Pacific Coast Way - Mackay to St Lawrence

Multiple Locations

Experience four wheel drive adventures, a coral reef teeming with marine life, beautiful beaches and great camping when you travel the Pacific Coast Way between Mackay and Clairview.

This stretch of coast is largely untouched. Rugged and raw, this section of natural coastline is home to patches of ancient rainforest, remote beaches and exciting marine life.

Allow at least two days to explore this area, more if you intend to camp at the wild and remote Cape Palmerston.

Journey Details

Duration
48 Hours
Distance
130 Kilometres

Activities

  • Birdwatching
  • Hiking/Trekking

Full itinerary

Mackay to Cape Palmerston

Mackay to Sarina: Drive 38 kilometres south from Mackay to Sarina, home of the award-winning Sarina Sugar Shed. This is Australia's only miniature working sugar mill and distillery, offering tours, tastes and insights into the sugar industry. Taste the distillery's own rum and watch candy floss being made.

You can find the Sarina Tourist Art and Craft Centre near the Sugar Shed at the Field of Dreams complex.

Nearby Sarina and Grasstree Beaches provide lovely coastal locations to enjoy a beachside picnic.

Cape Palmerston National Park: An off-road paradise 25 kilometres South of Sarina providing a serene place for self-sufficient camping. Open eucalypt woodland grows on the ridges; while mangrove swamps, rainforest and sand dunes are all part of the cape’s rugged attraction. Traverse the oceanside cape to view abundant marine life below, including turtles, dugongs or humpback whales from June to September as they migrate north. Self-sufficient campers can bush camp at Windmill Bay, Clark Bay or Cape Creek. The camp sites can only be reached by four wheel drive and permits are required.

The undeveloped wilderness surrounding Cape Palmerston’s camping areas provides access to excellent fishing locations and rugged bush walks.

TIP: Bring your own drinking water.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4
Distance 100 kms
Route Type One Way
Cape Palmerston to St Lawrence

Delightful beachside communities, popular for fishing and crabbing, line the coast from Cape Palmerston to St Lawrence.

Catch a crab in Carmila: Camp near the ocean and reel in the ocean’s bounty by trawling nearby creek mouths. Facilities include toilets, barbecues and picnic tables. A boat ramp is located at Carmila Creek with a playground and beach access nearby.

Flaggy Rock: Accessible by four wheel drives, it provides beautiful 360 degree views toward the ranges and across the Coral Sea. Stop at a local café and gift shop to indulge in home baking, sample some of the freshly-made fruit ice cream or purchase a precious gem to take home.

Dugongs in Clairview: 120 kilometres South of Mackay, the beachside community of Clairview is known for excellent fishing and crabbing. A dugong sanctuary was established in 1997. Visitors may catch a glimpse of these incredible creatures from the beach.

Fun Fact If you are travelling from the south, Clairview is the first place you catch a glimpse of the sea from the highway since the Gold Coast, 1,850 kilometres south.

St Lawrence: One of the most historic towns on the Queensland Coast, worth a visit to view historical buildings and relics.

Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Car, Four Wheel Drive
Distance 140 kms
Route Type One Way

Find what's nearby

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Woombye

Woombye, Sunshine Coast Area
Woombye used to be called Cobb’s Camp due to the fact that it was a staging post for the Cobb & Co coaches. The local pub celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2000, and is certainly worth a visit. Woombye is home to luscious sub-tropical fruits, and the popular Macadamia nut.

Noosa Valley

Noosa Heads, Noosa Area
Just 10 minutes’ drive from the hustle and bustle of Hastings Street, you’ll find yourself in tranquil, peaceful Noosa Valley. With its picture-postcard countryside and abundant wildlife, this area offers a refreshing contrast to the more developed parts of the Sunshine Coast.

Mapleton

Mapleton, Sunshine Coast Area
Surround yourself with green rolling hills and breathtaking coastal views by taking a short drive up the range to the gorgeous village of Mapleton. Grab a bite to eat at the local tavern or a cup of coffee at one of the quaint cafes along the hilltop.

Kandanga

Kandanga, Gympie Area
Arriving in Kandanga, it is easy to imagine the roar of sawmills, the rattle of cream carriers or the chug of trucks carrying pineapples to the station. However, imagination is essential, as these noises echoed through Kandanga in the 1940s and 1950s.

Maleny

Maleny, Sunshine Coast Area
The delightful Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Maleny lies in picture-postcard dairy country, interspersed with rainforests. Located high in the Blackall Range, about 30 kilometres south-west of Caloundra, the area is renowned for its environment and numerous scenic spots.

Mapleton Falls National Park

Mapleton, Sunshine Coast Area
Free Entry
In the heart of the glorious Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Mapleton Falls National Park is a place of intense beauty and natural treasures. Find a prime spot on the viewing platform high above the Obi Obi Gorge and Mary River Valley.

Gardners Falls

Maleny, Sunshine Coast Area
Gardners Falls is a hidden gem in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Leave your vehicle in the car park on the banks of the Obi Obi Creek and take a short, level walk downstream to the falls. You’ll pass a number of shallow rock pools which are ideal for smaller children who just want to splash about.

Cooran

Cooran, Noosa Area
About three kilometres from the Bruce Highway, Cooran is one of those country towns that offers more than you might think. Close to the Sunshine Coast towns of Pomona, Nambour, Cooroy and popular surfing beaches at Noosa, Cooran is a pretty hamlet in a lush valley.

Witta

Witta, Sunshine Coast Area
Fresh air, peace and tranquillity. That's what is on offer in the small hamlet of Witta. Witta, once known as Teutoburgh in the 1880s, was first settled by German immigrants. The name Teutoburgh came from a nearby German mission.

Mooloolah

Mooloolah, Sunshine Coast Area
Mooloolah is located off the Steve Irwin Way (formerly Glass House Mountains Tourist Drive) via Mooloolah Connection Road with neighbouring communities of Glenview and Palmview being located just off the M1.
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