Our Big Lap is back, touring the country’s grand east coast. Part 5 saw our travels from Bega all the way to Byron Bay. Let’s say our goodbyes to New South Wales and explore the glorious Queensland region!
The trip to Brisbane is a short two-hour drive from Byron Bay, but it wouldn’t be a Big Lap without a little detour – Lamington National Park cannot be missed! A part of the World Heritage–listed Gondwana Rainforest, the national park is renowned for its spectacular waterfalls. It houses over a whopping 160 kilometres of walking trails, with a variety of intensity levels and distances. Another little detour from Brisbane is heading to the glamorous Gold Coast – the endless stretches of sandy beaches and numerous bars, restaurants and entertainment options may just entice you!
After an hour’s drive, you’ve reached Brisbane. Our favourite way to explore the city is by boat along the Brisbane River. Art fans – the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art are a must-visit for their displays of Australian and international artists.
Don’t forget a trip to Australia Zoo – a short 1.5-hour drive from Brisbane, it’s the perfect (and safest) place to see a crocodile up close! Noosa Heads is another great stop along the way, which is ideal for serenity and breathtaking scenery.
After a pit stop in Noosa Heads, a 2.5-hour drive takes you to the whale-watching capital, Hervey Bay. This picturesque seaside suburb is the epitome of relaxation. Pay a visit to Bundaberg, to explore the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery, and stop in for a cool drink and tour at the Bundaberg Barrel.
The trip from Bundaberg to Rockhampton is about 3.5 hours but is worth the distance. The Fitzroy River runs through the town, which makes it a great spot for fishing. Visit the Capricorn Caves just outside the town for a truly remarkable experience.
Continuing north to Mackay, the four-hour drive showcases the breathtaking Coral Sea – a tropical oasis. Explore the lush rainforests, grand Cape Hillsborough National Park or camp at Smalleys Beach. Just north of Mackay is the Whitsundays Region – a cluster of tropical islands in close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef.
Continue further towards Townsville and visit the Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium, to witness the largest living coral reef aquarium in the world, head on a snorkelling or diving tour, visit Magnetic Island or see Castle Hill – a pink granite monolith that stands tall in the centre of Townsville.