|Trip Length: 7 days Total Distance: 585 km Road Conditions: All sealed roads|
Take flight to this tropical haven where another world awaits. Prepare yourself for a drive of a lifetime as you cruise a highway hugging one of the world's natural wonders and earth's largest living structure - the Great Barrier Reef. Frequently described as a drive through a living postcard, this is truly a breathtaking beautiful journey through paradise.
Run away to a peaceful tropical isle, ideal for that much needed reprieve. Sit on pure white sandy beaches without the worry of time ticking by. Clear tranquil waters filled with colourful corals and tropical fish present a treat no one ever forgets.
Indulge in fresh seafood, juicy tropical fruits and cuisine prepared by some of the finest chefs from around the world. Enjoy a cocktail as the sun dips behind greenly clad mountains while the smells of the rainforest waft through your room and the wildlife outside prepares for the change of shift.
Explore magnificent coastal National Parks where wallabies graze along the foreshore and often you'll have long stretches of sandy white beaches to yourself. Up in the mountains spot a platypus and other amazing displays courtesy of Mother Nature.
Pull over for a yarn and get to know the locals in friendly coastal communities. It's a drive you can do at your own pace and the choice of activities from thrilling adventure to doing absolutely nothing is simply yours - this is heaven - be warned, you many never want to leave!
Mackay, the hub of the Pioneer Valley, is the perfect setting off point or base to explore this outstanding region. Walk along uncrowded beaches as the sea breeze gently laps the waters of the Coral Sea transferring you away from the pressures of life. For around Mackay, you're about to discover there is more than meets the eye.
Taste the spoils from fishing trawlers, their bounties so fresh seafood lovers know their in heaven. Just right for a little retail therapy, is the Reef Marina Village, a multi million-dollar complex complete with surf and yacht club, restaurants, and boutiques. Dine al fresco in Victoria Street, where at sunset the great line of palms host families of lorikeets.
Share the twilight with kangaroos on sweeping beaches at Cape Hillsborough National Park. Learn about Aboriginal bush tucker on the award-winning 1.6 km Juipera Plant Trail. Soak in the view from the lookout across the shimmering blue sea. The emerald green Cumberland Islands - one group of numerous picture-perfect isles forming the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef - peek out beckoning you to visit.
Venture westwards from Mackay into the 'Land of the Clouds', Eungella National Park, one of the oldest rainforests on earth. Witness a shy platypus; glimpse the electric flash of Ulysses Butterflies as they disappear amidst the ferns and tall cedars. Or simply relax in the folds of a hammock to the sounds and aromas of the rainforest.
For adrenalin junkies, consider soaring through the clouds in a hang glider or visiting nearby Finch Hatton Gorge, and an exhilarating flying fox ride through the rainforest canopy! When you can finally release yourself from this region's magical clasp, next stop is Airlie Beach.About the Drive
|Duration:||1 hr 20 mins|
|Road Conditions:||All sealed roads|
Green fields of sugar cane line your route through the scenic Pioneer Valley as you head to the Whitsundays. Sleepy sugar towns welcome you warmly. Sit up at a bar and yarn with cane farmers willing to share their stories or take a seasonal tour of a sugar mill.
Proserpine, or Prossie as the locals call it, is the gateway to internationally renowned Airlie Beach, Shute Harbour, Conway National Park and the 74 Whitsunday Islands. It's a friendly, relaxed little town serviced with regular flights.
Unwind in this premier destination taking your time to wander among the boutiques and art shops - it's holiday season all year round. Airlie Lagoon, set in landscaped gardens, overlooks picturesque Pioneer Bay providing everyone with a stinger free swimming environment all year round.
Now it's time to take a break from driving, for waiting to charm you are the Whitsunday Islands - ideal for romance, relaxation and rejuvenation. Hop aboard one of the many charter boats or cruises and really appreciate the depth of beauty amongst the continental Whitsunday island group and the Great Barrier Reef.
Some of the best island resorts in the world featuring absolute privacy and luxury provide the perfect destination for an escape from the stresses of modern day living and a chance to explore this aquatic wonderland.
Allow time for a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef where you can choose from snorkelling, diving or keep your feet perfectly dry in the underwater observatory and underwater semi-submersible.
After three days lapping it up in splendid luxury it's time to move on.
Tomorrow you're back on the mainland and heading for Bowen, boasting an average of eight hours sunshine each glorious day waiting to welcome you, just 66 clicks north.About the Drive
|Duration:||2 hrs 50 mins|
|Road Conditions:||All sealed roads|
Beautiful Bowen - one of the undiscovered treats of Queensland and an ideal destination for those seeking a laidback beach holiday. This picturesque seaside town lies right on the shore of Edgecumbe Bay, offering a beachcomber's paradise with eight award-winning, palm-fringed beaches to explore plus great reef, beach and estuary fishing.
A mere few metres off shore reefs fringe the sandy beaches at Horseshoe Bay, Grays Bay, Murray Bay and Rose Bay enticing snorkellers and divers to keenly explore the awaiting coral gardens.
Be prepared to get messy as you indulge in juicy mangoes. Bowen mangoes are considered the best in the world and huge mango trees laden with the tropical fruit droop to the ground as they ripen from November to January. Don't panic though if your visit is out of mango season. Bowen is also home to The Big Mango where they are always serving delicious mango treats.
Pass through 'The Burdekin' where friendly towns claim more than 300 splendid sunny day's each year - this is the winterless north. Drive across the 'Silver Link', the spectacular bridge spanning the mighty Burdekin River, a unique waterway almost drought proofing the region and well known amongst anglers with its tributaries full of enormous mud crabs. Offshore the wreck SS Yongala entices divers.
In Bowling Green Bay National Park, just south of Townsville, picnic beside a waterhole on Alligator Creek and maybe explore its series of cascades and waterfalls. Then it's into historical yet cosmopolitan Townsville. Allow a day or more to explore before flying back to the 'real world'.
Townsville has many attractions - the world's largest living coral reef aquarium, an Australian native wildlife sanctuary, art galleries, museums, parks, restaurants and The Strand, a world-class beachfront promenade, custom-built for your enjoyment. Along this palm tree studded stretch are safe swimming beaches, pretty picnic spots, a water park and chic restaurants and bars with to-die-for water views.
From Castle Hill lookout, take in the scene to Magnetic Island, Townsville's island playground. If you can swing a night there before you leave then it's worth it. Two thirds of Magnetic Island is National Park with secluded easily accessible bays and golden beaches.About the Drive
|Road Conditions:||All sealed roads|