Panoramic view over Fraser island, Australia
Guillem Lopez Borras/

15 Best Road Trips in Queensland, Australia

Published by Dianne Titos on May 16 2023

Relaxed and welcoming, Queensland really is a year-round destination, with incredible beaches, unlimited sunshine, and amazing tropical rainforests and parklands to explore. Whether you prefer a laidback vibe or want to stay busy, this has something for everyone.

In our list of 15 best road trips in Queensland, Australia, you can make amazing trips to bucket-list stops including Great Barrier Reef, visit tropical paradises, enjoy island life, celebrate golden coastlines and adventure in the rural outback.

Read on below to get some of our top recommendations on where to travel and visit along the way. Before you know it, you will be relaxing on sandy shores or swimming with turtles, as you take on this amazing journey.

Road tripRating
1. Airlie Beach to Conway Beach
45 minutes, 50 kilometres
2. Gold Coast to Lamington National Park
1 hour 30 minutes, 70 kilometres
3. Great Barrier Reef
2 hours 50 minutes, 150 kilometres
4. Sunshine Coast Hinterland
3 hours, 180 kilometres
5. Caloundra to Inskip and Fraser Island
3 hours, 190 kilometres
6. Rockhampton to Brisbane
10 hours, 810 kilometres
7. Overlanders Way
12 hours, 1,100 kilometres
8. Cairns to Cape York
15 hours 20 minutes, 1,190 kilometres
9. Brisbane to Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays
14 hours, 1,225 kilometres
10. Savannah Way
15 hours 40 minutes, 1,290 kilometres
11. Adventure Way
15 hours 30 minutes, 1,340 kilometres
12. The Matilda Way
17 hours 50 minutes, 1,690 kilometres
13. Warrego Way
18 hours 40 minutes, 1,620 kilometres
14. Pacific Coast Way
20 hours, 1,740 kilometres
15. Great Inland Way
20 hours, 1,890 kilometres

1. Airlie Beach to Conway Beach

Via Cedar Creek Falls

45 minutes (50 kilometres)

Difficulty level: Easy

Why you should take this trip: If you are looking for a mix of relaxing on sprawling sandy shores or indulging in high-energy outdoor activities then take a visit to Conway Beach. The chance to fish for king and blue salmon is also second to none - an angler's dream!

Gushing waterfalls at Cedar Creek Falls Gold Coast Australia
Make a visit to the impressive Cedar Creek Falls as you journey towards Conway Beach.
Rodney Webster/

Main stops on this road trip: This route passes through Cannon Valley, Mount Marlow, Mount Julian, Cedar Creek Falls and Conway.

How to get there: Head away from Airlie Beach using State Route 59 towards Conway Road, before arriving at Cedar Creek. After this impressive detour, head back to Conway Road which takes you straight to Conway Beach.

Our highlights: You don't need to journey far from Airlie Beach for one of the first main attractions, Cedar Creek Falls. Around a 30-minute drive from Airlie Beach, the incredible woodland and falls are well worth a stop. Take a hike to the summit, and you can be sure of memorable and impressive views.

Make sure Whitsundays Great Walk is also on the agenda, located just before Mount Marlow. Take a detour across Brandy Creek to Whitsundays Great Walk and enjoy the lush parkland which is ideal for a leg stretch while you admire gorgeous local plants and wildlife.

The pretty beachfront of Wilson Beach is also a popular stop. There are plenty of outdoor activities on offer including ocean rafting to take up, so ideal for adventurous souls.

Local gems: For the thrill seekers then a short detour just after Preston is Whitsunday Crocodile Safari. This is a unique chance to see crocodiles up close in their natural settings and learn more about these interesting animals.

The Big4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is also a fun-filled water extravaganza, and not just for those staying on site. Grab a day pass and enjoy the thrills and spills of this huge water park and entertainment complex.

Our travel tips: Whilst the Cedar Creek Falls trails are pretty all year round, it is best to head here when there has been a bit of recent rainfall, and the waterfalls are at their most impressive.

Take this trip in October and it is a particularly good time to go fishing, with Barra and Salmon fishing popular through to the end of the month. A must for any anglers visiting.

Best time to visit: Weather-wise spring is a great time to visit, when temperatures are warm and you can make the most of the outdoor activities and beaches.

If you visit towards peak summer, and the temperatures are rising, then just make sure to pack plenty of refreshments and a sunhat as you head on out on this road trip.

2. Gold Coast to Lamington National Park

1 hour 30 minutes (70 kilometres)

Difficulty level: Easy

Why you should take this trip: This is a beautiful drive, and you can enjoy a change of pace from the buzzing golden sands of Surfers Paradise to the wildlife-rich and lush woodlands of Lamington National Park.

The upper section of the very impressive Elabana Falls in the Lamington National Park, Queensland.
The picture perfect lush forests and waterfalls throughout Lamington National Park are sure to leave a lasting impression.
Brent Randall Photography/

Main stops on this road trip: During this journey, you'll pass Nerang, Clagiraba, Sarabah National Park, The Big Lamington and Kamarun Lookout.

How to get there: This fairly straightforward journey sees you leave the Gold Coast via State Route 20 and State Route 90 to Advancetown heading along Clagiraba Road. From here keep following State Route 90 to Lamington National Park.

Our highlights: There are so many stunning stop-offs on this scenic road trip, starting with Nerang Conservation Park, a short distance from Gold Coast.

