Begin your adventure in Melbourne and take a day to explore the quintessential touring route, the Great Ocean Road. Spend several days exploring the city highlights and beautiful metropolitan beaches of Sydney before travelling onto the chic coastal suburbs of the Gold Coast. Heading inland, explore the amazing artisan food scene of Tamborine Mountain. As you continue to travel north, visit unmissable sights such as Australia Zoo and the Noosa Everglades before being immersed in the ancient culture and pristine wilderness of the Great Barrier Reef. You will visit K'Gari (Fraser Island) and Magnetic Island, and spend 2 nights sailing in the world-renowned Whitsundays before journeying on to the tropical city of Cairns and spending several days wondering around the forests and beaches of Far North Queensland.
April through to September are perfect months to take this trip, when tropical areas like Cairns have sunny, warm days and mild evening temperatures.
On arrival, you will be met by a private driver outside customs exit and delivered to your Melbourne accommodation.
Melbourne is the coastal capital of the state of Victoria. At the city's centre is the modern Federation Square development, with shopping, bars, and restaurants by the Yarra River. In the Southbank area, the Melbourne Arts Precinct is the site of Arts Centre Melbourne and the National Gallery of Victoria, with Australian and indigenous art. As the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne has a hidden gem around every corner - Rich history, bustling laneways, rooftop bars, and world-class restaurants are just the beginning!
Melbourne is the cool, artsy capital of the state of Victoria. Renowned for its laneway art, cafes, bars, restaurants and museums, there is no shortage of things to do, see, eat and drink. Grab a coffee in Degraves Street, see the murals on Hosier Lane or Blender Lane, pop over to St Kilda and stroll along the promenade or visit one of the many museums. For a spot of retail therapy, catch the 86 or 96 tram from the CBD to the bohemian Brunswick Street shopping district for an eclectic mix of second hand vintage and high-end boutique stores. On the opposite side of the city, the Docklands open-air entertainment precinct boasts a myriad of public artwork, family fun activities such as glow in the dark mini golf, and a variety of dining options lining the marina. Get there easily on the free City Circle tram, or wander over the Bourke Street footbridge. To make the most of your time in Melbourne, we recommend taking a city tour to get true local insight into this vibrant city.
At Melbourne Skydeck, the Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing attraction, the city of Melbourne comes alive in front of your eyes when you take it all in from nearly 300 metres high. It’s Melbourne on another level. The Skydeck experience features Bar 88, in association with Bollinger, operated by the Eureka 89 team. With 360° panoramic views all day and night, you can relax and enjoy all of Melbourne’s legendary views with a delicious snack and cool drink.
The Melbourne hidden bar culture is a unique part of Australia’s cultural capital. The difficult thing is just that – they’re hidden! This city makes you work to find its best bits, which is why you’ll find some of the best bars behind other venues, underneath laneways, or tucked into repurposed spaces.
Join an experienced guide and uncover four of these fascinating venues in one afternoon, and learn what makes each one special over a drink, or four (at your own expense). Speak with talented bartenders during this small-group experience, making sure to chat with them about what kinds of drinks you like to personalise your Melbourne Hidden Bars Tour even more.
Experience this majestic coastal drive in style with this small group and enjoy time to relax and fully appreciate the wonders of this world-famous touring route. Stay on the lookout for some very special animals including whales, dolphins, echidnas and bandicoots, you’ll also be taken to the best hiding spots for koalas and kangaroos in the wild. The first stop will be at Apollo Bay, a tranquil seaside town which is most noteworthy for its setting among the soft rolling hills. It offers a great selection of cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy some lunch (not included). Following this, you will enjoy a walk in the forest in the Otway Ranges. Cap the day off with a visit to the famous 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge.
Enjoy a complete cruising experience and combine both our Port & Docklands and the River Gardens sightseeing tours. View the contrasting scenery of Melbourne that has made it one of the most “Liveable Cities in the World”.
Witness the nightly ritual of the Penguin Parade at Phillip Island. On the way, visit Churchill Island and Koala Conservation Centre where you can look for koalas in their natural habitat from treetop boardwalks. Watch the Little Blue Penguins find their way back to shore at sunset. From the waves - across the beach - to the sand dunes - the Little Penguins can almost be touched as they waddle to their burrows. Observe the Penguin Parade from the elevated premium viewing area for the best views of the Penguins.
You will be picked up from your Melbourne accommodation and taken to the Melbourne Airport.
This cost for this flight is additional to your tour, we can book this flight for you.
On arrival, you will be met by a private driver outside baggage carousel and delivered to your Sydney accommodation.
Sydney is Australia's most famous city and with almost 20% of the country's population, is also Australia's largest city. Situated on the east coast of Australia it has beautiful white sand beaches, including the famous Bondi Beach and Manly Beach as well as the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and of course, the Sydney Opera House. Rich in history, art, and food Sydney has something for everyone.
