66 things to do on Queensland’s Route 66 | Pacific Coast Touring Route road trip

66 things to do on Queensland’s ‘Route 66’

Print Friendly

If you want to see the coast of Queensland, this big daddy of a drive is for you.

Wind your way through beach towns and indulge in some of the most iconic experiences on offer from the south-east corner to the tropical north on the Pacific Coast Way – aka our ‘Route 66′. Matter of fact, you’ll pass through (almost) every region this state has to offer.

Here are 66 things to do on the quintessential coastal road trip. (And a few other ‘must do’ road trips around Queensland you might have missed.)

See & Do from the Gold Coast to Fraser Coast

100 things to do on the Gold Coast

Tiger Island @ Dreamworld, Gold Coast

1. Tuck in to some fresh fish and chips in Burleigh Heads.

2. Surf the legendary breaks of Snapper Rocks at Coolangatta on the Gold Coast.

3. Scream with excitement and test your nerves at the Gold Coast theme parks.

4. Tempt your taste buds at one of the high-end and hatted restaurants on the Gold Coast.

5. Take a hike… in the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest, which stretches through Lamington, Springbrook, Mt. Barney and the Main Range National Parks on the southern border of the state.

6. Schedule a stop in Brisbane for some city life – wine and dine riverside.

7. Grab a cold ‘stubbie’ at the Iconic XXXX Ale House and Brewery.

8. Climb the Story Bridge over the Brisbane River.

9. Cuddle a koala at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

10. Experience world-class exhibitions at Australia’s largest Gallery of Modern Art at South Bank.

11. Take a free Brisbane Greeters tour and learn about the river city’s architecture, history and lifestyle.

12. Grab a breath of fresh air with a family picnic on one of the beautiful beaches of the Sunshine Coast.

Spirit of Hervey Bay

Whale Watching @ Hervey Bay

13. Head up to Maleny to get the best view of the Glass House Mountains.

14. Start a ‘Big Things’ bucket list and tick off the most southern big thing in Queensland, the Big Pineapple in Nambour.

15. While you’re in the hinterland stop by and say hello to the crocs at Australia Zoo, home to the late Steve Irwin and his family.

16. Pick your own strawberries at one of the PYO strawberry farms just off the highway.

17. Book some time for retail therapy at the largest open-air market in Queensland, Eumundi Markets (open Wednesdays and Saturdays).

18. Visit Gympie – the “Town that Saved Queensland” – with its rich gold-mining history.

19. Venture over to Great Sandy National Park to see Australia’s red sands contrast with the blue water of the Coral Sea.

20. Detour to Fraser Island to swim in the iconic freshwater Lake Mackenzie and do some 4×4 beach driving.

21. Pop into Maryborough to relive history and see the town that inspired Mary Poppins.

22. Indulge your senses at Coast Restaurant and Bar – one of the premier eateries in Queensland .

23. Take a tour to see the migrating humpback whales in the whale watching capital – Hervey Bay.

See & Do from Bundaberg to Mackay

100 things to do with kids in Queensland before they grow up | Queensland Blog

Turtle Hatchling @ Mon Repos, Bundaberg

24. Pit stop at Mon Repos from November through to February to see the famous turtles nest and hatch.

25. You’d be nuts to miss the town of Bauple – the home of Macadamia nuts.

26. You can’t travel through Bundaberg without stopping for a sip from the Bundaberg Rum Distillery.

27. Take a glass-bottom boat to see the giant manta rays of Lady Elliott Island.

28. Venture off the beaten path and head out for a drive on the Burnett Circle, where you’ll experience mountain ranges, rolling farm land and a variety of national parks.

29. Cast a line at Lake Monduran, just on the north side of Gin Gin.

30. Snorkel right off the beach of one of the islands of the Southern Great Barrier Reef, like Heron Island.

Heron Island Diving

Diving with Turtles @ Heron Island

31. Sink your teeth into some mouth-watering Gladstone mud crab.

32. Go four-wheel-driving through the sandstone wilderness in the shires of Calliope and Miriam Vale.

33. Stop in at Kroombit’s Farmstay for a campout under the stars, and while you’re inland, cast a line at the nearby Lake Callide.

34. Surf the east coast’s most northern break at Agnes Water.

35. Walk in the footsteps of Captain James Cook where he first landed in Queensland at Seventeen Seventy.

36. Carnivores shouldn’t resist sinking their forks into a juicy steak in the Beef Capital of Australia, Rockhampton.

37. Take an afternoon stroll through the heritage-lined streets of ‘Rocky’, rich with original sandstone buildings and lace ironwork.

38. Don’t miss the spectacular Capricorn Caves, inland and north from Rockhampton, located above ground in a limestone ridge.

39. Pack a picnic and visit one of the 18 islands of the Keppel Island Group for the day.

40. Watch the sun set over the reef and islands on the clifftop at Eimeo Pub, near Mackay.

41. Slip on your deck shoes and settle in for an afternoon of cocktails and yacht-envy on the water at the Mackay Marina.