You can enjoy a peaceful walk around this pretty parkland to get away from it all. If you like biking, then there are also plenty of mountain bike trails for exploring too.

Make sure you also head to Sarabah National Park, Queensland's smallest National Park. It might be little but it sure is mighty and packed with interesting areas. This subtropical rainforest has over 600 recorded species that you can spot as you wander the lush grounds.

Just before you arrive at your destination, take to the heights of Kamarun Lookout, found along the outer rim of Lamington National Park. This stunning lookout provides amazing views before heading into the park for further exploring.

Also, to note is that if you love running, then arrive at Lamington during October and the two-day Lamington Classic Trail Runs will be right up your street.

Local gems: Another lookout favourite that is lesser known is Freemans Lookout en route. Taking around 30 minutes to reach the summit, this hike and lookout spot is often quiet, and you can enjoy wildlife in peace.

After all that adventure make sure to head to Mount Nathan Winery. Located just after Nerang Conservation Park, this award-winning winery is ideal for a lunch break and a tipple or two.

Our travel tips: If you are hoping to stop off at one of the wineries such as Mount Nathan, or the equally lovely Sarabah Estate Vineyard, then make sure to book ahead to avoid disappointment.

It can also rain a good amount compared to other areas, so plan ahead to prepare for any less favourable wet weather driving conditions. Park access can also sometimes be affected so make sure to check regularly for park alerts about issues before arriving.

Best time to visit: With a subtropical environment it can get particularly hot and humid along this route, so visiting in winter months from June to August can be more enjoyable for driving and exploring the area.

July, August and September are also busy, coinciding with holidays, so try to sneak a visit around these times for a quieter trip.

3. Great Barrier Reef

From Cairns to Cape Tribulation

2 hours 50 minutes (150 kilometres)

Difficulty level: Easy

Why you should take this trip: Leave the excitement of Cairns to visit the gorgeous Cape Tribulation, the gateway for jaw-dropping, bucket-list scenery and experiences.

Vibrant coral reef with hundreds of glass fish at the SS Yongala ship wreck, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Marvel at the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. This bucket-list destination is one to remember.
Coral Brunner/

Main stops on this road trip: You will journey through Trinity Beach, Kuranda State Forest, Port Douglas, Wonga and Kimberley.

How to get there: Firstly, take National Route 1, then Captain Hook Highway and State Route 44 to arrive in Port Douglas. After a visit to Port Douglas, return to Captain Hook Highway and then Mossman Daintree Road leads you to Cape Tribulation.

Our highlights: Needing little introduction the world-famous Great Barrier Reef is a must-visit. Access from Cape Tribulation is brilliant to visit this bucket-list coral reef and well worth any journey. Take to the water and it will leave a lasting memory.

Make sure to also stop off at Port Douglas, with plenty of attractions here including Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas. This conservation centre is brimming with information about the local environment, and you get up close to wildlife.

Afterwards, relax along the impressive Four-Mile Beach, or hike a rainforest trail running adjacent to the sandy shores

Another couple of beautiful stop-offs are Mowbray National Park and Mount Lewis National Park. Both are wonderful to wander in the wilderness, with plenty of birdlife to enjoy during a visit as you take one of many trails across the rainforest walks.

Local gems: Take time out at a local hotspot, Palm Cove Beach. Nestle next to a palm tree on this beautiful stretch of beach to while away an afternoon, or head for a walk away from tourists along the Northern Beaches Leisure Trail towards Clifton Beach.

Thirsty? Then a visit to the Devils Thumb Distillery is a must. Found in Port Douglas, this treasure was only launched in 2020 but serves up an impressive gin and rum. Make sure to pick up a bottle to take away.

Our travel tips: There are many events dotted along this journey, so it's always worth checking out local sites for what's on. Port Douglas holds an impressive and popular Sunday Market, so if you arrive over the weekend you can pick up some local delights.

The Port Douglas Gran Fondo Festival each October is also a must for any bike fans, who can enjoy the amazing area over a three-day biking event

Best time to visit: Make this road trip in the dry season from July to November, and you can make the most of the parks and beaches along the way. With temperatures best in the dry season it is also at its busiest, so make sure to book early to get the best deals on accommodation and activities.

Outside of these months, rainfall can prove to be unpredictable so make sure to check the rain forecast when visiting rainforest areas such as Mount Lewis National Park. Some areas require a 4x4 drive once the rain begins and access is trickier, so planning ahead is essential.

4. Sunshine Coast Hinterland

From Brisbane to Montville

3 hours (180 kilometres)

Difficulty level: Easy

Why you should take this trip: If you fancy taking a break from the cultural city sights of Brisbane then head to the unique and creative village of Montville, packed with character and incredible views.

Front view of quaint Poet's cafe building, Montville, Queensland, Australia
Quaint Montville is packed with charming restaurants and shops to enjoy, where you can find a great lunch spot ahead of exploring this creative village.
Alex Cimbal/

Main stops on this road trip: This scenic safari will take you through Samsonvale, Dayboro, Mount Mee, Delaneys Creek, Booroobin and Gerrards Lookout.

How to get there: Head out of Brisbane along the M3 then Route 22 towards Dayboro. After Route 22 take State Route 58 passing Mount Mee and then use State Route 85 to Woodford.

