66 things to do on Queensland’s ‘Route 66’
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
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.
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
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.
31. Sink your teeth into some mouth-watering Gladstone mud crab.
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
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.
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.
52. Swap your usual wheels for a topless car on Magnetic Island and look out for the resident koalas in the treetops.
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.