If you're thinking about driving in your hired car from Brisbane to Cairns, there are a few stops we recommend you make along the way.
The Big Pineapple – Sunshine Coast
Pull your rental car over when you've hit the Sunshine Coast and check out the aptly named Big Pineapple. Unveiled in 1971, this 16-metre-high pineapple is situated on a 165 hectare plantation. In addition to gazing at its glory and having your picture taking in front of the famous fruit, there are also a number of other activities you can enjoy in the immediate area.
You and your family can opt for a ride on the "Nutmobile" or take a tour of the plantation on a miniature train. During the latter ride you will learn all sorts of interesting information about the grounds and plants that grow there.
A small zoo is also located near the Big Pineapple, where visitors can feed a variety of cute, fluffy and native animals.
Mary Poppins Statue – Maryborough
The next stop on your whirlwind rental car journey should be the beautiful city of Maryborough. Located on the Mary River and about 255 kilometres north of Brisbane, this is a must-visit for anyone who's seen (and naturally loved) Mary Poppins.
And why is this? Because Maryborough is the birthplace of P L Travers, author of the beloved Mary Poppins series. She was born here in 1899, and the city no doubt inspired her stories in some way.
Travers, at least, inspired the construction of a large bronze statue in the centre of town. Erected in 2005, it represents the world's most famous and magical nanny exactly as she was described in Travers' books. "Practically perfect in every way," the statue is positioned outside of the bank in which Travers father used to work.
You can visit this bank, too, if you really want to walk in this iconic author's footsteps. It now functions as a shop, so you might want to stop by and pick up some Mary Poppins memorabilia!
Archer Park Rail Museum – Rockhampton
History buffs and train-lovers alike will enjoy spending some time at the Archer Park Rail Museum. Here you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about the development of rail-based transport in the area.
The setting for this wealth of information is a historic gem all on its own – the museum is located at a century-old rail station on Denison Street. A revolutionary "Digital Soundscape system" mixed with detailed displays and historical documents makes this an experience for all the senses.
If you pop by in your car rental from Brisbane on the weekend, you will be able to take a ride in the fully restored Purrey Steam Tram. According to the Rockhampton Regional Council, this tram is the only one of its kind in the world! It serves as a magnificent reminder of days gone by and the leaps and bounds transport has made in Australia since the early twentieth century.
The Big Mango – Bowen
To (figuratively) end where we began, another free fruit you can visit is the Big Mango in Bowen. However, for those of you who have seen enough giant fruit to last a lifetime, there are many other reasons to stop in this quaint seaside town.
Even if you don't like mangoes, you probably like Hugh Jackman. Before he was singing his to fame and glory in Les Miserables, Mr Jackman spent some time in Bowen with fellow ex-pat Nicole Kidman to put together a little film called Australia. If you've seen this movie, it might be fun to see if you recognise any of the scenery.
Bowen also boasts eight beaches, a golf course and a cinema.
If you've hired a car in Cairns and are heading in the opposite direction, simply follow this list back to front!