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

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Snapper Rocks

Coolangatta, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
Snapper Rocks is a small rocky outcrop on the northern side of Point Danger at the southern end of Rainbow Bay on the Gold Coast. Snapper is a point break forming the first part of the man-made Superbank which extends from Snapper Rocks Point, through Rainbow Bay, Greenmount Point, Coolangatta Beach, and Kirra, for a distance of around two kilometres.

Palm Beach

Palm Beach, Gold Coast Area
If the Gold Coast had a middle child it would possibly be Palm Beach, nestled between Tallebudgera Creek on one side and Currumbin Creek on the other. But don't for one minute think this destination is dull.

Kirra Reef Dive Site

Kirra Beach, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
Not far from Kirra Beach, one of the Gold Coast’s top surfing destinations, is one of its most interesting dive sites; Kirra Reef. Consisting of scattered rocky outcrops covered in kelp fronds, there are scores of hidden gems throughout the reef.

Kirra

Kirra Beach, Gold Coast Area
There's variations on what the word Kirra actually means, but some believe Queensland Aborigines named it after a boomerang. Which makes sense as Kirra wraps evocatively around the bend separating Coolangatta and Kirra beaches and in front of Kirra Hill.

Cook Island Dive Site

Gold Coast, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
Cook Island, a short boat trip from the Gold Coast, is an accessible and appealing dive site for all experience levels. Hard and soft corals cover the bottom in some areas, with boulders forming walls and caves descending to the sandy sea floor in others.

Coolangatta

Coolangatta, Gold Coast Area
The southern Gold Coast's famous sandy beaches and world-class surf breaks conclude at Coolangatta, renowned for its casual beach-side culture. Spend the day surfing, SUP or swimming with the locals at Coolangatta, Greenmount, Duranbah, Palm Beach and into southern Rainbow Bay.

Tugun

Tugun, Gold Coast Area
Just when you thought the Gold Coast couldn't get any more relaxed you arrive over the hill and into Tugun. This southern Gold Coast suburb is so laid-back that locals fondly call her Tugz (pronounced choog-s) while ancient Aborigines referred to Tugun as a place of "breaking waves".

Currumbin

Currumbin, Gold Coast Area
The coastal nook of Currumbin on the Southern Gold Coast is a haven of pristine beaches and calm waterways attracting surfers and SUP enthusiasts by the dozen. Swim in the sheltered waters of Tallebudgera Creek and the Currumbin Rock Pools and test your balance kite-surfing or kayaking.

Currumbin Valley

Currumbin Valley, Gold Coast Area
Heading into the Currumbin Valley is a little like entering an Aladdin's Cave of adventure. From the coastline, head southwest into another world along Currumbin Creek Road which leads to Tomewin Mountain Road winding up to Tomewin Mountain.

Currumbin Waters

Currumbin Waters, Gold Coast Area
Currumbin is an inspiring beachfront community where the epic Currumbin Creek waterway links to the pristine rainforest mountains of the region when heading west. Currumbin Creek and the Alley, the entrance to the ocean, offer a protected and patrolled haven for all kinds of active water sports, particularly stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking.
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