State Route 6 then takes you past Cedarton before Maleny Stanley River Rd and Route 23 takes you to Montville.

Our highlights: A visit to Beerburrum West State Forest is a must during this trip, with plenty of short walks to explore throughout this forest. Head to Glass House Mountains, and lookout for unrivalled views.

The Bellthorpe National Park is an impressive bushland packed with interesting scenery and wildlife, with the likelihood of spotting lizards and forest birds very high! The SEQ horse-riding trail is ideal for hiking through this parkland

Make sure to also stop at the enchanting Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World. Brimming with exotic flora and wildlife, you can spend a very interesting afternoon enjoying this sanctuary, and take a picnic lunch to enjoy during your visit.

Local gems: Take a journey off the beaten track with a stop at The Postman Track Trails located just by Lake Samson. This is ideal for hiking fans, quiet and secluded and perfect for wildlife spotting.

Our travel tips: During wet weather and high winds, the national parks are often closed so make sure to check park alerts in advance.

Best time to visit: Summer is a great time to visit for the warmer weather, with temperatures up to 28 degrees Celsius from December to February. The beautiful scenery can also be best enjoyed in the spring and summer, with more favourable driving conditions too.

If you prefer cooler weather, then June to August is also a popular time to go. The huge Rangebow Festival held in August hosts over 30 events across four days in Montville, so plan your visit accordingly if you'd like to take a part in them.

5. Caloundra to Inskip and Fraser Island

3 hours (190 kilometres)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why you should take this trip: Be mesmerised by the incredible scenic stop-offs from the natural-coloured sands of Rainbow Beach to beautiful Inskip, the gateway to World Heritage-listed Fraser Island. You'll be spoilt for choice.

40-mile stretch of beach in Great Sandy National Park in Queensland, Australia.
The diverse landscape found at Great Sandy National Park is stunning, with lush forests surrounding the 40-mile stretch of golden sands.
Alizada Studios/

Main stops on this road trip: You will pass beautiful beaches and parkland during this journey through Coolum Beach, Noosa Heads, Toolara State Forest, Great Sandy National Park, Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island.

How to get there: From Caloundra take State Route 6 then State Route 70 towards Maroochydore, continuing onto Peregian Springs and arriving at Noosa Heads.

From here take McKinnon Dr, Junction Rd and Cootharaba Rd to Kinmond Creek Road, then Gympie Kin Kin Road in Kin Kin.

From here follow Tagigan Road, Tin Can Bay Road and Rainbow Beach Road to Cypress Ave, where you will reach Rainbow Beach shortly after, and then journey along Inskip Avenue to Inskip.

To travel to Fraser Island from Inskip the ferries take around 10 minutes and depart every 30 minutes during peak months. Check out our detailed guide on driving to Fraser Island for more detail.

Our highlights: Make sure to visit Noosa Botanic Gardens, with stunning manicured gardens and views over Lake Macdonald. The large lawns are ideal for a picnic, with plenty of flowers and wildlife to enjoy during your visit.

The Toolara State Forest found between Fraser Coast and Gympie is a pretty park with interesting walkways and waterways. Take the Lagoons Trail and you can enjoy strolling past the beautiful lagoons whilst wildlife spotting.

A must-visit is also the Great Sandy National Park. This coastal park has a beautiful variety of landscapes, from clifftops to forests. It is separated into two areas, Cooloola and Fraser Island, with the latter a UNESCO World Heritage site and an incredible island for discovery.

Local gems: The authentic Noosa Farmers Market held every Sunday is perfect for picking up some local food and wares. Pass around lunchtime for a delicious treat.

If you are looking for more trails to discover then Doggrell Forest Trail, located just past Como is the perfect little quiet spot for a leg stretch. Wander among the towering Eucalyptus cloeziana trees and this is sure to be a peaceful and memorable hike.

Our travel tips: Noosa Botanical Gardens host a variety of events throughout the year, so make sure to view their calendar. July hosts Music in the Park, which is particularly popular.

Driving this route is best during the drier months, particularly if you incur any sand driving at Inskip. Make sure to check about access permits if you are planning to see areas including Cooloola Recreation Area via Inskip, so there are no issues when you visit.

Best time to visit: This really is a year-round destination, although it is best to visit outside of the hottest months to best enjoy the beaches and outdoor fun without the heat and humidity.

However, the busiest time to make this trip is between January to May, so to escape the crowds visit later in the year – it is likely to be more favourable for the wallet too.

6. Rockhampton to Brisbane

10 hours (810 kilometres)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why you should take this trip: Connect with nature during this beautiful trip, enjoying tons of wildlife, waterfalls and parkland before reaching the cultural sights of Brisbane.

Streets Beach in South Bank Parkland. It's inner-city man-made beach next to city center, Brisbane, Australia
Brisbane is brimming with surprises, where you can take a dip in the man-made Streets Beach alongside the impressive, towering cityscape.
Martin Valigursky/

Main stops on this road trip: As you head away from Rockhampton you will pass Warro National Park, Ban Ban Springs, South Burnett Regional, Bunya Mountains National Park and Toowoomba

How to get there: Head out of Rockhampton along A1, where you will reach Warro National Park, followed by Cordalba State Forest. From here State Route 52 takes you to Ban Ban Springs before shifting to A3, then Continue on Murgon Gayndah Road to Dangore.

