Hervey Bay and Fraser Island are two gems in Queensland’s crown. Here’s one great itinerary that takes you from Brisbane to these regions in a week or less, with you Brisbane Airport car rental from Hertz.
Take the Bruce Highway north, then onto Glass House Mountains Road via the Glass House Mountains. You’ll pass Australia Zoo, home to a wide range of Australian and international wildlife. Close to Landsborough is Ewen Maddock Dam with walking trails and picnic spots, as well as the rustic villages of Maleny, Montville and Mapleton. Baroon Pocket Dam is a fishing and swimming spot and the starting point for the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk.
Take either the inland route along the Bruce Highway or the coastal route via David Low Way. The inland route takes you past Eumundi, famous for its Wednesday and Saturday markets as well as galleries, pubs and restaurants. The Sunshine Coast route take you through Mooloolaba (the Underwater World aquarium is worth a stop; you can also dive, sea kayak or river cruise here) and a string of beaches, including Coolum Beach, Castaways Beach and Sunshine Beach. At Noosa, indulge in a spa treatment, some fine dining or head outdoors. Noosa National park is full of walking tracks while the Noosa River is ideal for boat and canoe tours.
Take the Cooroy-Noosa Rd out of Noosa, returning to the Bruce Highway just past Cooroy. InGympie, check out the relics from the gold rush days, including the Valley Rattler steam train. After Gympie, if you’ve got time for a detour, there’s a road back to the coast at Rainbow Beach – these colourful sand cliffs are spectacular. Wolf Rock is a paradise for divers, while Tin Can Bay offers the chance to feed dolphins by hand off the boat ramp.
Continue north via Cooloola Coast Rd to the grand old town of Maryborough, then to Hervey Bay. Whale watching is the name of the game here from August to October with sightings guaranteed. Nearby Fraser Island is just offshore. Majestic forests, sand dunes and lakes await you here. You need a permit to take a vehicle onto Fraser Island, which can be bought online from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. 2WD can only be taken to Kingfisher Bay Resort; all other areas are only accessible with a 4WD vehicle.