Rediscover the road these holidays
December 8, 2020
Queensland’s best road trip destinations
It goes without saying, 2020 has served some low blows, but if anything positive has come out of this year – it’s the way it’s reacquainted us with our own backyards. And what better way to explore more of our great home state than with a road trip these Christmas holidays?
Queensland has one of the most diverse landscapes in all of Australia, and it’s seven times the size of Great Britain – so that’s a lot of road to discover! Whether it’s majestic mountains, glistening waterfalls, bright city lights or sandy beaches that float your boat, we’ve put together a list of the best Queensland road trip destinations this summer.
Here are our Torque Toyota team picks.
Famous for being the northernmost tip of Australia, the remote ruggedness of Cape York is like a magnet to adventure-seekers.
You’ll want a 4WD for this trip to make the most of the endless off-road tracks and adrenaline-pumping river crossings to explore. And you’re spoilt for choice with the region’s national parks and stunning campsites on offer.
Indigenous Australians have called Cape York home for more than 40,000 years and there’s no shortage of rich stories and traditions to soak up. Just one example is The Bloomfield Track, one of the most scenic 4WD drives in Queensland. Beginning at Cape Tribulation, the track winds its way north through the Daintree Rainforest, across numerous creeks, and finishes up in the beautiful aboriginal community, Wujal Wujal.
Wildlife-lovers will get a kick out of spotting animals along the journey ranging from marsupials to native birds, wild horses and even fluorescent green tree frogs.
And don’t forget to get a pic in front of the iconic ‘You Are Standing at the Northernmost Point of the Australian Continent’ sign. Chances are you’ll want photographic evidence for the grand-kiddies one day!
Double Island Point
This hidden gem is located in Great Sandy National Park on the Sunshine Coast, and it’s the perfect day trip if you’re looking to head off the beaten track.
Offering a scenic headland with captivating beach and sea views, the best way to visit Double Island Point is via 4WD along Cooloola’s beach drive between Noosa North Shore and Rainbow Beach. Importantly, it can only be reached 2-3 hours either side of low tide (and is completely inaccessible at high tide) – plus you’ll need to pre-purchase a beach driving permit online from Queensland Parks – so be sure to plan ahead.
Another option is to organise a guided 4WD tour.
So, what’s there to do? Don’t miss exploring the Double Island Point lighthouse with its sweeping views, or take a canoe out on the water from one of the sheltered northern beaches. It’s also a surfer’s dream, with the north side of the point fantastic for beginners with its long, gentle break.
Other activities include kite surfing, fishing, kayaking and swimming in the crystal clear blue waters, and the stunning wildlife to marvel at include dolphins and even whales breaching during the whale migration season from June to October.
There’s no accommodation and camping is not permitted, but it’s an easy and very enjoyable day trip. Also worth noting you’ll need to pack all of your own food and drinks as there are no facilities at Double Island Point.
Heron Island, Southern Great Barrier Reef
The drive to this slice of paradise in the reef is full of iconic stops along the way, including Fraser Island and Bundaberg (home of the famous rum), but Heron Island is not accessible by car, so if you’re driving – you’ll need to park at Gladstone and then take a boat, seaplane or helicopter across. It is recommended to pre-book a secure car park in advance, to ensure a smooth transfer.
The island’s marketing campaign claims, ‘At Heron Island, you are not simply a hotel guest, you are a guest of nature’ – and honestly, this could not be more accurate. Your accommodation is in a protected sanctuary overlooking the Great Barrier Reef, and you can literally jump into the water from right outside your room, with the crystal-clear water offering a visual feast of wildlife including nesting turtles, reef fish, turtles, rays, reef sharks and more. Absolute bliss!
Snorkelling is a favourite activity on the island, and you can also join a guided nature walk or star gazing tour and so much more.
If you can, book to stay from December to April when endangered Loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings are erupting from their nests, it’s truly incredible.
The Scenic Rim
Just an hour’s drive from Brisbane city, The Scenic Rim is jam-packed with picturesque small villages, scenic wineries, farm-to-table dining experiences and nature at its best.
Perfect if you only have time for a shorter road trip, and suitable for all vehicles, this region will have you unwinding in no time. From World Heritage-listed rainforests and six national parks to explore – including Lamington National Park and Tamborine National Park where you can take on trails, waterfalls and swimming holes – to some of the most exquisite food and wine experiences and farmers markets, it’s Queensland at its best.
Other popular activities include hang-gliding, hot air ballooning, kayaking, fishing and exploring art galleries and cafes.
This classic Aussie outback adventure is a full road trip experience rather than just one destination. The Matilda Highway is a sealed, 1812km road – suitable for all types of vehicles – that stretches from the NSW border town of Barrungin, to Karumba in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
The drive takes around four days, but you’ll want to spend at least a week all up to allow time to explore destinations along the way.
Highlights include outback water holes, red sand dunes and clear night skies begging for star-gazing. Absolute must-sees include the Cosmos Experience and Bilby Show in Charleville, fishing for barramundi in The Gulf and a sunset cruise on the Wilson River at Longreach.
Importantly, as recommended by the RACQ, for any road trip, make sure you have a fully charged phone with you, plus enough food and water in case of a breakdown. Check road conditions before you depart each leg of your trip, and take a break from driving at least every two hours.
These amazing Queensland destinations are just a few of our recommendations – there are so many more incredible places worth exploring in our beautiful state. We’d love to hear if you have any suggestions too?