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Queensland's Top 5 Road Trips

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by Tim Falk (subscribe)
A freelance writer with an interest in just about everything.
Published October 22nd 2013
Hit the road and explore the best Queensland has to offer
There's so much to see and do in Queensland: world-famous beaches, lush tropical rainforests, historic mining towns, massive gorges and iconic outback scenery. The best way to take in all the wonderful travel experiences Queensland has to offer is to take a road trip, so here are five of the state's most enjoyable drives for you to explore.

The Savannah Way
When a road trip is promoted as Australia's Adventure Drive you know it must offer a pretty incredible experience, and the Savannah Way does just that. The entire route links Cairns with Broome in Western Australia's Kimberley, taking in 15 national parks and five World Heritage areas along its 3700-kilometre length.

Queensland's Best Road Trips, The Savannah Way
Tourism and Events Queensland


You can explore rainforest walks and waterfalls in the Atherton Tablelands, examine world-class minerals at Georgetown, and explore Normanton's historic past. Between Normanton and Karumba you can spot herons, jabiru and brolga, and then finish your trip by taking in a spectacular sunset over the Gulf of Carpentaria. It's the perfect conclusion to the Queensland leg of this iconic drive.

The Great Green Way
Far north Queensland is home to some of the world's best known tropical scenery, and the 2000-plus-kilometre Great Tropical Way lets you explore it all. If you're looking for something a little shorter, however, the Great Green Way is a concentrated dose of the best the region has to offer.

Queensland's Best Road Trips, The Great Green Way
Tourism and Events Queensland


This beautiful route follows the coast for roughly 450 kilometres between Townsville and Cairns. The Great Barrier Reef is obviously the highlight of touring in this area, and there's plenty of opportunities to get out and explore it. There's also fishing to be done, fresh seafood to be eaten and a rich cultural history to be discovered.

When you've had enough of the palm-fringed beaches (as if you ever could!) you can explore lush rainforests, spectacular waterfalls and inland swimming holes. It's the tropical north at its absolute best.

The Overlander's Way
The sheer size of Queensland lends itself to big road trips, and this unique route from Townsville to the Northern Territory border is one such journey. Covering more than 1500 kilometres, the Overlander's Way takes in an astonishingly diverse range of scenery.

Queensland's Best Road Trips, The Overlander's Way
Tourism and Events Queensland


The unofficial capital of north Queensland, Townsville offers access to the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. From there you head inland, following the route once used by drovers to move cattle from the Kimberley to the Queensland east coast. You can re-live the gold rush days in Charters Towers, explore dinosaur country in Hughenden, and marvel at the mining industry in Mount Isa.

From breathtaking gorges and abundant native wildlife to vast plains and rugged outback vistas, this famous route has it all.

The Matilda Highway
Once you've crossed Queensland from east to west, why not cross it along a north-south route? The Matilda Highway stretches for some 1700 kilometres from Cunnamulla in the south to Karumba on the Gulf.

Queensland's Best Road Trips, The Matilda Highway
Tourism and Events Queensland


The landscape along this route is always changing, from undulating Mulga plains to rugged gorges and the harsh outback. Highlights along the way include the Charleville Cosmos Centre, the Qantas Founders' Outback Museum, and the site of a dinosaur stampede in Lark Quarry.

If you want a taste of the real outback Queensland, this is the trip for you.

The Great Sunshine Way
Though many of Queensland's famous road trips take you through the outback and the tropical north, there's still plenty to see in sunny southern Queensland. The Great Sunshine Way takes in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, Fraser Island, and the famous Gold Coast.

Queensland's Best Road Trips, The Great Sunshine Way
Darren Jew / Tourism and Events Queensland


Unsurprisingly, there's no shortage of great beaches to explore along this route. Swim, surf, or simply while away a few hours on the sand in the sun. But there's a whole host of other experiences on offer as well, including everything from kayaking along the Brisbane River to walking through the Gold Coast's Gondwana Rainforest or exploring the area's famous nightlife.

And then there's the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island to explore, with its uninterrupted white beaches, 100 freshwater lakes and ancient rainforests. There's so much to see, it'll probably take you a while to take it all in.
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Why? Explore the sunshine state
When: Anytime
Cost: Petrol ain't cheap
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