Sydney harbour is like a sunset painting in progress. The aquamarine colours of Summer give way to the warm orange hues of Autumn before deepening to a magical Winter twilight blue. Year-round, sun-up or sun-down and everything in between, the colours of Sydney Harbour will welcome you onboard the evening Dinner Cruise. This is the perfect start to an evening or stunning end to an amazing day in the greatest city in the world.
When in Sydney travel like the locals do, on the harbour highway. The best harbour destinations have been combined into one easy to follow ferry timetable. This pass gives you the flexibility to hop-on and hop-off as you like, with the expert local guidance of our onboard crew.
Experience all the excitement of Australia’s famous Harbour city aboard the Big Bus Sydney and Bondi Beach, open-
top double-decker buses. The Sydney tour is the perfect introduction to this dynamic city, showcasing the iconic landmarks including the impressive arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the glorious Sydney Opera House and the sparkling waters of Sydney and Darling Harbour. The tour passes bustling shops, restaurants and attractions set amongst Colonial, Victorian and postmodern architecture.
The Blue Mountains National Park is one of seven national parks that make up the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. This wonderland of sandstone outcrops, deep ravines and hazy blue eucalypt forests boasts luxury retreats and stunning views. This guided day tour will take you off the beaten track to visit remote lookout locations and discuss the history, flora, and fauna of this magnificent region.
Often mistaken as Australia's capital city, Sydney is a vibrant coastal city with plenty to see and do. Starting in Circular Quay you will catch your first views of the two big icons, Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. From here you can catch one of the quintessential harbour ferries over to Manly Beach or Taronga Zoo, catching a glimpse of Kirribilli House, the Prime Minister's official Sydney residence, on the way over. Kirribilli is also home to one of Sydney's oldest markets at the Kirribilli Neighbourhood Centre twice a month. It is known for its stalls of vintage clothing, arts, delicious street food and its lively community atmosphere - so if you are in town on a market day, you can't miss it. For a relaxing end to your day of exploration, your dinner options are aplenty. From high-end restaurants around Circular Quay that offer amazing views, to the Chinatown food courts and a broad range of eateries at Barangaroo, you will be spoiled for choice.
You will be picked up from your Sydney accommodation and taken to the Sydney Airport.
This cost for this flight is additional to your tour, we can book this flight for you.
On arrival, you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Broadbeach/Surfers accommodation.
This is a Tamborine Mountain tour like no other. Experience the Gold Coast's most famous national park and mountain top village through the eyes of a local, with a guided walk through the rainforest, a taste of locally grown produce at lunch and also a chance to try the region's best coffees and artisan spirits. Meet passionate local producers, buy handmade art and crafts then take in the waterfalls and lookouts of the Gold Coast's most famous mountain top village. Whilst on the tour your guide will tell the stories of the local people, history of the region, show you their favourite spots and share their knowledge on the rainforest’s unique flora and fauna.
Famed for its beaches, including the world-renowned Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast has plenty to offer away from the sand and sea. In order to make the most of your free day make sure you include some of the following:
Beach hop between Coolangatta and Currumbin or take a surf lesson at Surf In Paradise from The Spit near Main Beach. Consider heading over to Wave Break Island with Queensland Scuba Diving and experience the fantastic snorkeling and diving. For the more experienced surfers, head to Burleigh Heads. This beach often has whales from April to September.
If thrills are what you are after, head to any one of Gold Coast's world-class theme parks. Holoverse, Wet 'n' Wild, Sea World, Infinity Attraction and Topgolf Gold Coast are just a few.
For those looking for wildlife encounters, look no further than Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. This iconic park gives its visitors the opportunity to wander through open animal enclosures, feed kangaroos and befriend cuddly koalas. It's newest precinct is home to lemurs, cotton-top tamarins, red pandas, capybaras, and exotic birds and reptiles. As a non-profit organisation, all proceeds are put back into wildlife and conservation programs.
Feeling a bit peckish? Rick Shores and the Fish House are popular spots at Burleigh Heads for lunch and dinner. If you're hoping for a craft beer experience, have a pint of one of the award-winning beers from Burleigh Brewing Company, Black Hops, Fortitude Brewing Co., Balter or Lost Palms Brewing Company.
Learn to surf at a beautiful beach on the Gold Coast, only 10 minutes from Surfer's Paradise. Perfect for beginners with a protected beach and the lowest student to coach ratios on the Gold Coast, you are sure to have a fun experience and guaranteed to stand in your first lesson.
Our rental car range includes the latest vehicles from the top suppliers. We have a fantastic range, from economy hatchbacks to prestige sedans and SUVs. Insurance can often be included with a small excess or deductible.
The Scenic Rim driving route between Gold Coast and Brisbane is one of spectacular beauty, bursting with stunning mountain ranges and unique topography. Nestled in an ancient volcanic caldera, its abundance of flora, fauna, scenery and local produce is not to be missed.
