’ll heard north, out of the Blue Mountains, towards the Hunter Valley wine region. On arrival, you may like to explore some of the area’s lush gardens and vineyards.
Hunter Valley to Port Macquarie (271 km)
You’ll leave Hunter Valley this morning and continue north to Port Macquarie, one of the oldest towns in New South Wales. En route, you’ll stop for lunch and a stroll at Taree, the centre of the Manning River district.
Port Macquarie to Byron Bay (397 km)
Today’s drive takes you to Kempsey and past the seaside town of Woolgoolga before you head inland, through Grafton, Woodburn and Ballina, then on to today’s destination of Byron Bay. This area is famous for its beaches – you may like to swim or surf, relax on the sands with a picnic, or perhaps visit nearby Cape Byron, the most easterly point on the Australian coast and home to Australia’s most powerful lighthouse.
Byron Bay to the Gold Coast (94 km)
You have a choice of routes for the first section of today’s journey to the Gold Coast, either taking the main highway or travelling via Numinbah Valley and Lamington National Park. Either way, you’ll arrive at Surfers Paradise, one of Australia’s most popular holiday destinations, known for its nightlife and entertainment, as well as for its beautiful beaches.
Gold Coast to Brisbane (79 km)
You have the morning at leisure to relax on one of the beaches or to explore the Gold Coast area - you might like to hit the shops, or perhaps visit one of the theme parks. When you’re ready to head off, it’s only a 90-minute drive along the Pacific Motorway to Brisbane, capital of Queensland and Australia’s third-largest city.
Brisbane to Fraser Island (300 km)
You’ll continue north out of Brisbane this morning, arriving into Hervey Bay, then continue to the River Heads village, where you’ll leave your car and board the Kingfisher Bay Ferry for the trip across to Fraser Island. This is the world’s largest sand island, UNESCO World Heritag- listed for its spectacularly unspoiled flora and fauna, which you’ll have the rest of the day at leisure to take in.
Your exploration of Fraser Island continues today. You may like to take a guided tour, to see some of the 47 species of mammal and over 350 species of bird that live here, or perhaps take a whale-watching cruise or visit the island’s stunning freshwater lakes.
Fraser Island to Rockhampton (401 km)
You’ll catch the ferry back to the mainland today, where you’ll pick up your car and travel along the Isis Highway, through the historic town of Bundaberg, the home of Bundaberg Rum. You’ll then continue north through the rural communities of Calliope and Gladstone, one of Australia’s busiest harbours, before arriving at Rockhampton, which sits exactly on the Tropic of Capricorn.
Rockhampton to Airlie Beach (482 km)
You’ll continue north this morning on the Bruce Highway, making a detour to the Cape Hillsborough National Park. On this headland, where the rainforest meets the reef, you can explore the walking trails before continuing to Proserpine and Airlie Beach, a lively town of beaches, palm trees and waterfront parks that’s also the gateway to the Whitsundays, Queensland’s 74 islands.
Today you’re at leisure, so don’t miss the opportunity to take a sailing trip to explore one or more of the beautiful Whitsunday Islands.
Airlie Beach to Townsville (276 km)
Today you’ll continue your drive into the tropical north and the city of Townsville, administrative capital of North Queensland. Here you may like to visit the Great Barrier Reef Wonderland, home to the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium. In the evening, you may like to join the locals in taking a stroll along the waterfront esplanade.
Townsville to Cairns (347 km)
Your final day’s journey takes you into Australia’s far North, as you pass through Ingham and Tully, the wettest place in Australia, and on to Cairns, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, World Heritage tropical rainforest and the rugged outback of the Cape York Peninsula and the Gulf of Carpentaria.