Queensland - the Sunshine State

Highlights

  • Spend 3 nights in Brisbane 
  • Visit Winton – The dinosaur capital of Australia
  • Explore Mount Isa and the School of the Air
  • Stop in Longreach – Home of the Qantas Founders Outback Museum
  • Marvel at Undara and the lava tubes
  • See Cairns - Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef
  • Stroll along Airlie Beach
  • Take a trip to Fraser Island
  • Visit the national park in Noosa

Days 1 – 8: Brisbane to Blackall

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Days 1 - 2 Depart UK and flight

Days 3 - 5 Brisbane

You will be met and welcomed at Brisbane Airport and transferred to the Novotel Brisbane for a 3-night stay.

Brisbane is the state capital of Queensland and is the state's main centre for arts, culture, shopping, education and entertainment. Places you may like to visit include the Botanical Gardens at Mt Coot-tha, The Queensland Museum & Art Gallery, King George Square, Southbank Parkland and the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

A good way to explore the city is by foot, by river cruise or by ferry. Take in all the sights and discover why the river is so important to Brisbane life. For an overview, you could take a champagne breakfast balloon flight over the city, or for a more down to earth experience you could join a day bus or 4WD tour. Slightly more unusual tours include historic walking tours, specialist art tours with 5fine food and wine, ghost tours and eco-tours. Animal lovers can see Australian wildlife up close at Lone Pine or Alma Park Zoo.

Day 4 includes a city tour where you can explore the historical sights of Brisbane, Queensland's capital and Australia’s third-largest city. Experience the trendy cafe culture and thriving shops and its 19th-century sandstone buildings before taking to the water for a river cruise.


Day 6 Dalby

(211km / 2¾ hrs)

Transfer to the Maui depot to collect your motorhome and then head for Dalby for the first of your overnights.

Dalby is a charming and friendly country town, take time to talk to locals and to discover the history and stories that give it a character all of its own. Take the Heritage Walking Trail to explore some of Dalby’s historic buildings, there’s St Joseph’s Catholic Church built in 1921, the old police station dating from the mid-1860s, the Art Centre, which was once the Bath House and Mary’s Commercial Hotel (1885), one of the oldest and most legendary pubs on the Western Downs.


Day 7 Roma

(268km / 3½ hrs)

From Dalby, continue to Roma - home to the biggest cattle sale yards in the southern hemisphere - where you can take an optional tour. You could also wrap your arms around Queensland’s biggest bottle tree and learn about the discovery of oil and gas in Australia at The Big Rig, Roma.

Throughout the region there are spectacular ancient landscapes with unique flora and fauna. Take a drive through Carnarvon Gorge National Park which offers towering white cliffs, huge rock overhangs adorned with ochre stencils and engravings from an ancient and ongoing culture.

There is an abundance of cafes throughout town but as you are in the heart of beef country be sure to try a mouth-watering grass-fed steak.


Day 8 Blackall

(488km / 5 hrs)

Blackall became a thriving outback township in early town history and today you can discover the region’s wool heritage at the Historic Blackall Woolscour, the last remaining scour in Australia. It’s a living museum, where friendly volunteers take you on an intimate guided tour through the complex.

The first artesian bore in the outback was drilled in Blackall back in 1885 and today you can rest, relax and revive in the natural artesian waters at the Blackall Aquatic Centre’s thermal spa and swimming pool.

Days 9 – 17: Longreach to Cobbold Gorge

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Days 9 – 10 Longreach

(213km / 2¼ hrs)

Longreach was one of the founding towns for Qantas, the national airline and one of the oldest airlines in the world. One of the airline's original hangars remains in use at the airport and is listed on the Australian National Heritage List.

Longreach is now the home of the Qantas Founders Outback Museum, which includes amongst its displays a decommissioned Qantas Boeing 747-200 aircraft and Qantas's first jet aircraft, a Boeing 707. In recognition of Longreach’s place in history of Qantas, as well as a play on the airliner's extended range, all of Qantas's Boeing 747-400s have "Longreach" printed on both sides of the first jetway entry/exit doors.

Longreach is also home to the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame, which was officially opened in 1988 by the Queen. The centre showcases the history and the culture of life in rural Australia and since opening, over 1 million people have passed through its doors.

Days 11 – 12 Winton

(180km / 2 hrs)

“Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong…” You’ll be forgiven for relentlessly singing this famous tune while you’re in Winton, as it’s the home of Banjo Patterson’s ‘Waltzing Matilda’. You can learn all about Banjo and the adopted national anthem at the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton.

The unofficial Australian anthem isn’t the only this that Winton is known for; it’s also dinosaur territory. At the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum, just outside of Winton, you can see the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils.

Winton also boasts the world’s only recorded evidence of a dinosaur stampede, there are 3,300 stampeding footprints immortalised in stone which are more than 95 million years old and they can be seen at the Dinosaur Stampede at Lark Quarry Conservation Park.