42. Cheer on your favourite horse at the annual Mackay Beach Horse Races.

43. Explore Eungella National Park and spy on the elusive and mysterious platypus from the Broken River viewing platform.

44. Don’t miss the wildlife at Cape Hillsborough where wallabies and kangaroos come for a feed every morning and evening.

See & Do from The Whitsundays to Cairns

10 jaw-dropping Whitsunday Island Experiences | blog.queensland.com

Whitehaven Beach by seaplane. Image by @the_wanderinglens

45. Make a pit stop at Airlie Beach and trade the open road for the open sea – set sail and visit the Whitsunday Islands.

46. Cool off with a dip in the Airlie Beach Lagoon.

47. Take a selfie on Whitehaven Beach on Whitsundays Island, easily the most recognised strip of white sand in Queensland.

48. Visit Conway National Park and get a bird’s eye view of the Whitsundays.

49. Pose for a kitschy photo opp at the giant Bowen Mango on the Bruce Highway just outside of Bowen.

50. Dive the 102-year-old SS Yongala Shipwreck off the coast of Ayr, one of the most intriguing dive sites in Australia.

51. Explore the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef without getting wet at Reef HQ in Townsville, which also doubles as a Turtle Hospital.

52. Swap your usual wheels for a topless car on Magnetic Island and look out for the resident koalas in the treetops.

Magnetic-Island-Moke

Moke @ Magnetic Island

53. Near Ingham, stop at Australia’s highest waterfall – Wallaman Falls – with a sheer drop of 305 metres!

54. Bird lover? Head to the Tyto Wetlands and pay a visit to the 230 bird species that call the area home.

55. Spot a cassowary near Cardwell.

56. Take the ferry over to Hinchinbrook Island for a hike through a land before time on the Thorsborne Trail.

57. After you’ve come this far, you deserve a break. Stretch your legs and take a breather at one of the long stretches of palm-lined beach at Mission Beach.

58. Visit Paronella Park and learn about the love story and determination that inspired the atypical buildings, and has kept them since 1937.

59. Battle the rapids with a full-day white-water rafting trip on the Tully River, just south of Cairns.

60. Take a side jaunt to the Atherton Tablelands and feel your mouth start to water as you enter the deli of the tropical north with five food trails to follow in the region.

61. Dip your toes into the lagoon on the Cairns Esplanade.

62. Break the laws of gravity as you plunge 50 metres to a rainforest pool at AJ Hackett Cairns, the only bungy site in Australia.

63. Take the scenic Kuranda Railway into the village with its quaint main street, shops and galleries.

64. Join a liveaboard to dive the Cod Hole off Lizard Island and come face to face with a friendly giant Maori Wrasse.

65. Become a history guru with a guided walk through Mossman Gorge with an Indigenous elder.

66. Get up close and personal with a few crocodiles in the wild with Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures.

Road weary yet? If you’ve ever done this drive, let us know which pit stops you made along the way!

Find your dream Queensland drive holiday here.




  • PeterH

    As a fiercely proud 49 year Qlder who has lived all over the state I’ve nearly done almost every one of those at some point.
    I’ve never understood why people from here bother going overseas. Far more interesting here.
    I’d also nominate leaping off the Natural Bridge into the huge hole in G.C hinterland but I believe it is now totally forbidden.

    • Jennifer Heitzmann

      PeterH – we think Queensland is the BEST too! Lucky you’ve had the chance to live in so many of our wonderful destinations; we’re jealous! Natural Bridge is pretty special, but I think you’re right, there’s no jumping in allowed. Best to admire from a distance these days :)

    • Jenn Heitzmann

      PeterH – we think Queensland is the BEST too! Lucky you’ve had the chance to live in so many of our wonderful destinations; we’re jealous! Natural Bridge is pretty special, but I think you’re right, there’s no jumping in allowed. Best to admire from a distance these days

  • BenDoone

    Route 66, can’t we ever have anything original without being the worlds best Cockatoos.
    Pacific Parade with 67 things to do and see. Must go 1 better.

    • Jennifer Heitzmann

      Thanks for your feedback. As one of the most memorable driving routes of all time, we kind-of liked the ring of ‘Queensland’s Route 66′. Appreciate you have a different opinion…hope you enjoyed the post anyway! :)

    • Jenn Heitzmann

      Thanks for your feedback BenDoone. As one of the most memorable driving routes of all time, we kind-of liked the ring of ‘Queensland’s Route 66′. Appreciate you have a different opinion…hope you enjoyed the post anyway!

  • Dominique Lang

    Dear Jennifer! I’ll travel the coast from Brisbane to Cairns (and further) from June 13th to July 25th 2015 with my family! I’d love to take your GREAT list of 66 things to do with me, but I don’t know how to print it. Is there a print version available? Thanks for your advice! Dominique from Switzerland (who loves the Lone Star State as well!)

    • Jennifer Heitzmann

      Hi Dominique! Thanks for reading and thanks for your comment. Unfortunately we don’t have a way (YET!) of printing out the blog, but we’re definitely looking into it. Maybe you can copy and paste into another document? Hope that helps and have a great time on your adventure! Be sure to hashtag #thisisqueensland so we can follow along!