Great Beach Drive - 5 day Itinerary

Multiple Locations

The Great Beach Drive, located in Queensland’s stunning Australia’s Nature Coast, provides a road trip like no other. Offering the experience of driving on some of the world’s most stunning beaches, through some of the most idyllic National Parks and World Heritage listed areas, this is truly a once in a lifetime drive holiday experience.

The Great Beach Drive connects the Sunshine Coast with the World Heritage listed Fraser Island (K’Gari) and the Fraser Coast - forming a large part of the Australia’s Nature Coast. This region is home to an abundance of wildlife including kangaroos, whales, turtles, dingoes, dugongs, platypus and the world’s largest variety of bird species.

The drive route, approximately 380 kilometres long, also travels through landscape steeped in culture and etched in Australian history, covering two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, a World Heritage Marine Park and the largest sand island in the world.

Journey Details

Duration
120 Hours
Distance
380 Kilometres

Full Itinerary

Start your Great Beach Drive adventure from Hervey Bay, on Queensland's Fraser Coast.

In Hervey Bay, make sure you visit the Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere and become immersed in the incredible world of the humpback whale with an 'underwater whale' encounter. The Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere provides an immersive and educational experience on all things natural within the Fraser Coast.

In Hervey Bay you can also enjoy the many waterfront parks, playgrounds and cafes that make up 16 kilometres of beachfront parkland pathways that are perfect for cycling. Alternatively, you can hire a kayak or jetski and explore an aquatic playground.

Those travelling with children will love Hervey Bay's free water education park, 'Wetside', where they can get soaked buy the giant water bucket or learn to surf on the Board Rider.

To finish the day, take a relaxing sunset cruise exploring the Great Sandy Strait. Not only will you witness a magical sunset, you are also likely to see dolphins, birdlife and possible dugongs.

Check in to your accommodation for the night in Hervey Bay, where there are a variety of accommodation styles to suit your needs.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Car, Four Wheel Drive
Day 2 - Lady Elliot Island

Departing the Fraser Coast Airport located in Hervey Bay, take the 40 minute scenic flight from Hervey Bay to the Great Barrier Reef Eco certified Lady Elliot Island, gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef, for an unrivalled reef experience.

If your trip falls between November and March, you could find yourself captivated by the Green Sea Turtles during their egg laying season and some of the most amazing sunsets you'll ever see.

The snorkelling and diving experience on Lady Elliot Island is regarded as one of the best throughout the entire Great Barrier Reef. The diversity of fish species and the clarity of water is unrivalled, and Lady Elliot Island is also well known as being the best location for Manta Ray sightings in Queensland, if not Australia!

Check into your accommodation on Lady Elliot Island for the night which is just steps away from the waters edge and an abundance of marine and bird life.

Route Details
Mode of Travel Aeroplane
Route Type Return
Day 3 - Fraser Island

Depart Lady Elliot Island and enjoy the stunning scenic flight on return to Hervey Bay. Once in Hervey Bay, collect your 4WD vehicle and be sure to pay attention during your safety briefing prior to departure.

Drive to River Heads, just outside of Hervey Bay and catch the barge to Fraser Island, where you will arrive at Kingfisher Bay.

Once you have arrived on the island (be sure to check your tyre pressure before proceeding) you can enjoy a day of off road driving along the Great Beach Drive taking in key sites such as Central Station, Pile Valley, Lake McKenzie, Lake Wabby and Happy Valley.

Whilst on 75 Mile Beach, take the opportunity to see some of Fraser Island's more remote inland lakes and sand blows from the air with a scenic flight.

Avid fish persons can throw in a line off the beach in one of Australia's most renowned fishing destinations. However, keep in mind not to swim in the ocean off Fraser Island's eastern beach.

Check into your accommodation for the night along 75 Mile Beach, of which there are numerous styles of accommodation to choose from.

Route Details
Mode of Travel Ferry, Four Wheel Drive
Day 4 - Rainbow Beach

Before your departure, please contact the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to receive tide information and an up to date beach condition report, and be sure to reconfirm your barge transfer times with Manta Ray Barges.

Continue on the Great Beach Drive heading south along 75 Mile Beach to the southern most tip of Fraser Island. Along the way look out for Fraser Island dingoes, Jabirus, whales and sharks.

Take the vehicle barge from Hook Point to Inskip Point and continue your beach drive into Rainbow Beach.