Begin your journey by making your way westbound out of the city towards Nerang, and from there carry on west to Canungra. Once you reach Canungra, you will head south on Lamington National Park Road.
This UNESCO World Heritage site will take your breath away with its exceptional beauty. Home to rainforest, ancient trees, deep valleys and streams, you can immerse yourself in its 160km of walking trails. If you are looking for an easy walk, head for the Centenary Track which should take roughly 30 minutes. If you're feeling a bit more invigorated, carry on to the Morans Falls Track from Centenary Track for a 2 hour return journey.
After you've had your fix of short walks, head back to Canungra before heading north towards Tamborine Mountain. Home to a Rainforest Skywalk, Treetop Challenge, and brewery, there is something for everyone in the family. The plateau is the product of lava flow from the Mount Warning volcanic eruption 22 million years ago and prior to European settlement, it was inhabited by Aboriginal People for tens of thousands of years. Today, it is celebrated for its natural beauty, exceptional fresh produce and abundance of outdoor activities.
Drive north towards Brisbane and if you're still hungry, Yatala Pies are a Queensland icon, making meat pies for over 130 years and definitely worth a quick stop. From here, get back on the motorway and follow it all the way into Brisbane.
Brisbane is the third-largest city in Australia and is the capital of Queensland, the "Sunshine State". It is set along the Brisbane River and was the traditional home to the Jagera and Turrbal Aboriginal clans before Europeans founded a convict colony in what is now the central business district in 1824.
Modern-day Brisbane is one of the fastest-growing cities in Australia and has a rich, culturally diverse population. There is no shortage of attractions to visit and explore. Across the river from the CBD, South Bank is home to the city's Cultural Centre with world-class galleries and entertainment. Just an hour from the city, discover Brisbane’s stunning natural surrounds including the Scenic Rim and Somerset World Heritage rainforests, lookouts and majestic mountain peaks, while Moreton Island and Redlands Coast offer pristine waters, wildlife experiences, diving and snorkelling.
Brisbane is a hub of activities and attractions. With its unique blend of urban sophistication and natural beauty, Brisbane offers something for everybody. Starting the day early, one could begin by exploring the South Bank Parklands, a sprawling riverside precinct filled with lush gardens, walking paths, and stunning views of the city skyline. Take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Brisbane River, visit the iconic Wheel of Brisbane for a panoramic view, or enjoy a relaxing breakfast at one of the charming riverside cafes. Next, consider delving into the cultural scene by visiting the Queensland Cultural Centre, which houses the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA). Art enthusiasts can immerse themselves in a diverse range of local and international artworks, while history buffs can explore the Queensland Museum or the Museum of Brisbane. For a taste of the city's history, a visit to the Story Bridge and Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park is a must. The Story Bridge Adventure Climb offers breathtaking views of the city from its summit, and the Kangaroo Point Cliffs provide a perfect spot for picnics. Afterwards, make your way to the vibrant Fortitude Valley, known for its trendy boutiques, bustling markets, and eclectic mix of cafes and restaurants. Explore the Brunswick Street Mall, discover unique fashion finds, and indulge in a delicious lunch at one of the local eateries. To complete the day, a visit to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is highly recommended. As the world's oldest and largest koala sanctuary, visitors can cuddle koalas, hand-feed kangaroos, and get up close to a variety of Australian wildlife.
This popular cruise has been taking visitors to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for over 60 years and is a "must-do" experience while in Brisbane. The cruise travels through the city's most historic landscapes, iconic attractions, historical homesites and interesting wildlife habitats as you listen to an entertaining and informative commentary. Enjoy 3 hours exploring Lone Pine, before re-joining the cruise for a relaxing return journey on the river back to the city.
Head north out of Brisbane and through the Glass House Mountains. Passing through Beerburrum State Forest you can take a detour to Beerwah, home of Steve Irwin's Australia ZooAustralia Zoo, where you can see over one hundred different species including crocodiles, Tasmanian devils, koalas, wombats and dingoes.
Continuing north through the Sunshine Coast, you will turn towards the coast at Eumundi - if you are driving through on a Wednesday or Saturday morning, stop in at the Eumundi markets for local food, arts and crafts.
From Eumundi, it's just 25 minutes to your destination, the beautiful coastal town of Noosa.
Australia Zoo, one hour north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast, was made famous by the Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. The 110-acre zoo is the most interactive conservation destination on the planet where you can get up close to animals including koalas, wombats, and kangaroos! Watch a saltwater crocodile strike from the water’s edge in the daily Wildlife Warriors show, and explore the world’s busiest Wildlife Hospital, where you can watch vets saving endangered Australian animals.
Hear the story of how ginger is grown, harvested and turned into a delicious range of Buderim Ginger products. Finish the tour with a tasting and discover some of the best ginger in the world. This 40 minute tour takes you through the Buderim Ginger factory and gets you a behind the scenes insight to Ginger production.
