Brisbane to Brisbane in 5 Days (752 km)
Visit the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, a haven for tourists looking for fantastic beaches, adventure sports, ecotourism, and one fantastic photo opportunity after another! This five-day itinerary begins and ends in Brisbane, where you can easily extend your trip to explore the Queensland's capital city.
The first leg of the itinerary takes you all the way to Bundaberg, where you can explore the Great Barrier Reef and the surrounding National Parks. After two days, you will drive south to Hervey Bay, for another once-in-a-lifetime nature experience, the best whale watching in Australia. On day four, you will drive to Maroochydore, and explore the beaches and attractions in and around this popular city. Finally, you will return to Brisbane, where you can have your pick of activities, restaurants, and shopping.
Drive 365 km (5 hours, 27 minutes) north to Bundaberg, the 'Gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef'. Situated on the Burnett River, Bundaberg and the surrounding areas are a nature-lover's dream, with beautiful sandy beaches perfect for diving, and eight National Parks right along the coast. In order for you to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef and other sights, you will need two days in Bundaberg.
Where to Stay
Cane Village Holiday Park
This Park is about five km from the city center, and features a saltwater swimming pool, two camp kitchens, award-winning gardens, and a children's playground. Choose from campsites, deluxe holiday units, or budget cabins. www.big4.com.au
Bundaberg East Cabin and Tourist Park
Set amongst 5 acres of tranquil gardens, the Bundaberg East Cabin and Tourist Park is an ideal place to holiday in Bundaberg. Closeby to the turtle rookery at Mon Repos and offering a wide range of powered sites for a campervan, this park simply must be explored. www.bundabergtouristpark.com.au
Dive the Great Barrier Reef
There are numerous places to dive around the Great Barrier Reef, including Fitzroy Reef Lagoon, Hoffman's Rocks, Barolin Rocks, and the favorite of many divers, Evan's Patch. If you would rather stay above water, take one of the many day cruises. Some of the cruises allow time for diving or snorkeling as well. You can also tour the areas of Lady Elliott Island and Lady Musgrave Island. Check with the Bundaburg Visitor Information Center for details about the various tours available.
Bundaberg Rum Distillery
Take a tour of the distillery, which has been producing rum since 1888. Learn about the process of distilling rum, visit the Spring Hill House, a restored Queenslander now operating as a Visitor's Center, and tour the museum. Tours are every hour on the hour, from 10:00 to 3:00 most days. www.bundabergrum.com.au
Turtles at Mon Repos Beach
About 15 km east of the city is Mon Repos Beach, known as 'Turtle Coast' and home to a large population of nesting marine turtles. You may be able to catch a glimpse of them after dark, so plan to come after an early dinner (check with one of the four Bundaberg Region Visitor Information Centers for the best viewing times and to purchase tickets).
Drive about 124 km southeast to Hervey Bay. Named by Captain Cook in 1770, Hervey Bay is made up of numerous tiny townships, and is the gateway to Fraser Island. Considered one of the best places in the world to spot humpback whales, the area has numerous outdoor recreational opportunities, and a plethora of caravan parks.
Where to Stay:
Fraser Lodge Holiday Park
Located in Hervey Bay just a short walk to the beach, Fraser Lodge features two swimming pools, a tennis court, two camp kitchens, a game room with televisions, Internet access, spa, tour desk with booking services, and turtle and duck watching at the Sanctuary Dam. Choose from couple's retreats, spa villas, two bedroom villas, holiday units, studio units, ensuite cabins, ensuite sites, powered sites and unpowered sites. www.fraserlodge.com.au OR www.big4.com.au
BIG4 Point Vernon Holiday Park
Located just outside of Hervey Bay, the Point Vernon features a library with television and Internet, a saltwater swimming pool, children's playground, tour desk with booking services, and camp kitchen. Choose from ensuite and park cabins; the park also has drive-through sites. www.pvhp.com.au OR www.big4.com.au
Whale Watching Tour
Every year from July through November, Hervey Bay is home to thousands of migrating humpback whales. More than 20 companies operate whale-watching tours out of Urangan Boat Harbour. You can choose full-day, half-day, and three-quarter-day tours. Check with the Whale Watch Industry Association of Hervey Bay for more information.
Hervey Bay Historical Village & Museum
Step back in time as you explore the 19 buildings that make up the Hervey Bay Historical Village & Museum. Thousands of artifacts date back to the 1800s, and the site includes a church built in 1910, a railway station built in 1920, a slab cottage built in 1900, and a school built in the 1800s. Some of the buildings are fully furnished. On Sundays you can see a demonstration from a blacksmith and wood turner.
Fishing Off of the Scarness Esplanade
Hervey Bay is also well known for fantastic fishing opportunities. You can hire a fishing charter, but if you simply want to put a line in for a few hours, make your way to the Scarness Esplanade. About 18 km long, the Esplanade has numerous jetties perfect for fishing.
Leave early in the morning and begin the 206 km-drive south to Maroochydore, where you will find gorgeous beaches and terrific shopping. The route winds through the towns of Kin Kin, Teewantin and Noosaville. If you are ahead of schedule, stay a night in Noosa Heads, just a few km off of your route. Here you will find a plethora of caravan parks, National Parks, and great shopping and beaches.
