Sunset on Fraser Island | Featured image for Queensland Road Trip Destinations blog for East Coast Car Rentals.

The great sunny land of Queensland is Australia’s second largest state, meaning there is so much to discover and explore. Don’t feel intimidated, though, because it’s the perfect part of the country for holidays, road trips, and simply lounging around and relaxing. One of the best road trips to experience in Queensland’s very own pacific coast way, taking you from Brisbane, all the way through to Cairns (or wherever you choose to end your trip).

At East Coast Car Rentals, we boast an extensive fleet of cars for your holiday convenience, right across the coastline of Queensland. Regardless of where your starting point is, there will be an East Coast Car Rentals service close by. If you’re wanting to experience the best Queensland road trip destinations, keep reading our fun and informative list below.

Queensland Road Trip Ideas

Brisbane – Noosa

Starting a road trip in any area of Queensland is going to be a good start, but in this case, we’re going to be kicking things off on the stunning Sunshine Coast. Before hitting the road, you’ll want to stop in at our Brisbane airport car hire location to find the perfect vehicle for your trip. Known for being one of the most scenic parts of the country, the Sunshine Coast is a gorgeous stretch with so much to explore. Points of interest include:

  • Glass House Mountains
  • Maleny & Montville
  • Eumundi
  • Noosa

From Brisbane, you want to head north along the Bruce Highway, straight on (with a few stops along the way) until you finally arrive at the beautiful Noosa National Park. If you’re wanting to stay somewhere overnight on your travels, there are plenty of affordable hostels and Airbnb’s around the coast.

Sunshine Coast – Hervey Bay

If you’ve stayed overnight, or you’re heading straight through Noosa, feel free to continue on towards the next stop, Hervey Bay. Although it’s a small coastal city, Hervey Bay is a prime location for whale watching (between the months of July and November) and is a hop-skip-and-jump from the serene Fraser Island.

Fraser Island

During your stop in Hervey Bay, consider taking a tiny detour to the pristine World Heritage Site of Fraser Island. Some things to keep in mind when it comes to this beautiful island is that if you’re driving a 4WD, you’ll be able to explore the entire island as it’s completely made of sand. However, if you aren’t in a 4WD, you may want to consider taking one of the guided tours. Alternatively, you can stop along the way at the Sunny Coast airport for a Sunshine Coast Airport car rental to make the upcoming trip to Fraser simpler.

Some points of interest include:

  • The Pinnacles Coloured Rocks
  • Indian Head
  • Champagne Pools
  • Lake Mackenzie
  • 75 Mile Beach

Hervey Bay – 1770 Camping Ground

When you’re ready to pick up and move to the next destination, you’ll cruise along the Pacific Coast Way to the place where Lieutenant James Cook arrived during his second landing to Australia – 1770 Camping Grounds, founded on May 24th, 1770. If you’re a history fiend, this is a great place to stop into, not only because of its peaceful surrounds, but courtesy of the quiet, relaxed, and serene coastal town.

Points of interest include:

  • Lady Musgrave Island
  • Walking Lieutenant James Cook’s footsteps

1770 Camping Ground – Airlie Beach

Hanging for another beautiful beach trip? Continue on to one of the next best Queensland road trip destinations, which is the epitome of paradise, Airlie Beach. This is the perfect destination for those day’s you want to laze about on the sand, get some sun on your skin, and feel the salt in your hair. Nothing beats a coastal getaway, and this location is nothing short of the perfect spot.

Points of interest include:

  • Heart Reef
  • Whitehaven Beach
  • Airlie Beach Lagoon
  • Boathaven Beach
  • Conway National Park


One of the must-have experiences for this Pacific Coast Way adventure is making the most of the Whitsundays while you can. You’re going to want to dedicate an entire day for this destination alone, swimming with exotic fish you’ve never seen before, sunbaking on the sand or diving into the reef. The best part about this spot is that it’s close to Airlie, meaning you can head back to your overnight accommodation and get ready to hit the road.

Airlie Beach – Townsville

From Airlie, you have the chance to head directly into Townsville. Although not spoken about often, this city is a gorgeous spot for families. Perfect for climbing Castle Hill, checking out some local galleries, and enjoying a few museums, Townsville is more of a local experience rather than an outdoor adventure stopover.

Magnetic Island

For the opportunity to see some koalas and wallabies, Magnetic Island is the best spot. Take a bushwalk around the scenic National Park or head over to Horseshoe Bay for a day spent on the water with some activities. Magnetic Island is a great location to hop from beach to beach and see aspects of mother nature you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

Townsville – Mission Beach

Almost at the tail end of the road trip, it takes around 3 hours to get to the next destination, Mission Beach. If you want to finish your trip here, feel free, but if you’re wanting to power through to the end, Mission Beach is a lovely stop along the way. For more of a nature filled experienced, it’s a great spot for hiking, basking in rainforests, and enjoying the local environment.

Mission Beach – Cairns

Close enough to Mission Beach is the final Queensland road trip destinations in Cairns. Only an hour and 45 minutes away, it’s the place of scenic routes, sugarcane fields, forests, National Parks, the Grandiose Spanish Castle, and so much more. Spending a couple of days in Cairns won’t hurt, because there is so much to see and experience before drawing the road trip to a close. If you’re wanting to swap your car out and fly back home, drop into our Cairns airport car hire and drop your rental car back to East Coast Car Rentals.

To make life easier when going on a coastal trip in Queensland, consider contacting East Coast Car Rentals for our airport car hire services. With multiple locations along the coast, you have the opportunity to pick up a car, or even return a car on your adventures – because of our extensive fleet, we have become leaders in our industry.