The east coast of Australia is one of the most popular road trip routes in Australia. But most of those road trips start in Sydney and finish in Brisbane or vice versa. But that area of Southern Queensland, just north of Brisbane is not nearly as explored as it should be.
We flew from Brisbane to Rockhampton where we picked up our one way rental car. From there we made our way back to Brisbane.
Day 1: Rockhampton
We left Brisbane in the morning to catch our short flight up to Rockhampton. Our small Qantas link flight had propellers on the wings. I normally get sick on these types of planes, but I managed to hold it together on the short one hour flight.
Arriving in Rockhampton was like stepping into a sauna. I was surprised at just how much warmer it was here than in Brisbane.
Your first day will be spent in Rockhampton. After checking into your accommodation, why not go and explore the town. The free Rockhampton botanical gardens and zoo are a great place to relax and let the kids run around, and the kiosk in the park sells delicious ice cream.
Or if you are feeling adventurous you can head north to the Capricorn caves. Seasonally there are guided ranger tours here where you can observe one of the world’s largest bent winged bat colony emerge from the cave en mass for their nightly feed.
Day 2: Rockhampton to Gladstone
It is just a short drive from Rockhampton to Gladstone so take your time to explore some more of this interesting region in Queenslands Capricorn area. If sand, swimming, and snorkelling is your thing then catch the ferry over to Great Kepple island or go on one of the boat tours available.
Alternatively you can discover the wonders of Australia’s geological past in Mt Hay. Here you can get your hands dirty and go digging for Thunder Eggs. When the stones are cut to reveal the crystals within you can delight in knowing that your eyes are the first to observe their beauty in the history of the earth.
It was overcast on our second day, so it made our decision to go to Mt Hay that much easier.
Day 3: Gladstone to Bundaburg
Despite being a small industrial town, Gladstone still has a few note worthy stops. As you head out of town stop at the Tondoon botanical gardens to feed the turtles. If beaches are your thing then don’t miss a stop at Tannum Sands Beach. You can read more about these stops in Gladstone in our guide here.
Mid way between Gladstone and Bundaburg are the twin towns of Agnes Water and 1770. They make a great lunch stop. If you are after a quick surf, then the beach at Agnes Water will be the one for you. For a more sheltered beach head to the even smaller town of 1770. We stopped in 1770 for lunch and enjoyed some fish and chips from a restaurant that overlooks the ocean.
From here the drive to Bundaburg does not have any note worthy stops, which is fine cause you will want to make sure you get there before dark….
Forget rum, forget sugar cane, the main reason to go to Bundaburg (according to us) is the turtles. During the summer months you can have a truly once in a life time experience with the turtles of Mon Repos. Read more about that here.
Day 4: Bundaburg to Hervey Bay
Not long after you depart from Hervey Bay, the highway will bring you through the small town of Childers. Here you can stop at the Flying High Bird Sanctuary. This free flight aviary will bring you face to face with nearly 3,000 birds as you walk along the gentle track. Watch out though, some of them can be really cheeky, like this guy who wanted to rifle through my purse!
When you arrive into Hervey Bay you will find yourself firmly back on the tourist trail. Hervey Bay is a holiday makers paradise. Its the base for most of the Fraser Island tours in the region, and is also home to Humpback whales during the winter months.
Explore the beach, go fishing from the incredibly long pier, or just relax pool side with a cocktail.
Day 5: Fraser Island
Fraser Island is one of the main reasons to come to Hervey Bay, so there is no way you can leave without a visit to the world’s largest sand island. Depending on how much time you have you can either go on a half day, full day, or multi day long tour. Or if tours are not your thing, you can take the ferry and stay at some of the accommodation on the island. The skies the limit!
We had to get back to Brisbane the same day, so we went on a half day Fraser, beach and BBQ boat cruise. We got to see dolphins and turtles, and play on a remote beach on Fraser Island, as well as enjoy a delicious BBQ buffet lunch – all in just a half day tour.
Stay powered up during your road trip
Gone are the days of maps and asking directions at petrol stations. This is the age of Google, and the GPS enabled smart phone is now becoming the back bone of any road trip. We use the maps on our phones to find our way during our travels, as well as for recording holiday photos and memories (and of course sharing them on social media for the world to enjoy!)
But with all that going on, it can be hard to stay powered up. Whenever I know I am going to be relying on my phone, I always take a back up power source. I am currently using the Plox Power box for Andriod. The plox can charge your mobile phone 4 times over, and comes with a micro USB attachment as well as a regular USB port. This means you can charge two devices at the same time – pretty useful when both you and your partner are instagram addicts… or when the little one drains the battery on the tablet!
The Plox is hardy as well, it can take a bit of a beating which is great for travel. And it comes in neon colours…. cause neon is awesome.
Our southern Queensland adventure tour was made possible by Choice Hotels.