After a visit to South Burnett Regional, follow signs to State Route 49 to Bunya Mountains National Park. Bell Kaimkillenbun Road, Dalby Cooyar Road and Bowenville Moola Road then lead you to A2.

After passing Toowoomba continue along the A21 and then A2 to Brassall, then take the M2 and M7 to Elizabeth St in Brisbane City.

Our highlights: The Bunya Mountains National Park is a mix of subtropical rainforest and bunya pines, a really interesting setting for wildlife-rich trails. You can take one of many winding pathways throughout this park, through the lush woodlands and waterfalls.

The beautiful Cordalba State Forest is dotted with bike trails to best explore this amazing setting, which is teeming with wildlife, and ideal to spot passing from two wheels.

Local gems: A short detour from Gin Gin leads to Mystery Craters. An interesting stop-off, this family-run exhibition reveals plenty of interesting and interactive displays, you can look out over the craters while you visit, and fun for any history and geology fan.

Our travel tips: The Bunya Mountains enjoy very distinct seasons, with autumn beautiful with the changing leaves – just make sure to wrap up warm as the altitude can make for a chilly hike whatever the time of year.

It is best to avoid the rainy season (November to April) so that conditions are more favourable for driving, particularly around the plentiful national parks to visit en route.

Best time to visit: From May to September the weather is balmy and sunshine guaranteed, plus it is not too hot for exploring and enjoying outdoor recreation.

Visit during the peak festival timing, around July to September, and you can expect an exciting visit. Whilst you can expect crowds and accommodation prices at a premium, there is plenty to keep you entertained.

The month-long Brisbane Festival held in September has a packed agenda of arts, music and performances, and celebrates local communities and diversity

7. Overlanders Way

From Townsville to Camooweal

12 hours (1,100 kilometres)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why you should take this trip: An impressive journey from the coastline to desert outback travelling Overlanders Way, this epic trip is packed with beautiful mountain ranges and national treasures.

Beautiful sunset over Lake Moondarra, Mount Isa, Australia
Make sure to extend your visit to Mount Isa, where you can experience the beautiful sunset over Lake Moondarra.

Main stops on this road trip: This outback adventure sees you visit Charters Towers, Prairie, Richmond, Julia Creek, Cloncurry and Mount Isa.

How to get there: From Townsville head along Flinders Highway, then A6 which leads to the main route sights Charters Tower, Hughenden, Richmond, Cloncurry and Mount Isa. From Mount Isa pick up the A2 where you are around 100km away from reaching your destination in Camooweal.

Our highlights: Overlanders Way is an epic, scenic drive that carries you from Townsville towards the Northern Territory. An iconic attraction in itself.

Make sure to visit Towers Hill Lookout, which is nestled within pine plantations and offers beautiful views. Head after sunset and you can enjoy events such as the quirky "Ghosts After Dark" screening in the amphitheatre.

A stop-off at White Mountains National Park gives you the chance to hike, bike and swim across this impressive landscape. Head to the which has expansive grounds and great views for hiking.

Just make sure to watch for the poisonous Gastrolboum grandiflora that is common and spurred the name of this famous valley.

A prominent site is Mount Isa, and with masses to explore here head to the visitor centre first to plan your day's itinerary. Lake Moondarra is ideal for water sports and a dip, before heading to one of the Outback lookouts to enjoy the sunset.

Visit Mount Isa in August and you can experience the Mount Isa Mines Rodeo, an event that has been happening since 1959. There are over 40,000 people that attend this amazing spectacle, with money collected for a host of local charities.

Local gems: Irish Molly's Charters Towers is a delicious lunch stop. This local haunt is the oldest wooden pub, stacked with character and a delicious menu.

Make sure to also visit the quaint and interesting Zara Clark Museum. Founded in the 1800's, it is packed with artefacts from the area, vehicles and photographs. The local volunteers really bring it all to life.

Our travel tips: With wildflowers blooming across national parks from May to September this can be a picturesque time to visit, with beautiful flora dotted across the national parks along this route.

For unrivalled views of the wildflowers and more, how about heading to the skies? for You can get some of the best views, including those of White Mountains National Park, embarking on a helicopter tour such as those offered by local Fox Helicopters, which offer scenic rides above some of the most memorable areas.

Best time to visit: A pretty straightforward drive, the Overlanders Way is a memorable route. The first half of the year is generally quieter for visitors at some of the biggest attractions such as Mount Isa, so you can find places that are less crowded and expensive.

January can typically be the rainiest month, so avoiding this time can make it a more enjoyable period for exploring the national parklands and mountain ranges.

Plus, the drive can be more challenging during the wetter weather (November to April) when some roads may be closed, so make sure to check route access before setting off.

8. Cairns to Cape York

Via Cooktown

15 hours 20 minutes (1,190 kilometres)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why you should take this trip: Head from the rainforests and iconic natural wonders of Cairns to the tropical sights of rural North Queensland, where bare grasslands, lush parklands, and blue lagoons are dotted throughout this route.

Beach in the Finch Bay of Cooktown, Queensland in Australia
Sit back and relax at Finch Bay in Cooktown, a pretty beachfront nestled within stunning woodlands.
Traveller Martin/

Main stops on this road trip: You will enjoy a particularly scenic journey past Cooktown, Mungkan Kandju National Park, Archer River, Heathlands Regional Park and Jardine River National Park.