Noosa is nestled on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and is surrounded by beautiful beaches, lakes, and the dense hinterland of Noosa National Park. The name Noosa came from the Aboriginal Kabi word meaning "shade" or "shadows", which is thought to be a reference to the respite from the sun offered by the tall forests in the area.
Noosa has an array of outdoor activities for all ages to choose from. Here, you can to learn to surf or have a go at stand-up paddleboarding; go kayaking in the Noosa Everglades or join a sunset cruise along the river. It is also home to world-class golf courses, exquisite day spas, shopping and enticing cuisine.
Explore deep into the tranquil waters of Australia's only everglades in the Noosa River system, within the sand dunes of the Cooloola National Park. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this diverse ecosystem which showcases ancient landscapes and spectacular photo opportunities. You may choose to experience the everglades from the comfort of specially designed ecoboats, or cruise to the launch area and jump in a canoe to paddle the 5km leg to Harry's Hut.
Take a leisurely approach to the day, as the drive is only a couple of hours. You will drive along the Bruce Highway towards Gympie before continuing on to Maryborough. This town has rich historical roots which can be seen in its architecture. You will leave Maryborough and head towards Dundowran.
Recently named a Whale Heritage Site, Hervey Bay is on the doorstep of K'gari (Fraser Island) and offers visitors a fantastic chance to see humpback whales with their calves if visiting between July and early November. At this time of year, 25,000 whales return to the surrounding waters. If you're really keen, check out Hervey Bay Dive Centre to swim with them.
SeaLink K'gari (Fraser Island) Ferries will take you on a 50 minute journey between River Heads and Kingfisher Bay Resort.
K'Gari (Fraser Island) is the world's largest sand island at 125km in length and sits off the coast of Queensland. Accessible via a 10 minute barge from the Inskip or a 30 minutes ferry across the Great Sandy Strait at River Heads, this island is filled with wide open beaches, iridescent waters, stunning hikes, native wildlife and natural wonders. Stay in the Kingfisher Bay Resort, and experience the island with a Ranger on a guided walk, or tour around the island. From canoe paddles, to whale watching cruises, 4WD tours and bush tucker experiences, there are a range of relaxing or adventure-filled activities available to create a memorable experience on K'Gari.
In this free day around Kingfisher Bay Resort, you will have the opportunity to explore the exciting activities available. Join a complimentary guided walk with a Resort Ranger or self-discover the many trails around K'Gari including the Beerillbee Trail where you may find trees inhabited by sugar gliders, cockatoos or forest kingfishers. On a one-hour segway tour along the Great Sandy Strait, reach speeds of up to 10km an hour or jump in a canoe and paddle with an experienced Ranger from the jetty to Dundonga Creek. Stay close to the resort and borrow a couple of wickets from Reception for a game of beach cricket or head to the tennis court for a leisurely hit. You may also choose to spend the full day seeing all of K'Gari's iconic sites on the Beauty Spots Tours, where you will meet with like-minded travellers and experience top attractions and watering holes.
Travel around Fraser Island and visit the top natural attractions on this epic full day tour. Departing from your Kingfisher Bay accommodation, you will first learn about the natural and cultural history of K'gari (Fraser Island), before visiting Lake McKenzie, and its crystal-clear, blue waters. At Central Station, walk along Wanggoolba Creek, flowing silently through the rainforest, and marvel at the trees of Pine Valley before driving along the Seventy-Five Mile Beach. Stop at Eli Creek which spills 80 mega litres of water into the ocean every day and visit Maheno Shipwreck and the coloured sands of The Pinnacles. You will also watch on as an ancient forest is uncovered by the Stonetool Sand Blow.
SeaLink K'gari (Fraser Island) Ferries will take you on a 50 minute journey between Kingfisher Bay Resort and River Heads.
Start your journey by heading west from town towards Torbanlea before getting onto Bruce Highway. Your first stop, Bundaberg is iconic in Australian culture because of the notoriety of its self-titled rum and ginger beer. For those interested, there are tours at both the rum distillery and the ginger beer factory as well as The Ginger Factory. Aviation enthusiasts will appreciate the Hinkler Hall of Aviation where you will learn more about Bert Hinkler, who made the first solo flight from Australia to England. If you are visiting between November and March, head to Mon Repos Beach to watch Australia's largest east coast turtle population laying their eggs.
When you've seen enough of Bundaberg, hop back in the car and make your way towards Gin Gin. This little town has a beautiful nature park if you are in need of a leg stretch before heading north along the A1 highway. You will pass Lake Monduran and Awonga Lake on your drive but as you get closer to the coast you could drive through Gladstone to make a stop for lunch. Your last stretch of driving before arriving at your final stop will take you past Port Alma. This coastal town has some views over the harbour and the Creek Inlet. As you hit Rockhampton you arrive in a city on the banks of the Fitzroy river with an array of activities to suit most anyone. Consider stopping in at the Dreamtime Cultural Centre, home to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural displays. Rockhampton is home to rail museums, an art gallery as well as beautiful 130 year old botanic gardens, and the Capricorn Caves. These caves are Central Queensland's leading natural attraction.
