If you're not keen on flying, Queensland’s wide open spaces make it ideal for exploration by car. The roads are high quality and well-signed so getting here is easy.
Driving is a great way to experience the changing landscape and rich variety of Queensland. Remember that Queensland is a huge state, so you won’t run out of destinations, diversions and things to see and do.
Sydney to Brisbane: 9 hours
Melbourne to Brisbane: 21 hours
Adelaide to Brisbane: 25 hours
Darwin to Brisbane: 35-40 hours
The drive from Melbourne is ideally covered over two days (minimum), and Sydney to Brisbane can be driven in about nine hours.
View our Map and Road Distances Table which shows the distances between popular destinations throughout Queensland.
- From Melbourne or Sydney, take the coastal Pacific Highway (1); the more inland New England Highway (15) through NSW; or the inland A32 from Adelaide which also goes through NSW.
- If you have time up your sleeve, you can continue taking the coastal route (the Bruce Highway, A1) all the way north to Cairns. The highway is scenic, comfortable to drive and offers plenty of attractions along the way; but you’ll need to allow two to three days for the journey from Brisbane.
- For an alternative entry into Queensland, drive up from New South Wales via the New England Highway (15) through the Southern Downs. This will take you through Warwick and Toowoomba, towns rich in pioneer history. From here you can continue north to the vineyards of the Granite Belt and South Burnett regions.
- South East Queensland is well-connected with freeways and distributor roads, from the Gold Coast all the way up to the Sunshine Coast.
- Serious outback travelers heading east from the Northern Territory can enter Queensland via Mount Isa on the Barkly Highway (A2); or drive up from South Australia via the Birdsville Track (an old stock route and now a dirt track) and on to Longreach. You might want to consider taking a four-wheel drive vehicle though!
Just remember to be realistic about the distances and travel times involved: for instance the trek from Mount Isa to Brisbane covers over 1800 km of road - which equates to about 22 hours of continuous driving. You should also consult our driving safety information before undertaking an outback trek.
You can find more detailed route information and suggested itineraries in our Driving Journeys section.
The RACQ also has a helpful trip planner.