How to get there: From Cairns head south-west on National Route 1, before arriving at Mareeba and picking up State Route 81 towards Lakeland. A detour along State Route 40 takes you to the interesting and pretty coastal town of Cooktown.

Afterward Cooktown re-join State Route 81, which passes by Mungkan Kandju National Park, and towards Telegraph Rood, before reaching Cape York.

Our highlights: Cooktown is an ideal stopping off point on the way to Cape York. Make sure to join some of the Aboriginal tours to get an authentic and interesting view of the area.

Make sure to head to Cooktown Festival if you are visiting in June, a highlight in the festival calendar which marks Captain Cooks landing.

Afterwards head to Mungkan Kandju National Park. The third biggest national park in Queensland is dotted with woods, swamps and lakes, where you can enjoy a meander around the peaceful parkland. You may spot crocodiles, turtles and wallabies during your trip.

A stop at Wenlock River should also be on the cards. Incredible rainforests, with wildlife-rich residents, surround Wenlock River. A very scenic place to wander and enjoy the waterfront.

Local gems: Bring your swimmers and stop off at Old Telegraph Track for a swim in one of the pretty lagoons just before arriving at Cape York.

Our travel tips: Whilst the beaches in Cooktown are stunning, they are best to be enjoyed from the shoreline most of the year, as it's a popular home for stingers and crocodiles. Lie back and enjoy the views on the pretty beaches instead.

This rural trip can sometimes be impacted by poor phone reception. Make sure to take a paper map and travel details along with any electronic navigation tools just in case you come across areas where the signal isn't too good.

If you are visiting during the rainy season from October to April, then this might lead to flooding along the way such as at Wenlock River. So before arriving make sure to check travel alerts to avoid any access problems.

Best time to visit: The dry season runs from May to October and is a good time to visit with temperatures up to 30 degrees Celsius. The drive itself is pretty easy if conditions are good, with the rainforest pathways offering good ground in dry weather.

When the weather is dry this is when visitors are at their highest, so expect things to be a little busier and more expensive during this time. Book ahead for the best deals.

Outside of the dry season, there can be some obstructions to watch for. Check out the travel alerts during rainy weather as roads can be severely restricted. Termite mounds are also plentiful along the roads towards the end of this journey – it can make for a bit of a bumpy ride!

9. Brisbane to Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays

14 hours (1,225 kilometres)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why you should take this trip: A stunning coastal drive, heading from the Sunshine Coast to the majestic Whitsunday Islands, this journey is popping with places to explore as well as unwind.

Panoramic view of Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands, Queensland Australia
The stunning Whitsundays is a visit that is sure to leave a lasting impression. Head here in early spring for quality sailing conditions.
Martin Valigursky/

Main stops on this road trip: This beautiful coastal journey takes you past Sunshine Coast, Great Sandy National Park, Bundaberg, Yeppoon and Hay Point.

How to get there: From Brisbane take the M1 towards Sunshine Coast, until you arrive at Southside and then carry on along the A1 all the way to Bundaberg.

After Bundaberg travel along Rosedale Road and then Lowmead Road to reach Miriam Vale. The A1 then takes you all the way to Yeppoon, where you can enjoy the tropical beaches before getting back on the road.

Taking the A1 then carries you all the way to Hay Point and destination Airlie Beach. Take a breather before heading out on a ferry to explore Whitsunday Island. Here is our comprehensive guide on travelling to the Whitsundays.

Our highlights: The Sunshine Coast is ideal for any surf fans and coastal lovers. This stunning area spans from Brisbane to Great Sandy National Park and is best known for its white sands and clear waters.

Another wonderful spot is the Great Sandy National Park itself. There is so much to do here, where you can take a 4WD to ride the colourful sand dunes or hike across the impressive rainforest. It's easy to spend a day or more exploring this incredible park.

Along the shore is Yeppoon, a lovely coastal town with pretty beaches and a lagoon pool. If you have the time, you could also take a detour to the beautiful Great Keppel Island.

Local gems: Adventure like a local with a leg stretch along the Jim McRae Walk, which honours the late mayor of Rockhampton. Have lunch and sit with the views of Fitzroy River, a quiet spot away from the busier town.

Our travel tips: If you are taking the ferry to the Whitsundays, then monitor the weather reports as winds can obviously play a big part here. Early spring is a great time with minimal rainfall and light breezes.

From June the migration of humpback whales is an incredible sight along the Airlie Beach and Whitsundays, so you'll expect it to be busier, but certainly worthwhile.

Stinger season along the coastline is typically October to May, so be cautious of entering the water during that time – although you will still be able to see jellyfish year-round, this peak time they are active is when you are more at risk of getting stung!

Best time to visit: The weather is beautiful year-round, with sunshine pretty much guaranteed, however, watch out for the tropical rainfall showers if you are heading along this route from December to March.

You will see the area getting busier during the humpback whale migration (June), or Christmas events. Avoiding these times of year will make this less busy and more affordable, but you also miss out on some of the most memorable celebratory events going on.

10. Savannah Way

From Cairns to Boodjamulla

15 hours 40 minutes (1,290 kilometres)

Difficulty level: Ambitious

Why you should take this trip: Take on this adventure along Savannah Way from the bustling beaches of Cairns to rural and enchanting Boodjamulla, also known as Lawn Hill Gorge. You can be sure of rich history and exciting landscapes throughout this desert route.

