Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, North Queensland, Australia
Mount Cootha Lookout, Brisbane
Airlie Beach, Queensland
Noosa National Park, Queensland
Whale Watching In Hervey Bay
Kangaroos In Mackay
Sunset on Fraser Island, Queensland

East Coast Drive

9 day Self Drive - from £725

With flights from £1579

Experience the best of Queensland on this 1200 mile adventure along the Barrier Reef coastline. Your nine day self drive will highlight idyllic islands, wildlife hot spots, secluded bays and beaches and stunning scenery.


  • Cosmopolitan feel of Noosa Heads
  • Optional Fraser Island day tour
  • Eungella National Park
  • Airlie Beach, the gate way to the Whitsundays
  • Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef
Expand All Collapse All

Your Itinerary

Day 1 - Brisbane to Noosa (145 kms)

Pick up your Avis intermediate automatic sedan rental car at the Brisbane City Depot or Brisbane Airport Depot and commence your drive to Noosa via the Bruce Highway.

Noosa has a cosmopolitan atmosphere, coupled with the natural beauty of the area. The headland is a National Park and there are several walks meandering through it to the various attractions of Boiling Pot, Hell’s Gates and Paradise Cave, to name a few. The town’s boutiques and restaurants are first class, and there is no shortage of entertainment.

Hotel: Mantra French Quarter (Standard) or Peppers Noosa Resort and Villas (Deluxe).

Day 2 - Hervey Bay (187 kms)

Depart Noosa and travel along the Bruce Highway through Cooroy and Gympie on route to Hervey Bay.

Gympie is the main entrance into the delights of Cooloola Beach, Great Sandy National Park and the glories of Fraser Island. At the Deep Creek Gold Fossicking Park you can explore an old goldmining site and pick, shovel or pan for gold.

Hervey Bay is full of history, beauty and attractions centred round sheltered waters and some 14 kilometres of golden beaches. Hervey Bay offers a colourful concentration of lifestyles and its waters are home to turtles, dolphins and dugongs. It is the whale watching capital of the world and the gateway to Fraser Island.

Fraser Island is a unique part of the Fraser Coast region, and its unusual formation of sand and rainforest make it a special source of adventure for visitors to explore. Although well known amongst fishermen and 4WD enthusiasts, it is the history and Aboriginal culture that gives Fraser Island its individual character, expressed through wonderful coloured sand cliffs, unique fresh water lakes and diverse flora and wildlife.

Hotel: Mantra Hervey Bay (Standard) or Oaks Resort & Spa Hervey Bay (Deluxe).

Day 3 - Hervey Bay

Full day at your leisure in Hervey Bay to explore the area or alternatively you may wish to take a full day tour to Fraser Island.

Day 4 - Rockhampton (393 kms)

Depart Hervey Bay and travel to Torbanlea and through the towns of Childers, Gin Gin, Miriam Vale and Calliope to Rockhampton.

Rockhampton is the heart of the beef cattle country. Cammoo Caves, approximately 23km north of Rockhampton, are two cave systems, which are open to the public. A short distance away on the coast is Yeppoon the stepping-off place for visits to Great Keppel Island. Byfield State Forest just north of Yeppoon is a pleasant, secluded spot in a rainforest environment; at Cooberrie Park Flora and Fauna Centre visitors can cuddle a koala or feed a kangaroo.

Hotel: Travelodge Rockhampton (Standard) or Edge Apartment Hotel (Deluxe).

Day 5 - Mackay (330 kms)

Depart Rockhampton via the towns of Marlborough and Sarina to Mackay.

Eungella National Park is situated 84km west of Mackay and is one of Queensland’s most spectacular parks, with cloud shrouded peaks, deep gorges and lush rainforest. The park can provide a special treat for visitors lucky enough to see one of the resident platypuses in the creek by the camping area. There are graded tracks leading through rainforest to waterfalls and natural swimming pools.