Leave Rockhampton, the beef capital of Australia, home to 3 million cattle and is decorated with a number of bull statues around town. The historic Rockhampton Heritage Village recreates local life from 1850 to 1950 with cottages, woolsheds and antique cars.
Capricorn Caves is one of the first stops on your way, just 24km north. Here you can take a one hour tour to see the magic of limestone rocks. Continuing up the Bruce Highway you can stop in the little towns such as Marlborough, St Lawrence and Carmila. Take a stop at Carmila Beach and see if you can spot the islands just off the coast. Get back on your way and head onto Sarina. This little town hosts a perfect little stop for any lovers of chutneys or hot sauces - Sarina Sugar Shed. Treat yourself to something nice and then you will go on to the last bit of driving to get to your last stop: Mackay. This city gives you a perfect spot to visit reeves, and visit the city water park. Make sure to enjoy your stay and the local wild life!
Eungella National Park - Located 90 minutes west of Mackay, this park is home to the elusive platypus as well as 225 birds species. Dawn and dusk are the best time to see them playing and feeding in the water. With more than 20km of walking tracks, there are plenty of options. Finch Hatton Gorge, Peases Lookout, Pine Grove, Sky Window and Broken River are all stops along the Mackay Highlands Great Walk that can be accessed from the park, each offering different walks and facilities. It goes without saying that you should be sufficiently prepared with food, water, sturdy footwear and sun protection before you start any of these walks.
Finch Hatton Gorge - although it can be reached via the Mackay Highlands Great Walk, you can also drive directly to it (roughly 60 minutes from Mackay) and enjoy its waterfalls and volcanic boulder formations. Take a 4.2km walk through the tropical rainforest to see the amazing Araluen and Wheel of Fire Waterfalls before cooling off in the rock pools.
Cape Hillsborough National Park - considered one of the most striking destinations on the Central Queensland coast, this gem is teeming with flora and fauna. At sunrise and sunset, you will find wallabies gathering on the beach to search for food. Could you find a more Australian scene? We think not.
If you didn't do it as a day trip, consider heading to Cape Hillsborough on your way out of Mackay. This 2 hour journey takes you past vast sugar cane fields, which has been grown in the region since the 1860s.
Acting as the gateway to the Whitsundays, Airlie Beach is one of Australia's top beach destinations. For a truly iconic experience, consider taking a scenic flight over Heart Reef or join the Journey of the Heart tour for a helicopter trip to the Heart Reef pontoon where you will be taken snorkelling in the surrounding crystal blue lagoon.
Start your day with an early morning scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef and Heart Reef. Witness a stunning birds-eye view of the 74 Whitsunday Islands with commentary from your knowledgeable pilot along the way. You will then depart on your ocean rafting adventure on a custom-built, semi-rigid inflatable boat. Your guide will take you to Whitehaven Beach, where you will explore both ends of the world-famous beach, with two hours to relax at the southern end of this 7km stretch and enjoy a tropical lunch. At the northern end, take a guided bushwalk to the Hill Inlet Lookout, and take in the stunning views of the white sand beach and clear blue waters below. Your day will also include an hour to snorkel at either Border Island, Dumbell Island, or another of your guide's favourite secret snorkel spots. The islands host a bright array of hard and soft corals and a vast range of colourful marine life for you to get up close with.
Launched in 2010, Whitsunday Adventurer is a modern and comfortable charter yacht designed specifically for enjoyable sailing experiences. It is a favourite among guests looking for a relaxed and family-friendly small-group adventure. With its spacious interior, ample deck space, and added features like stand-up paddleboards and a heated spa on the foredeck, this tour offers plenty of flexibility and options for everyone to enjoy.
Wake up to a breathtaking island vista and savour breakfast while heading to Tongue Bay. Join a guided walk through the National Park to reach Hill Inlet Lookout, where you'll be treated to stunning views of the 7-km stretch of Whitehaven Beach.
Descend to the beach and experience the exquisite silica sand first-hand. Back on board, indulge in morning tea before cruising north along the western side of Hook Island. Discover a secluded bay for anchorage and relish a delicious lunch. Dive in for another snorkelling adventure, encountering vibrant underwater life, and perhaps finding Nemo or a curious turtle.
As the day winds down, we'll transport you to an idyllic overnight anchorage in one of Hook Island's many bays. Enjoy sunset snacks and drinks while reflecting on the day's highlights with your newfound friends before a delightful dinner.
Enjoy your final breakfast onboard Adventurer and make the most of your time with a final snorkelling session, or try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding. Sail back towards Airlie Beach, taking in the captivating beauty of the island archipelago from the spacious deck and outdoor lounge. Upon reaching the mainland, you'll leave with cherished memories and a smile, knowing that your Whitsunday Islands adventure was truly unforgettable. Returning to Coral Sea Marina South to disembark.