The entrance to Arch Larva Tube in the Undara Volcanic National Park, Queensland, Australia
The unusual, beautiful Undara Volcanic National Park has plenty to explore. The entrance to Arch Larva Tube is just one of the areas you can explore further underground.

Main stops on this road trip: Pass rural and beautiful landscapes surrounding Ravenshoe, Undara Volcanic National Park, Forsayth, Cobbold Gorge and Four Ways.

How to get there: From Cairns head out on the A1 along Savannah Way, passing Ravenshoe and Undara Volcanic National Park, before arriving in Georgetown.

After a detour along at Forsayth and Cobbold Gorge, head back onto the A1 before picking up National Route 83, which takes you to Four Ways.

From here you will be on a short journey along National Route 84 to the end destination Boodjamulla, though be careful as it can be less straightforward depending on weather conditions.

Our highlights: An amazing and unique stop-off is Undara Volcanic National Park. You can explore underground caves created by the longest flow of lava on earth, which are interesting and beautiful sights to behold. After dark you can enjoy special stargazing events.

Take time out in Forsayth, which is rich in history. This outback town has plenty to enjoy, such as the Railway Station steeped in history and around since the 1800s.

Around 40km from Forsayth is Cobbold Gorge, and you can spend a whole day exploring this area. How about a gentle cruise across the gorge, or scaling Australia's first fully glass bridge here – certainly not for the faint-hearted. As with Undara Volcanic National Park, you can enjoy stargazing in the night sky. Just make sure to book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.

Local gems: Take a visit to Cobbold Gorge at night and you can enjoy a guided walk with dinner included. Offered from April and October, just make sure to book in advance.

Our travel tips: The wet season from November to April can make travelling particularly tricky. If you are planning to visit during this time then plan well ahead, and make sure your vehicle and equipment are set for more challenging road conditions – a 4x4 would be a must.

The roads are also a mix of pretty good highway or gravel and dirt, so make sure to get your vehicle checked over before you leave, particularly the tyres, to make sure they hold up to the uneven surfaces

Best time to visit: Visit in the dry season from May to October, and you will be able to better explore Boodjamulla, taking advantage of swimming in the gorges and enjoying the wildlife.

As this time is more favourable weather-wise it can be busier and more expensive to travel. Make sure to book ahead during these busier times to get the best deals.

11. Adventure Way

From Brisbane to Cameron Corner

15 hours 30 minutes (1,340 kilometres)

Difficulty level: Ambitious

Why you should take this trip: Travel the iconic and memorable Adventure Way, travelling from the stunning coast to the true outback, on this vast, interesting and authentically-outback inland journey.

Sandy roads and landscape in rural Camerons Corner in outback Queensland, Australia.
It doesn't get much more rural outback than this when you arrive at Cameron Corner.
Edward Haylan/

Main stops on this road trip: You will pass through outback favourites Dalby, Saint George, Cunnamulla, Thargomindah and Bulloo Downs.

How to get there: From Brisbane take the M3 initially, then after a few minutes head along M5 before joining A2 and then State Route 49 from Dalby. Continue along State Route 49 past Saint George and to Cunnamulla.

After Cunnamulla head north on Wicks Street towards Louise Street, onto Adventure Way, to Cunnamulla Road and arriving at Thargomindah. From here head north on Gilmour Street towards Dowling Road, before reaching Camerons Corner.

Our highlights: Adventure Way is an incredibly scenic drive, and taking this journey is a highlight in itself. Visit the vast open plains and jagged landscape which connects you to the real outback for an authentic experience

During your trip, the Cunnamulla All Aboard is an interesting stop-off to make. Learn everything about this area, and the now non-running railroad, with a visit to this informative and interactive museum.

Another interesting exhibition is Dalby Pioneer Park Museum. Take a visit around the buildings and grounds stacked with colonial artefacts and farm machinery. If you arrive late May, you will also get a chance to see some of this incredible machinery working in the annual Pioneer Park Annual Field Days.

Whilst there are not many large events at Cameron Corner due to its remote nature, there are a huge array of festivals throughout Adventure Way, such as the Cunnamulla Fella Festival, celebrating the area's heritage and culture.

Local gems: Stop off to enjoy watching a Stockman Show in Cunnamulla, with working horses and dogs displaying their abilities and tricks. A funny and interesting event to be a part of.

Our travel tips: Fuel stops can be limited along Adventure Way, so make sure to stock up with any gas and goodies at the petrol stations you come across, and make sure to have plenty of both as you travel.

Best time to visit: Outside of peak summer, when temperatures can happily reach 30 degrees Celsius or more, any time is good to travel along Adventure Way, with spring and autumn popular for cooler weather, dry days and limited rain.

Spring and autumn both provide the best travelling conditions when the weather is fairly dry and warm. Spring is also a particularly good time to visit when the wildflowers are starting to emerge, and it can be a very pretty drive.

It can be rough terrain as Cameron Corner itself is a remote area with limited infrastructure. Consider taking a 4x4 for this drive and always make sure to plan carefully ahead to avoid any of the wettest weather and uneven surfaces.

12. The Matilda Way

From Cunnamulla to Karumba

17 hours 50 minutes (1,690 kilometres)

Difficulty level: Ambitious

Why you should take this trip: Waltz along Matilda Way and you'll travel all the way from the New South Wales border to Gulf of Carpentaria. You can expect a journey packed with culture, history, and a lot of dinosaur fossils to discover en route.