Mackay is surrounded by miles of sugarcane fields, which give the city its title of Sugar Capital of Australia. During the crushing season (July to November) Farleigh Mill, a working sugar mill, and Polstone Sugar Cane Farm offer tours. Mackay’s heritage walk takes in the Police Station, the Court House and Commonwealth Bank, buildings that are all over 100 years old and listed with the National Trust.

Hotel: Ocean International (Standard) or Clarion Hotel Mackay Marina (Deluxe).

Day 6 - Airlie Beach (150 kms)

Depart Mackay via the Bruce Highway to Proserpine where you depart the highway and head towards Airlie Beach.

Proserpine is a productive valley which was named after Proserpina, the Roman goddess of fertility, and supports a prosperous sugar industry. There is a pleasant hike to Cedar Creek in the rainforest-clad hills behind the town.

Airlie Beach is a popular holiday resort, and gateway to the Whitsunday Passage – home of hundreds of Barrier Reef Islands. The tropical island resorts of Hayman, Hamilton, Daydream and South Molle, to name a few of the 74 islands that are just off the coast of Whitsunday and which lie inside the Great Barrier Reef, are only some of the attractions of the area. Sunshine, blue water and sandy beaches are the theme of the Whitsundays.

Hotel: Mango House Resort (Standard) or Coral Sea Resort (Deluxe).

Day 7 - Airlie Beach

Full day at leisure in Airlie Beach to explore the area or alternatively you may wish to take a full day tour of the Whitsunday Islands

Day 8 - Townsville (300 kms)

Depart Airlie Beach travelling back to Proserpine where you rejoin the Bruce Highway and travel through the towns of Bower and Ayr to reach Townsville.

Townsville is the second largest city in Queensland and main commercial centre of Northern Queensland. Reef HQ is one of the most popular attractions in Townsville and is well worth a visit with its walk-through underwater tunnel, giving a great all-round view of the coral and the fish.

Hotel: Mercure Townsville (Standard) or The Grand Hotel Townsville (Deluxe).

Day 9 - Cairns (335 kms)

Depart Townsville today via the Bruce Highway and head towards Cairns via the towns of Ingham, Mission Beach and Innisfail.

Return your vehicle to the Cairns Airport depot or Cairns city Avis Depot

Ingham The climate and soil were perfectly suited to the introduction of sugarcane back in the early 1870’s and Ingham continues to prosper from its sugar production. The Wallaman Falls National Park with its 300 metre falls, bushwalks and spectacular rainforest and swimming and picnic spots is well worth a visit.

Mission Beach has fourteen kilometres of coastline and wide white sandy beaches met by rainforest.

Innisfail the character of the district was established with the influx of migrants, mainly Italian, after World War I. The town and the area have retained that very cosmopolitan mix ever since. At Mena Creek, south of Innisfail are the ruins of Paronella Park, a Spanish-style castle built by a migrant named Jose Paronella. There are also walks through rainforest and stands of bamboo and kauri pine to Mena Creek and Teresa Falls. Mt. Bartle Frere, north of the town, is the highest mountain in Queensland.

9 day Self Drive - from £725

With flights from £1579


  • Add a full day Fraser Island experience inc. lunch from £139
  • Add a full day Whitsunday Islands Cruise inc. lunch from £119
  • Stay on Fraser Island instead of Hervey Bay from £79
  • Upgrade to the Deluxe Self Drive from £128

Include this Self drive in an Australia holiday
designed for you

Item Saved Enquire now

All prices are per person, based on 2 sharing a double or twin room, and include pre-booked accommodation, air conditioned car and unlimited kilometres. Hotels specified are subject to availability and may be substituted by one of a similar or higher standard. Seasonal supplements may apply.

East Coast Drive Map


Relaxed and enjoyable self drive tour. Book them as they are or ask your consultant to add extra days in the places you choose.

Your self drive includes:

  • 8 nights accommodation
  • Air conditioned car hire
  • Standard or deluxe hotels
  • Inclusive vehicle insurance with nil excess
  • Satellite Navigation
  • Flexible itineraries

See more Australia Self Drives…

For advice or to start planning your holiday

talk to an Australia Expert on 0333 234 2889