Day 13 Mount Isa

(468km / 5 hrs)

Mount Isa is known locally as the 'oasis of the outback’ and is a gleaming mirage on the horizon for travellers from every direction. Nestled on the banks of the Leichhardt River and among the ochre-red Selwyn Ranges, Mount Isa is a melting pot of culture and industry and also home to the world's third-largest rodeo.

Explore the huge Mount Isa Mine - the world's largest single producer of copper, silver, lead and zinc. Back in 1923, John Campbell Miles found a silver-lead ore outcrop and this rich deposit is still producing high volumes of ore today and is classed as one of the world's great mines. Take a visit to the Hard Times Mine which is a working replica mine, designed and operated by miners, where you can get an insight into mining in Mount Isa.

Visit one of the Queensland’s largest Royal Flying Doctor bases, the School of the Air, which provides education to students on remote properties as far as 1000 kilometres away. You can also explore the National Trust Tent House, a WW2 Underground Hospital and the Beth Anderson Museum which contains antique medical equipment.

Days 14 – 15 Karumba

(565km / 6½ hrs)

Karumba is a fishing destination on the banks of the Norman River where, each winter, fishermen from all over Australia and further afield come to try their luck in the fish-rich waters of the Gulf.

Previously, Karumba was a small, sleepy town but it has now evolved into two interconnected, but separate, towns, there’s the industrial side with its wharves, barramundi farm, prawn processing plant and MMG Century Mine loading facility, then there’s the tourist side with caravan parks, cafes and the Sunset Tavern with its views across the mouth of the Norman River, plus there is the famous Mud Crab and Crocodile tour.

Days 16 – 17 Cobbold Gorge

(458km / 6¾ hrs)

The Cobbold Gorge is located deep in the heart of the Gulf Savannah region of Far North Queensland and is a hidden outback oasis. In order to protect this unique environment, access to Cobbold Gorge is by an optional guided tour only and we recommend booking these well in advance.

Gorge Tour - This three-hour tour includes a walk to the escarpment followed by a boat cruise through the gorge.

Ultimate Outback Adventure - This full-day tour allows you to venture further into the sandstone escarpment, viewing towering sandstone arches and fossicking for agates. Learn about the history of the area, including a visit to the grave of pioneer John Corbett, before enjoying a relaxing boat cruise through Cobbold Gorge.

Scenic Helicopter Flights - 15-minute or 30-minute flights over Cobbold Gorge and Newcastle Ranges.

Days 18 – 27: Undara to Airlie Beach

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Days 18 – 19 Undara

(229km / 4 hrs)

Undara is a pristine wilderness possessing one of the oldest and best preserved lava tube systems anywhere on Earth. The Undara Volcanic National Park contains the remains of one of the earth’s longest flows of lava originating from a single volcano and caves within this lava tube are fertile pockets in which rainforest plant and animal species thrive.

There are many activities available in the area, there are escorted tours to the incredible Undara Lava Tubes, evening wildlife spotlighting walks and campfire evenings, the award-winning Opera in the Outback and the Undara Outback Rock and Blues.

The Wildlife at Sunset tour is one of the most popular where you can enjoy refreshments as the sun sets and then at dusk, visit the entrance of Barker's Tube which allows you to witness the amazing emergence of thousands of Micro-bats as they leave to feed for the night.

Days 20 – 22 Cairns

(261km / 3¾ hrs)

Head to Cairns where the rainforest meets the reef. Set between the mountain ranges and the sparkling Coral Sea, Cairns has the sophistication of resorts, restaurants, entertainment and boutique shopping all within a lush tropical setting.

On day 21 is an included cruise to Frankland Island in the Great Barrier Reef, begin with a river cruise along the Mulgrave River where migratory and breeding birds can be spotted. At the mouth of the river, the Frankland islands slowly come into view and it is only a short open water crossing to your destination. All of the snorkelling equipment and tuition on how to use masks, fins, and snorkel is provided and a Marine Biologist with support from the experienced snorkel guides will take you on a guided snorkelling tour which is straight off the beach, so perfect for all levels and ages.

See the amazing variety of corals and marine life that inhabit the area, including an abundance of colourful fish, sea turtles, giant clams, and sea anemones. A semi-submersible tour or glass bottom boat is also included which is run with commentary, where you can see the underwater world whilst staying dry!

On day 22 head out on an included a full day tour to Kuranda. The first visit is to the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park where you will be greeted by an indigenous guide who will escort you through the park to discover the ancient culture through theatres, stage shows and demonstrations.

After a buffet lunch at Tjapukai, board the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and glide above the rainforest canopy to Kuranda with stops along the way at Red Peak Station and Barron Falls Station. On arrival In Kuranda there is free time to explore its many attractions, including the Heritage Markets, the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary or Kuranda Koala Gardens (own expense).

At 3.30pm board the Kuranda Scenic Railway for your return to Cairns, enjoy spectacular views as the train travels through 15 hand cut tunnels and past spectacular waterfalls.

