Begin the route at one of Australia’s top holiday destinations – Noosa Heads and surrounds. A leafy town, Noosa Heads is surrounded by the blue waters of Laguna Bay, and home to the Noosa National Park, where you will likely spot a koala or two.
From Noosa, the drive will take you inland, to the Gold Rush town of Gympie – great for a quick stop off if you’re pressed for time. Just under an hour’s drive, there’s plenty to see along the way.
The next 50-minute leg will take you to Cooloola, nestled in the sweeping landscape of Great Sandy National Park. Once you’re set up, there is so much to explore, with such diversity of flora and fauna at your fingertips.
Depending on where you’re located in the National Park, Rainbow Beach is approximately 20 minutes from Cooloola. The town is famous for its jaw-dropping beach that stretches for 23 kilometres, and its vibrantly hued Coloured Sands – the result of iron oxide and leached vegetable dyes that are thought to have been at work since the last ice age.
Rainbow Beach–K’gari (Fraser Island)
The World Heritage–listed K’gari, or Fraser Island, is just a hop, skip and a jump from here, with a barge service operating from Inskip Point that can accommodate four-wheel drives and caravans. After a 10-minute jaunt across the water, you will have an abundance of nature-based activities right at your fingertips.
K’gari (Fraser Island)–Hervey Bay
Hervey Bay is the last stop on the Great Beach Drive. Get a ferry from the western side of the island to the mainland, and from here it’s approximately 20 minutes to the picturesque town. Hervey Bay is home to several family-friendly beaches with protected waters, so there’s plenty of swimming to be had on a hot summer’s day. It’s also a great spot to get into other water-based activities, such as paddle boarding, due to the calm waters.