Make your way out of Airlie Beach towards Bowen. Known as 'the fruit bowl' and home to the Big Mango, Bowen is a great spot to stretch your legs and cool off with a dip in the sea.
Continue through Gumlu, spying the Big Pumpkin on the side of the road, and stopover in Home Hill, where historic World War Two radar stations which can be found on Charlies Hill or for a step back in time, make a stop at Tom's Toybox to view a private collection of working farm machinery from yesteryear.
Just outside of Townsville you can stop off at one of Australia's best animal sanctuaries, Billabong Sanctuary. Home to a variety of mammals, birds and reptiles, its interactive experiences and exceptional staff will leave you with amazing memories.
Townsville has a variety of activities to get amongst and some fantastic restaurants serving up meals you can really sink your teeth into. Nearby Magnetic Island is a utopia offering a myriad of wildlife encounters whether on land or underwater.
Conducting up to 17 daily return services to Magnetic Island, SeaLink can have you in paradise in only 20 minutes a state-of-the-art, high-speed catamaran. Relax on a secluded beach, cruise the tropical waters of North Queensland or try one of the many adventure activities on offer on Magnetic Island.
Cruising is a way of life on Magnetic Island, so relax and enjoy this tropical paradise as you sail your day away. Take the opportunity to get your feet sandy, have a swim or snorkel, explore Five Beach Bay (only accessible by boat), and sail Magnetic Island. For the adventurous or those who just like to give it go, paddleboards are available and boom netting is popular too. With water activities to suit almost everyone – a brilliant day on the water is sure to be had!
Return to Townsville on the Sealink Ferry.
We recommend getting up early for this 350km (217 mile) drive as there are lots of great opportunities to stop along the way as you head north on the Bruce Highway to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef region.
Leaving Townsville behind, you will travel on Bruce Highway/State Route A1 north. The first stop of the day should be at the Cardwell Spa Pools. This naturally-fed, seasonal creek has been a favourite local swimming hole for years and for good reason! If you're not keen on swimming there are plenty of walking tracks, waterfalls, and other creeks to check out.
If time is on your side, the next great detour is to Paronella Park. This detour takes you about 20 minutes off the highway to Mena Creek, where Spaniard Jose Paronella realised his dream to build a castle. The 5 hectare grounds include a picnic area by the falls, tennis courts, bridges and a tunnel, 7500 plants that are now a rainforest and is considered one of Queensland's top attractions.
Your journey continues north on the Bruce Highway and another great detour will take you to the Babinda Boulders, located about 6km (3.7 miles) from the highway. These smooth, granite rock formations are conveniently located within a delightful swimming hole and are the ideal spot to cool off. Surrounded by lush green foliage and stunning waterfalls, you'll marvel at how easy it was to access the location when it feels light years away from civilization.
As you carry on the final stretch along Bruce Highway, it is approximately 1 hour until you reach Cairns. About 30 minutes from Cairns, you will spot Walshs Pyramid off to your left, rising steeply out of the ground above the historic sugar-milling town of Gordonvale. Keep following Bruce Highway into Cairns and put your feet up for a rest after an adventure filled day.
The Frankland Islands archipelago is a natural wildlife haven and a protected national park. Travel on the Turtle Islander through the Mulgrave River to the beautiful Normanby Island, surrounded by pristine sandy beaches, with rock pools and healthy fringing reefs which can be snorkelled from the beach.
Experience this scenic journey on the Kuranda Scenic Railway to the 'village in the rainforest'. Your day begins in Cairns as you board the train for a morning departure. Travel through unsurpassed views of World Heritage-listed rainforest and waterfalls, including Stoney Creek Falls and the breathtaking Barron Gorge. You will wind your way through 15 tunnels and over 37 bridges on your journey before reaching Kuranda, where you will have several hours to explore the village. Visit the award-winning attractions Birdworld, Kuranda Koala Gardens and the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. In the afternoon you will board the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway for a journey up and over the rainforest canopy, back to the Skyrail terminal where you will be transported back to the Cairns railway station.
The mountain retreat of Kuranda Village is nestled into the world's oldest living tropical rainforest, just 25 kilometres northwest of Cairns. The tiny town is a vivid mix of quirkiness, interesting characters and natural beauty all perched atop a mountain. The colourful village is accessible by either driving up the mountain range, travelling up in the Skyrail Cableway, or winding through the Barron Gorge on board the Kuranda Scenic Railway. Once you are here, there are a range of things to experience. To get your fix of retail therapy, head to the Kuranda Markets and quaint stores throughout the village. Experience the surrounding nature on a river cruise, and get friendly with the local wildlife at the Kuranda Koala Gardens and Birdworld Kuranda.
