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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Cannonvale Beach

Cannonvale, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Situated just three kilometres to the west of Airlie Beach, on a north facing stretch of sand, is Cannonvale Beach. With a stinger net for safe swimming in the summer months, a children's playground, and a delightful cafe on the foreshore, Cannonvale Beach is a favourite spot for families to play.

Whitsunday Region

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
In the heart of Queensland's Great Barrier Reef lie the Whitsundays, 74 islands floating like jewels in the tropical waters of the Coral Sea. Discovering the Great Barrier Reef is one of life's must-dos and it's easily accessible from Airlie Beach or directly from the islands.

Boathaven Beach

Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
It's not every day that a town gets a new beach, but Airlie Beach is proud to announce the opening of the brand new Boathaven Beach! Part of the new Port of Airlie development, Boathaven Beach is situated on the new peninsula known as The Beacons, and boasts 60,000 cubic metres of soft, white sand, a northerly aspect and is the area's first true all-tide beach.

Cedar Creek Falls

Proserpine, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
You will find Cedar Creek Falls about half way between Airlie Beach and Proserpine on Saltwater Creek Road. Set in a natural rock amphitheatre, you will enjoy spectacular waterfalls in the wet season and abundant flora and fauna including majestic white cedar trees, Alexandra Palms, wild orchids, colourful butterflies and many beautiful birds.

Conway Beach

Conway Beach, Whitsunday Area
Conway Beach is located on the southern Whitsunday Coast, approximately 30 minutes drive from Airlie Beach and Proserpine. A small hamlet, along with Wilsons Beach, Conway Beach is a popular spot for fishing and wind-powered sports such as kite surfing and land kiting.

Long Island

Long Island, Whitsunday Area
With 13 kilometres of extensive walking tracks, stunning lookouts, protected bays and beautiful secluded beaches, Long Island is well worth a visit. Much of the island is national park and you can enjoy bush walks, exploring the fringing coral reef, snorkelling off the beaches or relaxing under the coconut palms.

Conway National Park

Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Conway National Park is a peaceful coastal park with rainforest-clad hills, secluded beaches and panoramic outlooks over the scenic Whitsunday area. This park includes the rainforest-clad Conway Peninsula and protects the largest area of lowland tropical rainforest in Queensland outside Tropical North Queensland.

Shute Harbour

Shute Harbour, Whitsunday Area
Shute Harbour, near Airlie Beach, is a port facility for the transfer of visitors to the Whitsunday Islands and resort destinations. A small residential community, it commands outstanding views from most locations.

Daydream Island

Daydream Island, Whitsunday Area
Daydream Island has been impacted by recent weather events in Queensland. Please make contact with Daydream Island Resort and Spa information regarding bookings and travel plans. Daydream Island is the closest of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays to the mainland shore at Airlie Beach.

Jubilee Pocket

Jubilee Pocket, Whitsunday Area
Tucked away in the hills of the Whitsunday mainland, Jubilee Pocket is just two minutes drive from the tourist haven of Airlie Beach on the road to Shute Harbour. Jubilee Pocket’s relaxed ambience and proximity to the tropical, seaside town of Airlie Beach has made it popular in recent years with sea-changers.
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