Stockman statue outside the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame, Longreach, Queensland, Australia
Make sure to visit the iconic Stockman's Hall of Fame, where you can learn more about this interesting area and its history.

Main stops on this road trip: You can expect an exciting trip through Blackall, Longreach, Winton, Cloncurry and Four Ways.

How to get there: Taking the Matilda Way, you'll leave Cunnamulla north taking A71, before picking up the A2 towards Blackall.

The relatively straightforward route then continues along A2 past Winton and Cloncurry, before moving to National Route 83 to Burke Developmental Road, and then picking up State Route 27 in Normanton. From here you can follow State Route 27 and Karumba Road to Walker Street in Karumba

Our highlights: Stop off at Longreach and there are plenty of places to visit. Head to local treasures, such as Stockman's Hall of Fame and Qantas Founders Museum, both interesting museums to understand more about the area.

As well as Longreach, Winton is an Iconic town for a visit. With the largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils, it is an interesting stop. Winton Banjo Patterson also wrote ‘Waltzing Matilda', with the name of this route a nod towards this unofficial soundtrack for Australia.

Afterwards head to Cloncurry, where you can enjoy a visit to the interesting Mary Kathleen Memorial Park and Museum. This exhibition in Cloncurry is brimming with expedition memorabilia and aboriginal artifacts.

There are also plenty of events across this outback route, including the unusual Winton Camel Races each July, or how about heading to a horse-riding meet in Cloncurry held throughout the year, running alongside food, drink and entertainment stalls?

Local gems: Between Augathella and Blackall make a stop at the Royal Carrangarra Hotel for an evening meal. For added entertainment stay to experience Ben's Chicken Racing, running every evening and lots of fun!

Our travel tips: Make sure to book tickets to the Waltzing Matilda Centre in advance. This fantastic museum has plenty of popular exhibitions that get booked up, so make sure to book and not miss out.

The roadways are pretty good for travelling; however, they can get congested with both Savannah Way and the Outback Way passing close, and busier spells on the roads. Take care of other road users, and particularly bigger agricultural vehicles using the road.

Best time to visit: Great weather year-round, sunshine and dry spells are likely to greet you. However, peak summer from December to February can be particularly hot, so less bearable for driving and exploring when temperatures up to 35 degrees Celsius.

Winter is also a popular time to visit, escaping the southern areas which are cooler, but watch out as prices can be hiked as more people visit during this time.

13. Warrego Way

From Brisbane to Birdsville and Big Red Sand Dune

18 hours 40 minutes (1,620 kilometres)

Difficulty level: Ambitious

Why you should take this trip: Grab your car keys and make the epic and unforgettable journey along Warrego Way, from Brisbane to Birdsville, from coastline to red sand dunes.

Along the way you'll be spoilt with interesting landscapes, historical stop-offs and even sand surfing.

Outback travellers in their 4WD's enjoy sunset drinks atop Big Red sand dune west of Birdsville.
Head to the Big Red sand dune in Birdsville during sunset and you'll be spoilt with unrivalled views in this stunning setting.
Cam Laird/

Main stops on this road trip: Although this route you'll pass beautiful Toowoomba, Dalby, Chinchilla, Roma, Mitchell and Birdsville.

How to get there: Leaving Brisbane to begin this journey along Warrego Way head along M3 first before picking up the A2 and travelling by Toowoomba, Dalby, Chinchilla, Roma and Mitchell.

Shortly after Mitchell, take State Route 14 which travels all the way to Birdsville and to the end destination in Big Red Sand Dune.

Our highlights: A stop at Toowoomba is sure to be an interesting one. Make sure to stop here and follow the Laneway Street Art Crawl, where you can enjoy the beautiful local graffiti.

Located near Toowoomba, Jondaryan Woolshed is also an interesting exhibit, with an interactive museum that recognises the rich pastoral history. Well worth a visit to this less popular and visited site.

Another interesting stop is Dalby Pioneer Park Museum. Feel like you are stepping back in time with a visit to this enchanting museum, full of relics and memorabilia.

For a scenic site then the Chinchilla Botanic Parkland ticks plenty of boxes. Ideal for a leg stretch, this pretty park is packed with native prehistoric flora and fauna. Recently updated, it's great for all the family, and the perfect lunch spot.

A short but interesting visit should also be made to the Kenniff Brothers Monument. Found in Mitchell, this unusual statue signifies when one of Australia's last bushrangers met his fate.

Local gems: There are plenty of popular sights to see in Mitchell, however, spend some time wandering the riverbank along Maranoa River, a little off the beaten track. There are a couple of local routes that start from Neil Turner Weir. Nice and quiet with pretty river views.

Our travel tips: During the extreme peak summer temperatures make sure to pack plenty of water, and travel very early in the morning, or late afternoon to avoid the blazing heat.

Driving can be challenging during this time, particularly during a heatwave, so make sure you are well-stocked with gas and refreshments, before setting off.

Best time to visit: With the end destination found in the Simpson Desert, hot and dry weather conditions are typical. Visiting in Summer, when temperatures can exceed 40 degrees Celsius, can be overwhelming.