Days 23 – 24 Townsville

(347km / 4½ hrs)

Townsville is the second largest city in Queensland and main commercial centre of Northern Queensland.  Castle Hill offers a panoramic view of Townsville. Great Barrier Reef Wonderland is one of the most popular attractions in Townsville and is well worth a visit with its walk-through underwater tunnel, giving a great all-round view of the coral and the fish. 

Take a trip out to Magnetic Island which is in Cleveland Bay, is just 8 kilometers offshore from the city of Townsville. It is a 52 km² mountainous island which has effectively become a suburb of Townsville having well over 2000 permanent residents. The Island is a haven for wildlife and is 54% National Park which is mostly located on the steep hilly interior and rugged north western side. One of the most distinctive features of Magnetic Island is the native Bush Stone-curlews - a bird with a piercing cry which has awakened many a visitor in the night when they are most active. Koalas are relatively common on the Island and can easily be found on the famous Forts Walk.

The name of the island came about because of the apparent "magnetic" effect it had on the ship's compass of Captain Cook as he passed the island when sailing up the east coast of Australia in 1770. People have since explored the general area of Magnetic Island with various instruments to discover if it was magnetic like Cook experienced, but nothing has been discovered.

Days 25 – 27 Airlie Beach

(276km / 3¼ hrs)

Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and The Great Barrier Reef and is set on a striking peninsula that reaches out into the stunning blue Whitsunday waters. From here you can enjoy one of the many day trips out to the Whitsundays or there are activities to keep you busy on the mainland.

The Esplanade is the hub of Airlie Beach with its host of restaurants and bars on offer. Located just out of town is the Conway National Park with walking tracks that allow you to explore protected coastlines, deserted beaches and lush rainforest. If you’re feeling really active you can do the Whitsunday Great Walk which starts from Brandy Creek and runs to Airlie Beach which is about 30 km.

Not far from town is the Proserpine River where you can take a crocodile watching tour. You’ll see not only crocodiles but also wonderful local flora and fauna including migratory birds that call the Proserpine River Wetlands home.

Days 28 – 36: Yeppoon to Brisbane

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Days 28 – 29 Yeppoon

(503km / 5 hrs)

As you continue your journey northwards today why not make a stop in Bundaberg, which is famous for its rum and where you can take a tour of the distillery. Moving on you come to the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, where the coastline is dotted with historic coastal towns, coral cays and some of the most important turtle breeding sites in the world.

Yeppoon is situated 38 kilometres north east of Rockhampton, and is the gateway to the Capricorn Coast and the wonders of the Southern Great Barrier Reef and Keppel Bay Islands. Wander along the town's picturesque esplanade with its backdrop of offshore islands, sparkling azure sea and clear blue skies and soak up the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.

The township has retained its village style appeal with a variety of wonderful restaurants, shops and galleries. A charming esplanade with grassy knoll, palms and covered picnic and play areas form a backdrop to a vista of sea, sand, sky and islands.

Within walking distance of the town centre are Figtree and Ross Creeks, home to the Black and Little Red flying foxes. At sunset, thousands of these fascinating mammals rise spectacularly as one to head off to their feeding grounds – an awesome sight to see!

Days 30 – 31 Hervey Bay

(426km / 5 hrs)

Queensland’s whale hot spot is at Hervey Bay, around 300 kilometres (186 miles) north of Brisbane, where humpback whales stop to breed and nurse their young. See their playful antics on an optional whale watching tour aboard the Spirit of Hervey Bay.

We’ve included a trip to Fraser Island for you, to visit one of the world's most unusual islands. Not only is it the largest sand island in the world – 123 kilometres (76 miles) long and 22 kilometres (14 miles) wide – but it's also the only place on Earth where tall rainforests grow on sand dunes at elevations of more than 200 metres (656 feet). The island also has half the world's perched lakes – lakes formed when depressions in dunes fill permanently with rainwater.

Days 32 – 34 Noosa

(180km / 2½ hrs)

Depart from Hervey Bay and drive through the towns of Maryborough and Gympie to the town of Cooroy, and from there head to the coast and Noosa Heads.

Maryborough was first settled in 1843 and is one of Queensland’s oldest cities and the splendid old houses have given Maryborough its reputation as one of the most beautiful historic towns in Queensland.  Follow the cities Heritage Walk to see 28 historic buildings within the central business district.

Gympie is the main entrance to Cooloola Beach, Great Sandy National Park and the glories of Fraser Island.  At the Deep Creek Gold Fossicking Park you can explore an old gold mining site and pick, shovel or pan for gold.

There is a natural beauty surrounding Noosa Heads and at the headland is a National Park where there are several walks that meander through to attractions such as the Boiling Pot, Hell's Gates and Paradise Cave, to name but a few. The town itself has a cosmopolitan atmosphere with boutiques, restaurants and entertainment.

Day 35 Brisbane

(135km / 2 hrs)

Depart Noosa and drive towards Brisbane to drop off your motorhome and to meet your departure flight. If you have time, travel along the coast via Sunshine Beach, Coolum Beach, Maroochydore and Caloundra.

Day 36 Arrive in the UK

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