Great Beach Drive - 7 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
N/A
Distance
N/A

Activities

  • Birdwatching
  • Hiking/Trekking
  • Swimming

Full Itinerary

Day 1 - Noosa to Rainbow Beach

Depart your accommodation on the Sunshine Coast in your 4WD hire vehicle and head north to Noosa North Shore, the southern gateway to the Great Beach Drive.

Cross the Noosa River on the vehicle ferry at Tewantin and disembark at Noosa North Shore. Take the time to reduce the amount of air in your tyres to prepare for sand driving, and take the third beach access road to commence your Great Beach Drive experience, approximately 1km from the vehicle ferry.

Continue on to Double Island Point, where the surfer amongst us, can enjoy the world’s longest right hand surf break. Non–surfers can choose to take a walk up to the lighthouse for panoramic views overlooking the bay and on to Fraser Island (K’Gari). From July to November, spot a humpback whale as this part of the coast becomes a Whale Highway as the humpback whales travel to Hervey Bay as a part of their annual migration.

Take the Leisha Track (be sure to check tide times before proceeding any further) onto Rainbow Beach, a picturesque seaside town overlooked by towering and colourful sand cliffs at heights of up to 250m, after which the town is named.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Boat, Car, Four Wheel Drive, Horse
Day 2 - Rainbow Beach

Get up early and explore the picturesque Carlo Sand Blow and watch one of the best sunrises you are likely to experience. The Carlo Sand Blow is a unique ‘moonscape’ sand mass that covers over 15 hectares and provides expansive views of the towering coloured sands surrounding Rainbow Beach.

Replace the vehicle for a day with the freedom of horsepower. Rainbow Beach has a long history with horses, from the use of horses in the early days of exploration, to the brumbies that still run free on Inskip Peninsular, and through the Poona National Park. In Rainbow Beach you can horse ride in a stunning beach location, and take your horse for a swim in the ocean with the stunning coloured sands as your background.

With endless kilometres of beach, enjoy some beach fishing for the afternoon or simply enjoy the diversity of the flora and fauna that calls this stunning location home.

Finish your day with a sunset cocktail and a beautiful meal at one of Rainbow Beach’s many restaurants and pubs, while reviewing the tide times and condition report for the following day’s adventure.

Stay overnight in Rainbow Beach.

Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Four Wheel Drive
Day 3 - Rainbow Beach to Fraser Island

Depart Rainbow Beach and travel to Inskip Point, taking the barge to the southern end of World Heritage listed Fraser Island (K’Gari). Enjoy the thrill of driving on Fraser Island’s (K’Gari’s) 75 Mile Beach to the township of Eurong. Be sure to look out for Australia’s Jabiru (a type of stork also found in South America) that calls the area home. Enjoy lunch at Eurong.

If you would like to explore more of the stunning east coast of Fraser Island (K’Gari), drive further north and stop at Lake Wabby, Eli Creek, the SS Maheno shipwreck and Indian Head.

You also shouldn’t miss an opportunity to see Fraser Island (K’Gari) from the air whilst on 75 Mile Beach. This will be the one time you can experience a beach ‘take off and landing’, whilst exploring Fraser Island (K’Gari) from the air where you are also likely to see an abundance of wildlife including humpback whales, turtles and dugongs.

If time permits, continue on to the stunning Champagne Pools, a perfect swimming location where waves crash over rocks lining sandy pools with a golden froth reminiscent of champagne bubbles!

Check into your accommodation for the night along 75 Mile Beach.

Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Four Wheel Drive
Day 4 - Fraser Island

Depart your accommodation and continue on the Great Beach Drive taking the inland track west towards Kingfisher Bay. On your way across the island, stop at Central Station which was once home to a community of more than 100 people in the 1920’s logging era. At Central Station you can explore Fraser Island (K’Gari) rainforest along a boardwalk that fringes the silently flowing and crystal clear Wanggoolba Creek.

From Central Station, drive to the magnificent Lake McKenzie, one of Fraser Island’s (K’Gari’s) most popular and well recognised freshwater lakes. With its powder white sand and crystal clear water, Lake McKenzie is truly a once in a lifetime swimming location.

Continue along the Great Beach Drive through Fraser Island’s (K’Gari’s) towering lush rainforests to Kingfisher Bay on the west coast of Fraser Island (K’Gari), and check into your accommodation for your overnight stay.

Whilst staying at Kingfisher Bay, be sure to try the resorts ‘Bush Tucker Talk and Taste’ dining experience. Using bush tucker ingredients sourced from Fraser Island (K’Gari) and used by the Butchulla people, the traditional owners of Fraser Island (K’Gari), this will be a dining experience that you will never forget!

Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Ferry, Four Wheel Drive
Day 5- Hervey Bay

Depart Kingfisher Bay by vehicle Barge to River Heads on the mainland and drive into Hervey Bay on Queensland’s Fraser Coast.

Hervey Bay is widely regarded as the whale watching capital of Australia, if not the world, and also offers some of Queensland’s best fishing experiences as well as a range of beach café, dining and accommodation options.

The whale watching season in Hervey Bay takes place between July to November, and it is the only location along the east coast Australia where humpback whales deviate from their migratory path to rest and play in the calm sheltered waters between Hervey Bay and Fraser Island (K’Gari). There are a range of whale watching options located in Hervey Bay, including a range of ‘swim with’ and immersive experiences which allow you to get closer to humpback whales than ever before!! Whilst in Hervey Bay, a whale watching tour is an absolute must do.

Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Boat, Car, Ferry, Four Wheel Drive, Walk
Day 6- Fraser Island, Hervey Bay and Maryborough

Enjoy the stunning west coast of Fraser Island (K’Gari) through a touring experience offered by members of the whale watching fleet in Hervey Bay, or explore Fraser Island (K’Gari) in style on a Fraser Island (K’Gari) Jet Ski Safari!

What ever option you decide to choose, both trips have it all, allowing you to get up close and personal with a variety of wildlife including turtles, dugongs, dolphins, a variety of fish species and even the Fraser Island (K’Gari) dingo.

The tours allow you to participate in a range of activities whilst exploring Fraser Island (K’Gari), including hiking, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, fishing and stand up paddle boarding through the stunning creeks and estuaries that exist on the west coast of Fraser Island (K’Gari).

For something completely different, drive into the town of Maryborough, the home of the creator of Mary Poppins – PL Travers. Take the Magical Mary tour and step back in time, learning all about Maryborough’s rich history and the origins of PL Travers. Start your Portside experience with a Portside Heritage Gateway Pass, which includes entry into Customs House Interpretive Centre, and the number of museums that are available.

Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Bicycle, Boat, Bus, Car, Coach, Four Wheel Drive
Day 7- Tin Can Bay, Rainbow Beach, Noosa

Rise and shine early so as not to miss the hand feeding of dolphins at Tin Can Bay. Rare Indo Pacific Humpback Dolphins can be seen at the boat ramp most mornings from 8am. View the wildlife at Tinnanbar with sea turtles hatching between November and March each year, or use this opportunity to spot a dugong, Australia’s ‘sea cow’. Drive the 49 kilometre back into Rainbow Beach then onto your final beach drive through the Leisha Track (be sure to check tide times before proceeding any further) to Double Island Point and enjoy the 80 kilometre drive through the Great Sandy Biosphere back to Noosa North Shore. In Noosa be sure to join one of the several operators who offer Noosa River sunset cruises. Sit back and relax and enjoy a glass of wine whilst exploring Woods Bay and experiencing the Lake Weyba wildlife before taking in the sunset at the river entrance. After your cruise check into your Noosa accommodation for the evening to complete your 7 day Great Beach Drive Itinerary.

Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Bus, Car, Four Wheel Drive

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Daintree Discovery Centre

Cow Bay, Douglas Area
From AU$32 - 32
A multi-award winner, the Discovery Centre is nestled in the heart of the rainforest, 10 kilometres north of the Daintree River. The Centre is a 'must see' for anyone visiting the area and where you can experience the rainforest at every level - from the forest floor to the upper most reaches of the canopy.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Smithfield, Cairns Area
From AU$51 - 210
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is a unique rainforest experience, taking you on an unforgettable journey over and through Australia's World Heritage listed Tropical Rainforests. Spanning seven and a half kilometres in the Barron Gorge National Park, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway glides just metres over the canopy, its comfortable six-person gondola cabins providing spectacular views of the rainforest, tropical Cairns, the Coral Sea and lush Cairns Highlands.

Mossman Gorge Centre

Mossman, Douglas Area
From AU$9.50 - 9.50
Visit Mossman Gorge and experience the Daintree World Heritage Rainforest with pristine waterfalls, mountains and vivid flora and fauna, all the while getting lost in its enchanting stories and rich Indigenous heritage.

Cod Hole Dive Site

Cairns, Cairns Area
Free Entry
Possibly the most well-known dive site in the world can be found roughly 96 kilometres north of Cairns, at Cod Hole. Part of the string of long narrow Ribbon Reefs, Cod Hole is home to a group of very friendly potato cod, reaching up to 100 kilograms, that have become accustomed to divers over the past 30 years.

Lizard Island

Lizard Island, Cook Area
Lizard Island is truly secluded from the rest of the world. With 24 powdery-white beaches and 40 luxurious suites, it is the most northern resort in tropical Queensland and is located directly on the Great Barrier Reef.

Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL)

Laura, Cook Area
Free Entry
Journey through golden sandstone hills and sweeping grasslands, boat along scenic coastal estuaries and vast river systems, and delight in flower-sprinkled lagoons and shady waterholes. Relish superb fishing, secluded camping, brilliant birdwatching and stunning photography.

Northern Great Barrier Reef

Cairns, Cairns Area
Free Entry
Cairns and Tropical North Queensland is the closest point in Australia to experience the Great Barrier Reef. When travellers visualise themselves on the Great Barrier Reef - they think of Tropical North Queensland.

Mount Lewis National Park

Julatten, Mareeba Area
Free Entry
Mount Lewis, one of the highest rainforest-clad mountains of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, is a treasure trove of unique and endemic wildlife. The beautiful upland rainforest dates back to the evolution of flowering plants on earth.

Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park

Daintree, Cairns Area
Free Entry
Cape Tribulation, in Daintree National Park, is famed for steep rainforested mountains sweeping down to long sandy beaches and turquoise coastal waters. One of the most biologically diverse areas in the world, this park is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and the coastal waters are within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Cow Bay

Cow Bay, Douglas Area
After crossing the Alexandra Range visitors encounter the first bit of 'civilisation' north of the Daintree River at Cow Bay, located halfway between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation and offering great beach and rainforest experiences.
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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).