More moderate temperatures the rest of the year can make visiting much more enjoyable. However, as winter, from June to August, can be busier to visit when temperatures are mild, this can push up prices for limited accommodation, so make sure to book in advance.

For added excitement one of the most remote music festivals in the world, Big Red Bash, is held in July at Birdsville, and is definitely worth a visit! There are also plenty of sand surfing events happening at Big Red Sand Dune throughout the year to enjoy. Check out the local activities to catch some in action.

14. Pacific Coast Way

From Brisbane to Cairns

20 hours (1,740 kilometres)

Difficulty level: Ambitious

Why you should take this trip: For those that have a little time on their hands to really enjoy the journey, it passes a diversity of landscapes and sights, from coastal hot spots and sandy beaches to quaint towns and cityscapes to explore.

Aerial view of blue waters and sandy shores along Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia
While away time enjoying the stunning turquoise waters and sandy shores of Airlie Beach.
Bundaberg Stock Footage/

Main stops on this road trip: You will pass the beautiful Sunshine Coast, Mackay, Airlie Beach and Townsville.

How to get there: Travelling the Pacific Coast Way first sees us leaving Brisbane along M3, and then M1 towards Mackay.

After a detour to Airlie Beach, continue along the A1, where this straightforward route takes you to Cairns.

Our highlights: The Sunshine Coast is a prime stop-off for surfers, with this area dotted with prime surfing spots, as well as coastal cities, and rural hinterland. You can while away a day enjoying outdoor recreation, or just rest along the beautiful beaches.

The vibrant town is Mackay is a lovely stop along this route. With a spectacular harbour and lagoon, it also has a popular city water park that is ideal to cool down in.

Airlie Beach is also a well-known point for a pitstop. Renowned for its wonderful palm tree-lined lagoon in the day, it is also popular after dark and thought to have some of the best night spots in north Brisbane.

Local gems: Deepwater National Park is the lesser visited park nestled between Agnes Water and Bundaberg. This secluded coastal park is the ideal spot for bushwalking and wildlife watching.

Our travel tips: Many of the attractions along this delightful coastal trip are more reliant on sunshine and dry weather, but with such a vast area covered it can be difficult to miss wet weather entirely given the different climate zones. So, make sure to pack accordingly regardless of which season you choose to visit.

There are plenty of good-condition roads across the Pacific Coast Way, with longer highways like the Pacific Highway (M1), ideal for driving. Even some of the smaller roads taking you to coastal towns are generally in good condition, just watch for any narrow roads and make sure to give way to traffic as needed here.

Best time to visit: This really is a year-round trip, where the winter months provide a cool option for travelling, spring is blooming and warm, and summer temperatures are great for a swim and outdoor recreation. Autumn is also pretty and comfortable for visiting the coastal towns along the way.

Summer is the busiest tourist season, with larger crowds and higher demand for accommodation, so make sure to book in advance for lodgings and attractions as both are likely to be much busier.

If you visit in winter, then catch the whale watching season between June to August as these impressive whales migrate along the coast. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, which always draws a crowd. There really is something going on all year round.

15. Great Inland Way

From Hebel to Cairns

20 hours (1,890 kilometres)

Difficulty level: Ambitious

Why you should take this trip: An exciting journey and an alternative to the coast, this route along Great Inland Way is a jewel of a trip. Stacked with historical sites and interesting stops to explore and the chance to experience the beauty and diversity of Australia's inland regions.

Beautiful tropical beach with palm trees. Cairns, Australia
The beautiful, tropical sights of Cairns are something else, with plenty of shady spots to sit back and enjoy the view.

Main stops on this road trip: Enjoy passing through the incredibly pretty Roma, Injune, Emerald, Clermont, Charters Towers, Ravenshoe and Mareeba.

How to get there: Travelling along the Great Inland Way from Hebel, first head out of the city along A55 northeast, arriving in Roma, then the A7 passes Injune, Emerald, Clermont and Charters Towers.

From Charters Towers take State Route 63 and then State Route 62 to Ravenshoe, before taking National Route 1 towards Atherton. After Atherton continue along National Route 1 to Mareeba, before following this all the way to Cairns.

Our highlights: Emerald is a great town to visit, this rural beauty is close to Gemfields. There are also lots of local gem galleries where you can view what has been mined in the area.

Another highlight is Charters Towers. Visit the popular Venus Gold Battery, where you can see how gold was extracted in this town which was renowned across Queensland for gold mining.

In Roma, the Big Rig is a popular museum celebrating the pioneers of gas and oil through interactive displays and machinery. It is quite unusual and quirky!

There is a huge array of events held in Cairns, so coincide a visit with popular events such as the Great Barrier Reef Masters Games held each May, or how about Cairns Ecofiesta held each June to understand more about preserving this wonder.

Our travel tips: During spring, wildflowers are emerging across the landscape, so it can be a particularly pretty time to make the journey.

Whilst a lot of the journey is along sealed highways which are well maintained, there are sections that are gravel and can be affected when bad or wet weather also joins you on your trip. Make sure to check ahead on any weather warnings and accessibility issues.

Best time to visit: Autumn and spring can be a popular time to visit when the weather is pleasant and mild, with winter also a good time for escaping the heat of southern Queensland.

Peak summer can prove hot and humid, and less enjoyable for longer road trips inland, although the summer shoulder months can make prices increase, so plan and book ahead to get the best deals.