Easter is just around the corner, and if you’ve looked at the calendar and been savvy about requesting days off, you might even have organised for an extra long break.
Aside from eating chocolate for breakfast, Easter is a fantastic time to take a road trip while the weather is still warm, but not too hot, either.
Our pick for the best road trip to take this Easter break? Brisbane to Cairns. Brisbane to Cairns, distance-wise, is just shy of 1,700 kilometres, so you’ll spend roughly 19 hours making this unforgettable roadie.
Here are our top picks for things to see and do on your Brisbane to Cairns drive!
An unforgettable Brisbane to Cairns road trip
Day one: Brisbane to Bundaberg
Kick off from Brisbane with an early start to beat the traffic and make your first stop at the glorious Sunshine Coast for a paddle or a refreshing swim. There are plenty of markets in the Sunshine Coast, so pay a visit to stock up on fresh berries and other snacks for your drive.
Next stop, Noosa! Visit the Noosa National Park to swim in the enchanting fairy pools, and spend the afternoon relaxing on the sparkling golden white sands of the Main Beach.
Finish your day in Bundaberg. The town is known for its Bundaberg Rum, and once you’ve parked your rental car for the evening, you can head down for a tasting or two and even a guided tour before the day is out.
Day two: Bundaberg to Yeppoon
As soon as you hit the road, make a bee-line from Bundaberg straight to the town of Seventeen Seventy. This historic seaside town is where James Cook landed in 1770 (hence the name), and is perfect for a casual morning stand-up paddleboard session and a quick swim.
Once you arrive in Yeppoon, you’ll quickly spot the spectacular scenery in all directions, as this coastal town is known for its tropical climate, beaches, and islands dotting the shoreline. Spend your evening on a sunset cruise to make the most of this landscape.
Day three: Yeppoon to Airlie Beach
Load up your favourite road trip playlist and continue up the coast to Mackay, affectionately known as Australia’s sugar capital. Here you can dive in at Bluewater Lagoon, which is a free-entry waterpark with pools, slides, a waterfall, and family-friendly picnic areas. Or, take a Willy Wonka tour at the Sarina Sugar Shed to find out why the town is such a sugar mecca, and learn about how the sweet stuff is produced.
Follow the Bruce Highway a little farther and make another stop, this time at the Cape Hillsborough Tourist Park. The kangaroos and wallabies here are a little more used to being around people, so it’s the perfect place to catch a glimpse of these Aussie icons. If you have the time, stay the night at Cape Hillsborough and get up early to head down to the beach, where the local kangaroos population visits each morning at sunrise.
Airlie Beach almost needs no introduction. Not only are the beaches in this area even better than what you’ll see on postcards, this is one of the easier starting points for cruising to the Whitsunday Islands. Again, if you have the time, spend it here.
Day four: Airlie Beach to Cairns
This final day presents a solid drive, so make an early start and stop at some of the gorgeous golden beaches along the way that Queensland is known for, such as those at Bowen and Townsville. Make a final stop at Mission Beach for more stunning seaside scenery before cruising into Cairns.
If you don’t have much time off, this road trip can certainly be completed quickly, and you’ll save yourself plenty of driving time along the Bruce Highway if you book a one-way car rental from Brisbane to Cairns, then simply fly back! For those who have managed a solid week off work, you’ll want to spend every minute of it exploring the beaches and sights along this unbelievable stretch of Queensland coastline.