Where to Stay:
Maroochy Palms Holiday Village
Located on the Maroochy River about 5 km from the central Maroochydore, the Maroochy Palms is a family resort with loads of free activities (with accommodation), including the tennis courts, a nine-hole golf course, a swimming pool complex complete with its own beach, rock pool spa, and fountains; camp kitchen, a well-equipped recreation room, a landscaped lake with boardwalks, outdoor movie theatre, a fitness center for the grown ups (with massage services), and an activity program for the kids; a mini replica train, the JayJay Express; and a general store and cafe. Choose from luxury spa villas, riverview villas, deluxe vilas, ensuite villas, powered ensuite sites, and camping sites. www.maroochypalms.com.au OR www.big4.com.au
Maroochy Beach Caravan Parks
The Maroochy Beach Caravan Parks are operated by the Maroochy Shire Council, and are located in Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Cotton Tree, Mudjimba, and Coolum. Most have powered van sites and powered tent sites, laundry and shower facilities, vending machines, and swimming pools. www.maroochypark.qld.gov.au The Coolum location, the Coolum Cool Seas, is close to beaches, restaurants, and nightclubs. The Cotton Tree location is located on the Maroochy River, and is within walking distance of beaches famous for great surfing. The Maroochydore location, the Maroochydore Seabreeze, is an oceanfront park close to beaches, and restaurants. The Mooloolaba location is across from Underwater World Aquarium, and is within walking distance of beaches and shopping. The Mudjimba location is more quiet, features a children's playground, and easy beach access.
Visit the largest oceanarium in the southern hemisphere, Underwater World. Located in the Wharf Complex in Mooloolaba, Underwater World is home to more than 25,000 creatures from the deep, including coral fish, sharks, seals, otters, and crocodiles. Here you can swim with the seals, explore the touch pools, and take one of 18 tours available to visitors, including the Dinosaur Discovery Tour. www.underwaterworld.com.au
If you happen to be traveling through on a Wednesday or Saturday, visit the Eumundi Market in the historic town of Eumundi. More than 500 stalls showcase fresh produce, delicious food, handmade crafts, and other wonderful treasures. www.eumundimarkets.com.au
Opened to the pubic in 1973, this medieval castle features a collection of armor displayed in the dungeon and the Great Hall, a doll exhibit, a model train exhibit, and a tower with a 360 degree views of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. The Sunshine Castle is located about ten minutes from Maroochydore in Bli Bli. www.sunshinecastle.com
Drive 105 km south to Brisbane, the capital of Queensland and Australia's fastest growing city. Located on the Brisbane River, between the Great Dividing Mountain Range and Moreton Bay, Brisbane is a lush city with spectacular gardens and wonderful beaches. Although this is where your trip started, you are not finished by any means. Brisbane offers visitors a wealth of sightseeing and dining opportunities, and you will need at least two days to see the top sites. Once you get settled at your caravan park or resort, visit stroll the streets of downtown Brisbane, and have a seafood dinner or a bit of 'Mod Oz' cuisine.
Where to Stay:
BIG4 Brisbane Northside Caravan Village
Located about 12 km from the heart of Brisbane in Aspley, the BIG4 Brisbane features a well-equipped recreation room with an Internet kiosk, a swimming pool, tennis courts, golf putting green, and laundry facilities. Guests can easily walk to a nearby shopping center, and to public transportation into Brisbane. Choose from self-contained, air-conditioned villas and cabins, all of which include kitchens, telephones, televisions, and toilets. www.caravanvillage.com.au OR www.big4.com.au
Gateway Village Resort
Located about 16 km south of Brisbane in Rochedale, the Gateway Village features a recreation room, tennis court with floodlights, swimming pool, children's playground, laundry facilities, landscaped gardens, and Internet kiosks and wireless throughout, camper's kitchen, and free video games. Buses run from the resort into Brisbane and to the major regional shopping centers. Choose from one- to three-bedroom villas, and full-serviced, powered sites. www.gatewayvilage.com.au OR www.big4.com.au
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Located just outside of Brisbane in Fig Tree Pocket, the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is home to over 130 koalas. Stop by on the way to your accommodations near Brisbane, and you can enjoy some actual koala cuddling, feed kangaroos from your hand, and see parrots, kookaburras, emus, wombats, a Tasmanian devil and an Eastern water dragon! You can have your picture taken with a koala; eat at the on-site restaurant or in the picnic area. www.koala.net
St. John's Cathedral
Under construction for the past 100 years, this 19th century Gothic-Revival cathedral was designed in 1888 and features the only stone vaulted ceiling in Australia. Take the Stained Glass Tour, watch as masons cut stone using medieval methods, and see more than 200 needlepoint cushions hand-stitched by art students. www.stjohnscathedral.com.au
The Queensland Cultural Centre
Situated on the banks of the Brisbane River, the Queensland Cultural Centre is a series of buildings celebrating the arts. Visit the Queensland Arts Gallery and the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art www.qag.qld.gov.au, both with Aboriginal collections. Also in this arts complex is the Queensland Performing Arts Centre www.qmuseum.qld.gov.au is the place to see fossils, models of a blue whale and dinosaurs, and even a German tank from WW1.
End of Trip
Return your campervan and begin working on that scrapbook!