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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Springbrook Plateau, Springbrook National Park

Springbrook, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
Springbrook Plateau, Springbrook National Park offers breathtaking lookouts, magnificent waterfalls, dense rainforest and ancient Antarctic beech trees. The park is part of Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage area.

Rathdowney

Rathdowney, Scenic Rim Area
Rathdowney, just over an hour's drive south of Brisbane, close to Beaudesert in the Logan River Valley. At the base of the Great Dividing Range, Rathdowney is a beautiful township offering lush forests and rolling hills.

Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves

North Tamborine, Scenic Rim Area
From AU$12 - 12
Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves are located at Cedar Creek Estate. Come underground on a journey through the spectacular purpose-built Glow Worm cave! The cave consist of two large chambers interlinked by tunnels.

Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area

Springbrook, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area is famed for its ongoing geological processes, evolutionary history, and diversity (especially of rare, threatened and endemic species). It is an important refuge for many animals and home to impressive examples of ancient songbirds.

Scenic Rim

Beaudesert, Scenic Rim Area
Follow the changing landscape west and you'll find yourself in the Scenic Rim, Brisbane's world-heritage listed backyard, home to lush rainforests, spectacular mountain ranges and ancient landforms. Food and wine, romantic escapes, camping, bushwalking, country pubs, art, history and adventures are all here, tied together by the landscape and the beautiful towns and villages dotted throughout.

Curtis Falls, Tamborine National Park

Tamborine Mountain, Scenic Rim Area
Free Entry
Enjoy an enchanting walk through wet eucalypt forest beneath towering flooded gums and into cool and lush rainforest. Look for the beautiful crows nest and staghorn ferns in the canopy, and stop to marvel at the intricate strangler fig.

Canungra

Canungra, Scenic Rim Area
It's been the lyrics in a song, an old sawmill, home to a military base and now charming Canungra is coming into its own as a haven for talented artists and craft workers. Just 40 minutes from the Gold Coast, drive over rolling green hills to this lovely country town whose 1880s timber industry heritage remains evident among historic buildings such as St Luke's Church and the Lahey Tramway Tunnel through which visitors can wander.

Springbrook

Springbrook, Gold Coast Area
If the Gold Coast hinterland was home to a supermodel it would most certainly be Springbrook with its Antarctic beech trees, native wildlife and luscious lookouts. After all, where else can you find a place named The Best of All Lookouts?

North Tamborine

North Tamborine, Scenic Rim Area
Not to be confused with Tamborine Mountain upon which it is perched, North Tamborine is a suburb in its own right and plays to its own tune. It's easy to see why the rolling green hills, just 30 minutes from the Gold Coast, attracted early settlers who grew maize and grazed dairy cattle here.

O'Reilly's Tree Top Walk

Canungra, Scenic Rim Area
Free Entry
Discover O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk nestled high within World Heritage-listed National Park. Suitable for guests of all ages, this world’s first suspension bridge provides the opportunity to observe life in the rainforest canopy at close range.
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