This is the first half of the famous Waterfall Circuit touring route. Following the Bruce Highway head south out of Cairns. After approximately half an hour you will reach the town of Gordonvale, where you will begin heading west on Gillie's Range Road. Winding through Little Mulgrave National Park, you will begin the ascent up to the Atherton Tablelands. Once you've finished the climb, take a right on to Boar Pocket Road towards Danbulla. Continuing on to Danbulla Road, this will take you out to the magnificent, 500 year old Cathedral Fig Tree.
Back tracking to Gillie's Range Rd, you begin to pass Crater Lakes National Park. Time allowing, take a stop at Lake Barrine, and pay a visit to the towering Twin Kauri Bull Pines. Grab a snack, gaze at the lake from the Teahouse. Turning off at Lake Barraine Road, follow Lakes Drive to Lake Eacham where you could take a dip in the clear and inviting waters. Your next stop is the town of Yungaburra. Be sure to check out the Yungaburra Platypus Viewing Platform & the charming historic pub. If time is on your side, just outside of Yungaburra you can take a small detour to visit the Curtain Fig. Atherton, the namesake of the tablelands, is the next stop and biggest town along the route. The man-made Crystal Caves are great family fun. Have some lunch or head out of town on National Highway 1, turn left on to Atherton Malanda Road and stop in at Gallo Dairyland. Have a taste of local chocolate & cheeses or eat at the cafe.
Continuing south along the Atherton Tablelands, you will arrive at the Malanda township.
Start your day in this beautiful natural paradise with wildlife viewing. It starts every morning at 8:30am, behind the reception. You will see the smallest and most primitive kangaroos in the world - the musky rat-kangaroo and also the colorful parrots, the King Parrots and Rainbow Lorikeets. You will also learn about the evolution of parrots and kangaroos in Australia. For those of you seeking more Kangaroo experience, why not follow the Kangaroo Trail, you can also spot one of the biggest, the Eastern Grey Kangaroo. After that, you can explore the numerous walking trails, rainforest creeks, native plants, and stunning waterfalls. You can start with the Creek Walk, a moderate 90 minutes walk and look for platypus in this pristine World Heritage Wooroonooran National Park. Or you can go for an easy, 1-hour long Reforestation Walk. This track follows the contour around the Spring Creek Gorge and is probably the best for bird watching. Towards the end of the track is a rainforest with fruiting trees which attracts cassowaries. You can also spot other bird life, such as Cattle Egrets, Red-backed Wrens, White-faced Herons and other grassland birds. You can also go for a wild swim in tropical pristine waters at Butchers Creek or at Hidden Waterfall. The roads around Rose Gums are also bike friendly, you can go for a ride to the wonderful volcanic crater lake, Lake Eacham, or explore the Wooroonooran National Park to the base of Mt Bartle Frere, Queensland's highest mountain.
This route completes the second half of the popular Waterfall Circuit route. Departing Malanda to the south, the main road becomes Millaa Millaa - Malanda Road. If you missed the platypus in Yungaburra in the first half of the circuit, the Tarzali Lakes Australian Platypus Park gives you another chance to try. You can also taste delicious smoked Barramundi fish here. Once you reach Millaa Millaa you'll start tracking east back to the coast on what becomes the Palmerston Highway. Turn left onto Theresa Creek Road and discover the famous Millaa Millaa Falls. If you want to see more waterfalls and time allows, you can continue on the Theresa Creek Road loop to Zillie Falls and Ellinjaa Falls. If you're a foodie, or simply still feeling peckish, take a trip to Mungalli Creek Dairy & Cafe on Brooks & Junction Rd Loop.
Following the Palmerston Highway you will pass multiple waterfalls including Crawford Lookout & Mamu Tropical Skywalk. Close to Innisfail take a left to head back north on the Bruce Highway. A short drive later turn left onto Bartle Frere Road, where the tranquil Josephine Falls await you. Josephine Falls is really one of the crown jewels of this trip, closely followed by the Babinda Boulders. Back tracking on Bartle Frere Road, turn left onto the Bruce Highway & head for the township of Babinda. Turn off the highway and pass the township, heading out on The Boulders Road. The Babinda Boulders are culturally and spiritually significant to the first nations people of Australia, and the magnificent rock formations mark your last stop on this trip. Head back to the highway, follow once again through Gordonvale and continue north and along the coastal road to your destination, Port Douglas.
Enjoy the thrill of pure sailing! A must do when visiting Port Douglas is to relax with a twilight cruise on board the first class sailing catamaran. Soak up the peace and tranquillity of a tropical sunset over the Coral Sea as you sail along the coast of Port Douglas. Take in the ambient music, relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and spectacular mountain views while enjoying a welcome drink and delicious canapés.
Port Douglas is a chic, yet relaxed seaside village with a plethora of restaurants and bars, as well as fantastic boutique shopping. The village is also the ideal base to explore three of Australia's most iconic natural attractions - the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest, and Cape Tribulation with an abundance of tours and day trips available.