Take the walk up to the Carlo Sand Blow and watch the paragliders soar, or take some wine and a picnic rug and enjoy the magnificent sunset or an amazing starry night, untainted by manufactured light.

Check into your accommodation for the night in Rainbow Beach, overlooking coloured sands and Fraser Island.

Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Ferry, Four Wheel Drive
Day 5 - Tin Can Bay to Noosa

Before your departure, please contact the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to receive tide information and an up to date condition report.

Wake up early and take the dolphin ferry from Rainbow Beach to Tin Can Bay, to hand feed the very rare Indo Pacific Humpback dolphins. The dolphins generally arrive early so plan to arrive between 7.00am and 8.00am.

Feeding commences at 8.00am with a small group of people in the water at one time. Dolphin feeding does mean getting wet, at least up to your knees, so come prepared!

After dolphin feeding, take the return 45-minute ferry back into Rainbow Beach.

Depart Rainbow Beach and take the Leisha Track to Double Island Point. In winter look for the annual humpback whales migration, as they travel along the east coast of Australia stopping at nearby Hervey Bay.

Head south along the Great Beach Drive to Noosa North Shore - stopping to enjoy the coloured sands at Teewah.

Take a vehicle ferry from Noosa North Shore into Noosa.

Check into your accommodation for the night at one of the Sunshine Coast's variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets and tastes.

Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Ferry

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Townsville Town Common Conservation Park

Townsville, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Enjoy the secluded beaches framed by rocky headlands, coastal woodlands bordering seasonal wetlands, and deep-water lagoons that make this park special. Summer rains transform the park into an immense wetland, attracting large flocks of waterbirds The walking and mountain biking trails, ranging from short easy walks to cross-country mountain bike rides, are a popular nature escape—and lots of heart-pumping fun—close to the city of Townsville Hike across Many Peak Range, enjoy expansive island views while riding the Under the Radar mountain bike trail or walk the trail to enjoy a picnic on secluded Shelley Beach.

Magnetic Island National Park

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Rocky granite headlands and towering hoop pines stand sentinel over tranquil sandy bays on this rugged, mountainous island covered with open eucalypt woodlands and surrounded by coral reefs. The island is easily accessible from Townsville and is noted for its abundant wildlife and varied history.

Nelly Bay

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
Free Entry
A holiday on Magnetic Island is likely to start on Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island's main residential bay. Nelly Bay is the first point of access for the passenger and car ferries and is an easy location to access bus transfers, taxis, hire vehicles or jump on board a guided tour.

Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
Escape to a tropical island paradise surrounded by secluded bays, golden beaches and activities to excite everyone. With 23 beaches and bays and just a 20 minute ferry ride from Townsville, Magnetic Island has the natural beauty and serenity of an untouched paradise within a thriving community.

Fishing at Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Magnetic Island is an angler's dream with a catch virtually guaranteed! Sit back, throw in a line and enjoy the rush of reeling in your latest bite. What a catch it can be; 22-pound Coral Trout and 44-pound Spanish Mackerel are among the trophies happy fishermen have taken home.

Magnetic Island Dive Site

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
Magnetic Island is a popular destination off Townsville for day trips or an extended stay. The island has many sheltered bays that are great to snorkel or dive, as they have a surprising amount of coral and some great marine life.

The Strand

Townsville, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Immerse yourself in the Townsville way of life and discover The Strand, Townsville's thriving beach foreshore! With a relaxed, yet energetic vibe, The Strand is bursting with activities to excite the whole family.

South Townsville

Townsville City, Townsville Area
When the sun goes down, South Townsville's Palmer Street comes alive! Following the river, this after-hours hot spot is brimming with groovy cafes, lively pubs and fine dining restaurants, sophisticated cocktail bars and hip hotels.

Townsville North Queensland

Townsville City, Townsville Area
The best holidays are the ones that leave you feeling energised and alive. Townsville North Queensland gives you that feeling with a collection of destinations and attractions to spark everyone's curiosity.

Castle Hill

Townsville, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Just metres short of a mountain, Castle Hill is the giant pink granite monolith that stands proud in the centre of Townsville - a perfect place for visitors to orientate themselves. As well as offering vehicle access, Castle Hill provides a number of popular walking tracks, which are frequented by more than 2,500 locals a day!
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Note: Information on listed products and services are provided by the operator and were correct at the time of publishing. Rates are indicative based on the minimum and maximum available prices of products and services. Please visit the operator’s website for further information. All prices quoted are in Australian dollars (AUD).