6-Day Road Trip Itinerary For The Brisbane to Cairns Drive



Queensland is one of those Australian states which is laced with plenty of stunning attractions that offer breathtaking holidaying experiences to travelers from across the world. A road trip from its exquisite capital Brisbane to a beautiful city Cairns is believed to be one of the most fun-filled and exhilarating road trips across Australia.

Brisbane is a city with highly flamboyant infrastructure and it encourages the concept of multiculturalism, perhaps that’s what motivates people from across the world to live there happily. It is an absolutely interesting city and it must be explored by you if you want to get familiar with the true spirit of Queensland as well as Australia.

A couple of months back we also travelled from Brisbane to Cairns in a motorhome which we had hired from Aussie Campervans.

Here’s is a list of places we explored on our Brisbane to Cairns road trip itinerary.

We discovered fabulous coastal towns, iconic natural attractions, and never-before-seen kinds of islands on the way, during our six days long road trip.

PS. Before you go, make sure to grab your road trip packing list and check out our travel journal for kids here.

You Itinerary For The Brisbane to Cairns Drive

Below you will find a great itinerary for your Brisbane to Cairns road trip. As you will be spending loads of time on the road, we also highly recommend that you check out our car travel products reviews to see if you can find any products that might make your trip more comfortable and enjoyable.

Day 1: Brisbane to Fraser Island

Brisbane to Cairns Road Trip Itinerary | Brisbane to Fraser Island

We started our trip from Brisbane and explored a lot of things on the way before actually making it to Fraser Island (a heritage-listed place). As we started traveling north of Brisbane, we reached a beautiful town called Noosa Heads in approximately two and a half hours wherein we saw amazing houses, apartments as well as restaurants.

We also explored Noosa National Park and relished its million dollar views. Noosa Heads is nearly 136 kilometres north of the city of Brisbane.

After that, we again started our journey towards the north and we came across a stunning town called Gympie, which is around 160 kilometres from Brisbane. In addition to that, we also explored another alluring town called Maryborough.

Later on, we took a boat to Fraser Island which enjoys the reputation of being a heritage listed place. It is the largest sand island across the globe and it’s located quite close to Rainbow Beach. We effectively explored a range of attractions in the Island and its picture perfect views from Lake McKenzie. After enjoying a lovely day of traveling, we spent our night in one of the most impressive hotels on the Island.   What a full packed day of adventure on our first section of our road trip, all the way from Brisbane to Fraser Island!

Day 2: Fraser Island to Bundaberg

The next day morning we started traveling towards Bundaberg, which is a striking sugar cane city. It took us nearly six and a half hours to reach Bundaberg from Fraser Island as it’s nearly 236 kilometers from there. If you want to explore the southern Great Barrier Reef you can easily go there from Bundaberg.

road trip from brisbane to cairns

Visiting & exploring Burnett River and relishing delicious cuisines are some of those important things that we did once we reached Bundaberg. Besides, we also headed off to Lady Musgrave Island wherein we enjoyed things like swimming and snorkeling. Like us you can also plan an overnight stay in this city, trust me it’s amazing.

Day 3: Bundaberg to Rockhampton

road trip brisbane to cairns

On the third day of our road trip, we got up in the morning and after having a stunning breakfast we headed off to Rockhampton, which is nearly 288 kilometers north of Bundaberg. On the way, we got a chance to adore the beauty of the town of Gin Gin, and uncovered places like Cania Gorge National Park and Eurimbula National Park, which are quite popular tourist attractions. We reached Rockhampton in 4 hours from Bundaberg.

Rockhampton is a great place and once we reached there we went to Shelving Beach, Botanic Gardens, and Great Keppel Island.

Day 4: Rockhamton to Mackay

distance from brisbane to cairns by road

On the fourth day of our trip, we decided to travel to Mackay which is approximately 335 kilometers away from Rockhampton through Bruce Highway A1. Since we were enjoying everything on the way, it took us around 5 hours to reach Mackay from Rockhampton. Places like Capricorn Caves, Yeppoon village, Bucasia town were amazingly stunning. In addition to that, Cape Hillsborough National Park is also a tremendously important attraction when it comes to seeing brush-turkeys, kangaroos and echidnas etc.

Day 5: Mackay to Townsville

brisbane to cairns road trip map

On the fifth day, we had decided to travel all the way to Townsville from Mackay. Townsville is located nearly 385 kilometers from Mackay and hence we reached there in approximately 5 and half hours. Again we saw many beautiful places on the way which took us by surprise like anything.

Day 6: Townsville to Cairns

cairns to brisbane road trip

The sixth day was the last day of our road trip and we traveled nearly 350 kilometers from Townsville to reach Cairns. We had easily managed to reach Cairns in 5 hours. On the way, we crossed somewhere around 19 to 20 tropical islands and 12 highly alluring national parks.

All in all, it was one of the best holiday experience of my life and the kind of fun I had during this trip will never be forgotten by me.

Distance from Brisbane to Cairns by road:

The distance from Brisbane to Cairns by road is around 1700km.  You should plan to spend at least 22 hours on the road.  The drive from Brisbane to Cairns happens to be a very popular choice for both Aussies as well as those visiting from overseas, so make sure you devote enough time to experience this beautiful part of QLD.

RELATED POST:  Do you love Road Trips?  Why not check out more on Australian Road Trips!

READ MORE: Recommendations of you shouldn’t do whilst visiting Australia!

Brisbane to Cairns road trip Map:

The Brisbane to Cairns road trip map to indicate the main stops.

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Over to you:

Would you like to experience this road trip from Brisbane to Cairns?

Can you add any destinations to David’s Brisbane to Cairns road trip itinerary?

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Jolene Ejmont

Originally from South Africa, now living in Australia, Jolene is a wife and a mother to three beautiful daughters. Together with her family, she is embarking on a journey towards changing her current stress-filled life to one focusing on her dreams and her passion for travel. She wants to share her stories in the hope to inspire you to chase your own dreams!

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