Flagstaff Hill lookout track
1.5km. Allow 15 minutes.
If you need a picture worth framing (or posting) look no further than the Flagstaff Hill Lookout. Located at the summit of Island Point Road, it is an easy walk, bike ride or even short drive to the lookout viewing area. From here you will witness sweeping, majestic views of Four Mile Beach and the rainforest-clad mountain ranges to the south. Venture along the Flagstaff Hill Walking Trail down to Four Mile Beach and walk the plank (or viewing platform) and take in the 180-degree views to the Coral Sea, Low Isles, and Snapper Island to the north. Find the hidden Low Isles Lighthouse viewing platform located on the corner where Wharf and Island Point Roads meet.
Embark on your own adventure through the Gorge with a voyage through the lush green rainforest. Soak up the wonders of the national park at your own pace as you navigate walking tracks and trails, including the popular Gorge Circuit. Pack a picnic lunch to savour at one of the many water holes, where you can find a quiet place to sit back, catch your breath, and appreciate the wonders of your surroundings. Find yourself under the towering canopy of the rainforest, beautifully framed by the striking mountains.
All of the walking tracks are clearly signposted and maps are also provided upon entry. Seasonal track closures may occur from time to time due to localised flooding or track maintenance. Please note, shuttle bus fees apply to the below Mossman Gorge walks. For a guided experience, we recommend joining a Mossman Gorge Dreamtime Walk, where an experienced interpretive Indigenous guide demonstrates traditional plant use, identifies bush food sources, and provides an enchanting narrative of the rainforest and their special relationship with this unique tropical environment.
270 metres. Allow 5-10 minutes.
Baral Marrjanga leads through the rainforest from the shuttle bus stop to a lookout with views of the Mossman River and the mountain ranges beyond. The track includes two sections of elevated boardwalk that pass through the lower rainforest canopy. The track is suitable for wheelchairs, strollers, and the vision-impaired.
Lower River Track
300 metres. Allow 5-10 minutes.
This track starts at the shuttle bus stop and winds along the Mossman River before joining Baral Marrjanga. Several small lookouts along the track provide views of the river. Although most of the lower river track is easy walking, the steps can be slippery. Please take care and use the handrails provided.
Rex Creek Bridge
460 metres. Allow 10 minutes.
To reach the Rex Creek suspension bridge, follow Baral Marrjanga to the lookout and take the short, signposted track to the left.
Rainforest Circuit Track (from Rex Creek Bridge)
2.4km return. Allow 45 minutes.
This track begins on the far side of Rex Creek bridge. On the left, 80m from the bridge, a small lookout provides views of Manjal Dimbi (Mount Demi). A little way past the lookout, the track divides to form a circuit that meanders through the rainforest.
Travel through Kuku Yalanji country, led by your local Aboriginal guide and learn about the culturally significant sights and local attractions between Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation including the World Heritage Daintree rainforest. Hear about the unique relationships the Kuku Yalanji people still have with their land and experience these diverse environments. Walk through the world’s oldest living rainforest, see the majestic Daintree River, and reach Cape Tribulation: where the rainforest meets the reef, explore coastal habitats learning about the environment, different foods and medicines utilized from nature, sample some bush tucker, swim at one of the pristine freshwater streams in the area before returning to your accommodation.
It is a short drive to Palm Cove along the Captain Cook Highway, so you may wish to have a slow start to your day with a coffee by the beach and a morning swim. Pebbly Beach, located approximately 15km south of Port Douglas, is a beautiful deviation from the standard sandy beaches typical of the tropical north. As the name suggests, the beach is covered with smooth, tiny stones and is popular among motorists to stop and explore or even have a picnic.
Your next stop on your drive south will be Rex Lookout, with panoramic views of the Coral Sea and views of Double Island to the south. Pass the scenic Wangetti and Ellis beaches as you approach the beautiful coastal village of Palm Cove.
Palm Cove is part of the Northern Beaches area located 30 minutes north of Cairns, named for its iconic strip of palm trees lining the beach. The town exudes a secluded coastal village vibe where you will feel more than comfortable walking the colourful esplanade barefoot and opting for a sunset barbecue on the beach for dinner. For the foodies, however, there is no shortage of innovative dining options, including a beach club where you can dine with sand between your toes whilst serenaded by the local live music. While watersports and beach fun are aplenty, Palm Cove has also been dubbed the spa capital of Australia. With many spas offering treatments using native Australian ingredients, some even in open-air beachside pavilions, Palm Cove is the ultimate place to indulge and unwind. Palm Cove is also a central location to base yourself while exploring the wilderness of the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.
Farewell Palm Cove and head south along Captain Cook Highway. If you have time, you may wish to stop in at Trinity Beach or Holloway Beach for lunch and a last view over the coastal waters of the Great Barrier Reef.
Drop your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.